WOW. That basically sums up my feelings about the NYRR New York Mini 10K.
After my PR at the Healthy Kidney 10K last month, I decided that if I could PR on no training, imagine how my next 10K would be if I trained. So I created a table in Microsoft Word and composed a training plan. I sent it to my friend for accountability.
On the first day that called for a short run, I laced up my sneakers and as soon as my foot hit the ground I felt a pain. It was right under my knee and after some internet research I diagnosed myself with patellar tendinitis, although it was likely just overworked from my race. I decided to take a break from running. All my planning for nothing!
I did run one more time before the race, a slow three miler the week before, and my knee felt fine. I think I just needed some time off and no, I do not actually have tendinitis. On race day I once again forgot to take a picture of myself with my bib in the mirror. I walked over to 61st and Central Park West knowing that although I did not exactly train for the race as planned, at least I was able to run at all. I also hoped to achieve a little goal I had, although I decided that I would not give myself a hard time if I did not reach my goal given I hadn’t trained.
My goal was to finish this 10K in under one hour.
After a long porta potty line I got into my corral with about 10 minutes to the start and listened to all the speeches. There was such amazing energy because the Mini 10K has so much history — it was the first women’s road race ever! Because of that, there were a lot of Olympians and professionals there, including a pregnant Kara Goucher and Paula Radcliffe.
Right before the race started I got some disappointing news and was feeling annoyed. When the race started, I was surprised by how . . . slow everyone was moving. I was finally in my new corral but I don’t know, it was just a slow start. I started weaving around people, which I try to avoid in the first mile because I don’t like to overexert myself in the beginning and feel like crap for the rest of the race. I’ve done that twice, at my first race and at the 5th Avenue Mile, and it was not fun times.
But I tried to stay with it and I just couldn’t. I KNEW I was faster than this. And so I weaved. The first mile of this race was awesome because we were running on a closed off Central Park West. I love running on the real streets as a change from running in the park, and I feel so special to be part of a race that warrants the closing of busy New York City streets.
I crossed the start line at 9:04 am, and I used that time as my basis for the rest of the race as I passed each mile marker. I generally like the miles to be 10 minutes apart and I’m content as long as they are. I started off with Jamie Lidell’s Multiply, a song that always puts me in a good mood and makes me want to dance around my room. I like starting races with it because it isn’t fast but it is fun — perfect for not wanting to sprint out of the start line.
However, .y annoyance with my disappointing news + my annoyance with wanting to run faster caused me to run pretty fast, and not feel winded about it. In fact, I felt great and I knew I could keep my pace up for at least a couple more miles like this. When I got past the first mile, I was well under my 10 minute standard.
Of course, the Super Mash Bros @LaurenConrad Get Us On The Hills contributed to this general awesome feeling. Please listen to them, it is for your own running wellness. The energy of this song is so much fun. And since there were so many people that seemed to be, um, in my way, certain lyrics in this mashup were pretty fitting.
The next song was a Butch Walker song that I used to love and haven’t listened to in a really long time. When I was working on this playlist, I was pretty sick of all my usual songs and really wanted something different. As I scrolled through my iTunes, I wondered why I hadn’t thought about running to Butch Walker before??! I think I got burnt out on him a year or so ago and stopped listening, but now I am back and ready to include his music in my running songs pool.
At 90th street, we went into the park and had to climb a steep hill. I was already up to my second Super Mash Bros song and it is my favorite of their songs, Livin The Dream (I’m on a Float). And it just so happened that my absolute FAVORITE part of this song was playing as I tackled the hill. During this section, they mash up Three 6 Mafia’s “I’d Rather”with DJ Sammy’s “Heaven“ and the result is pretty much the greatest song of all time for running, or getting ready to get drunk. Or being drunk. Seriously, just listen to this song. You are welcome.
I was actually a little disappointed that my favorite part of this was playing during a time I had to struggle and push because I would have loved to just run fast and laugh, but still it was a great motivator and what can you do?
At this time I still wasn’t really in a running groove but with the next song that changed and I just felt . . . as great about running as I could have. I run to the Counting Crows a lot, but I don’t think I listened to Insignificant in a race since my very first 5K last September. Given the way I was feeling that morning and taking into account some of the (irrational) thoughts running through my head, this song felt kind of like an anthem to me at this point in the race. There was some definite lyric mouthing going on. I was running at my absolute strongest — and probably fastest — during this song. If only I had a Garmin at this time to get my splits . . . hmmm. More on that later.
