I don’t “race” very often, mainly because if I’m going to pay to do a race…I’m going to race. None of this “using it as a long run.” No offense to people who do that, but it’s not my style. Also, I way too money conscious so if I’m paying money for something, I’m going to get after it.
With all that being said, my weekend shouldn’t come as much as a surprise, as I did two “races” this weekend. I paid for neither of them. And they were awesome, giving me a renewed confidence in my training and my running. So, away we go.
Get the word out…the New York Rogue Runners are the new force in town, and the races are awesome. Abbe planned her second annual Whiskeython…I missed the first one last year, probably due to having to work, but I was IN for this year. The race? Four miles in Central Park…the four mile middle loop if you’re familiar with the park, starting at Engineer’s Gate and running counter-clockwise.
My plan was to wake up early and do a two mile warm-up for the race, but night shift is killing my sleep so I didn’t make it out in time. This was for the better, as two blocks from my apartment I got a panic text from Abbe saying that she was locked in her apartment. The race director can’t get out! I never run with my phone, so this was also a lucky case. I redirected my route to swing by her apartment and rammed the door with my entire body.
It didn’t budge. “Oh geez, that’s not good,” I proclaimed. I then pushed straight arm style and Abbe was free! I should get a ten second head start for saving the race director. (This is relevant later…)
We headed over to the start area to meet Baker, Eissa, Abbe’s work friend, and Elyssa and Maura who weren’t running. After confirming that no one else was coming and that there would be no male participants (Baker doesn’t count…), the rules changed to the first two finishers would win whiskey. I don’t like whiskey, but I do like to win. So there’s that.
As some background, I haven’t done any speedwork since I started running again in October. Basically starting from scratch, I knew it was important to build miles before adding in speed. Also, I’m extremely nervous that my back pain will start again and get slight twinges every now and then that have me researching future treatments. But, the truth is that Boston isn’t that far away, and I don’t like to just run marathons, so it’s time to get into gear. I was going to start with some 800 repeats on Friday, but then I realized the four mile Whiskeython would be a good time trial.
We lined up at Engineer’s Gate and took off. Pacing isn’t my strong point, and I remember yelling, “Sprint it out!” And sprint it out we did, with our first mile clocking in at 6:33. Oops. Eissa, Baker, and I ran together as a flying V throughout Central Park. Baker was his chatty self, as he’s a speedy man and my huffing and puffing at 6:30 made for great conversational pace for him. He tried to psych us out with, “You know, that last mile up Cat Hill is going to be a doozy.” (I don’t know if Baker says, “doozy,” but in my mind he did.)
We chatted a bit for the first two miles, but after the second mile came in at 6:42 (those west side hills…), I lost my ability to be chatty and mainly listened to Baker and Eissa talk, and then finally Baker talking with us grunting in reply. The third mile was 6:23 on the downhills of the west side hills (my favorite), which left us with the run up the east side and Cat Hill. I’ll admit that I wasn’t feeling 100% super at this point, but it’s the last mile and you hold on. Eissa pulled ahead with about a quarter mile to go, and Ali ran by and yelled, “Go Susan! You’re so fast!” Thanks, friends. Eissa ended up the champion and I came in second…at some point Baker will put up our fantastic finish video.
The results, per my garmin:
Saturday, January 12 – WHISKEYTHON
4.06 miles in 26:32, avg pace of 6:33
I didn’t feel amazing at this pace, but I felt like I was working and handled it well. It was fun to be storming the park with Baker and Eissa, and since my only other four miler was Baker’s Funtastic Four Miler….PR for me!
Feeling good about kicking off my Boston speed work/training with the Whiskeython, my speed is in check and I’m ready for what’s to come.
NYC Runs 10 Miler
Rule #1 (or #398, I haven’t figured it out yet): I don’t like to pay money to run in Central Park. I live about a mile from Central Park, so unless I’m going to all out race, I don’t want to pay to run in the park. However, the NYC Runs 10 Miler was on Sunday, so I wanted to join in with some friends who planned on running. (Read: Jocelyn.) Ben also texted me to say he’s back in town and would join for some miles.
Then, when I woke up, a million people were tweeting about the race so I knew it was going to be a fun, friend-filled day.
I hoped for fifteen miles for the day, I did three miles before meeting up at the race start with Jocelyn and Meggie. Ashley and Lora came up behind us too. I ignored my splits and just went with JB and Meggie, eventually meeting up with Betsy after about two miles. Jess joined in for a bit too! So many friends, I love it all.
With Betsy and Jocelyn! (Compliments of Abby)
The miles literally flew by, just as running with friends always does. We came around the first lap and I spotted Ben on the side, and he joined in for some running fun. I haven’t seen Ben since…the summer? Maybe? Betsy, Jocelyn, and Ben knew each other from Facebook/blog following (ha), but finally got to meet, hooray!
Erica was out taking pictures, as always, so she got some fun snapshots during which I question how terribly unphotogenic I am, especially on the run:
I call this move, “The Ali.”
We headed around for our second loop, and eventually the pace started dropping as I ran with Ben. With plenty to talk about since I hadn’t seen him in a long time, the faster pace felt totally normal and the miles continued to fly by. (How many times can I say that in one post? I’m a nurse, not a journalist/novelist/etc etc etc.)
The miles dropped below eight minute miles, hanging around 7:30-ish. Solid fast-finish long run, maybe at marathon pace? That was discussed on the run, but I think it’s still too early to be throwing out pace ideas. (Not ruling out a PR, we’ll just say that. And yes, I am chasing sub-3:10, yet to be determined if Boston will be that race.) But, to be feeling good on a 15 mile long run at the end of a 46 mile week (highest mileage I’ve seen in almost a year)…I like it.
I’ve run a lot of miles with Ben and this is the only evidence.
We ran to the finish (well, next to it, neither of us were in the race), said bye, and then I headed back to Erica to say hi and cheer for everyone else coming through. One of my favorite parts about being a runner in NYC is how you can run into friends on any random days, and lots of friends on race days/long run days in the park. It really does make this big city seem much smaller, and they’re all wonderful, motivated, and fun women that I’m so happy I can associate myself with…and they love to run! High five.
Hi friends! You’re all pretty and sweaty.
It was a warm 45-ish, which is great for running, but not the best for standing around, so after a bit I headed ran the last two miles home to wrap up 15 miles for the day. Feeling good.
Sunday, December 13
15.38 miles in 2:02:49, avg pace of 7:59
Splits: 8:03, 8:06, 7:33, 8:49, 8:42, 8:12, 8:49, 8:22, 8:07, 7:57, 7;25, 7:37, 7:26, 7:29, 7:40
I like it. And then spent most of the rest of Sunday on the couch, as my legs don’t remember what it’s like to run 46 miles in one week or to run 15 miles in one day. Welcome back to marathon training, legs, and I hope you’re as happy to be here as I am.
Races this weekend? Runs with friends? Shorts in January? These aren’t real questions, but things I liked. You can respond with…responses if you want.