Last weekend there were two NYRR races, a 4 miler and 15K. Early in the year, January 1st I signed up for as many open races as possible since this year NYRR is put a cap of 5,000 people in each race. Most of the races filled a couple weeks before the race, but all of them are filling up. Last year with over 6,000 in each race, they just got to be too big for the park and not to mention a bit frustrating to run since the first mile is nothing but elbowing your way through. NYRR has start corral by pace with volunteering watching to make sure people go into their correct pace. There is nothing more frustrating when walker or 12 minute milers put themselves in the 6:00 milers start.
Since November after the NYC Marathon I have been speed training twice a week with low high intensity and low mileage. I gave up all the 1200, 1600, and 2000 meter repeats for 200, 400, 600 and a few 800 meter repeats to encourage faster turnover, better biomechanics, and stronger legs. There were days when faced with fast 400’s that I really missed those 20-mile runs, but it may be paying off.
On March 14, I ran the NYRR 8K. My goal was to be in the top 10% of my age group. There were 4618 runners, 2133 were women, and 179 in my age group. I ran it as hard as I could feeling that the hills were bringing me down, mental note-work on hills- and I felt pretty good when I came home. I waited to check the results, scanning over the 40-44 age group. I saw 179 in my group so I began looking for my name in the 10% range and saw nothing, feeling a bit of dread I expanded my search and there I was #10. This is the first race I placed in the top 10! I finally made it to the Honor Roll of NYRR. I was thrilled, relieved, proud, and oh man this is excellent!
One week later at the NYRR Colon Cancer 4M race I was hugely excited to be running the 4 miler rather than the 15K that followed. When I signed up for my races at the beginning of the year and knew I wanted to run short until Jun. Then I will began my ½ marathons and longer in preparation for my fall excellently fast full marathon. There were two races in the day, the cap of 5,000 was split between then. The 4M had 2040 runner, 1038 women, and 90 in my age category. The start was excellent; it was the first time in a long time that I did not feel like a cow being herded through the gates, it only took 30 seconds to reach the start line. My goal was to keep the first mile the slowest but steady. I planned to log each mile to see how evenly I ran my splits but unfortunately I clicked my watch off only getting the first and last mile, which was 2 seconds apart. Again I found the hills challenging. I was wearing my new racing flats but with my orthodics in them when on the third mile the most excruciating pain hit my right quad. It felt like my muscles were going to rip apart. I feared that I was heel striking too hard in these shoes, a habit I am trying to break, and I was forced to shift almost to a tiptoe to ease the pain. It really hurt as I ran on the outside of my right toes for over a mile and a half. But the strange gait eased the pain. The night before I made of goal of coming in 5th place in my age group, then the morning of the race took the mantra of 3rd place. So as the pain roared I just kept saying 3rd place, 3rd place without question. When I saw the finish I tried to kick it up a gear finding it difficult. My diaphragm began to compress and spasm and I could feel the dry heaves starting but more gently than usual. I crossed the finish line full on and the dry heaves came on strong but for only a few seconds and then I felt great. I felt strong, happy and exhilarated. To digress I saw my chiropractor a few days before and she found my diaphragm and lower lungs extremely compressed and tight. She worked on them to relax and it really made the difference in my day to day as well as the race, I could relax much quicker and be aware enough to try and counter act the tightening.
I met my teammate Megan Jenkins came in before me and we waited around for the results as we cheered on the 15k runners. We made it over to the board, she placed 2nd in her age group of 30-34 and I placed 5th in the 40-44. For just a second I felt sad I did not place 3rd and then checked myself on that. This is the highest I have ever placed in a big race, I hit the 70%AG for the first time without getting any older, and I PR’d. My personal best for the 4 mile was last April one week before the Boston Marathon when I was peaking, this is only the beginning of the season with far less mileage on my legs and no hill training. I felt great and I felt like things were working. With the exception of my shoe laces, they came untied at mile 1 and I had to pull over to the side and tie them, it took maybe 7-10 seconds maybe more, but still not enough to catch 4th place. I now have lace clips, there is no excuse for untied shoes in a race. The funny thing is as I was walking from the finish line another teammate finished with an untied shoe, he ran the whole race that way, and another man also had to stop and tie his. What was it with this day that we could not tie our shoes properly?
Later in the morning I got an email. Front Runner Women in the 4 mile took 1st place in the team competition. Holy cow sure enough Megan Jenkins, Hilary Lorenz, Bernadette Janelle, Katrina Amaro and Michele Comerford, the first place team. There are around 170 teams in the NYC area, I do not know how active they all are but the competition is fierce and we won, this is really terrific. This is my proudest metal!
I have another race in a week. It sounds like a lot of racing but I have different goals for each one and different tactics to try so that I become a more tactical and faster racer. I started my hill training this week, 10x the west side of Harlem Hill in Central Park, about a 400 meter steep climb and extended my repeats to include 1200’s and 2000’s but keep my longish run more moderate under 15 miles, yesterday we ended it at 10 which is fine and I am good with that. It is my goal to train smart this year and stay fresh rather than beat myself into the ground. And so far it is working beautifully!