GREETINGS FROM PR CITY!
Everything hurts here.
I’ve had some time to think about my race yesterday over a glass of wine, and I’m ready to tell you more.
This story starts in Manhattan, on Friday night. After finishing my blog post, I ordered some spaghetti and meatballs from a neighborhood spot. I remembered having pizza before Brooklyn two years ago and getting really sick from it while running, so I made sure to keep my entire day before dairy-free and also low-fiber. I was in bed by 10, and actually really happy that I was tired so that I could fall asleep right away.
Because a 5am alarm awaited me. YAY. I woke up, and I’d planned my race day outfit ahead of time: a Lulu skirt and an Athleta tank. (More on the tank later.) I chugged some Pre and started getting ready. In my half-awake state, I started freaking out because I couldn’t find any safety pins for my bib and asked my doorman if he had any when I took Bailey out. I’m pretty sure he thought I was crazy asking for safety pins at 5:15 in the morning…and he wouldn’t be wrong. I remembered that I don’t throw out race bibs and actually had an entire folder of bibs with their pins still on them. THANK GOD. Next weird morning freakout: what headband to wear? I have zero idea why I devoted so much brainpower to this yesterday, but I was weirdly superstitious about not wearing a marathon or triathlon headband and getting into the “whatever, I’ve done a marathon/triathlon, this is just a half” mindset. I decided to go with the luck of the Irish.
I walked outside and got a cab right away and took it to the Brooklyn Museum, where the race starts. Except you have to walk probably another 10 minutes to get to your corral. Too sleepy, I dropped off a bag at the first bag check I saw, not realizing at all that it went by numbers. I never check a bag but with rain in the forecast, I didn’t want to be freezing afterwards like in DC. I checked a jacket that I was fine losing in case something went wrong. (I have zero faith in bag checks.) I went straight to my corral and hit the port-a-potty…and then started waiting. It’s been a long time since I’ve run a race that’s important to me starting all alone and this is when the nerves started to hit a bit. I reminded myself it was totally normal to be nervous and to use that pre-race anxiety to fuel me. I made some nervous small talk with some corralmates and before I knew it, it was go time!
I’d seen on the Internets that Karla was the race announcer, and as I got close enough to hear the announcers, I was SO happy to hear a familiar voice. As I ran past her and the other announcer, I waved and she said “Go Theodora!” over the mic, which was SUPER cool and pumped me up even more to start.
Last year, I ran with my work besties, and I missed them during that first mile! I remember how excited they were, and how excited I was for them. I hate the first mile of any race and question my goals and why the hell I usually run big, crowded races. Also, other than the NYC Marathon, I’ve gotten most of my PRs from at least running the beginning of a race with a fast friend, and I felt a bit nervous about my own pacing abilities and strength but reminded myself to channel the game I brought to NYC.
The first few miles yesterday were SUPER congested, and I remember being really pissed off and thinking about this recap and that I’d only have myself to blame if I couldn’t get around these people. As it turns out, when I looked at my watch, I kept seeing 7:xx in the first mile, so it’s a good thing it was congested, because I might have raced the first mile and slogged through the next 12.1 otherwise. The goal through the first 7 miles was to keep it around 8:05-8:15.
Jordan had said she’d be somewhere near Grand Army Plaza, so while I was trying to rein myself in from going out too fast, I did some scanning of the crowd for the bright yellow hoodie she said she’d be wearing. But it was all too congested, and I’d given up…until I heard her call my name! Which made me super happy. And made me want to run faster to beat her time, duh.
When I’m running hard, I don’t remember much about my surroundings, but I do remember a Wendy’s at this point and fantasizing about some fries and a Frosty. I remember just before entering Prospect Park at mile 3 feeling like I was flying and could run that pace forever but being cognizant of the hills that were about to come. I looked down and saw a 7:55 for the third mile. Shit. Several times during the first few miles, I saw the 1:50 pacers, and that GOT IN MY HEAD. WTF were they doing there? Was I running slower than I thought I was? Then I realized they’d probably just started in a corral ahead of me. Either way, my goal became to not see them again.
