July 7, 2010

Slow Running and NYC 2011 Here I Come!

It's about 10 pm on Wednesday night and I just returned from my first decent run during this ridiculous NYC heat wave. Since it cooled down to 86 degrees, and yes that's almost cold compared to the triple digits we've been experiencing lately, I thought I'd survive without the breezes off the Hudson and decided to run in Central Park. I ran from my apartment, up Central Park West, into the park, around the reservoir and back. If you live in NYC and have never run around the reservoir during sunset, you must! It's absolutely BEAUTIFUL! And for those of you who live out of town, I promise to take some pictures to post for you soon. In all, I ran 4.86 miles in 46 minutes, at a 9:33 pace and I'm shocked because I felt like I was running under water at 12 minute mile. I'm just proud that I pushed through this one and accomplished my goal of running 4-5 miles for the evening.

Speaking of goals, I've got a brand spanking new one I've been working on: running slow and taking the pressure off. Ever since I ran an 8:56 minute mile a few weeks ago, I've been slightly preoccupied with my speed. Instead of relaxing and enjoying my time out there, I beat myself up and return home feeling defeated when I don't run faster or longer. And I'm sick of it. I used to run just to relax, to clear my head and to feel strong and good about myself. I have no idea when I became so competitive with myself but I don't like it. 

If you recall from my post recapping the Father's Day Race Against Prostate Cancer, I pushed myself to the point where I puked during the race and then forced myself to finish as strong as I could. I think that was my wake up call. After that race, I took a look at the last few weeks and realized that although I was gaining speed, I was running shorter distances and less often because neither my body nor my mind were feeling too hot. I realized there was no way this new attitude and strategy was going to cut it for Philadelphia Marathon training. I needed to slow down and run longer and more relaxed if I was going to train for a 26 mile race.

And so I decided to debut my new goal at my next race, the Gay Pride Run on June 26th. During this 5 miler, I forced myself to take it slow and let go of my ego. The morning of the race was really warm with 71% humidity and stopped twice for water breaks, even though I knew it would mean a slower time. I never stop for water during races shorter than 6 miles. When I saw another runner dry heaving on the side of the course, I stopped to make sure she was ok and refused to allow myself to calculate how much time I might have lost once I began running again. At the end of the race, I had a difficulty accepting my final time of 51:29 with a 10:17 pace but just kept reminding myself that I should be proud & happy to finish at all. Looking at this picture from the race, I think it's pretty obvious that I was relaxed and taking it easy.
So that's where my head has been ever since and it's getting easier and easier to keep it slow. Of course the heat wave is also helping slow me down.

And now for even bigger news..... drum roll please.... I've completed my 9+1! New York City ING Marathon 2011 here I come!!! To explain, there are several ways you can gain entry into this race like qualifying with race times, raising money for charities, winning a spot in a lottery, or running 9 NY Road Runner races and volunteering for at least one race in the prior year. I applied for the 2010 lottery and didn't get in so I decided to go for the 9 + 1. Here are the races I've run this year:
Watching the NYC Marathon since 1999 is what inspired me to run races in the first place and I can't believe I will actually run it next year. I'm so excited!!! But first things first: Philadelphia on November 21st. I'll be putting together my training schedule within the next week or 2 so please send any advice you may have for a first time full marathoner my way!

Until next time, run happy and stay cool!


  1. Great race picture! You look determined and pretty. I have my ninth race for my 9+1 on July 17 -- excited to have that off my back although I might still run races because I love racing.

  2. I know I told you already but I'm so excited you are in the NYC marathon for 2011! I know what you mean about slowing down, I've also been trying to tell myself its okay to slow down, especially in all this heat. It's a mental challenge more than anything else!

  3. awesome work on the 9+1. its the only way to go. NYC is by far the best marathon to run EVER.

  4. SWEET!!! This will be an awesome journey for you! :)

  5. @Dori: can't wait to welcome you to the 2011 club! good luck on your next race
    @Nicole: mental challenge... so true. thanks again :)
    @Baker: thanks for the encouragement- i'm so excited!
    @Kelly: huge SMILE! you are always so sweet- thanks!

  6. good job getting out and running-86 is still very hot! would love to see some pics for sure....hope you have a great weekend!

  7. First of all... who takes your race pics?? You always look great in them! About being relaxed... to me you look focused, but having fun.
    Regarding your heat and humidity... its relative because 86 is actually cold for me (living in the tropics where its 90% humidity average all year) but way to get out there and get the job done!

  8. @Michael: this pic was taken by the professional at the event (brightroom) but my dad or friends have taken some of the others. Thanks! It's definitely relative. Amazing that you're able to run in that type of weather all year- would love to know how long it took your body to acclimate. But I guess if the NY weather continues like this, I'll find out soon enough. Thanks for the encouragement!

  9. That is so great, Erica! Training for a marathon is so intense...I did one in 2003, and my only advice is to train right and train consistently. I trained consistently, but not right, and had a horrendous finishing time in much pain. I'm so proud of you!

  10. Oh, and by the way, I see you're an Ani fan. I adore her..she's my favorite singer and I've seen her about 10 times!

  11. How cool! You'll have a blast for sure :)

  12. Found your blog via Twitter and HAD to comment because I took the exact same path. I really wanted to do the NYC Marathon after watching it ... couldn't get in, so signed up for Philly instead (it was awesome! and great 1st timer ... very flat)

    Eventually, I did my 9 NYRR races and got a spot in NYC in 2009. It was BY FAR the most amazing experience ever! You'll love them both ... but nothing beats running through the city you live in! Good luck!!