Sunday, December 6, 2009

Runners Spit A Lot

Yesterday on my way home from work, I decided that I would stop into City Sports because they always have pretty good stuff on their clearance rack, and I was hoping that I could score some good long-sleeved running tops. I also signed up for their mailing (by e-mail) list, so I also had a 15% off coupon for any one regularly priced item. I ended up finding two long-sleeved tops that were both originally $60 each, but on sale for $20 each and a pair of shorts on clearance for $15. Granted, I know I didn't need the shorts for winter, but for $15 it was too hard to pass up!
This was my shopping booty:

While I was walking home from work yesterday, I was walking home in a wintery mix of snow and rain. Not too fun. It also made me a little bit nervous about this morning's race and what the weather conditions would be like. I knew it would be cold - the coldest morning so far this winter, I think - but I also wasn't quite sure how that would go for me. When I woke up this morning, I got up in plenty of time to get dressed, eat and get all organized before the race and to ride the subway up to pick up my race number and chip. Instead of taking the subway, I decided to just take a cab. I know it seems like I wimped out a little bit, and I sort of feel like I did, but I was also okay with that. I really didn't want to end up standing outside for any longer than I had to in the cold.

The temperature was 33 degrees and according to the internet, felt much colder (about 10 degrees), although I didn't think it felt that much colder. I ended up wearing: a tank top, a long sleeved shirt, my new purple long-sleeved shirt, running tights, shorts, my Terrier bike vest, gloves and my Westchester Triathlon running hat. The bike vest was fantastic for the pockets! I took some Muscle Milk to have before the race in one of our new collapsible water bottles, so the back pockets of the vest were perfect for holding the bottle while I was running.

I took a cab up to 89th Street and picked up my number and timing chip and it was about 7:10 by that point. I was supposed to be meeting the other Terriers at 7:30. Since I had some time to kill before that and all I had to do was stand outside, I figured I might as well just jog for a few minutes to keep myself a little bit warm. I ran for about 10 minutes and then went back to the meeting spot. People started arriving shortly after that as well as Coach Robert, who led us through some drills in order to warm up before the race.

We started with some push-up drills. We went into plank position and then did some stretches by bringing one foot up next to our hand. We'd then go back to plank and do a couple of push-ups. Then we did some really short stride drills - high knees with claps underneath the knee, marching, stretching our quads, and one really horrible one to open up your hips. That drill called for you to bring your knee up and then swing it out to the side of your body and then put it down on the ground. Every time I did that, I could just hear my hips clicking and cracking. It really wasn't my favorite and I was glad that it was a short drill. After the drills, we ran up to the start of the race.

Holy cow! That was not what I was expecting! I was expecting a few hundred people ... not thousands of people! This is what greeted me:

To be fair, I've seen other NYRR races in the past and they've never had anywhere near this many people participating. I was floored as to how many people were there. I lined up in my corral (near the back, with the other slow people), and waited for the race to start. I did cool down a little bit while waiting, but it wasn't too bad and they started the race pretty much on time, so that was nice. I have to say that I never got nervous while I was waiting for the race to start. That told me a couple of things: (1) that I was really taking this seriously as a race and (2) that I had absolutely no doubts that I could complete this. Me waiting in the corral:

I have never done a running race before and certainly not one with 8,000+ people participating, so I had no idea what to expect. The first mile was definitely the worst because people were really bunched up and there was a lot of jostling for position. There were also a lot of faster runners coming up from the back because they had gotten there late. Also, one of the most surprising things to me was all the noises that people were making. I must have heard 1,000 people hock up loogies and spit them out. I had no idea that runners were such big spitters! And then, all throughout the race, I saw people spitting all over the place. Gross!

The start of the race was at 102nd Street, which meant that we had to tackle the Harlem Hill almost right away. I thought that would be good because it would make the rest of the race seem pretty easy in comparison. Truthfully, the hill really wasn't that hard. I don't know if part of that was the fact that I was mostly being carried along in a sea of people or what, but it really wasn't bad at all. I reached mile marker #1 at 10:10. I was hoping to average about 10 minute miles, but I also really wasn't wanting to push myself too much. After all, I only signed up for the race to motivate myself to keep my running miles up at a decent place, not to win anything. I figured that anything under 1:05:00 I'd be happy with although I was hoping to beat my Standalone Time from a week ago.

Somewhere between Miles 1 & 2, I saw a guy sitting on a rock in the park. It looked like it could have been Drew, but it also didn't quite look like him. He was wearing a hat I didn't recognize and the sun shining off his coat made it look grey instead of black. But, as I was running past, I realized that it was in fact him and I yelled out and he snapped a quick picture:

As you can see, it's not really any wonder he didn't see me. I can barely see me! He said he couldn't believe how many people there were and that once he realized how many people were participating that he was wishing a little bit that he had signed up to run with me. I tried to tell him that a month ago, too bad he didn't!

