This past weekend was a fun last build to IMAZ for a couple reasons. First and foremost, Team That’s What She Said had 10 people running the NYC Marathon weekend. My roommate, Carly, was one of them so there was no way I was going to miss this event. Seeing as my older sister lives in NYC, it would be the perfect chance to also pay her a visit!
But before getting to NY , Ryan and I made a quick overnight stop in NJ. This allowed us to have somewhere that was not Central Park for our Saturday long ride (I did that once this year and once was enough!), and Ryan also wanted to make it to a cross country race being held in Holmdel Park – the site where he ran for a good bit of his youth. I was on the fence about running this myself. A 5k? Cross country? Yikes. Both immediately strike fear in me. And I was clearly out of my element as the rest of the runners showed up on Saturday with spikes and flats and the college girl uniforms complete with ribbons in their hair! Oh, to be young again…haha.
In the end, I did end up running, and was I happy I did! I had heard Ryan and others discussing how tough this course was – and after seeing the first mile in the warm up I knew they weren’t kidding. My first priority was to try to run a smart race and remain in control. This was just a freebie workout on the day – I still had my “real” workout ahead. I was a little more at ease though with the cross country culture than I am with a road race. $5 for a no-frills event and looking ahead to some trails to run on makes my heart happy. We lined up behind a white chalk line in a field and started the race. I hit the first mile in 7:10 and it felt okay despite having been entirely uphill. I knew there was one more big hill of note so I settled in with 2 other girls as we swung around “the bowl.”
“Settled in with 2 other girls” —-what?! I know, this seems crazy. I have to say, that after the past few weeks where I have put myself into situations running with faster people, I am finally starting to “get it.” My mind is slowly starting to understand pacing, and running fast, and the benefits of running with a little group while racing.
That being said, the real reason I did this was because CC girls are crazy! They make ultrarunners look like saints! Every time I tried to pass someone (on the left, as it should be) elbows were flying and ponytails were in my face! I was getting boxed out like….something that gets boxed out. Sheesh. So, before I got myself any more worked up and started hurdling these girls (I was probably like 2 feet taller than most girls there….it was weird) I just settled in. They were, after all, at the end of a CC season in college and were probably more aware of what they were doing and *how* to race a 5K.
This turned out to be true. After hitting the second mile with a 6:50 split and I still felt good, I let myself push the last mile in. I crossed the line in 21:00, a 57 second PR for the 5k! Granted, I have only raced a handful of 5k’s before (previous PR was set in August of last year), but I’ll take it. It almost makes me want to find a road 5K next month to see what I could do there. Note: almost.
BUT the real neat part of all of this is that I am in no way shape or form training for a 5k. To see that much improvement without meaning too is really neat. It felt good to accidentally stumble into something like that. What did not feel so good was then having to finish the weekend workouts on tired legs 🙂
After wrapping up the workouts for the day we headed into NYC to meet my sister and her husband for dinner. Sunday was going to be another long day – but it had more great results! More on that later!