If you’re a normal New Yorker, you love Central Park.
If you are an NYC runner who runs races, you probably have a love-hate relationship with Central Park. It’s hilly, probably far from where you live, races there start early and they get boring after a while.
Per usual, I overslept and had to take a cab up there. Since I had to pick up my bib and shirt, I arrived at about 7:45 for an 8:30 race. T-shirt and bib pickup went smoothly, so I was at the corral before anyone was even in it—usually I’m running up as the corrals are closing. I chatted with Rebecca and her friend Sara(h?) while we waited to start.
On Friday, my boss asked what I was doing this weekend, and I told him I was running a four-mile race.”How fast can you run that? 32:00?” I laughed and told him I was shooting for under 36:00 but would be happy with anything under 40:00.
My legs were tight from the cold and an INTENSE class at the gym yesterday, so I didn’t think a PR was possible. The first five minutes of the race—like any other race—I wondered why the hell I was doing this. Why the hell I had woken up early again to run, just so I could run even longer next year at the NYC Marathon. As usual, I felt better a few minutes in.
Though I wanted to hit under 36:00, I was trying not to look at my watch. I wanted to just run by feeling. I snuck a glimpse at the first mile marker and was happy to see I’d done a 9:12 mile. I ran up hills and down hills, tied my jacket around my waist and listened to my breath for the rest of the race. I looked again at mile 3, and saw I was around 27:00. At this point, I knew I had under 36:00 in me and I ran my little heart out, ignoring my phone banging my knee from my jacket. I hit 3.5 around 31:00 and knew I could run the last half-mile in 4:30 or under.
The only other four-miler I did, I ran socially, so I knew that unless I got hurt, I’d be PR-ing. And I did! I crossed the finish line at 35:15. OH HEY PR!