The Race to Deliver was my first race since I started running again, and it was only the second time that I'd run outside since then (the first time was just a week prior!). I had been a bit hesitant about running outdoors since my injury since maybe running on the pavement had added to the stress reaction, but I was excited to finish my 9+1 qualifier for the 2011 NYC Marathon and was ready to do my best and have an easy run. But with a new Girl Talk album on my iPod, an easy run was just not possible.
I love living so close to the start line of most of the NYRR races -- I can walk over there five minutes before the race starts and don't have to wait around in the cold. It was pretty cold that morning too, about 40 degrees, but my trusty Runner's World "What Should I Wear?" tool told me two layers on top, shorts, and gloves would be all I needed. I arrived at the start line and saw people in running tights, fleeces, hats, mittens and more, and I doubted my clothing choice. After all, there's not too much sun on the four-mile course, and it wasn't even 40 degrees out yet! But once I got a mile in, I knew I'd made the right decision -- I even took off my gloves and wished I had one less layer on top. And...I was going fast! My Garmin (map and splits to come!) even said I was sub-9:00 pace for a couple of miles, so I gunned it pretty much the whole race, hoping to improve my previous 4-mile PR of 36:00...and I did! By one whole second! I really do have a thing for improving times by mere seconds this year. I'm going to take that as a sign that I should work on my speed workouts.
On top of the race last weekend, I also volunteered the day before at the Knickerbocker 60K -- yes, SIXTY kilometers, as in 37.2 miles, as in 11 miles on top of a marathon! The people in the race (all 214 of them) started at 8 a.m., ran 1.2 miles, then ran nine loops of a four-mile course. Talk about monotony! The volunteers and I would yell out the numbers of the runners as they came by each loop, encouraging them -- I loved seeing the smile on their faces as they ran past us! We had quite a few people come up and ask us what was happening, how far 60 kilometers was, what on EARTH would possess a person to run such a distance, etc. It was really fun to watch, but it's not something I ever plan on doing in the future!
As for my running, I've been having some weird pain in the left leg again (in a totally different place from the stress reaction), but I ran 4.5 miles on the treadmill over Thanksgiving and felt pretty good! I think I'm finally getting back into it, but I feel like I need/want something to train for to get me doing those speed workouts and long runs. I honestly really enjoy running in the cold, but I don't live anywhere near the Westside Highway anymore and I'm not the biggest fan of Central Park's hills, so I don't know how much I'll get outside this winter. Hopefully I can run along the East River at least a little bit!
Here's to a running-filled and injury-free winter!