At some point between Mile 2 & 3, I realized that my heart rate was pretty high, especially compared to what it's been when I've been running recently, and I tried to slow down a little bit, but that didn't have much effect, so I took a 30 second walking break as an attempt to try to get it lowered. I don't really think it helped my heart slow down, but mentally it made me feel like I tried, so that was probably what really mattered. When I got to Mile 3, there were a bunch of spectators standing there cheering that we'd made it half-way already! Even though it had taken me 30 minutes to get there, it definitely felt like it was really fast. I ran Mile 2 and 3 in 10 minutes each.

Mile 3 was right at the 72nd Street Transverse and I did briefly wonder what would happen if I just ran across and headed north, cutting off the bottom loop of the Park. I didn't really seriously consider it, I was mostly more just curious what would happen. Would the volunteers stop me? Of course, I just kept running the actual path in the park. Somewhere during Mile 4, the hip opening drills that we had done this morning came back to haunt me. My hips were not happy. I decided in the interest of personal safety that I should take another quick walk break and start again and see how they felt. I took another 30 second walking break and started running again. It was a little bit better and I realized that I could tough it out for another two miles. I was still doing really well on my 10 minute/mile pace, so I was hoping to keep it up for the end of the race too.

Pretty soon I was back to 90th Street and the point where I had met the other Terriers this morning. From that point on, I just kept telling myself that I had already run the rest of the distance once today and I was just re-tracing my steps from earlier. When I reached the mile marker for Mile 6, Drew was standing there. I gave him a fist-bump and kept running strong for the last 0.20 miles to the finish.

My official time was 1:02:12, which is a 10:01 pace. I am thrilled with that pace! Granted, my heart rate was out of control, but I felt okay during the race. I think that if I hadn't been worried about my heart rate and not taken that first 30 second walking break, I would have made it for 10:00 miles, but I'm 100% satisfied with this result, especially since all I really wanted to do was keep myself motivated to keep running.

After I was done with the race, I grabbed a cup of water and a bagel and met up with Drew. They were handing out t-shirts before the race, but I didn't get one because I didn't want to have to either (A) carry it with me or (B) check my t-shirt with the baggage people. I tried to see if I could get one after the fact, but they had packed them up already, so we just headed for the subway home. When we got home, Drew made us brunch and then I settled in for a nap!

Drew was planning on going to the gymnasium this afternoon and in order to keep up with my weight training, I really needed to go too and finish up Week 9's plan, which was legs. Oof. I'm not sure that it was the smartest idea I've ever had to go to the gym with him and do my leg lifting after running a 10K, but I figure it's not the dumbest idea I've ever had either. The lifts are still Pyramid Ups (meaning you add weight and decrease the reps each set) and with Drew's help I definitely lifted above my normal comfort zone.

This was the workout:

Barbell Squats: 1 set of 12 reps @ 45 lbs / 1 set of 12 reps @ 65 lbs / 1 set of 8 reps @ 95 lbs
Leg Press: 1 set of 12 reps @ 135 lbs / 1 set of 10 reps @ 180 lbs / 1 set of 8 reps @ 225 lbs
Leg Extension: 1 set of 12 reps @ 70 lbs / 1 set of 10 reps @ 85 lbs / 1 set of 8 reps @ 100 lbs
Crunches (with weight): 1 set of 20 reps @ 25 lbs / 1 set of 15 reps @ 25 lbs / 1 set of 20 reps @ 25 lbs

I've definitely never done weights that heavy before for any of the lifts. I really owe it all to Drew for pushing me more than I would have pushed myself. He definitely helped me by standing by me and the fact that he was there and I knew he would be able to help me if I couldn't do it myself helped me mentally. I wanted to make sure he didn't have to help me, but I was glad that he was there. The crunches with weight are the first time I've actually done them. All I can really say is that if you're wearing a white shirt while doing it, it's dirty. It also made it harder to do the crunches. Next time I'll try bumping up the weight a little bit.

All in all, it was quite the day today. I know I didn't have the best week earlier this week with workouts, but I'm hoping that today made up for some of that.

Running (1oK)
Time: 1:02:12
Distance: 6.20 miles
Pace: 10:01/mile
Calories: 871
Maximum HR: 195
Average HR: 183

Weight Lifting
Time: 49:10
Calories: 277
Maximum HR: 149
Average HR: 115

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