May 16, 2016

The Newport 10K Recap: Ouch

The Newport 10K in Jersey City, where do I start? Such a great morning, a beautiful morning, a painful morning, a disappointing morning. This race was going to be another "comeback." I thought my life was finally in a place where I could follow a structured training plan, I was ready to get back in shape, ready to run strong again. And then life happened and I let my training fall apart.

I knew I was going into this race undertrained and so I re-set my expectations. Between a 17 month old who thinks 4am is a proper time to wake every morning and a really successful Mother's Day season (thank you US Weekly!), I often had to choose between sleeping, working and training. I chose work. It's not like I could tell customers "Hey, sorry you didn't get your order but I have a 10K in a few weeks and I needed to run." I think my schedule as a mom/entrepreneur/runner deserves its own post so I won't go into crazy detail here but let's just say that I can't do it all. The weeks leading up to the race I often said that I'd never been so exhausted in my entire life and something had to give. So I put serious training on the back burner and did whatever I was able to fit in.

The night before the race I realized I hadn't even looked at the course, hadn't put together my breakfast plan for my 4:30am wakeup, hadn't even looked at the weather. But I had prepared breakfast for Emmett, his mid-morning snack to bring along, charged the ipad in case he was a disaster in the car and we needed it for emergency relief, packed his diaper bag, a carrier, and his stroller with rain cover. I laughed at myself. Race prep really has changed, hasn't it!

Race morning. 4:30 am wakeup, coffee, breakfast, bathroom, get dressed, get the kid up and dressed, pack the car and head out the door with Robert and Emmett. Picked up my bib, did the whole pre-race picture thing, and lined up at our intended pace group with Ashley and Fiona. I was excited to run with these two again, almost a year after we raced the Mini 10K together. I knew they'd stick by me and keep me going, and since Ashley gave birth just two months prior, she assured me there'd be no pressure to pick up the pace.
Pre-race photo opp with my little guy
The race through Jersey City was beautiful. Aside from the giant roadkill (what was that?!?) just a few minutes into the start, it was lovely. We got a tour of the area, shops here and there, cute brownstone lined streets with parks scattered throughout. But there were also plenty of potholes, it was a hot hot morning and some of the black paved areas didn't help our cause (so so hot). At the end of mile 2 I thought, "that was just two miles???" From there, every mile felt like two. I wasn't wearing a watch so I wasn't 100% sure of our pace but I knew it wasn't fast (for us) at all. Based on the time clocks, I could estimate we were probably running an average of a 9:45 pace which should have felt calm and easy for me. Instead I doubted I could keep it up. I spent the first two or so miles of the race chatting with Ashley & Fiona about motherhood, breastfeeding, menstrual cycles and sex after pregnancy (apologies to those around us who might not have been as interested in those topics) but my mile 3, their easy conversational pace became my "I can't talk right now I'm trying to breathe" pace.
Early in the race before reality hit.
The cheers here and there helped. We spotted Danielle and Amelia cheering and it was great to see friendly faces, they certainly put a smile on mine. But by mile 4 I felt my fingers swelling and my head started pounding. I was dehydrated and the tiny sips I was talking at water stops weren't helping much. My legs felt so heavy, like I had lead in my running shoes. You know that feeling during mile 18 of a 20 mile run when you're so depleted and don't know if you can keep going but want to push through? That's how I felt and it was a humbling experience. I slowed down a bit, hoping Ashley & Fiona were ok with that and in step, they slowed down too and I was so grateful. Mile 5 felt like an eternity but we were approaching the water and the beautiful skyline. I kept repeating what Robert said to me during a difficult run in Montana last summer: "It's nothing you can't handle" and pushed myself to keep going, strong and steady. I kept telling myself I could handle just another mile. If I could handle more than 20 hours of labor, I could handle less than 10 more minutes of running. I told myself that this was the wakeup call I needed. That I'm not invincible, that if I wanted something I needed to start working for it again. I told myself that starting Monday, I would find a way to get back into shape and I wouldn't take my fitness for granted. And then I relaxed, took a moment to look up and admire the beautiful NYC skyline and CRASH BAM OUCH.

I remember feeling my foot hitting something, feeling my body flying forward and my brain screaming "find a way to stop this fall"... and then the feeling of the skin coming off my knee, my shoulder sliding across the pavement and the left side of my head slamming into the ground. My friends tried to get me up but my knees were screaming and all I could keep thinking was "I slammed my head. My head, the ground." I think that's when all the emotions built over the past few weeks came pouring out and I began sobbing. I let people believe that I was crying because I was hurting but in reality, I just needed an emotional release. I was disappointed in myself for not being better prepared, frustrated that I never feel like there's enough time to get it all done, angry that I'd dragged my family out of the house at the a$$ crack of dawn to drive almost two hours for a race that I'd totally messed up. I let myself have a pity party and honestly, it felt good. I felt weak and humbled, like I needed to lean on others for a few minutes and weirdly enough, I think I needed that.
Once the paramedics cleaned me off and bandaged me up, Ashley and Fiona suggested we just walk to the finish line but we were about a quarter of a mile away. I didn't want to watch everyone else run by, I wanted to run with them. So we did. We ran, more like jogged, to the finish line and completed the 10K. And the cool part? Just moments after we crossed, I heard the race announcer announcing this contest and heard "Erica Sara Designs" over the loudspeaker. Ahhhh! I was able to forget about the blood running down my leg for a second!

TELL US WHY YOU RUN!

Share your story and a photo using the hashtag #WhyIRun and #Newport10K on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook before midnight Wednesday night. One winner will be selected at random and notified via direct message on Monday, May 23rd. The winner will receive a $100 gift certificate to Erica Sara Designs.

Still plenty of reasons to celebrate.
So, that's my  short and not so sweet recap of the glorious Newport 10K. I feel oddly simultaneously happy and disappointed with my race. It felt great to be back at a race again and so nice to run with my friends. But obviously, it didn't go as planned and even more upsetting is that I didn't get to connect with so many friends I'd hoped to see there.

A major thank you to Fiona & Ashley for being the most awesome #momsquad this mother runner could ask for. Seriously ladies, thank you for sticking with me and picking me back up when I was a giant heap of tears. And of course thanks to my husband Robert who not only understands why I'd want to drive almost 2 hours to a 10K but supporting it and encouraging it 100%.

Next up is the NYRR Mini 10K in NYC on June 11th. I took yesterday off just to be sure that everything was ok with my knee but started logging miles again this morning. Between now and then I have Father's Day orders, an exciting & significant race order to fill, and my holiday look book to put together so I'm trying to keep my expectations realistic. I just want to feel better during that race than I did this weekend. That's my goal!

Who raced Newport 10K? I'd love to hear your thoughts on the race so leave a comment below letting me know how it went or a link to your recap if you wrote one!

2 comments :

  1. 10K? Wow! It sounds amazing. It is certain that you'r a good runner. Wishing you will get better achievement in the next race. I am also a runner and i love your sharing! ^^

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  2. Wow.. Your kid is so cute. God bless the kids and hope you will get better achievement in the next coming race. Wish you a good luck.

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