I ran a 10K in Central Park this morning.
My stomach didn’t explode during the race. That’s good.
I wore hot pink. That’s also good.
I came out of the race with a new 10K PR. Definitely good, right? (Even though it was only my second 10K ever.)
But I’m not quite sure I’d consider today’s race a success. Let me break it down for you…
Here are the reasons the UAE Healthy Kidney 10K was a successful race for me:
I got a new T-shirt. And it’s a Dry Fit! Muy bueno.
Yesterday was a rest day. I followed Coach Cane’s plan and didn’t do anything. No running. No spinning. No yoga. My legs felt fresh going into today’s race.
I followed my regular, no-fail pre-race routine. Shower, granola bar, glass of water, 200 crunches, obsessively check Twitter to see what other runners are wearing. Also insert several trips to the bathroom. Running on an emptied-out stomach is the way to go for me. Don’t tell me that’s TMI, because it’s not. Runners go to the bathroom a lot. Add Crohn’s Disease and nerves on top of that and I’m a disaster on race mornings. You’ve been warned.
I did a 2-mile warm-up run to get to the race start. Living near Central Park is amazing. Even when races don’t start on the East Side, the West Side isn’t all that far away. I ran at a very leisurely pace to get to my corral, which loosened up my legs nicely. [Side note: When I first started running, I would see people running before the race started. I always thought they were completely crazy. You’re about to run a race, why are you already running now?! But I get it. Mile 1 isn’t your warm-up, it’s your race.] But by the time I got into my corral, my legs were warmed up and I was ready to run.
I had plenty of time to use the Porta Potties. Even if I don’t have to go, I usually try. Yay for pre-race nervous peeing! Plus, the best people watching is by the toilets. Obviously.
I met Abby! Meeting readers is the best thing ever, and Abby coming to say hi while we were waiting for the race to start was awesome. Hi, Abby!
The weather was ideal. High 50s/low 60s, very slight breeze, not an absurd amount of pollen and no sun.
There were 8,000 runners but it never felt too crowded. Sure the start is always a bit packed, but there were plenty of times during the race that I felt like I had all the room in the world.
I listened to my music on Shuffle, and this time I wasn’t forced to listen to Christmas carols. That was a nice change of pace.
I finished — and I PR’d!
My first race as a 26 year old!
The bagels were chocolate chip. I don’t usually go for the post-race bagels provided by New York Road Runners, but when I found out they were chocolate chip bagels today, you bet I snagged one. In high school I pretty much lived off chocolate chip bagels from Einsten Bagels.
I got on the subway after the race and a nice man approached me and inquired about the race (since I still had my bib on). He then proceeded to praise me for being a runner — loudly, for the entire subway car to hear — for about 5 stops. I wasn’t embarrassed. I felt cool.
The race volunteers were all cheering. Sometimes they seem miserable and grumpy, but today they all seemed like they were in good spirits. I tried to smile back at them, even when my legs were ready to give out.
I went to the gym afterward. I foam rolled my legs, which felt amazing. Normally my post-race routine is “shower, then sit on couch all day,” but I really liked moving the muscles around.
I also did spinning. I know, it probably wasn’t necessary after the race. But after missing my beloved Wednesday night class this week, I couldn’t resist making it to Matt’s downtown class today. He also gave me a shout-out during the warm-up when he spotted me, which made me feel special.
It’s not very hard to make me feel special.
I finished up my morning perusing Union Square and going to Whole Foods. What’s better than that?
So as I mentioned earlier, today’s race wasn’t a total success. Let me explain…
I didn’t sleep well. For some reason, I was totally paranoid about sleeping through my alarm, so I woke up a lot throughout the night. As a result, I didn’t feel as rested this morning as I would have liked.
Yeah, I had time to use the Porta Potties — but while I was in there I dropped my phone. I dropped it on the ground, which isn’t a huge deal, but that’s still the ground of a portable toilet. I wiped it down as best I could, and it’s not like it touched anything, but I was still really grossed out. Smooth moves, Ali.
I got bumped back a corral. Apparently with NYRR races your corral is based mostly on your time, but the corral you’re in can change based on how many runners are in the race. So while I was in the badass yellow corral last time, this time I was bumped back to green. Still respectable (in my mind, at least), but I kept looking longingly at the yellows, who got to cross the start line before me. Competitive much?
I didn’t stop for water. I really need to get over the whole “if I stop I’ll lose a few seconds off my time” mentality and learn to appreciate water stations. I didn’t feel dehydrated, but I’m sure a few sips of agua couldn’t hurt.
I went out too hard at the start, as always. This is the main reason I’m a bit frustrated about today’s race. I have such a habit of wanting to sprint right away. I see people all around me going fast and I want to keep up with them. I’m competitive, and when I see a time I like on my watch I try to maintain it, whatever that takes. I have a hard time slowing down once I’ve started going fast.
By the time I got to the 5K mile marker, I was really wishing the race stopped there. Honestly, if I had just slowed down at that point I would’ve been fine. But I wanted to maintain the speed I started at, and that explains why I was so exhausted at the finish. It’s tough trying to find a balance between wanting to be competitive and taking a step back to just enjoy a race as a casual, smart run. That’s something I really need to work on as I get further into marathon training.
Coach Cane isn’t impressed. By the time I got home, I had an email waiting for me. The subject line read “you are stubborn.” He had specifically instructed me to take the first 5K at an easier pace and try to surge and pass people in the second half. I obviously wanted to listen to him — and I never want him to think I’m ignoring or disregarding his advice — but something just came over me.
I have my work cut out for me now. I never want to disappoint anyone — and part of me thinks that if I hadn’t PR’d today I would have disappointed myself, but I’d rather let myself down than let Coach Cane down.
I hope I’m forgiven.
So there you have it: my 2011 UAE Healthy Kidney 10K race recap. The hills were tough, as always. The crowd was happy, as always. The race was wonderfully organized, as always. I’ll take it!