Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Fitness 4 Mile Race Recap

This past Saturday marked my return to racing in over a year! Ever since I started my marathon training, and it going so well, I have been itching to get back to racing. I had been on the fence all last week about whether or not I wanted to interrupt my harmonious training with a race the day before a long run. I even put it out there on Facebook about me being on the fence knowing that I would get some positive feedback in encouraging me to do it. On Friday I made up my mind and to make it concrete I asked a very dear friend of mine if she wanted to do brunch in the city so there was no backing out the morning of the race.

Let me tell you, it felt awesome being back out amongst the racing crowd. I forgot just how much I loved the atmosphere and being amongst others who love running as much as I do. I ended up going to this race without any support. My honey had planned on a long bike ride that morning and I didn't have the heart to ask my dear friend if she wanted to come cheer me on. Call me silly or stubborn, but something that was said to me in the past prevents me from asking any of my friends to come out with me anymore. I don't want to feel like they have to come out and support me because I asked them to. I want them to be there because they want to be there. So if a friend asks me if they can come and cheer me on I don't hesitate to say "Heck Yes!"

So how was I going to approach this race? I honestly didn't know how I was going to handle running the race since I knew I had a 10 mile run the next morning. On one hand my heart wanted to see what I was made of and on the other hand my heart was telling me to take it easy because technically this race was a training run the day before a long run on hilly trails. My heart didn't make up it's mind until I was standing in the corral and the race horn blared. When I clicked my Garmin as I crossed the start line me heart said "Let's see what you can do!"

This is what the course looked like:

Mile 1 has an uphill that is called Cat Hill. As you are running up the hill and you look up the stone wall on your left you see this:

Many people dread this hill. I use to be one of them. After all my training on the trails with major hills, the hills in Central Park are not so bad.  I attacked this hill with a new outlook on hills and was able to charge up it without any problems.

Mile 2 provides a nice recovery from the hill we just climbed. There is downhill, a minor hill climb and flat road in this mile.

As you turned left onto the west side of the park, you are faced with an uphill. Mile 3 consists of 3 hills. In the past this part of the park use to be "Oh My Goodness Kill Me Now" part. Now it was "Bring It On." I actually enjoyed this challenge because it showed me how far I have come with my running just this year, or I should say just the past 2 months. With each footstep I felt strong and to my amazement I was passing other runners.

Coming off of mile 3 there is a nice downhill portion bringing you closer to the 4 mile mark. Unfortunately to get to the finish line there is a slight uphill climb. I managed to get my sprint on at the end and finished in 39:31! Believe you me I was SURPRISED! I was THRILLED! I was HAPPY! I proved to myself that I am a strong and my hard work is paying off.

Here's my Splits from my Garmin:
My pace from miles 1 and 3 reflect the hills and overall my pace was phenomenal through the entire race. I haven't run 9:30's in like forever!

Here's my official stats from NYRR:
It's kinda hard to see the F41. This is my first time racing in a new age group. Not that I am ever going to place within my age group, but it's still hard because I have mixed feelings about being in my 40's. Anyhoo, my place within the age group is not too shabby. I placed 179 out of a total of 336 which puts me in the top 50%.

Overall I am thrilled with my performance and look forward to getting back on the race course again!

Of course, no race experience is ever complete without a post-race meal! After I crossed the finish line and picked up my bag, I immediately texted my dear friend that I was on my way to our meeting point. We made a pit stop at my local running store where I dashed in to pick up a new pair of running shoes (yes I believe I mentioned I bought a new pair about 3 weeks ago, another story for another post). Then we were off to Almond for brunch.

Let me tell you it was the perfect place! It's located on 22nd Street between Broadway and Park Avenue and if you live in NYC I highly recommend checking it out sometime.  I had never been there before and I will definitely be going back. It was a super adorable restaurant. The staff was attentive and friendly. The food was to die for. I wish I had remembered to take some pictures to share, but unfortunately in my state I forgot to whip the camera out that I had with me.

We started out with a basket (or two) of mini biscuits which were perfect. I think I would have been happy just having several baskets of these as my meal. Since I could not, I chose to order the Ricotta Pancakes served with Lemon Curd. OH MY GOSH! These babies melted in your mouth. I thought I died and went to pancake heaven! My mouth is watering just thinking about them.

Running a race, catching up with my friend and sharing a delicious meal was a perfect way to spend my Saturday morning!

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