This morning I ran the New York Road Runners Scotland 10K race in Central Park. Considering I ran a half marathon two weeks ago, you’d think I would have cruised right through this bad boy today.
Not so much.
A 10K is 6.2 miles — that’s less than half the distance of a half marathon. When I registered for this race a few months ago I didn’t think twice about the distance being a problem.
But I’ve been feeling under the weather all week. Whether it’s a cold or allergies — I should probably figure that out — it’s been leaving me feeling fatigued and congested. So when I woke up this morning, my first thoughts were less along the lines of “Yay! Race day!” and more in tune with “Ugh. Gotta get this over with.”
I don’t like going into a race feeling like that. I love running and lately I’ve really grown to love racing. The atmosphere is fun and the energy is contagious.
The race started near Columbus Circle. I love this because if you get to the start too early, there are plenty of options for indoor waiting.
But of course, all the real action (and good people watching!) happens by the corrals (and the PortaPotties).
I was excited to see some familiar faces including Amy, who was ready to rock her first 10K, and Donnie, who I met on the Metro after the National Half — and who turned out to be my neighbor. Random! There were also a ton of Team Challenge runners on the course and in the crowd, which I loved, and my old roommate was running the race, too.
This was also my first 10K! It’s fun knowing that no matter what happens you’re going to PR. No pressure!
The weather this morning was mild and in the mid-40s. There was no sun but I was definitely hot in my long-sleeved shirt once I started running.
The corrals were packed, which meant the first mile was kind of a crowded disaster.
OK, let’s talk more about the running.
The first mile went great, as it always does. My legs felt fresh and I wasn’t coughing too much. I did a lot of weaving, but I maintained a quick pace and felt good.
Here’s the thing about running the full loop in Central Park: it’s hilly. The west side is all hills, then you conquer two hills — one short and steep, one long and gradual — at the north end of the park. The east side is mostly flat with a few gradual but manageable hills here and there.
So for this race, we started off with hills. Lots and lots of hills.
I coughed a lot during the first three miles. I felt like I was working hard and my legs went from feeling fresh to feeling tired. It was hard maintaining my breath on the uphills because of my congestion, but I kept pushing through.
By miles three and four I slowed down quite a bit. Usually I feel energized once the hills are out of the way, but today they took a toll on me and I felt drained.
During mile five I just wanted the race to be over. I hate that feeling! As much as I wanted to enjoy the bagpipers and the men in kilts, I just couldn’t find my groove.
When fellow runners started sprinting toward the finish I couldn’t keep up. I usually like going all out to wrap it up, but I had been doing that the whole time, so I just maintained my pace to get across the finish line in one piece.
And then it was over. And I was beat.
Not a bad time considering how I felt!
What can I say? I’m competitive…
I lingered around the finish line festival for a while and grabbed my standard post-race apple and granola bar.
The finish line festival was pretty impressive! It’s always nice when people hang around after the race instead of just dispersing and heading home.
There were also dancers. Obviously that perked me up.
How cute is the little girl copying the dancers in front of the stage? She was loving it.
A few days ago my plan was to run this race and then add a few miles running home to make it a long training run for the Brooklyn Half Marathon, which is in May.
Instead I took a cab.
I was beat.
I got home, took an incredibly long shower and haven’t moved from the couch since. Even though I warned her that I was in my bathrobe and didn’t plan to change, Lauren came over bearing gifts: toilet paper, paper towels, macaroni and cheese and Double Stuffed Oreos. Does she know me well or what?
I know this race recap is a bit of a downer to read because I didn’t feel well, but don’t get me wrong — I’m thrilled that I maintained an 8-minute-ish mile pace and am very happy with my time. I just wish I had had more fun getting it done!
Congratulations to all the racers today, in Central Park and beyond. Don’t forget to stretch! (And eat ice cream.)
SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS: Which is more important to you during a race — your time or your experience? Is it still a successful race if you PR but you’re miserable the whole time?
That is still an awesome time even though you didn’t feel well! Way to go!!!
congrats ali!!!!! amazing finish/pace/etc despite being sick!
mac n cheese + double stuffed oreos? now it’s all i can think about!
have a great week! xoxox
I think almost all races–and almost all runs in general–are positive, unless they result in an injury. Even if a race is sub-par, it’s usually either a good learning experience or just a good workout (since even a “bad” race is likely to be done faster than a normal training run). So congrats on your performance yesterday–and on getting featured on the NYRR site! Hope you shake the cold/allergies soon.
Awesome! Good job, awesome time!!! Loved the pics
And your meh race is 6 minutes faster than my amazing 10K PR! You are so awesome!!!! Sorry you didn’t feel great but seriously you are awesome.
SUPERSTAR! Although I love your “if its your first race you automatically PR” theory, I think a 8:05 pace (especially when you can’t breathe!) is amazing!!! Great seeing you this morning, hope you took it easy the rest of the day and are feeling better!!
