The races with the least expectations always turn out to be the best. Don’t you agree? I signed up for the last race of the year because Abby and Kim signed up and I thought it would be a great way to end an amazing year of racing. Let me clarify, I was not racing the New York Road Runners Ted Corbitt 15K. I signed up with the promise of a fun race with friends and a drunk bunch to follow. How can you say no to that?
I convinced Ashley and Kara to sign up somewhere along the way. I know I convinced Ashley to sign up over wine. I think I convinced Kara on a random Wednesday morning at work. I lured them in with the same promise of a fun race with friends and even more fun post-race brunch. Thankfully, this wasn’t a tough sell.
I woke up an hour and a half before the start of the race; a welcomed change from the New York City Marathon when I had to get up almost 5 hours before I started running. I almost threw up and spent way more time in the bathroom than I care to discuss. Needless to say, I didn’t have high hopes for this race and was less than thrilled to be heading to Central Park for almost 10 miles.
Only Kara, Ashley and I were going to run together as Kim ended up not being able to run the race. The race conditions were much like the Race to Deliver; 20 something degrees with a feels like temperature in the teens. The only difference for the 15K was that it was snowing. Despite the snow flying in my face and icicles in my hair, I actually loved running in the snow. Central Park was picture perfect; a winter wonderland. It was beautiful and definitely put us in the holiday spirit. I sang Winter Wonderland and Jingle Bells with Kara and Ashley along the race course. My apologies to the runners around us; I have a terrible voice.
The race was two of the loops of Central Park. For those of you who know Central Park, the first loop was the four mile loop and the second loop was the lower five mile loop. As we were running past the finish line, completing the first loop, the winner of the race ran alongside of us and through the finish line. Yup! The winner finished 9.3 miles in the time it took us to run just over four. It was pretty amazing to see him finish but we were definitely a little jealous that he was already done when we still had the five mile loop ahead of us.
We made our way back to the west side of Central Park and started tackling the rolling hills for the second time. They didn’t feel too bad to me during this race. In fact, during the first loop, I didn’t even notice the middle hill. After we made our way to the lower loop, and back around to the east side, I tried to pep everyone up. I told them that we only had one more hill to climb and then there were no more hills. We made our way up Cat Hill for the second time and Ashley took off ahead of us around mile 8.5. I knew she was just ready to be finished. I think at this point we were all about ready to be finished. It was a great race and so much fun running together but our feet were wet and it was getting colder and we were ready for champagne at brunch. No, that was just me?
Kara and I ran our last New York Road Runners race together last year too. I’m starting to like this tradition.
Not to mention, I love running with Kara. It’s also the second year in a row that Kara ran my 9th race with me. You know, the race that gets me into the New York City Marathon again next year. No big deal.
Anyway, I digress. We saw the mile 9 sign and knew we only had 0.3 miles left to go. We picked up the pace for the last part of the race and once again crossed the finish line together. That last 0.3 miles felt like it went on for an eternity. Why does 0.3 miles seem to so long? We crossed the finish line and just like that another year of racing came to a close.
I found myself overcome with gratitude and emotion after crossing the finish line. The realization that the year of racing was now over literally brought me to tears. 2013 has been nothing short of incredible. I never want this year to end. My brother gave me a pep talk once the race was over. He said, “what if this year was just the beginning and 2014 could be even better?” Why does he always know exactly what to say? He definitely inherited all of that DNA. I know there’s truth in what he said, but have you ever had such an amazing year that you feel like you never want it to end?
This was the first time I ran a 15K. I really liked the distance; which makes sense because I love the 10 mile race distance. It’s always cool to end the year with a new race distance. This race went far better than expected. I had text Kara earlier in the week to inquire about whether walk breaks would be allowed, if necessary. Turns out that none of us actually needed a walk break. We had a blast running in the snow and even made a few friends along the way. I didn’t wear my watch. It’s officially off until training starts again for a, to be determined, spring race. I was pleasantly surprised to see our splits post-race. We ran a pretty good race, all things considered.
Mile 1: 10:32
Mile 2: 10:08
Mile 3: 10:19
Mile 4: 10:09
Mile 5: 10:16
Mile 6: 10:14
Mile 7: 10:07
Mile 8: 10:06
Mile 9: 9:50
Last 0.5 miles: 8:57
*What? I always overrun a race course! One day I’ll learn how to run tangents. Saturday wasn’t that day. Obviously.*
Official Time: 1:36:10 (10:19 avg pace/mile)
We even negative split the race and had some nice splits for the last five miles. A perfect progression run for the second half. And an 8:57 pace for the last 0.5 miles after not doing speedwork for over two months? I’ll happily take that.
At mile one, I officially hit 1000 miles for 2013. Last year, I ran 750 miles. Running 1000 miles in a year feels pretty cool. It’s like basically running to Florida. I can’t wait to see what my final total will be at the end of the year, in just two short weeks. How did that happen already? I ’m excited and hopeful for what’s possible in 2014. This year has definitely taught me that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE!
Did you race this weekend?
Do you like ending the year with a race?
Any exciting races coming up for 2014?
Do you love or hate running in the snow?