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?