I want to jump right to the heel clicking, but I’ll bring you completely up to date first.
So, as I mentioned was
likely going to happen on Friday, it was a gorgeous day and I absolutely, 100% could not stop myself from going for a run. In fact, it was the first time in a while that I just got excited at the very thought of lacing up the sneaks and going wherever I felt like going. It was that kind of day. And that’s what I did…laced up the sneaks and just let the sun direct me.
It ended up directing me through my normal loop around the upper bridle path, then reservoir. And I thought that was going to be it. But then I somehow ended up down around Columbus Circle. Which brought my little “do whatever feels like in the pretty sunshine run” to an end at about 7.something miles. Oops.
Afterwards, I was still on a high from the happy fall weather and headed down to the Highline for some moseying (I hadn’t been since they reopened the second half and wanted to check it out). Just as the mobs of tourists and NYers whose lives I want (because they had nothing better to do on a Friday afternoon than putz around some elevated old railroad tracks) escalated to the point of breaking my patience, the JD called. He and some other very important lawyer friends were having a post-workweek drink down near Wall St., so I hopped on a downtown train to join…aka, meet the dudes who the JD spends 90% of his waking hours with. From there, it was a low-key Friday evening with some order in Thai (it turns out, tofu pad thai is not a bad pre-run meal), a documentary on the tube and an early bedtime.
Saturday morning I was up early–but not nearly as bright and early as is required by most NYRR races, as the gun time on Grete’s Great Gallop was not until 9:00! It was nice getting to sleep in a wee bit (if you consider 7 a.m. on a Saturday sleeping in…), but weird getting started on a long run at such a “late” hour.
Unfortunately, I woke up just not feelin’ it. Not feeling the thrill that often accompanies a good race or a long run. I’m not sure why, as I had really been looking to this race for lots of reasons…
- I have conquered a distance of 13.1 multiple times over the last few weeks, and I think it’s actually become one of my favorite distances.
- I was still riding a confidence-boosting high from the previous weekend’s 18-miler.
- It was my first officially timed run since my first-ever half marathon, last November.
But as I made my way down Broadway and across Central Park Saturday morning, all I kept thinking to myself was, “well, you don’t really need to race this. Just finish it, and call your long run for this weekend done.” The same negative/sluggish/IwishIwasstillinbed thoughts were roaming through my mind even as I lined up in my corral (okay, it wasn’t mine, I snuck ahead a few because I just get so antsy!) and faked a few last-minute stretches.
The gun went off (after a lot of inspirational words about the legendary Grete, who the run was in honor of) and I had pepped up a bit, and just said “sera sera”…no real plans to race the two loops or walk ‘em, just get them done and see what happens.
The first loop went down as a loop of the park normally does for me–a bit slow at first, with a small pick up at the end. Unfortunately, with the way this race was laid out, Harlem Hills hit toward the end of the loop. By the time I got down them and reached mile marker 6, I was ready to pop a GU–my first vanilla GU since my first half marathon, at that. I took it down while walking through a water station and couldn’t believe how much I enjoyed the taste of the weird ooey gooeyness. No wonder I stalked up on two boxes of them in the months leading up to marathon training. Now if only I had actually used them before now!
After walking the water station and drinking down the runners version of a can of spinach, I hit a little lull and thought, “oh shit, maybe I do need to walk the entire second loop.” Coming down around the lower east side of the park was obnoxiously and painfully slow, but as I rounded past Columbus Circle and started back up the west side, the spinach kicked in, and Popeye Katie was ready to pump out some miles. I felt like I was flying from mile 7 all the way through mile 10! Again, NO WONDER I had invested so much confidence in vanilla GU. It’s got the touch! Again, unfortunately mile 10 hit right at the end of the Harlem Hills, and the gu’s magic was starting to wear off. I didn’t have any others on hand (you know me and the poor fueling techniques) so I fell to mind games to get me through the last 5k.
I had a great time people watching and having fake conversations with said people in my head. For example, to the woman running in khaki capris, complete with leather belt and tucked in collared shirt: are you late for an appointment or is this your favorite form of exercise apparel?
To the man (in race bib), donning jean shorts (jorts, if you will…): oh wait, I have no words.
To the gal decked out in a banana costume handing out bananas: you are both adorable and amazing. if i had any real fueling strategy i may have grabbed one of your lucious handouts.
To the non-Grete Galloper out for a morning run in the opposite direction and calling the thousands of half-marathoners (squished to one side so runners like himself can still hit the pavement) “assholes” for not squishing to the side enough for his liking: really buddy? REALLY? if you are like 90% of other runners and use the sport to de-stress and make all right in your world, i’d HATE to see you without a pair of Brooks on your feet in the confines of anything other than the Outer Loop.
To the 5445234 other runners going counter-clockwise and offering high-fives and smiles and “you’re looking strong”‘s: I LOVE YOU. you make me proud to be a runner. warm and bubbly and fuzzy happy proud. thank you for your cheerfulness.
And so I found myself at mile 12.
And did some quick math and realized that if I put some pep in my step I might actually beat my previous half time. I took a deep breath. Cringed for a hot sec, and then went balls to the walls and actually tried to power through/sprint the last 1.1 miles of the race. As I neared the finish line and saw that no matter what, I was hitting the finish line in under 2 hours (my one and only record time racing this distance), I actually did the arms-up-in-the-air, glowing smile, mini-leap over the finish line that I always see other people do in their finish line photos (and that I’m usually very jealous of because my own depict me with a grotesque frown on my face looking like I’m returning home from a grueling game of football with NFL stars who don’t go easy on weak, non-football playing girls…during a famine, in the Sahara. yes, usually my photos are HOTT). I’m not sure I really clicked my heels (you know, I tend to black out on big runs), but if I didn’t I’m sure I would have wanted to. This was the first time I ever set out with a goal (granted, the goal was set days prior and I sort of ditched it minutes before the race) and achieved it. And I was elated.
oh, now i know what all the hype is surrounding "PRs". shaved 5 minutes and 30 seconds off my half time!!!
[Note: AND it was my final race in the 9+1 for the 2012 Marathon. Mission=complete!]
That smile stayed planted on my face (I did put my hands down though) all through my very long 9.5 hour shift that followed and into yesterday morning…where I finally did that rest day I had been meaning to do. And by rest, I mean very easy cross-training. Because the JD and I rented some bikes and had an awesome 15-mile ride all the way up the Hudson River and back down, through Central Park to the UES for lunch, and back to the bikes rental owners just below Columbus Circle. It was an absolutely beautiful fall day, and the perfect end to a very exciting weekend.
hello hudson. sometimes i like you even more when i'm on wheels.
whatup GW bridge?
And today? Oh, today I’m REALLLY getting some much-deserved rest. In the form of my FIRST EVER MASSAGE. It’s of course a coupon I purchased on some social media site or other (ha, so were the bike rentals), but its an hour of time dedicated solely to these lovely limbs that have been carrying me through marathon training. I’ve actually heard massages can be scary–sometimes even painful–but I know my body will thank me later!
Happy Monday kids!
- How was your weekend?
- Have you ever had a massage? Thoughts?
- Tell me your first PR story!