It feels trivial to write a recap about the 10K I ran this weekend when there are so many more important things in the world to focus on right now. My heart is broken for the people of Orlando and the LGBT community. These acts of violence — this one and the many, many, many more before it — are unconscionable and I, like I’m sure so many others, just can’t make sense of any of it.
All my life, I’ve turned to dance and music and theater during high times and low ones. Last night’s Tony Awards were a bright light on a dark day, and I’m grateful for the power of Broadway and its community for delivering a few much-needed smiles and laughs last night. (And many, many tears.)
“We rise and fall and light from dying embers, remembrances that hope and love last longer, and love is love is love is love is love is love, cannot be killed or swept aside.”
I ran the NYRR New York Mini 10K on Saturday. Let’s talk about that now, OK?
I registered for this race a few months ago for no particular reason. I hadn’t run the Mini since 2011 because I never seem to be in town for it, so I was excited to be able to run this year. It wasn’t a goal race or anything special. Another no pressure adventure!
But on Thursday, I went for a 3-mile run in the evening, and my left leg felt weird. It didn’t feel like a specific type of pain, and was less of an actual pain and more of a throbbing or vibration when I stepped on it or ran on it. So I stopped running, walk-hobbled home, and immediately got on the foam roller. I got a not-great-but-not-terrible “sports massage” (it was just a regular massage, but I paid for a sports massage…) on Friday, which helped a bit, and I did some yoga, which loosened me up nicely. By Friday night, I wasn’t in any pain, but wasn’t sure I would (i.e. should) run the Mini the next day.
Still, I prepared accordingly, by partaking in my pre-race rituals.
Namely, I made a Race Day playlist…
…then went to Outback Steakhouse for dinner, and ordered up the usual: 2.5 pieces of warm brown pre-meal bread, coconut shrimp appetizer, 6 oz. Victoria’s Filet (medium rare), baked potato with butter, and asparagus. Outback Steakhouse is so good. #girlsnightout
My plan for Saturday was to go to the race and make a game-time decision. I absolutely refuse to begin marathon training in July with any pain, so as much as I wanted to go for a fun run in Central Park, I made my motto, “In it for the Marathon, Not the Mini.”
I Uber-ed to the start, got my bib, and decided to do a warm-up jog to see how my leg felt. I ran a lower loop of the park (1.79 miles) and it didn’t hurt, so I stretched, stalked the elites during their warmups, and joined my November Project chickadees for a group photo.
At this point, I was still undecided about whether or not to run, but decided to go for it and to take it easy. I know it probably doesn’t make a difference, and that 6.2 miles is 6.2 miles whether you’re running all-out or easy jogging (is that actually true? IDK), but that was my unscientific plan.
I popped into Corral D and saw lots of familiar faces, which is always fun. I love Race Day! (Proper noun.)
The Mini 10K is unique because, duh, it’s a women’s-only race. There were more than 8,000 runners this year, which is phenomenal. The energy is always fantastic, and the crowd support is better than normal because all the ladies’ husbands, dads, boyfriends, fiancés, little brothers, and side pieces come out to watch and scream. I love that.
It’s also a special race because it’s not entirely in Central Park. The first mile takes you up Central Park West, which is a nice change of scenery. It’s apparently uphill, but it felt flat to me.
The race started, and I settled into what felt like a comfortable pace. (Still doing the no-watch thing.) The November Project cheer squad was stationed shortly after the start, which set me off with a nice, happy boost. They are the best.
Before I knew it, we were turning into the park and headed toward the course’s hilly section. We climbed the first hill in Harlem, which I powered up without a problem. Then there’s a nice, long downhill before you ascend the second hill, which isn’t a bad hill, but — just like during the Scotland 10K — I found myself with a nasty cramp at the top. I tried to breathe through it, knowing we were only halfway through the race. It never got too much worse, but it never let up, either. (Help?)
I love running on the east side of Central Park, and was happy to pass Engineers’ Gate and Bernie’s Bench. I gave Bernie a nod and carried on my way. I felt like I had probably slowed down, and with two miles to go, I noticed more people were passing me with every step.
I enjoyed coasting down Cat Hill, but by this point I was feeling a little drained. As everyone started to get their final kicks ready, I felt like they were riding the wave and I was stuck in the undertow. I had no kick in me.
The November Project cheer squad had relocated to a spot near-ish the finish, and their cheers were amazing. I would’ve loved to show off for them and to pass a bunch of chicks in the last few meters, but I didn’t have much in me, so I just crossed the finish happy and smiling and yay running!
