Sunday, December 4, 2011

NYRR's Join the Voices 5M

Fantastic run this morning! I truly enjoyed every step of nyrr's five mile Join the Voices race. I don't know if it was challenging my friends to the Gridiron Classic in Feb or the inspiration I've taken from Kristin Armstrong's Mile Markers. This book has completely changed my attitude towards running and made me appreciate the time I'm able to dedicate to something I love so much. I'll write my review of the book soon but don't wait for it. Just know I think everyone should go pick up a copy!

Back to the race. I left my apartment 5 minutes late and walked down to the start at 67th and West Drive. I arrived and walked into the corrals just as they were giving the race instruction and moving people forward. I didn't have time to get a signal on my garmin before we started so my watch didn't pick up the full distance but that's not the biggest deal.

I picked up two different groups of people I wanted to stay with. I used to pick one but usually fell behind them so now I pick two and try to stay in between them or at least near the slower group. My groups were both wearing neon pink so I had no problem spotting them each mile to check in and see how I was doing. I tried to stay aware of how my body was feeling and my effort level instead of worrying about the numbers on the timing clocks or on my watch. I am so proud of myself for not looking at my watch even once during the race!

I like to set mini goals for myself even during these shorter races. My first goal was to make it "up and over" (as Kristin Armstrong's running coach Cassie reminds their running group) Cat Hill. It came about a mile and a half into the race and I was quiet feeling loose yet but I wanted it so bad today. Up, up, up and suddenly I was over! I think Coach Cassie would be proud that I didn't just run up the hill then take a walk break but instead kept running right on over.

As we made our way up the East side the course was flat and easy until we hit 96th st. Then came a slow and steady incline up to the 102nd St Transverse. I love this hill and feel so strong every time I get to the top. Round the corner at the top and we were already 3 miles into the race. More than halfway and my body was feeling controlled and ready for more. Good thing too because up next were the hills of West Drive.

The first hill right around 100th st is always a killer. For what ever reason this hill beats me mentally every time I run it! About a quarter of the way up I was already feeling its wrath and fighting for it when a gentleman changed the entire race for me.

"Enjoy this hill!" cheered a volunteer with his British accent, "It's a lovely hill!" He said this at the exact moment I needed a little push and it instantly became my mantra for the rest of the race. Each remaining hill I approached I looked up to the top thinking, "it's a lovely hill" and as I climbed I repeated, "enjoy this hill, enjoy this hill." Not only did I climbed every hill without needing my usual walk breaks but it kept a smile on my face for each hill!

Suddenly we'd finished all the hills and were running along the lake between 79th and 72nd. The finish line was just around the corner and my legs were strong. I had enough left for a quick sprint to the finish and "through" the finish line I went. Another Coach Cassie saying it to run through your end point instead of to it.
They're so fast!

A 5 mile PR and a run that I truly loved. I couldn't ask for a better Sunday morning!

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