I’ve never liked the 10K distance. It’s too far to sprint, but it’s not quite as long or rewarding to me as the half marathon.
I also haven’t loved racing recently.
And yet, thanks to a lot of peer pressure, I somehow found myself registered to run yesterday’s Joe Kleinerman 10K race in Central Park with these two crazies.
Look at them, with their fancy low bib numbers. What speedy little show offs.
So why did I agree to “race” 6.2 miles with my favorite out of town friends? Well, Emily and Lauren came to town to celebrate, and while we celebrated a bit like normal humans with plenty of champagne and wine, we felt it was truly important to celebrate Lauren’s engagement and Emily’s no-longer-broken-foot like real runners: in race form.
Lauren and Emily arrived at my apartment on Friday night, and I wore a bunny onesie for the occasion, because nothing says “I’m really psyched for both of you and I’m ready to party” like a pink fleece suit that needs to be fully removed when you have to use the bathroom.
Emily and I showered Lauren with gifts of the old, new, borrowed, blue and Parmesan cheese variety. It didn’t take much for Emily and me to convince Lauren that her wedding should have a cheese theme.
Since we were racing the next morning, it was important to carbo load. In fact, it’s important to carbo load every single day, because you never know when a race will just pop up. Eat your bread people. Smother it in cheese while you’re at it.
Also, since we are spoiled, we did not order food or go to a restaurant or attempt to cook anything ourselves. I asked Emily if I should cook dinner for us, and she practically screamed, “Please, no! You’re probably a wretched cook and you’ll poison us by accident! Stay away from the kitchen, Alison.”
Good thing this guy lives nearby…
So while us chicks caught up on life, Brian cooked. I swear he wanted to. He volunteered. And I’m sure seeing his girlfriend in a sexy outfit made him really want to hang out with us all night.
We stayed up late and eventually made our way to bed — and air mattress — well past midnight. Because we take race night very seriously.
Lauren and I were not thrilled about this race. Emily made us register. She was all, “You guys, I can run again! Let’s run a race together! It’ll be fun!”
But when Emily said she could run again, she really meant she could run for two or so miles at a time, and then would need to take short walk breaks so she didn’t overuse those strained little muscles in her foot.
Walk breaks during a race?
Not what Lauren and I had in mind for a celebratory 10K.
Sorry, Emily. Love you, don’t love “fun running.” Aren’t I such a good friend?
But then we were like, “Wait! Lauren is engaged! She can run the race wearing a veil, and we can wear flashy outfits, and then it actually will be a blast!”
I wasn’t overly pumped about waking up at 6 am on a Saturday morning, but it was really nice not to be nervous at all. I usually go into races with a jittery stomach. Not this time, though. This was all about the brightly-colored experience.
We got to Central Park and I actually started getting really excited about the race. Shockingly we were the only people in lime green, pink, sequins and legwarmers, and oddly enough there were no other Brides On The Run. It was almost 50 degrees by 8 am — incredible for a January race!
We spotted Kelly — she spotted us, actually, which I’m sure was very difficult given the obnoxiously loud outfits — and Lauren and I made a Porta Potty stop before we jumped into the corrals and started to run.
Since we were planning to run/walk the race together, I didn’t bring music — Lauren told me that would be rude — and I didn’t wear my watch. This is my second Garmin-less race in a row and I’m hooked!
Apparently while Emily and Lauren were at Starbucks that morning without me, they made a plan: Don’t let Ali wear her watch. They were testing me! And I didn’t know it! Rude. And awesome. And smart.
Emily and Lauren stuck with an “easy race pace” and I just planned to try and keep up. Turns out, I kept up just fine. We chatted almost the entire time as we cruised along the route, a counterclockwise loop of Central Park.
Lauren made tons of friends thanks to the veil. Everyone loved her getup and yelled “Congratulations!” or “When’s the wedding?!” or, mostly from the men, “Don’t do it!”
I had no idea what type of pace we were running in the first few miles, and we basically let Emily call the shots. When she needed or wanted to stop and walk, we would do that.
We started off running up through Harlem, and I loved that we hit Harlem Hill within the first mile. It felt easy. I assumed we were doing an 8:30ish pace, and every time we passed a mile marker I forgot to check the time.
As we approached the west side of the park, we conquered the rolling hills that I usually loathe. But with good company, I hardly noticed them, and when we made it to the third mile marker Emily declared it was time for our first walk break. We moved to the edge of the course — out of the way of the runners blazing past us — and swiveled our hips as best we could.
