Sunday, March 7, 2010

This Is Not A Race

This morning I was signed up for the NYRR Coogan's Salsa, Blues & Shamrocks 5K race. I thought that it would be a really good recovery run after yesterday's 12-miler. Of course, I also know myself and I kept repeating over and over and over again that "This is not a race." The whole point of a recovery run is to, you know, recover and not run quickly.

Unlike most NYRR races, this race wasn't in Central Park. Instead it was in Washington Heights, which was just a really nice change of location. I really love that I have the Park to run in, but it was nice to get outside my usual locale and not know what the course would be like. I ended up getting there really early (just my luck that the subway would come right away and turn into an express train) so I had given myself an hour to get there, but it took more like 20 minutes.

Since I got there so early, I went to the registration to see if they had any smaller t-shirts (at packet pick-up on Thursday there were only L and XL) and that was all that was left this morning too. Bit of a bummer, but I'll survive. It's only a t-shirt. After that, I pretty much stood around inside my corral:

Immediately after taking this picture, I dropped my phone on the ground and it seems to have suffered some minor damage. I mean, there are only about 4 buttons on the iPhone and I manage to break one of them. Luckily, it's the least important one. Oh well.

After waiting around for quite some time (I did try to stand in the sun so I didn't freeze). It was 37 for the race and I wore tights, long sleeved shirt, wind breaker, baseball running hat and took along my gloves. I only wore my gloves while I was waiting around and then took them off for the race. But I was glad I had them.

It was an out and back course, so when we started running all the runners were taking up the entire road. All of a sudden (about 8 minutes into my run) a cop car came by saying that the leaders were on their way back. Depressing to think that they'd be done in about 15 minutes and I'd still be running along. Anyway, I figured I'd try to get some pictures of the leaders and this is what I got:

I actually think that little guy on the left is the leader. Then I thought I'd try to take a picture of the trailing pack and this is what happened:

I took a picture of some parked cars. Oops. And apparently the person next to me. I guess I'm not all that great at running photo taking. In truth, I was trying to take photos and just be relaxed while running in order to try to avoid racing. I have to tell you that it's really hard not to race when there are 5,000 other people out there who actually are racing!

I did the first mile in about 10:02, which was both good and bad. Good because I think it's a decent time, but bad because this was supposed to be a recovery run, not a run where I was posting good times! In an effort to try to slow myself down, I took another picture of the "regular" runners coming back in towards the finish:

Except that the photo taking tactic was useless. By the time I got to the mile marker for Mile 2, I was running even faster (I think it was about 19:30). So, in an effort to try to slow myself down more, I stopped at the water station between miles 2 and 3 to get a drink of water and walk for a couple seconds. I didn't really need the water, but I could tell that my legs were exhausted and I was trying to do them a favor.

By the time I could see the mile marker for Mile 3, I was ready to sprint and be done with the race. Which isn't to say that I wasn't having a good time. That was the problem - it was a great race! There were bands/bagpipers/marching bands every couple of blocks playing tunes and it was a fairly hilly course, but it was all just so much fun. I think it really was hitting home how nice it is to get out and run somewhere new where you don't know every single little hill (like I do in the Park now).

I made myself wait until after I passed the 3 Mile mark and then a couple more stop lights before I started sprinting. I was really surprised at how much I wanted to sprint at the end - so, finally I did and it felt great to sprint to the finish. I know that this was the exact opposite of a recovery run and I'm guessing that my legs are going to be exhausted as a result, but it was nice to just have fun while running - as a stark contrast to yesterday.

The best part of the race? The weird green bagels they were handing out at the end:

I had a great time at this race and I'm really glad that I went all the way uptown for it. Even though I was trying not to race, I still ended up with a really good time (for me) since it's under 10 minutes a mile. I think that because I was having so much fun with the bands and the course and taking pictures that I just forgot that I was supposed to be doing a recovery run. I'm hoping that I don't pay the cost too dearly. I plan on doing lots of leg compressing today to try to speed along the recovery that I didn't really do today. Hopefully that will be the magic trick!

Time: 30:23
Distance: 3.10 miles
Pace: 9:48/mile
Calories: 387
Maximum HR: 187
Average HR: 175

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