On Saturday, July 9th, I ran the inaugural Boomers Run to Breathe Cystic Fibrosis 10k. What can I say, it was hard. This race was my second attempt to break that 9 minute mile pace for the distance, the first being the Mini 10k on June 11th. I have no idea what my official time was because my D-tag wasn't captured, but I definitely know that I ran this race even slower than the Mini 10k and although I was disappointed at first, I'm actually pretty ok with it, maybe even happy with my performance that day.
Race weekend began with a delicious Mediterranean meal I prepared for myself and a friend, and then I hit the sack early at around 11 pm. I usually go to sleep well past 1 am, even on race nights so I was pscyhed to actually get some serious zzz's before this race. I decided I would try to run a total of 8 miles that day, 1 before the 10k and 1 after, so I woke up extra early to give myself plenty of time for breakfast, bathroom, showering & stretching, and that one mile run to the start line. 5 am wakeup, I ate a small bowl of oatmeal with half a banana for breakfast and washed it down with a cup of coffee, hoping it would get my intestines moving. No such luck; my stomach refuses to cooperate on race mornings as of late. Instead of switching to water to hydrate, I continued drinking coffee hoping it would bring me blessings from the bathroom g-ds. This was probably a major mistake.
I headed out the door at 7:40 and began my slow run to the start line, not keeping pace with my Garmin but just trying to stay slow and steady to save up my energy. I ended up running just over a mile, saw Baker & got a high five as I was passing the first corral, and entered the lovely orange one. I had hoped to find a water fountain before the start to rehydrate but no such luck. Even though I'd only run just over a mile, sweat was literally pouring out of me in the 93% humidity. Another big mistake. I glanced over to see my dailymile friend Schiff, whom I've never actually met before, called his name & introduced myself. We chatted it up for a bit and then the race began & we were off.
Mile 2: 9:06 Felt strong heading into mile 2 as it's the downhill portion of Harlem Hills... but I knew what was coming next. At around mile 2.5, did my best to focus on pushing through as I ran up the west side of the hill, my least favorite portion of the Central Park loop. I had my headphones on, was trying to stay in my head and let me music keep me focused but these two girls next to me were yapping away really loudly and it was driving me nuts! I might have said "Shut the F up!" out loud... not my proudest moment. If you heard me, sorry ladies. What can I say, it was struggling and frustrated.
Mile 3: 9:11 Harlem Hills complete and reminded myself the worst was behind me. But this is where the really bad headache started and my skin began to feel prickly. Yup, I was dehydrated. Walked through another water station and although I usually avoid the sprinklers during hot races, this time I not only ran through it but stopped for a moment to let it soak me.
Mile 4: 10:05 Heading up the rolling hills of the west side and slowed it down to just keep myself going. At this point, my goal was really just to finish. Knew that G was waiting to cheer me on at 4.5 so at least I had something to look forward to. Heard his cheers and felt that extra push from his energy that I needed to keep going- love that! And then about a quarter of a mile later, I got a bad cramp and had to stop to walk a bit. So I stop, try to breathe through it, look up and see this guy looking straight at me. He cheers "looking strong Erica!" and I'm confused. I look down to see if I wrote my name on my bib or something... but nope. And then I realized it's my friend Yehuda from summer camp and I got really excited! Haven't seen him in years.... crzy cool & coincidental that I just happened to have to walk right where he was standing to cheer on his wife at her first race!
Mile 5: 9:44 Tried my best to pick up the pace.
Mile 6 + .32: 9:33, 8:52 Just wanted it to be over. And then it was.
Just after I crossed the finish line, I spotted Abbe who I was happy to hear had a great race. I grabbed some water & Gatorade, Abbe treated us to some bottles of water from a nearby vendor, and we walked to find Baker who'd also had a strong race. Always grateful to see my friends after a race, especially when I've had a tough one. Once again, Brighroom's pictures are stunning (sarcasm).... but here's the best one of me I could find. Take a look at my flushed, red, sweaty and exhausted face. Perfect poster child for dehydration!
For about an hour after the race, I was really disappointed. And to be honest, I've been so freakin disappointed in my performance at the last few races and it's been getting real old, real fast. But then I sat down to a brunch with G and re-evaluated my performance and my goals and I realized I'm being way too hard on myself. It's been really hot and I need to learn to adjust my expectations; I need to become a smarter runner and with training for NYCM just beginning, now is the time to do it. All the recent PRs and encouragement might have gotten to my head and I wanted to be faster now, but realize I just need to be patient with myself and work towards it. Once I realized this, I was ok with Saturday's performance and was excited for my next race, a 4 miler this upcoming weekend.
Now, when I set out for last night's run, I had my entire evening planned out. I would run between 4 & 5 miles, do about 30 minutes of core, shower, eat, and write my race recap from this past weekend's 10k. The recap would describe how difficult the race was, how I might have to re-evaluate my goals in the NYC heat, but how excited I am for my next race, a 4 miler this weekend. You know, sort of what you just read. Unfortunately, that's not exactly what happened; I ran out the door and didn't even make it to the corner before my right hip caught fire (well not really, but felt like it) and I couldn't take another step. So, now I'm injured. My hip has been acting up for a while but I've been ignoring it like a bad little runner because I'm been enjoying my running too much to stop. So I've been an idiot and now I'm limping and can't run. I'm going to make a Dr appointment asap to make sure there's nothing seriously wrong but right now, I'm sidelined. Ugh.
I took last night off, and am planning on taking today & Friday off. Saturday, I'll wake up and see how I feel. I'm hoping to run. I'm hoping this is just bursitis and that a few rest days will do the trick as it has in the past. No worries, I'm not going to be stupid this time. If it hurts, I won't run because my ultimate goal is NYCM 2011 and I want to be able to resume full training asap. Crossing my fingers...