I’ve had big plans for this race since I ran it last year and knew I could PR on it if I actually trained. In my new year resolutions, I set a goal of 2:18, which would mean 10:30 miles. Aside from the 2 weeks I was sick, I followed my training plan pretty much to a T. My 12-miler felt great, and I felt ready.
Jenn came over to crash closer to the start line (approximately 10 feet from my apartment) and we pancaked it up. In the morning, Jocelyn stopped by to pick us up on her way to the start. As we left my place at like 6:58, my roommate and her girlfriend (who were both running) were just getting up. Roommate was eating a bowl of cereal, and girlfriend walked out with us…so she could run to the deli on the corner. I found out later that they both made it to the race and finished, but I was a little worried about them for a while!
My favorite coffee shop had this sign up, and this is why it’s my favorite (also their cold brew coffee, and the fact that they have almond milk.)
I had a moment as we crossed the start line with the second wave and I began running when I thought “Oh, fuck. I’m going to be doing this for the next 2+ hours.” But we took off down Washington and circled back up towards Grand Army Plaza where I saw Betsy and Amanda.
One thing I like about this course is that it sections itself off into manageable pieces. There’s the pre-park section, which is about 3.5 miles, which flies by because I’m just waiting to get to the park. There’s the park, which is 3.5 miles, which goes quickly enough because it’s the park and I run it all the time. Then there’s Ocean Parkway, which is the last 5-6, and the only time I missed having music on my first-ever unplugged race.
At the first 5k I looked at my phone and saw I had a solid 10:15 pace. If I could keep this up I’d be golden for my goal time. Miles 4-5 were a little tough for me with the Prospect Park hill, and mentally may have reminded me that this is where it all started to fall apart for me last year. I slowed down enough that my pace after the park averaged 10:30ish.
Coming out of the park, I got a high five from a friend. As I mentioned earlier, the next part on Ocean Parkway was the hardest for me this year. I only stopped to walk once (aside from a brief stop for shot bloks at mile 8 & 11 and a few steps of walking through water stations so I didn’t choke.) But I counted to 10 and started running again.
At mile 10, I knew I wanted to be at 1:45. That would give me 33 minutes for the last 5k, so as long as I had 10:30 miles I’d make it. When I passed the mile marker, I was at 1:45:55. I knew my goal was within reach, but not with out a LOT of effort, so I refused to stop aside from scarfing down my mile 11 shot bloks. The only thing that kept me from walking was the fact that I wanted to be able to tell myself I had actually tried my hardest, that I’d pushed myself beyond my comfort zone to really, truly try as hard as I could to make my goal.
As I hit the 800m sign (which I HATE because it tricks you into thinking you’re closer than you are) I wanted to stop but I kept hearing spectators say things like “Finish strong, you can walk as much as you want when you’re done with this!” I wanted to tell them to shut up, but they were right so I kept going. Betsy and Janelle saw me and yelled my name as I rounded the corner to head up to the boardwalk around 400m, which was a nice boost.
Once I hit the boardwalk I was terrified of falling (at this point my legs were dead so I was pumping my arms to force them to move, which meant I was in great danger of tripping on boards) but I could see the finish SO CLOSE so I watched the boards and just ran as hard as I could. I’m sure my finish line picture is terrible because I probably looked like I was about to cry/vomit/pass out simultaneously. But I was done!
Phew! I knew from my phone that I definitely didn’t make my 2:18 goal, but I was so proud of myself for pushing through discomfort the last couple miles and really working through the mental block of wanting to walk that I could never be disappointed in myself. I’l post more about the stats I’m proud of later because this is already a novel.
I met up with Jocelyn and Jenn at the finish, and we eventually found Janelle and Betsy to hop on the subway.
There were no bagels at the finish line (come on, NYRR! Pretzels?!) so I grabbed one from my favorite local bagel store as a pre-brunch snack before showering and adding Ellen, Drew, Caroline and Johnna to our posse for brunch at The Farm on Adderly. They were offering free beers to runners, so I had a delicious saison paired with a fancy grilled cheese, a poached egg and great conversation with old/new friends!
Definitely a great day and an excellent start to a (somewhat sore) weekend.