*I don’t want to feel so different/But I don’t want to be insignificant/And I don’t how to see the same things different now*
During my last 10K, I raved about the United State of Pop 2009 from DJ Earworm and once again he came through for me. It is just so perfect. Yes, there are a LOT of songs in this mashup, 25 to be exact, but it just works. Amazingly well. And it just makes me feel so happy! I know I keep telling you to download music today, but yeah, do it. It’s free!
Say Hey (I Love You) has made an appearance in every single race I have ran since I started racing in September 2009 except for possibly my first race which might have been 100% Counting Crows. It is my go to running song and I even had it as the only song in my 5th Avenue Mile playlist on a loop. That said, I might be getting sick of it and briefly considered removing it from this playlist. Of course, I did no such thing. Who am I kidding? I love this song!
There were people with hoses spraying the runners, which is a fantastic idea especially since the day was muggy. I am sure the cold water felt great, but I was wearing my three month old iPod on my arm and wasn’t about to take any risks so I ran out of the way to go around the stream of water. This happened three times throughout the race.
I can’t tell you at which point this happened, but I crossed the halfway mark at 27:53. This was faster than my first 5K (although they only measured time at the finish, not the start) – which had felt VERY fast to me and I could not have run a second longer — and yet I still had 3.1 more miles to go and I was feeling great! And of course I was just happy to be under thirty minutes.
Interruption: Since this post is long and I don’t really have any pictures, I think I need to just put a random picture here. Here I am with Missy later that night at Melissa from Fitness NYC’s gorgeous rooftop party overlooking Manhattan:
Ok, back to the race recap.
As a contrast to my last 10K, this time I only selected ONE Afroman song, and so I chose my favorite, Because I Got High. The race was starting to get really tough for me by this time and I wasn’t loving the song so much. Also, I think I am over the novelty of it and it doesn’t crack me up the way it used to. Still a fun song.
Counting Crows Hard Candy was next. Great song. The race was getting much tougher and I was definitely slowing down a bit. The hills were getting strenuous as well. I took my first water at around mile 4 and it felt so good. I was starting to feel a little weak and dehydrated and had waited to take water because I didn’t want to break my pace, but by this point I would have only hurt my pace by not stopping.
Okay, this next song needs an explanation and, well, another plea from me to download. My friend Rachel who writes one of the best blogs I have ever read just posted about this song the night before the race, while I happened to be finalizing my playlist and trying to find a new song to use. She mentioned that she liked The Knocks, particularly one spng called Mr. Boom Boom Jones. I clicked on it not knowing what to expect. And I was . . . confused. It did not make any sense! It starts off with Black Eyed Peas Boom Boom Pow but then, a few seconds later, I heard the familiar opening chords of Counting Crows’ Mr. Jonesand it just didn’t. make. sense. It was so weird and I couldn’t figure out how I felt about it. I added it to my race playlist, figuring I would decide later.
During the race, it became clear that I LOVE THIS MASHUP. It is probably the most unusual mix I’ve heard, even with all the oldies mixed in Girl Talk and many of the others. This was just more daring. And you all know by now how much I love the Counting Crows, so it was just . . . so cool. The race felt a little less difficult during this song because I was having so much fun listening to it.
Dog Days Are Over and American Girls are great running songs, don’t remember much from this part of the race. My pace finally caught up to me and I was slowing down, but according to each mile time I was still finishing each mile under 10 minutes. I wanted to be finished. By the time Take Your Shirt Off came on, I was able to smile and enjoy the absurdity — and I was starting to get closer to the finish as I flew down East Drive in the park. Since it was muggy out I even briefly considered actually taking my shirt off, but of course I needed my race number being displayed and more importantly, I didn’t want to scare anyone. I also want to add that I was still trying to get around people, even this far into the race. I’ve never felt like this before, how strange!
I was very happy to hear Paper Planes this late in the game because even though it is a little slower, it is exactly what I needed to zone out and push through. It was during this song that I realized I would probably finish the race without getting to the last song in my playlist, which has never happened to me before. I’m usually pretty good at timing things and I based the timing on this playlist off the time I finished the last one.