My leg never hurt during the race. It wasn’t even until I crossed the finish line that I remembered it was even a thing. My stomach also felt great, which is the best ever. So maybe I should’ve really raced it hard after all?
Overall, I had fun and was pretty shocked to see a sub-50 finish time when I looked up my results later that day! Official finish time: 49:54, an 8:02 pace, and not bad for “not racing it.” The course never felt too crowded, runners were happy and respectful, and the spectators were top-notch.
I especially have to give it up for the NP cheer squad. They stayed on the sidelines until every single runner had come through. When the course was almost empty, they started forming cheer tunnels for the runners to come through, and they loved it. The energy was incredible, and I love that my teammates don’t #justshowup to cheer for their own runners. They scream for everyone.
One final thought: I like girly stuff. I like pink things. I even wore a skirt for this race, which is not something I had ever done before!
But race organizers, it’s OK to have a women’s-only race that isn’t doused in pink! I can appreciate the efforts to stay on brand, but pink bagels? Pink carnations at the finish? It was a little overkill for me. I’ll take a high five over a flower any day. Or, if it needs to all be pink, let’s swap out those carnations for boxes of rosé!
My leg did eventually start to hurt later on Saturday — around the knee, specifically. I think it’s probably some combination of weak glutes / tight calves / and a touch of ITBS. I am thinking about taking a full week off running, just to be on the safe side, and because why not? I want to give my body lots of TLC before marathon training.
Congratulations to all the runners and racers this weekend, and thank you to all the volunteers and spectators for making it a great day for all of us. You rock.
Have a great Monday, everyone.
I love you.
IF YOU RAN THE MINI, REPORT BACK! How was your race?
Awesome! Looking at these pictures! It is really a interesting and the end is great.
Congratulations. What a fun race and what a great finish! 🙂
Ali, where is the skirt from? It’s super cute! I’m training for my second half marathon right now… it’s going to be a hilly one and in the middle of August, I’m nervous. But I think I need a super cute skirt for race day. I invested in a pair of Hoka’s per your and a friend’s recommendation, love them!
P.S. I’m designing my company’s internal quarterly fitness newsletter and we’re referencing one of your articles from Greatist about elliptical training. I about squealed with joy when I saw “Alison Feller” as the author title. 🙂 It was like Buddy the Elf “SANTA, I KNOW HIM!” only it was “ALI, I KNOW HER!”
1. The skirt is Lululemon!
2. YAY second half marathon! Don’t worry about hills or the fact that it’s in August. Train on hills and in heat and you’ll be good to go. GOOD LUCK!
3. I love that your company has a fitness newsletter.
4. Aw, that elliptical story! It was my first one for Greatist. So fun that you found it!
5. ELF REFERENCES ALL DAY, EVERY DAY.
So I’m not such a fan of NYRR bagels in the first place but also not really a pink fan. My flower also may have fell apart due to the nature of my dancing post race (maybe we had too much energy left?) Surprisingly managed to run sans music after being hooked on it for a long long time. Glad the leg wasn’t acting up! let the road to NYCM begin!
Kaitlin “I’m just gonna take it easy” Fwelling. What a beast you are. COME TO NEW JERSEY NOW, PLZ.
I didn’t take a pink bagel bc when I asked if it was strawberry flavored they said something to the effect of “no, its pink for all of you!” Like. What. Pink is for sissies. Also I didn’t take one bc I puked at the finish line and a bagel sounded nast. For the record, if you don’t puke at the end of a race, then you aren’t running hard enough. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
AND THEN WE WENT TO SOULCYCLE AND BECAME BFFs IRL.
I was doing some running pre race and ran past you was going to say hi but always feel like a creep to do that to someone lol
I was in corral F and had I been trying to race it would have been hard I found it so congested trying to keep under a 9 min pace required weaving (I ran .2 extra somehow). Good thing my stomach acted up and stopped any speedy thoughts anyways!
PS. November Project is the best I was running still after and you all were cheering to the very last runners – so fantastic!
What?! Next time say hi, please please please! I would’ve loved that. So sorry your stomach got in the way of a good race. It’s the most frustrating thing in the world. Hope you’re feeling better now, and cheers to the next happy, healthy, stomach-problem-free race!
I volunteered near the elite’s tent, and saw you walk by before the race! I almost said hello, but then felt a little stalker-ish. Congrats on a great race!
Aaaaaah I wish you would’ve said hi! (Did I look super creepy watching the elites? Probably. Oops. Busted.) I hope volunteering was fun!
Orlando, god, what a reminder that races and PRs mean so little in the grand scheme of life. That said, I’m glad you enjoyed your race despite the pain beforehand! And nice photo opp with Molly Huddle. 🙂