I had a really eye-opening realization last week. The 2015 Brooklyn Half Marathon, a full year ago, was the last time that I ran 13 miles.
For one full year my body has been pretty damn finicky when it comes to running. I've had 2 double-digit runs since last May and it blows my mind to think of how great I felt going into the Pittsburgh Marathon a year ago to how I feel now.
I wish I could say I knew why it's been such a struggle, but your guess is as good as mine. I'm frustrated and I'm sad. I swing pretty drastically from, "Running is the worst and I should just quit forever because clearly my body hates it," to "What am I going to do if I can't be a runner anymore?" Anger to total sadness to fear - pretty much I feel all of these emotions simultaneously.
Needless to say, the goal for Saturday's Brooklyn Half Marathon is to get myself across the finish line and to run 13.1 miles for the first time in 12 months.
In preparation for that goal, I knew I needed to slow my roll during last weekend's Healthy Kidney 10K in Central Park. Operation: Save Your Legs For Brooklyn was in full effect.
The night before the race, my best friend from high school came to NYC for the weekend. I cooked us a Blue Apron dinner and we got to sleep nice and early.
The Healthy Kidney 10K was a 9:00 a.m. start so I got to sleep in until 7:00 a.m.
Friday night, I actually said to Allison, "I've been excited for my pre-race breakfast all week." So pathetic, but true. Ezekiel toast smeared with PB, topped with 1/2 a sliced banana, drizzled with honey, sprinkled with coconut flakes and a cup of jo.
I raced in my pink Asics shirt again - it's my new favorite for sure. That and my Asics spandex + Saucony Rides + SPIBelt - the usual.
It was supah dupah balmy out there Saturday morning which was fine by me - I hate being cold before a race and really don't mind the heat all that much.
My stretching was a little lax on Saturday but I did get in some one-legged deadlifts (not weighted) while my bread toasted and some glute bridges and side planks.
Non-existent. I wasn't looking to race this or go over the 6.2 miles so I took the bus with Allison and met up with November Project at Tavern on the Green before heading to my coral.
By the time I was crossing the start line, my watch hadn't synced and I didn't worry about it. My mantra throughout the race was "stay comfortable, stay comfortable." I repeated this as people whizzed by me and I repeated it when I found myself charging up hills and I repeated it when I felt good and knew I had more in me that I shouldn't necessarily give. And I'm proud to report that it worked. I didn't push it and I didn't cross the finish line feeling like I had given it my all - but that was the goal.
I love racing, but this was not the day for a race.
The Healthy Kidney 10K is run in the opposite direction of almost every other NYRR race in Central Park which was a nice change. Going up the west-side of Harlem Hill and coming down on the east is SO much nicer, but then you have a pretty long and steady incline all the way up to Engineer's Gate. No matter how you run it, Central Park is just damn hilly - a fact that never ceases to surprise me or my legs.
The November Project cheer squad + special guest Allison were in the perfect location - 200 meters to go and a pretty steep incline to the finish. I didn't really kick ("Keep it comfortable") but it certainly put a smile on my face.
It was damn hot out there and I took water at every station. When I finished, I chugged 4 cups which is a lot for this non-water-drinker over here. I met up with Melissa and Allison and we hung out at the finish for a little bit before making our way home across the park for free juice and brunch.
But not before taking a picture with Sidney the Kidney!
It wasn't until much later that afternoon that I even looked up my finish time - 51:12 for an 8:15 pace. I was happy that that felt comfortable :)
Up next, Brooklyn. Gulp.