Run For Central Park 4 Mile Race Recap

On Saturday I found myself closer to running the 2011 NYC Marathon as I completed my final qualifying race in my 9+1 with the Central Park Conservatory Run for Central Park 4 Mile. For those who don’t know, if you run nine New York Road Runners races and volunteer at one, you are guaranteed entry to the following year’s marathon. I actually ran 8 NYRR races this year, but the Run for Haiti counts twice because it was more expensive. All I have to do now is volunteer!

As good as it feels to be done with my racing component, I did find myself wishing during the race that I was volunteering rather than running. That is because this race was tough. So many small things went wrong! I still came out on top though.

The night before the race, well past my self appointed bedtime of 10 pm, I realized that I forgot to make a race playlist — this happened to be before my last race too. What is wrong with me these days! I quickly worked off my last 3 mile playlist and put something together quickly. I woke up before my alarm on race day and took my sweet time getting ready. I fixed up my playlist for a good 10-15 minutes. I don’t have a screenshot of my playlist because, again, I am forgetful lately, but here is a typewritten (is that a word?) list:

Why I Am (Dave Matthews Band) <– went to his concert THAT NIGHT at Citi Field!
@LaurenConrad Get Us On The Hills! (Super Mash Bros)
Shooting Stars (Bag Raiders) <– new favorite running song
Livin The Dream (Super Mash Bros)
Mr. Boom Boom Jones (The Knocks)
Hey Girl (OAR)
United State of Pop 2009(DJ Earworm)
Say Hey [I Love You](Michael Franti)
Cosmic Love (Florence + The Machine)
This Is Definitely Not the 405 (Super Mash Bros)
Lord of Tranz – Sanctificum (DJ Tiesto)

I stretched, got dressed, put on my hat, took off my hat, put on my hat, took off my hat and put on my hat, and then I was out the door!

I was a few blocks from home when I realized that I forgot my Garmin! My brand new Garmin that I was so excited to race with, to use as a guide, to have an understanding of my own pace, to push me and pace me. As I was laying my gear out the night before, I saw the Garmin on the dresser and decided to leave it there since it was in the charger. The charger wasn’t plugged in, yet I wanted to leave it there? Why? So of course it was not with my other stuff and then I just forgot it.

I was pretty upset at myself but decided I would run a great race anyway and try not to let this setback get me down. It turned out the Garmin wouldn’t have helped me anyway. . .

I got to my corral and while lots of people were complaining about how hot it was, I was loving it. I have been at so many races where I am freezing waiting for them to start, I really enjoy not being cold and not having layers to think about. I couldn’t hear any of the pre-race speeches or the national anthem which was very strange, because I’ve heard those  from much further back before. I did hear the starting horn and three minutes later crossed the start line.

And then I knew I was in for a very difficult race.

My legs were like lead. I partly blame myself for taking Core Fusion Yoga the day before the race. While yoga sounds like it would be a nice pre-race stretch, this class (especially with the teacher I had) was heavy on the quad strengthening. It was the opposite of a rest for my legs, so I did not go into this race with fresh legs at all. I only partly blame myself, because sometimes heavy legs just happens. So I am considering this a mix of my fault and not my fault.

Right away I knew that my Garmin would have been pretty pointless. I couldn’t run any faster than I was running, and I felt like I was moving pretty slowly. The race was counterclockwise around part of the Central Park loop, which I find to be the MUCH hillier route. There were so many uphills it was crazy! All I could do was keep moving. It was hard not only on my legs but on my chest, too. I hadn’t run at all since my 3 mile race on June 24, which was obviously not the smartest thing to do. I felt very out of shape in the running department. I quickly abandoned any ideas of running nine minute miles for a third race in a row.

To make matters worse, my right shoe felt too tight on the laces! I wanted so much to stop on the side and loosen it. I did that during my second half marathon, but I didn’t want to stop during a four mile race. I could push through. It only hurt sometimes. Other times I didn’t even notice it.

More! More ailments! I had ribcage pain. I practiced my breathing (breathe in on the right foot, out on the left). Also, I had to pee! I didn’t get to the race early enough to use the portapotties, and even though needing to pee during a race is usually nerves and not real, it still felt like a nuisance for the first mile. I even considered stopping at the portapotties before mile 1 was even over but decided I could push through. I knew deep down that it was not real! And while I thrive in hot weather, I do think the humidity affecting me as well. It just all kind of sucked.