Great work in the 10k, I find that distance pretty frustrating…just long enough to be uncomfortable and just short enough to really not hit your groove! I ran a 5 miler today and there were bagpipers around the first mile mark and it got me so incredibly excited 🙂 I also love any race that has highland dancers at the end. Feel better!
Nice work! That course is always so tough – especially that hill around mile 3. I definitely think the experience of a race lasts longer – if I enjoy myself I leave with a great feeling that lasts for days, even if I didn’t PR. It’s actually these races that I PR in anyways, I think enjoying a race relaxes me and helps me run better!
Thats a great question! I loved the experience of the NY Marathon but I was pretty miserable the whole time but I still PR’d. Once I finished I definitely looked at it as an amazing experience….
Congrats on your time! I’ve only run 1 10K too. I want to break 50 in June. Maybe we can start together and I can chase you : ) Hope you feel better soon : )
What a great time! I can totally relate about this race being rough – I was four minutes off my 10K PR and really wanted just to split and go home during mile 5. When I woke up this morning I seriously considered skipping the race (something I’ve NEVER done). In the end I’m glad I went but it was definitely a bad running day. You win some, you lose some, right?
Wow Ali! Great time! You really are so speedy!
I was supposed to tack on a few miles after the 10K today too (I’m also doing brooklyn!) but totally didn’t. I was exhausted as well! The hills in CP get me every time. I feel much better knowing that I’m not the only one who decided not to turn this into a long run!!
Great job again!!
i think i saw you around the 5 mile marker today during the race [was wearing a north brooklyn runners shirt and neon green compression sleeves] – wanted to say something but had no energy to muster [we met at dori’s refine method class]. i’m so impressed by your time today even though you felt like crap, and while a pr can be a good indication of race success, knowing you gave it your all, regardless of the time, is just as important.
Aw, I wish you had said hi! Although I was definitely hurting at that point and would have probably just grumbled at you. Haha. Also, I swear I black out during races — I never notice other runners! I need to pay better attention. Hope you had a great race!
next time i’ll definitely say hi. had a pretty good race actually – beat my 10k pr by almost 5 minutes. mile 4 was a killer though.
and i saw you on the nyrr race recap page 🙂 – http://nyrr.org/resources/photos/2011/scotland/more/gallery.asp#40
Aw! I’m so sorry this ended up being a tough race for you – but at least you know what the reason is, right? Running while congested is no joke and does not make for a very happy run, so be proud of what you accomplished and now please, park your butt on the couch for the day and rest up!
I had a friend who’d been running track since high school and made the wise point that no matter HOW long you’ve been running, there will always be better and worse days. And even though the worse days aren’t super fun, I feel like that must be what keeps it kind of interesting…! At any rate, congrats on what sounds like it was overall a really good run!
Great job out there today! Not feeling well makes running more challenging than it has to be.
I swear running clockwise is much harder than counter clockwise. I wasn’t “racing” this race, but I still felt like I was dying out there today. I kinda wanted to stop running around mile 5 and head home.
PR always = success Most likely if I’m running hard enough to PR, I’m not going to be feeling good.
It’s awesome that you were able to push through feeling sick, coughing and just generally not feeling into it, and still ran an awesome race! I know what you mean about being happy with your time but wishing you had enjoyed it more, but usually I am even more proud of myself when I can pull off a good time when I really just didn’t want to be running. Everyone has days when their legs feel heavy and things just aren’t clicking. Great job and I hope you start to feel better soon! I think the fact that you’re so tired is a sign that you body is in need of a little rest 🙂
You hung in there for 6.2 miles and gave it all you had…CONGRATS! I hope you feel better very soon. Enjoy some quality time on the couch today.
Congrats on your time – very impressive for being sickie! Just think how you will dominate your next 10K when you’re feeling up to par! You’ll kill this time!
I’m competitive no matter what, but some races I KNOW I am not going to run a killer time, so I try (emphasis on “try”) to take time to enjoy the race. If I’ve seriously trained for a race, time is the only thing that matters! I ran the Shamrock Shuffle in Chicago this morning and I haven’t trained AT ALL for it, so I ran with my iPhone and snapped pics the whole way and enjoyed running around the city. Even though I knew I wasn’t going to PR today, I still am kinda bummed about my time! I’ve gotta lighten up when it comes to fun runs 🙂
Ali, you look adorable for feeling awful. Kudos to you for actually going instead of staying in bed as I might have.
Was your race top from lululemon? I love it and noticed it has the over-the-fingers feature that I’m a sucker for. 🙂 For that matter, what about your shorts? I have a pair of bike/spandex shorts that are a tiny bit too short, as well as a pair that’s a tiny bit too long, and yours look like the perfect length.
Glad you took a cab and have been enjoying yourself on the couch post-race. You gotta do what feels right! Congrats on the race!
My top and shorts are both Lululemon. I adore the top because it’s soft and breathable, but BOY do the sweat stains show at the first sign of them! Haha. I love that the shorts don’t ride up and that the shirt is nice and long.
congratulations on an amazing time! I hate it when I run but it just doesn’t go right. It’s such a downer. But even though you didn’t feel good, you overcame and still ran with incredible speed!