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.
It gives me the will to get back to training!
Went for a great run around Central Park last night. I very rarely have the opportunity to go on a regular training run in Central Park, so when I do, it always feels wonderful. Especially now when I’m not training for anything in particular and can slow down and enjoy the park, the hills and the general surroundings. Too often in the park, I’m doing a hard speed workout, or running hard in a race, when I don’t really fully enjoy the surroundings.
Great job! I think we are kindred spirits both running 15ks without our watches this weekend.
Of course we are still friends! I apparently cut some woman off last year during the mini and she nearly threw me off the harlem hill (and then she called me a bitch- she seemed SUPER nice)- so no worries whatsoever. Also, lulu sponsors me. It is a sweet gig.:)
Great job on the race, Ali! I pretty much always run with some kind of timing device (sometimes Garmin, sometimes just CardioTrainer GPS app on my phone), but I usually don’t look at it until the 13 mile mark, and after that I try not to look TOO frequently (unless I’m pacing). Glad you rediscovered running for fun instead of for time 🙂
Congrats on finishing the 9+1, that’s awesome! Be prepared for everything to revolve around November 4th, haha. (That’s how it was for me when I ran NYC this past year!) Hope Brian gets well soon. Have a good week.
This is definitely the most relaxed that I’ve seen you in a recap write-up. Excellent! Garmin-less run … bam.
NYCM2012 – hooray! We’re officially in!
I should try a “naked” race. I have a couple 5K’s coming up within the next few weeks, I should run one of them naked. Or maybe strap my Garmin to my ankle so I at least still have the data. (I love numbers.)
YAY for running “free” in a race setting no less! I LOVE IT!!!
Nice job Ali! I love that you ran without a watch, I bet that was a great ‘test’ for you to see how you match up pace-wise without a watch. And poor Brian, I really hope his knee improves!
Nice work! I’ve never run without a watch but think I need to try it one of these days. Also, running up Cat Hill twice in one race = you are awesome. See you soon – can’t wait!
Congrats on making it through your 9 races! I think you should get a medal for that alone! That’s also super exciting that you’ll be running the NYC Marathon next year. I’m pretty jealous. I live in NY and I grew up watching the marathon every year. I can’t wait for the day when I’ll be able to run it!
I’ve run in every race so far without a Garmin, but I do sometimes wear a regular stop watch.
I hope that Brian’s knee stops acting like a bitch soon. I had knee problems when I first started running, I actually wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to continue. Hopefully he gets it all figured out so he can get back out there!
Ali I’m going to call it right now: you’re going to crush your marathon time in NYC. The crowd support is so intense, unlike the Hamptons which can get pretty quiet. Yours going to knock your leg warmers off!
Congratulations for being in the NYC Marathon 2012! That has to feel AWESOME!
OMG huge amounts of sympathy/compassion/samesies for Brian and his knee 🙁 I know how miserable it is and I hope it’s nothing that a little rest won’t fix 🙂 Make sure he foam rolls the baby jesus (mod fam ref anyone?) out of his legs for a few days…pretty good across-the-board knee pain solution IMO.
Oh and CONGRATS on completing your 9+1!!!
What Garmin do you have – do you recommend it for training?
& hope Brian gets well soon! 🙂
I can’t imagine running without a watch for a race. I’m a slow runner but I still like looking at my watch and feeling bad about my pace.
And hope Brian feels better soon!
And also, definitely jealous of your sweat squad. None of my friends like talking about my mile splits or race strategies.
So many people have told me that running sans watch is the way to go– I’m determined to give it a try. Maybe it’ll restore my love for running 🙂
I hope Brian feels better soon!
I’ve run a lot of races without a watch and it worked out pretty well for me. I usually do now run with one, but after a while my math gets all funky and I can’t figure out how fast I’m going anyways. I mainly wear it just so I know my finish time right when I finish and not hours later.
So stoked for secret santa.
Running without a watch is fun sometimes! And I HATE crowded races! I get aggressive and sometimes do stupid things like running on curbs and falling off curbs.
ah I hope Brian’s knee is better soon- injuries are so frustrating. Congrats on the race and for officially in to run the NYCM! SO exciting!!