10K is an awesome distance to race.
You don’t have to prepare for months and think about mid-run fueling strategies like with a half marathon, but it still feels like a challenging distance and you feel accomplished when it’s over.
Despite the fact that it was 70 degrees today (make up your mind, Mother Nature!) it was below 40 degrees when we left for the start line yesterday morning, and that, my friends, is COLD. My body is not used to running in the cold yet – two weeks ago I ran a half marathon in a tank top and capri pants – and racing in 40 degrees was a challenge.
It wasn’t the best race I’ve ever run, nor was it the most fun I’ve ever had at a race, but I did it with friends and ran hard to get a PR, so all in all, it was a good day.
We got to Prospect Park around 6:45am for a 7:30am race start. We hit the portapotties – I got a brand new portapotty as soon as it was opened, which totally made my day because it was spotlessly clean – and then set off to find my friends. My mom was doing the race with me, along with three friends from college who now live in Brooklyn. My dad was also there for moral support and to be our group photographer.
The atmosphere in the park, like at most race start lines, was energetic and charged with adrenaline. But it was freezing cold. We could see our breath in the air and we wore extra layers, including gloves and hats, for as long as we could before we had to give them up to bag check (or to Dad.)
I mentioned in my previous post that I somehow ended up in corral 2 and was pretty nervous about that. I stood at the very back of the corral and it wasn’t too bad – once we started running everyone spread out and I wasn’t trampled by faster runners.
I just couldn’t get over how cold it was. My toes were numb until about mile 1.5 and I wore my gloves and headband until mile 3. Even after I’d warmed up, we took a turn up a hill and it got chilly again. Another thing that bothered me about the race itself was that it was billed as having bands all along the course, and we were advised not to bring headphones so that we could enjoy the rock music, which is the whole novelty of doing a Rock ‘n’ Roll series race. I was disappointed at how infrequent the music was, and really wished I’d brought my headphones along for the (seemingly) long stretches in between the bands and DJs where there was no music at all. Why couldn’t they have put speakers in more sections of the course to blast the music the whole way, even in between the music stops? I run with music 90% of the time and not having music during a race made it really feel like a struggle to run hard and fast. I had to push myself to keep running faster and had no distraction when my stomach started to cramp up or we approached an intimidating hill.
Other than that though, the day was bright and sunny, and Prospect Park was beautiful. We also ran outside the park for a bit and passed the Grand Army arch.
Once I hit mile 5, I was ready to stop running. My hands were cold, my lungs were burning, and I had a side stitch. The fact that the finish line was in sight and I was finally sprinting towards it can be the only explanation for the smile on my face in the photo below.
Almost as soon as I’d crossed the finish line and gotten my medal, I turned around and Chloe and Lars were right behind me. They’re speed demons – they were two corrals behind me (probably where I should have been) and they caught up to me, doing the race 4 minutes faster. It was great to run into them there because we were able to get a race photo all together.
Official time: 55:48! The only other 10K I’ve raced was in Milan in March but there was no official time for that race. The Runkeeper app on my phone told me that my time for it was 57:42. That’s an almost 2-minute PR! This was also the first time I’ve ever raced less at than a 9 minute-per-mile pace, and even though it was only by one second, it’s still nice to see that 8 in front of my pace.
We found my dad and then met up with my mom and Emily after they crossed the finish line, and stocked up on post race goodies like granola bars, coconut water, and even ice cream bars. (Although it was way too cold for that, if you ask me!)
The medal is really pretty, and very heavy too. There was a booth at the finish line festival where you could pay to get it engraved on the back with your name and finish time, which my mom and I did. It was a splurge but I’m still glad I did it!
We slowly piled back on our many layers of clothing as we cooled down, and headed over to the beer garden, which was right next to the bandstand where the post-race concert was being held.
None of us particularly felt like drinking beer at 10am but we had a few sips for posterity…and because it was free!
This month has felt like racing mania. I did the NYRR Fitness Games 4-miler on September 15th as part of my training for the Hamptons Half Marathon on September 29th. Yesterday’s 10K was my third race in a month. I’m looking forward to taking a break from racing and scaling back on the mileage a bit as the days get shorter and chillier.
Later that afternoon I had the opportunity to go to a cooking demo at Eataly. The demo was part of a three day event in which many all-star chefs, both from Italy and from NYC, gave cooking demonstrations, tastings, and dinners.
Disclaimer: I work at Eataly but I’m blogging about it for fun – all opinions are my own and don’t represent those of the company.
The event that I went to featured two Italian chefs, Antonio Guida and Cesare Casella. Both chefs prepared their dishes and explained the process as they went along, and then we were served the dishes paired with wines to taste for ourselves.
Awesome job perk? You can say that again.
Chef Guida prepared hake fish with whipped baccalà (salted cod), shiso sauce and Italian caviar, which was paired with a sparking rosé:
Chef Casella prepared a warm salad of organic soft scrambled eggs, guanciale, pancetta, greens, and two types of Italian caviar (that black spotted ingredient in the photo below is actually hard caviar that comes in a block, like butter, and is then shaved onto the dish), paired with a sparking white wine:
We were also sent home with a packet of recipes, and a parmesan cheese knife since the event was being sponsored by Grano Padano, a cheese producer. But my favorite part of the goodies we took home was a booklet published by Grano Padano about fueling for the NYC Marathon with parmesan cheese!
It so perfectly combined two of my favorite things in the world: running and delicious Italian food.
The NYC Marathon is in exactly three weeks. I’ve lived in NYC my whole life, and minus the four years I was away at college and last year when I was teaching English in Sicily, I’ve been here for every NYC marathon in my lifetime. But I have never once watched it – not in person, not on television. I didn’t live near the marathon course and I didn’t know anyone who was a runner, so it just wasn’t on my radar. But this year, not only is it on my radar because I’m planning to run it in 2014 (by doing the 9+1 qualifying races in 2013), but I’m also volunteering as an Italian interpreter. What better way to combine my enthusiasm about running with my dorkiness about speaking Italian at every possible opportunity, and surely meet some fascinating international runners in the process? I’m volunteering at the Expo at the Javits Center on Saturday afternoon, and then all day on Sunday at the marathon finish line on 72nd Street & Central Park West. I’m so excited to be at the finish line and see all those runners accomplish the mammoth feat of running 26.2 miles in the greatest city on earth. And to watch them knowing that in two years, as impossible as it seems now, that will be me!Follow Marathons and Macarons: