Lately, my relationship with racing has been a little complicated. We’ve had some great times, but we’ve also been through some rough patches. You see, racing and me, we want to love each other, but sometimes one of us wants to run too fast and then gets tired and it just doesn’t work out in the end. That doesn’t even really make sense with this analogy, but I’m sure you’re still following along.
Today I ran the Ted Corbitt 15K in Central Park.
It was my final race in the seemingly never-ending 9+1 program, which would give me guaranteed entry to next year’s New York City Marathon.
Yesterday I said I had a “secret goal in mind” for this race — my first 15K, by the way, which means an automatic personal record. Excellent.
Last night at dinner, Brian asked me what my “secret goal was.”
“Shit…I totally forget. I should have written it down.”
Clearly I take my goals very seriously. I’m an idiot.
I really have no idea what I was thinking of achieving at the time, but I know it wasn’t time-related, so I told Brian that maybe my goal was to run without my Garmin.
So that’s what I did today. I ran with a naked wrist.
I loved it.
This was my first time since I’ve had my watch (I got it in January) that I ran completely without it. I didn’t plan to go balls-to-the-wall in this race. I just wanted to run strong, but mostly I wanted to see how I felt and see what my pace was at the end.
Here are the time results, if that’s what you’re interested in:
Going into the race, I was feeling OK. I wasn’t psyched about racing and my stomach felt heavy. I wanted to get the 9.3 miles over with, but I wasn’t feeling negatively about the race either. I was just very “meh” about it.
Brian was planning to run the race too, even though he wrecked his knee during the Las Vegas Half Marathon and hadn’t run since.
Yes, I do look like Rudolph in that photo. Thank you for noticing. My nose will be red from now until April. I love winter.
Brian and I jogged to the start line near the 102nd Street transverse in Central Park. We ended up getting there way too early so we people watched for a while and used the Porta Potties. My stomach felt iffy at my apartment, and I’m pretty sure this bathroom visit saved my race. No Crohn’s for me today.
I was supposed to be in the third corral, but Brian was seeded further back (even though he’s faster than I am — New York Road Runners didn’t have an updated pace for him, blah blah blah), so I started with his corral. The plan was to “run together” since neither of us had time goals.
Oh hey, that didn’t happen at all! It’s cool, Brian. I still like you.
The race was packed. I felt claustrophobic for the first two miles and was so glad I wasn’t tracking my pace because I knew I wouldn’t have been happy with it. Seriously, we were like sardine runners. Too many people.
And then I lost Brian.
I was running comfortably, not going crazy, and somehow he just darted forward. I didn’t want to run too fast and risk dying by mile four, so I let him go and did my own thing. I had good music blasting, the sun was shining and I was actually feeling pretty good.
The rolling hills on the west side were fine, and the first jaunt up Cat Hill didn’t bother me because it was so early in the race. Then, just after the fourth mile marker, I saw Brian standing on the side next to a water stop.
I knew that wasn’t good.
He started to run with me and said his knee was being a bitch. Those may not have been his exact words, but I think they’re pretty close. He was running all weird-like and limpy, so I told him I’d run with him and we’d go slowly.
We slowed down for a while, and then he just kind of said, “I’m done, I’m out, I’ll meet you at the finish line.”
Sad Ali. Goodbye, running buddy.
I was sort of terrified for him because I could see in his face that he was in some serious pain. He’s not the type to bail out mid-race unless it’s really bad. (And, um, it is bad. He kind of can’t walk right now. He has not had a great day. But I think he’s still attractive.)
After that I was back on my own. The crowd had thinned, but I still felt like I was constantly weaving and dodging people. Not good, I know, Coach Cane, but it had to be done! I kept getting stuck!
And to my new friend — I really hope we’re friends now — I’m so sorry I ran into you on the 72nd Street transverse and I appreciate you not hitting me or swearing at me. Though I would have deserved it. Sorry for taking that turn just a bit too sharply. Also, your Lululemon top was really cute.
The course was a 4-mile loop of the park followed by a 5-mile loop of the park. So on the second loop we cruised all the way to the south end of the park and then hit Cat Hill again on the way back up. Cat Hill hurt a bit, but I knew it was all downhill from there. Going up Cat Hill was when I really loved not tracking my pace!
I was loving being totally clueless about my time. There were mile markers with time clocks, of course, but I kept forgetting to take mental note of my time, so I couldn’t even do the math. Plus, math is difficult for me.
I consistently felt like I was running strong, but I wasn’t dying or gasping for air. Could I have run harder and faster? Yes. But that wasn’t the plan for today.
I was happy once I reached Engineer’s Gate, which is my “home entrance to the park,” and I just tried to book it toward the finish. I’m not sure how fast my “booking it” pace was, but it felt solid.
Finally I saw Brian in the crowd, turned left onto 102nd Street and blazed across the finish line, only narrowly dodging the chick who totally cut me off in order to get a “cute finish line photo.” Argh. I hope she at least purchases it.
And that was the Ted Corbitt 15K!
Well, I’m officially in to run the New York City Marathon on November 4, 2012! That’s pretty awesome and obviously hasn’t sunk in yet. It’s already written in hot pink marker on my desk calendar, though. That should not surprise you.
I definitely want to try running more races in the future without a watch. I’d like to do one where I push really hard and see what kind of pace I can bring in. I’m happy with my 8:22 average, which I think is respectable enough for me these days, and I look forward to eventually PRing in the 15K distance.
And now that injured boyfriend of mine is cooking dinner. It’s very likely I will be asleep by 10 PM.
Tomorrow’s plans? Sweat Squad Secret Santa Brunch Party. I made cupcakes.
Congratulations to all the racers today. I’m psyched for you. And I’m sorry if I punched you or elbowed you on the course. I’m an ass.