On December 6, 2009 the weather felt like 21 degrees at 7:00 am. I had arrived, despite my best attempts not to, an hour early for the Joe Kleinerman 10K race in Central Park.
What did I get myself into???
I had layered up in a long tank top, long sleeve running shirt and running jacket. I wore pants, Zensah leg compression sleeves and knee sleeves. A hat on my head, running gloves, running socks and my sneakers. I wore my winter coat and scarf with plans to check them near the start.
I waited in the park in my winter coat for a painful half hour. The cold was unbearable — my running gloves did little. The thought of taking off my jacket and scarf to get lined up to run was beyong comprehension. But 30 minutes before the race was due to begin, I had no choice but to check my bag and coat.
I tried moving around and jumping and bouncing to keep warm. That didn’t help much. I watched other people in shorts — WHAT? Or in capri pants. There were lots of people wearing less layers than me, and I felt like I was going to die. How did they do it? What did I get myself into? What was I thinking signing up for a winter race — I started running as a way to work out outside in the SUMMER.
I contemplated leaving. Just getting my coat and walking out of the park and into a cab. But I had already waited outside for so long, I might as well stay for the race. And I made an amazing playlist that I was REALLY looking forward to hearing! 15 minutes before the start they announced that all runners should make their way to the corrals.
I ran there.
It was way too cold not to! What’s an extra .25 mile anyway? I ran at a slow jog and when I got to the corral they announced they were closing them on one minute. GOOD TIMING. I didn’t realize how far the start was from the bag check or I would have made my way over there sooner. Lots of people were in the same boat as me. I got to my corral in time, but all the people who made it there after me had to start at the end — including some very fast runners who belonged near the front. Normally I’d say “you snooze you lose” but in this case, they really should have gotten us to the start sooner.
The good thing about getting to the corral so late in the game was that I didn’t have to wait too long for the race to start! While I was waiting, I looked around and saw two women who appeared to be in their late 60s. They said that they were racing to have some fun! I couldn’t believe it — these two older ladies, standing outside in freezing weather about ro tun 6.2 miles?! Not complaining, there to have fun? Wow. That is something I aspire to be one day.
I was still absolutely freezing, by the way. I saw people without gloves and couldn’t understand how they weren’t going crazy! Soon enough the race began and I have never been so happy to start running. I needed to heat up.
So let’s get right down to business. My perfect playlist. Best playlist ever. I selected the songs and the order carefully.
While I was running, I remembered exactly how I felt at each song and mentally recorded it to blog to you all about. But since I have been insanely busy and tired and haven’t blogged, those thoughts are unfortunately gone now. So I’ll do my best.
My 10K race playlist:
I’m getting all smiley just looking at this again!
I start many of my runs with Young Folks. It has a great, catchy tune and it is not too slow or too fast. It’s perfect for beginning a race and is just a great song. And yes, I learn about music from the Grey’s Anatomy soundtrack. And Scrubs and Garden State.
I couldn’t enjoy the song as much as I normally would because right before the race started, despite my two Porta Potty visits, I felt like I needed to pee. I don’t know if this was real or nerves — I vote nerves — but in really messed with my head. The next song was Girl Talk’s Minute by Minute, which definitely got me more into the racing mood!An awesome mix and it even incorporates Hate it Or Love It, a rap favorite of mine.
Next was my favorite running song of all time, Say Hey (I Love You)by Michael Franti. That song always puts me in a great mood, regardless of whether I need to find a Porta Potty. I smiled when this song came on. It makes me happy.
The first mile passed pretty quickly. I was too cold to lift my sleeve and pull down my glove and check my Polar, but I was feeling pretty good, albeit a bit slowed down because of the having to pee issue.
Another Girl Talk song, Set it Off. It mixes Come On Eileen. Perfection. I smiled, opened my jacket and flashed my number at a race photographer. My good knee (which had been bothering me lately) started to hurt, but luckily it didn’t last long.
During the second mile, I saw a Porta Potty. I also saw a line for the Porta Potty. Leaving the race to quickly run in is one thing, but waiting on a line is a whole other thing. Not worth it. I kept running. Clearly, I avoided the water station.
Mile 2 felt much slower than mile 1. But when Meddle by Little Boots came on, I smiled, removed my jacket and tied it around my waist. I heated up! Normally when I hear Meddle — an awesome running song introduced to me by Rachel – I think about one thing in particular. On this day, I did not. I was too wrapped up in the race and considering bathroom options. But I was enjoying myself and loving the song!
At some point I got to the 3rd mile. At some point PPK Resurrectioncame on and I was seriously in heaven. So, a little backstory here. When my roommate Lim and I were in our freshman year of college, a guy on our floor gave her a techno CD. She played it on repeat. Nonstop. Although there were probably 11 tracks on this CD, for some reason we kept hearing the same song. All the time, this one song. It was very catchy and different from other techno songs I have heard. We fell in love.
But we didn’t know what it was called. We didn’t even know what CD this was. On my computer, the song displayed as Track 9 by Unknown Artist. So that is what we called it. The name Track 9 by Uknown Artist actually became its name, and I didn’t question it again. One night, maybe a year later, we were out at a frat party (yes) and the SONG CAME ON. We couldn’t believe it!!! We found someone in the fraternity and asked what song it was and he was actually able to tell us the name. The song was Resurrection by PPK.