There is more. When I started running last year I got this sharp pain in my right hip. Once I learned the right stretches to do before I ran, the pain disappeared. Even if I forgot to stretch, the pain never happened again — not through my half marathon training, not through my half marathons, not through my super fast 10K. But on this day, that pain came back. OH NO. I  really hope this isn’t something I will have to seriously deal with or a real injury. Yoga yoga yoga. I have another half to train for! Why is this happening now?

All these things were working against me. I didn’t feel awesome. I just wanted the race to be over. I considered quitting but it was only four miles (I say this not because four miles isn’t an accomplishment or is easy, but only in comparison to the 10Ks I recently ran, and the half marathons before that) and I knew I could push through. Soon enough it would be over.

My music was great, but it wasn’t motivating me. I just kept going because it was all I could do. I tried hard not to get myself crazy about my time, but I couldn’t help but be happy when I passed each mile marker and almost exactly 10 minutes had passed each time. That meant I was still maintaining a good pace despite the less than ideal conditions. I was trying not to focus on time because I just wanted to finish without feeling like death, but I am so competitive with myself and couldn’t help hoping to finish in less than 40 minutes.

When we got to the last mile I was so happy to see it was all downhill. I had some energy left in me since I just couldn’t push hard through the first three miles, so I was able to use the downhills to my advantage. I sped up and started passing people. Down down downhill. I smiled because I finally felt more like myself. Eventually that energy ran out too and I was thinking I still had a ways to go to to the finish line and I was SO ready for this to be over. And then I saw the finish line — much closer than I thought it would be! That last mile felt fast! Also, I was in the middle of the last song of my playlist. I always seem to time these so well.

I crossed the finish line and was just as happy to be done as at my very difficult second half marathon. I saw a few photographers during the race, but they were either fiddling with their cameras or I noticed them too late. We all know how I love hamming it up for the race paparazzi. I did get a couple finish line pictures!

(That guy is much happier than I am)

My official time was 39:06, for an average pace of 9:46. So happy with this time! I thought I was moving so slowly, but I was doing just fine! This  goes to show that my running has improved so much that what used to be a comfortable pace for me now feels slow. I love this! My time made the entire not-so-great race experience pretty . . . great!

(Smiling to be DONE)

Now I plan to get back into a regular running routine. And very soon I will start training for my next half marathon. I am so excited!

Have you ever had a difficult run and it turned out you were much faster than you realized?

12 comments on Run For Central Park 4 Mile Race Recap

  1. Megan
    July 20, 2010 at 2:13 pm (8 years ago)

    Your getting so fast Dori.. I kinda regret not going 9+1 for the marathon because I think I want to run a marathon.. O well

  2. Ashley
    July 20, 2010 at 2:20 pm (8 years ago)

    You did great!!! I actually thought of you when I saw the photographers so I waved at some and got closer to them but not sure what happened to those b/c they weren’t in the selection from Brightroom email! Next time. =)

  3. Scott
    July 20, 2010 at 2:29 pm (8 years ago)

    Sometimes you need these challenging races to show you just how far you have come, great race! I still have 2 more races and the volunteering for NYC 2011, not sure which race is next.

  4. Nichole
    July 20, 2010 at 3:26 pm (8 years ago)

    You’re prerace running around sounds like some nervous jitters, bummer about your watch. Lesson, put all your crap in one stop for the morning. I am notorious for triple checking.

    I had my foot go numb during my last race, not something you can plan or stretch for, but you manage through.

    This will only make you stronger for your next race!! And PS you should have done the NYC underwear race, haa!

  5. melissa
    July 20, 2010 at 3:30 pm (8 years ago)

    great job! jealous of the concert!
    melissa´s last blog post ..Cruisin Around

  6. MelissaNibbles
    July 21, 2010 at 4:35 am (8 years ago)

    Nice stems baby! Core Fusion legs right there!
    Great job in this race. Even though it was tough, you’ll look back on it knowing that you pushed through and did it. Warrior!

  7. David H.
    July 23, 2010 at 7:37 pm (8 years ago)

    Thanks for the message on Twitter. I’ve added you to my blogroll! Nice to see Dave Matthews Band mentioned in the very first post I read. I’m a HUGE fan!

  8. Rachel Wilkerson
    July 25, 2010 at 11:41 am (8 years ago)

    I’m so impressed with how you always push on through tough races! And it’s amazing how committed you are to the NYC Marathon! :)
    Rachel Wilkerson´s last blog post ..Press Play- New Free Tunes!

  9. diana@mymarblerye
    July 28, 2010 at 9:37 pm (8 years ago)

    great job! you look good and you FEEL GOOD!
    diana@mymarblerye´s last blog post ..Who AM I


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