After about five minutes of walking, we ran again. My legs and stomach both felt good, and I really wasn’t thinking much about my pace or how I felt. I figured we were running slowly because I felt comfortable and was able to carry on a conversation the whole time. When I asked Emily what pace we were doing, she refused to tell me. Apparently that was the plan, though she didn’t share that at the time. She just kind of brushed me off and kept running.
We rounded out the lower half of the park and took our second walk break right around Cat Hill. Fine by me. Lauren and I may have accidentally ditched Emily on the hill and jogged up it holding hands — at which point a man ran by us and said, “Marriage is a beautiful thing!”
At the top of the hill it was on to the finish line. We picked up the pace and cruised along the wonderfully flat east side of the park. As we approached the finish line, a dude on the sidelines screamed, “Yeah cheese!” and I was like, “Who is that guy and is he following the #cheesewedding updates on Twitter?!”
Turns out that guy was Brian. Emily and Lauren saw him. I did not recognize my own boyfriend. Way to go, Ali.
He cheered for us and took this photo:
I knew we were running a decent pace at this point, but I still felt great. It was a gorgeous day to be running and everyone in the race seemed so happy. The atmosphere was fantastic.
And then we crossed the finish line, and I came to the conclusion that racing can be fun if you’re not stupid about it. If you just show up and run and stay positive, there’s no reason to hate racing.
And then Emily and Lauren told me that during the final mile we were holding down a 7-minute mile pace.
Our overall pace was an 8:13, and Emily told me that when we were running we were never going slower than 8-minute miles. And I felt good!
New race strategy: No more Garmin. Do races with fast friends. Keep up. Run happy.
We hung around the finish line to cheer for a while and play with puppies, and as we were leaving the park a New York Road Runners photographer found us and asked if she could take our picture.
Um, obviously. We didn’t dress up to blend in, lady.
And now we are featured on the NYRR website.
I left this race on a major high. It was a no pressure race, I ran well, I got over my ego and I took walk breaks as needed to ensure Emily doesn’t break her foot again. I felt really, really happy. And I feel like I need to get over my fear of running fast and pushing myself. It’s on, 2012.
Post-race celebrations included many hours of mimosa drinking, wine drinking and brownie eating. Healthy living at its best, don’t you think?
I woke up this morning with a pretty brutal hangover. My body can’t hold its booze like it could in college. But Lauren wanted to go for a run, and so we did.
My watch didn’t get a satellite until a mile into the run, but check out these splits from the last four miles of the first ever Ali & Lauren On The Hungover Run:
And again, even though I felt like a gnarly form of death when we started running, my legs felt awesome and I settled into this pace pretty easily.
Now I’m excited because I think Lauren and Emily have agreed to move to my fair city and run every single race with me. That, my friends, is true friendship.
I loved this weekend. And while I don’t think I have a future career in power walking — it’s surprisingly difficult — I do think that 2012 is going to be a great year in racing for me. I’m re-energized and I’m motivated. Fast friends will do that to you.
Oh and yes, I’m still thinking about a spring marathon, because Lauren agreed to pace me to a PR. And if I learned anything this weekend, it’s that I have too much pride to ask my friends to slow down for me.
I can keep up.
Hope everyone had an awesome weekend!
Sorry to be a creep stalking you in the porta-potty line, but when I saw your bright outfits and legwarmers, I totally had an OHMYGODITSALIONTHERUNIHAVETOSAYHIRIGHTNOWANDINVADEHERSPACE moment. Haha. Anyway, it was nice to meet you!
Sadly, though I was also in hot pink, I did not have as speedy of a race as you crazy fools did (Uh, 7.5 min/miles? That will never happen). But it was gorgeous out, and I still had fun!
Love this post! You guys have so much fun!!!
Ahhh so much fun! Please tell me you’re not kidding about Lauren and Emily moving here…
OMG!!!! I totally saw you guys. I’ve been keeping an eye out for you in your I <3 Sweat shirts to tell you in person how much I luv your blog and what an inspiration you are. Darn it! I walked by you twice on Saturday and even saw you guys snapping pics at the finish line!!!
Keep up the great work Ali!!
Having a pacer makes all the difference! I ran my 2nd marathon with a pacer and ignored my Garmin and had a 33 minute PR!!
Wow, you totally rock. And you beat my PR by like a minute with walking. Looks like you guys had a ton of fun… sounds like a fabulous weekend.
racing with friends in costume and mimosas is kinda sorta exactly the perfect weekend.
Great recap! I LOVE all of the photos!
I run with my husband and he is way faster than me, maybe I should make him run faster and not tell me so then I have to keep up.
Also, I love the wine bottle. My husband and I are running Wineglass this year as our first marathon! I can’t wait.
I seriously love the outfits. LOVE. All caps, definitely serious.