Since then, I have heard the song at strange places and strange times, even a slowed down version using the tune in a restaurant waiting for a table. I didn’t think to run to it until recently and I am so happy I did. There are no words and it really helped me to just zone out.
I love Dave Matthews. Shake Me Like A Monkey is such a great song to run to. Please, please try it! It is fast and has a fantastic tune and has different types of sounds throughout. Although I ran up the Great Hill in the beginning of the race, overall this course didn’t seem to be so bad in the uphills, not like my last 4 mile race. And there were quite a few downhills. Not bad!
I got to the 4th mile, skipped out on the water station, saw a Porta Potty and a line, and kept running. I passed my last race distance and couldn’t believe how much better I was feeling than at the end of my 4 mile race. I knew I could easily do 2 more miles.
I always love running to Hey Girl from OAR. Easy to sing along to, great tune, great song. When the Beatles Help came on, it was nice timing as I was starting to struggle a little. I had felt great (aside from having to use the bathroom) until this point, where it got a little tough. What a fun running song, though! I felt perky despite the toughness.
Here’s The Thing is my favorite Girl Talk song, as I have said in other recaps. I just love so much about it, but it was hard to fully enjoy it because I was struggling.
Hard Candy, Counting Crows. It was around this song that a KILLER HILL in between miles 4 and 5 hit me. Not only was the hill steep, it was neverending. I slowed down to tackle this and I observed those around me as well. Some people didn’t seem to be affected and kept running at a decent speed. Others were walking. I was running very, very slowly. The hill twisted and curved, raising higher and higher, and there was no end in sight. The race went from fun and easy to fun and a bit of a struggle to the toughest thing ever. I pushed on. I wished I had a more inspiring song than Hard Candy.
As I approached the top of the hill, I got the song I was waiting for throughout the race: I Dig Rock and Roll Music by Peter Paul and Mary. I loved this song for years. The beat is intoxicating! I just want to dance around when I hear it. I was so happy to hear this song that even though it isn’t particularly fast, it got me past the hill and I felt amazing once I was off the hill. I was really able to enjoy this song.
I saw a photographer. I smiled and waved. Girl Talk came on, Shut the Club Down. GOOD SONG. I needed a song to really push me and keep me in a great mood this was perfect. More Counting Crows, Einstein on the Beach. I always like running to this. It’s uplifting and easy to sing (mouth) along to.
I don’t know, eventually I passed the 5th mile. I stopped having to pee. Play Your Part (Pt. 2) by Girl Talk came on, and I was happy because this is the song that got me through my hilly 4 miler. The George Harrison and Journey sections are really cool. I smiled because I was race PRing and it felt GREAT.
The Coral’s Dreaming of You was next and I was thrilled. I love this song. Very fast. Very catchy. It made me happy. It helped me. Another techno song, who am I? Lord of Tranz – Sanctificum by DJ Tiesto. I put this song at this time because I knew I would need help speeding up towards the end.
WOW. This song has never been more perfect. Just like with Resurrection, it allowed me to focus only on my feet hitting the ground. It made me want to speed up. Only I couldn’t. My left knee (my bad knee) started hurting and the pain became so intense I could no longer bend my knee! I was limp/running! If this happened earlier in the race, I would have had to quit, but I was so close to the end so I kept going! The song helped me zone out and forget as best I could the pain shooting down the outside of my left knee.
Luckily, my favorite running song was on again! When I put Say Hey (I Love You) in the beginning of the run, I always feel like I need it at the end. When I put it at the end, I feel like I couldn’t have enjoyed it as much as if it were at the beginning. So I put it in both places. Despite my knee pain, the song made me happy! I smiled at another race photographer. My knee was killing me. I tried to straighten my leg. OUCH. I just needed to finish. I was so close.
I saw mile 6 approaching. Counting Crows’ Rain King — my final song. I timed this well. This song is motivating. I passed mile 6. I sped up. I forgot my knee pain. I couldn’t sprint but I could certainly run faster and that is what I did. With a huge smile on my face and eyes only for the two photographers crouched alongside the ground next to me, I ran quickly through the finish line. The announcer called out my number — that has never happened to me before! As soon as I crossed, my eyes welled up and my smile did not fade as I cried tears of happiness. I couldn’t believe it. I ran a 10K!!!!!
Aaaahhhhhhh!!! I ran my first 10K!
My official time is 1:03:22, with an average pace of 10:13. Not bad considering I had to pee for 4 miles, I dealt with a brutal hill for half a mile and my left knee stopped working for three quarters of another!
I can’t believe I was running for an hour – an hour is so long! But it didn’t feel that long at all.
Despite my best efforts at smiling at every photographer I see, smiling directly into two at the finish line, I did not make it into a single race photo! Why does this always happen? Oh, well!
While I was running I wasn’t cold but after it ended, it hit me fast. The cold hurt, and it was miserable, but I was so happy. I felt better than I ever have after a race. My amazing playlist really helped of course, but I did the hardest part myself. I can run 10K and still feel good after.
I didn’t go home and register for my next race as I tend to do. It is too cold. Never again. Running in the cold isn’t what’s bad — waiting in the cold is what makes races unbearable. But I had already entered myself into the lottery for the 2010 NYC Half Marathon! I normally wouldn’t register for such a long race that requires winter training, but the race takes place on my birthday! When will that ever happen again — my first half marathon running through my city on my birthday?! I needed to take advantage. Hopefully I get in. I find out January 6. Can’t wait!
Do you like running in cold weather? How do you handle waiting around before a cold weather race?