I expected to hear Lord of Tranz – Sanctificum next because I was at the south end of the park and the race was almost over, so you could imagine my surprise when Mochi Beats’ Call on Hustla came on! GREAT SONG. It made me try to run faster! My love of Steve Winwood has been professed before on this blog and the mashup between that and the other fast paced, fun songs was just what I needed to give me my final push.
And THEN I was sure that DJ Tiesto would come on as I saw the finish line ahead, but I forgot that I added one last short song before that one, one that I forgot about until recently and never thought to use for a race — Dream a Dream by Captain Jack! My brother and I used to love playing DDR to this song years ago. I would get especially ridiculous with corresponding arm movements and sing out the lyrics, but wrong. My version of the lyrics goes “Dream a dream a dream a dream a dream.” If you ever saw me tweet that, now you know what I was talking about.
I saw the finish line but I also saw hills. Ugh. I trudged up them as fast as I could and once the ground became more level I used what little power I had left to sprint to the finish. Well, it was something like a sprint. In the sprint family, for sure. I didn’t have much left in me but Dream a Dream wasn’t even finished yet, meaning I still had an entire song I didn’t get to hear, which meant I ran faster than the time I had planned for.
And as I glanced up at the time as I crossed the finish, I saw it said 57 something. WHAT?! I started at 9:04 (granted, the race did start over a minute late) but still — I finished in less than an hour CLOCK TIME?! What did that mean for my own time?
57 something clock time, by the way, explains my smile in the above photograph.
After the race I got a cup of water, a bagel and a flower. Part of the fun of a women’s race!
Hours later, at 1:00 pm, the race results were finally posted. I had expected them by noon so I was pretty anxious, constantly refreshing the NYRR website. On this day more than ever I needed to know my time! I knew I was fast, very fast for me. I knew I shattered my last PR. But how, exactly, did I do?
Official Time – 56:05
Average Pace: 9:02
Aaaaahhhhhhh!!!!!! Just to give you some perspective, I finished my first 10K in December in 1:03:22 and my second 10K in May in 1:00:37. I beat my last time — from just three weeks before — by four minutes and 35 seconds! And I felt like I ran that race fast. WOW. That just goes to show that I probably don’t push myself hard enough a lot of the time. I felt great, with just some typical post-race knee pain that didn’t last more than a day. And while the race was extremely challenging and I FELT like I was running at my limit the entire time, it was totally doable and in no way my hardest race. I always considered myself a 10 minute miler and used that as my standard, but maybe I need to rethink that so I can continue to push myself. Maybe I need a new standard that encourages me to run faster more often.
While my average pace is awesome, I do know that certain miles were much faster than others, and I found myself really wishing I had a Garmin as my Polar, although accurate, does not record mile splits. I was so curious to see how my first few miles, where I was weaving around people and working a stressful situation out in my head, compared to my last few, which I was able to keep up in pace only from momentum. How much did I slow down? How fast was my fastest mile?
Well, things happened to work out in my favor as I just received a $100 gift card from Dick’s Sporting Goods. $50 was from my assistance in their Starting Lineup campaign in March and the other $50 was from a misunderstanding that arose when I never received the initial gift card and some emails seem to have gotten mixed up and they felt awful and wanted to make up for it — EXCELLENT customer service I must note. I’m sure you all know where this is going.
With $100 off, I sprung for a Garmin Forerunner 405 in green and I have to say that so far I love it. I selected this watch because I have the tiniest wrists you can imagine and the 200 and 300 series that everyone else has would just look and feel ridiculous on me. It is also a newer model and while it does not display all the information at once as the others do, I do not need all data displayed at once. I really only need my time, pace and distance, which is all on one screen. It has been really easy to set up and simple to use and so far I am impressed. I look forward to using it more, especially in a race, although I still wish I had it for the Mini 10K!
[Photo from Dick's Sporting Goods website]
I attribute this super successful race to the following factors:
Having an “on” running day
Taking a 3 week running hiatus to recover
Feeling faster than those around me
Fun, new music
Being annoyed/having to brood, think, consider, decide, resolve in my head
Deciding to just push myself and see what happens
So you all have some homework to do — go download the following songs . . .
. . . and then let me know what you think of them, once you work out or get ready to go out to them, of course.
Have you ever completely and unexpectedly shattered a previous PR? Or any goal for that matter? What were the circumstances?