And yay Emily for getting out on the course again! Yay everybody for rocking a good race!
And that weather? Seriously – I wonder WTH is going on.
I LOVED this post!
aw, so much stinkin fun! love your onesie – now that thing is awesome!
Personally, I love the “come hither” look you are giving Emily and that bottle of champagne.
Thanks again for having us this weekend! It was a blast! Probably something we should aim to repeat at least once a month…well, except for the walking break parts. I think we can do without those from now on. 😉
Wow, what an awesome AND fun race! Who would have thought? Love the outfits, super cute 😉
I ran a race yesterday without a garmin (totally by mistake) but it worked out. I actually tweaked my knee at saturday’s 10 k (those damn central park hills!) and was happy to not know how slow I was running, although pleasantly surprised at the finish!
THIS is why I need more friends who run. Or any friends who run, for that matter!
I kept thinking I was going to pass you guys during your “powerwalks” but it didn’t even happen! You guys are speed demons, even with walk breaks. I should have stuck with you! Also, I want to hear more about the marathon Lauren is going to pace you at…
Next sweat squad brunch I am requesting you wear that bunny suit. Happy Monday, friend!
I really want to do some sort of race as part of my bachelorette party.. but I don’t think my girl friends feel the same way. Womp.
What incredible weather you had for the race Saturday. Who would have thought you’d be getting 50 degrees in Jan/!?
Congrats on an awesome race! Looks like you ladies had soo much fun! What a great weekend!
Love the outfits…you are so bright they can see you in outerspace.
I got on the NYRR site once and I was sooooo excited.
I absolutely love running/racing with friends! It`s so much easier for me because then I never reach my boredom high and think about how bad I probably feel (but never actually do!). Only problem is, that my dearest running friends have mostly moved abroad – but I`m sure they will return 😉
I don’t think I have ever done a race without my garmin. Now I kinda want to
Great outfits! And it sounds like the race was so much fun. Maybe I should find some fast people and force them to run with me.
It’s obvious you guys had fun! I’m so glad you enjoyed the race and had fun. The outfits are a hoot! I love it when people dress up for races!
That’s awesome! The runs that feel easier than they are are the BEST. It was such a beautiful day out, too–I wound up running the 10k just because it was so darn gorgeous out, even though I’d done a hard 8-miler the day before (granted, I didn’t race the 10k either, just ran at about half-marathon pace/effort). Plus, it’s so convenient that we have all these races right in Central Park.
It seems like you run better with people. Definitely something to consider when planning your training (have you thought of more group running?). I’m the opposite, I do better when I’m alone somehow… running in a pack on the track is seriously messing with my head, I get so freaked out by all the people so close to me.
“blah blah blah… SPRING MARATHON blah blah”
You guys look so great! I’m going to have to come up with some kind of flashy outfit for my marathon in March. Dressing up sounds like so much fun! (And maybe it’ll make me run fast?)
You’re also super lucky to have such awesome running buddies. I have friends to run with at school, but none who are as crazy as me. Gotta work on that…
So the moral of this story is “buy more pink clothes to race in so I can be fast”, right?! (can’t hurt to try…)
Glad you ladies had such a fun race! So great to see you for a sec! ( even if I did look/feel like death)
Looks like an awesome weekend! Major points to Brian for cooking- lucky girl!! 🙂
Oooh, now I can’t wait to read Emily’s blog and hope that you are not lying about them moving to NYC 🙂
Congrats on an awesome race!
So fun! I just moved to a new city, so I need to find some fast friends to dress crazily and run with me!
This sounds like so much fun. Especially the pink bunny suit. I kind of want to buy one.
I am so excited for you and your upcoming marathon. I know you can achieve your goals with a friend like Lauren or Emily by your side to keep you on track.
Sounds like a blast! That time is awesome considering there were walking breaks involved. I always used to take them because I had no idea how to pace myself, but now with the prodding of a running coach, I ran my first 8.25 miles without stopping once (besides a few red lights) on saturday. It was an awesome high!
This sounds like such a fun weekend. At this point I don’t love running with people, but this race sounds like a ton of fun, and I think I’d enjoy it! Awesome outfits too- love the picture on NYRR!
So I realize this will make me sound super creepy, but you three are awesome. And if I am ever at a race with the three of you, I am self-inviting myself to your post race mimosa and wine drinking festivities, okay? I’m kidding… sort of. 😉
Anyway, what a fun race and a kick butt time!!! 😀
I love this so much! My three fave running bloggers in wonderful outfits, eating cheese and getting papped. I love LESS that even on her first week back or so after a broken foot, Emily is still faster than I will ever be, as will the three of you. But I can live with that and will go and eat some cheese in your honours!