After RSVP-ing, YES, to the Chobani-Physique 57-Lashinda Demus event last Saturday and agreeing to run 2 or 3 miles with Laura beforehand, during her 32 mile Madhattan Ultra, I did NOT have high hopes for the Join The Voices 5 mile race on Sunday morning. For the record, I may have actually ran 5 miles with Laura and not the planned 2 or 3. What can I say? I had a blast running with her and Stephanie and literally could NOT stop running).
Beth (@RxBethOnTheRun) December 01, 2012
I had already intended to run the race Garmin-free, and was running in memory of my friend’s brother who passed away from a brain tumor. I decided to throw any goal I may have had out the window and run the race for fun. No expectations! I planned on starting the race with Annie and Kara and would keep up with them for as long as my legs would allow. Then something magical happened. I kept up with them, for ALL 5 MILES! It was such a great feeling, never giving up, or slowing down, even when my stomach started mildly cramping around mile 3-3.5. In fact, our pace seemed to pick up by then, which I obviously didn’t find out until the race was over.
But let’s start from the beginning!
Kara and I met up before the race and walked over to Central Park together, chatting up a storm. I feel like she and I could talk forever and like we never have enough time together. I wish we lived closer.
Annie, Kara and I met up with Jen and Nicole before the race and ran into Erica as we made our way to the seemingly empty corrals. I mean, empty for a New York Road Runners race, anyhow. It was probably the smallest New York Road Runners race I have seen in my year of 9+1 racing.
I must admit, it was sort of fun waiting for the start without worrying about losing my signal or going into power save mode on my Garmin. As we began to run, it was freeing, liberating, not knowing, or caring, about what my pace was. Kara told me not to look at her watch during the race, but, surprisingly, I didn’t even want to.
The first mile seemed to fly by without anyone even noticing. I was excited to hear my name after the first mile and delighted to turn and see Bernadette’s pretty, smiling face and get a high five from her speedy BF. We ran with them for about a half of a second. I mean, come on people, do you KNOW how fast she can run? I told her how much I loved her neon, pink vest and she was off. By the way, if you’re reading this B, where did you get that vest?
I typically race alone because, quite frankly, racing with friends makes me very nervous. But, this time it was pretty awesome having friends to run with. The conversation seemed to make me almost forget we were running a race. What? Did you think I was going to say it made me totally forget? C’mon! For those of you that have run the hills of Central Park, you know you can’t totally forget.
Just before mile 3, Abby was waiting for us and jumped in on the East Side of the 102nd Street Transverse. This was a surprise because I didn’t intend to see her until we made our way to the West Side. I was so excited to see her. She asked me if I knew what our pace was and I told her I didn’t and not to tell me, I still didn’t want to know. Of course, now our pace started to pick up a little more. If you haven’t heard, she’s FAST! Thankfully she is still recovering from the Philly Marathon, or I think I would have been in big trouble. She asked how I was feeling and, at that point, I was feeling surprisingly good, minus the mild stomach cramping. My legs were aching a little, and I was definitely feeling the after effects of the Physique 57 workout at this point, but I thought of my friend’s brother, and how he never gave up and always kept fighting, and I kept going. I would have been happy to slow my pace a little at this point and previously would have let Annie and Kara go on without me, but not today. Today I was determined to keep up and finish the race with them. Today I was determined to be strong and never give up, just like my friend’s brother.
At mile 4, just as she tweeted she would be, Jocelyn was there cheering and smiling for us. I didn’t know she was going to jump in also, but I was so excited she did. I actually got SO excited that I got a little nauseous from trying to wave and call her name and push the pace all at the same time.
I beamed with pride as I flashed my Garmin-less wrist at Abby and Jocelyn. This was the best feeling, running Garmin-free, something I’m doing for the month of December.
That last mile seemed to fly by. It was so much fun running with everyone and, if you remember, that’s where that sweet downhill part of Central Park is, for which I am extremely thankful. It felt great to finally crest over that last rolling hill and reach the “promised land” and know it was almost all downhill from there. Until the end, of course, where it flattens out and you have to sprint, with all of your might, through the finish. People were on the sides cheering, saying “Finish Strong,” and that’s all I could think about at that moment. I saw Jen right before the finish, cheering for me, but I couldn’t even wave. I was trying to finish strong. To be honest, I was in that “I just want to stop running and be done” moment that propels you through the finish line and I just took off.
After training and running together for a large part of this year, this was the first race that Annie and I crossed the finish line together and it was awesome!
I am so thankful that Annie and Kara ran the whole race with me. I couldn’t have done it without them. Thanks to Abby and Jocelyn for jumping in and running and for pushing me through the last two miles and making them fly by. If you haven’t read their amazing race recaps from the Philly Marathon, go read them now and congratulate them! Abby qualified for Boston (at her first marathon) and Jocelyn rocked her first (of many, obviously) sub-4 marathon.
My original goal for this race, before the Physique 57/Chobani event and before accidentally running 5 miles with Laura on Saturday, was to run this race sub-50 minutes. After crossing the finish line, Kara’s watch told us we ran 5 miles in 49:48 ( and I cried, naturally) and Annie’s told us we ran 4.98 in 50:11. Final answer? According to New York Road Runners official results: 50:11. A mere 12 seconds off my goal. With a longer run than I typically do the day before a race, and an intense strength workout, I’ll take it! What a blissfully happy, fun run!
Today was, quite possibly, one of my favorite races this year. Except for the NYC Half Marathon, of course. Oh, did I mention this was race #9? Not a bad way to finish out 9+1 and earn myself a spot in the 2013 NYC Marathon, if I so choose to take it. Stay tuned!
Do you prefer to race alone or with friends?
Are you running anymore races in 2012?
Do you like running with or without a watch?
Have you ever gone into a race with no expectations and surprised yourself?