We entered the park, and though I’ve run it a bunch of times (and this was the third time I’d run this race), I had zero recollection of when/where the hills were. But it felt like we climbed uphill forever, and my pace dropped from my perfectly on-target 8:10ish to 8:24 and 8:33 for miles 5/6. EFF. Could I get it back? It didn’t feel like I ever could. I do remember hitting 5 miles around 41ish minutes and being really excited about how fast that felt. I took a Honey Stinger around mile 5ish and hoped it would do its thing. I consoled myself with the fact that after the big hill was over, it’d be mostly downhill from there. I did mile 7 at an even 8:00 and felt confident that with the 7:55 mile and this 8:00 mile, that I’d make up for those two slower miles but knew I couldn’t rely on that safety cushion for any more miles.
We exited the park, and I started grinning. When Jess and I talked race strategy the other day, she said I’d know if I had it or not when I left the park. Although I had 6 miles I left, I also had a good feeling about those 6 miles. I remember hitting 7 miles just around an hour and being super psyched about that. I still think of myself as a 10:00 miler and running 7 miles in an hour seemed crazy talk to me. The plan for miles 7-10 was to keep it at 8:00 – 8:10. Well, 8:08, 8:18, 8:12. It became apparent to me here that I would still PR but likely not reach my 1:47 goal, and I reminded myself to hold on. Those miles did not feel easy any more, but I kept fighting.
Around mile 10, I saw my high school buddy Eileen cheering. I had no idea she was going to be out there, and it was such a great surprise. I called her name, and she ran out for a second to high five me, and it was one of my favorite moments of the race! She is SUPER athletic, and it was really cool to me that she was able to see me out there, performing well (for me.) Well, just after I saw her, it started drizzling, and then full out pouring. It had been pretty humid throughout the race, so the drizzle was welcome…but the rain was not. The forecast had looked great in the morning, so I hadn’t believed it was really going to rain and put on a little BB cream, which promptly started running into my eyes around mile 11. It became difficult to see, but I just kept wiping my face and hoping for the best. No way was I going to let some stupid rain and makeup ruin my race at this point.
The water stops also annoyed me a bit. Everyone kept coming to a dead stop, especially in these later miles and didn’t flow through them very efficiently, so I definitely lost some time at the stops that I’d try to make up for right after.
I said earlier I’d talk about my tank top? So, I am not small-chested. That tank top is really more of a yoga top, but I’d worn it on a few runs and it’d served me well. Also, it was cute. Miraculously, it felt supportive enough until it started raining (Jordan was in shock about this one), and I became really cognizant of the straps bouncing around. Whatever, I had two more miles to go, and I wasn’t going to let some boobs and straps bother me. As we made the turn onto Surf Ave, parallel to the beach, I started missing Alex and Jordan again and the feeling of pumping them up last year. I wanted someone to pump me up at this point! But all I had was myself and my desire to PR and get to the damn finish line, so I used that and kept telling myself “the faster I run, the faster I’m done.” I’d dropped back to an 8:12 for mile 12, but I turned that shit up for that last mile and ran an 8:01 and then a 7:55 pace for that last little bit on the boardwalk. My mental math had long failed me, but I knew I had 1:50 in the bag and wanted to try to keep it under 1:49, too.
Remember my post about the Instagram effect? I asked a kind stranger to take this photo, looked at it, saw it wasn’t the most flattering photo of me and decided to eff it and post it anyway because it was real, and I was happy. SO HAPPY.
I texted Jordan and Jess and called my mom to tell her about my PR, but it wasn’t until Alex and I hugged and I told someone in person that it felt real.
I love this kid. She is the happiest person I know, and she was just as excited for my PR as she was her own, and I felt the same way. (She went from 2:01 when we ran together last year to 1:56 yesterday!!)
We hobbled to the train and headed to Prospect Heights to meet Jordan for brunch at Vanderbilt.
We sat outside, and I refueled with eggs, carbs, coffee, water and mimosas, and life felt great. The subway ride home felt interminable, but I’m pretty sure I was still grinning the entire time.
My everything hurts today. Including my back? I think I must have been pumping my arms extra hard when my legs got tired.
tl;dr? I PRed yesterday, and it was awesome despite the rain. 1:48:29, baby!
I’d grade my training B/B+, and I definitely have some weight to lose right now, so I’m really happy with those results, but as always, know I’m capable of more and am really excited to push towards my next goal while still being happy with this PR.
Congrats for making it to the end of this post! So much love to my parents (because, always), Jess and Jordan for all their support, and congrats to EVERYONE but especially to all of my other DailyBurn ladies who raced! (There were seven of us out there!!)
Tell me about your latest race or PR!