Ah, the 13.1 New York. I have such a love-hate relationship with this race.
Honestly, I hate it. The course sucks. The on course support is only ok. And the weather seems to be iffy every year.
But, three years in a row I’ve run this race. And 3 years in a row I’ve gotten a new PR. (I think it’s largely due to how much the course sucks and just wanting the darn race to be over with – faster I run, the faster I’m done!)
The two nice things about this race are 1) it’s local, so no crazy early morning wake up call and 2) I’ve been able to meet up with friends running the race every year. In 2012 I met up with my friend Alex, last year I ran the race with Daniel and Pat and this year Kellie and I met up before the start of the race!
I have to admit that going into this race I wasn’t expecting or planning to try to run for a PR time. So before you hate me for being one of those people who “didn’t mean to PR” let me explain exactly what my plan was (because believe it or not, there was a plan).
After being inspired by my friend Christine’s amazing half marathon PR and watching all her hard work following a training plan pay off, I decided I was going to spend a few weeks following a plan, doing speed work and working towards a goal race for a PR attempt.
I’m basing my plan off the Run Less, Run Faster book. Basically you choose your realistic goal time and training plan off a race prediction table based on a recent 5k or 10k race time. Well since I’ve never actually run a 5k or 10k for time (Disney races aside since those definitely weren’t an accurate race time reflection) I decided I’d go out fast for this half and just see how long I could hold a hard (for me) pace. I figured from there I’d get an accurate idea of what pace I could use for a 5k or 10k time on the race predictor chart.
Yes, I realized this is an incredibly stupid plan. Yes, I realize the rest of my race could completely suck if I was totally spent after just 10k. No, this is not a plan recommended by anyone who knows anything about running. No, you probably should not follow this race day plan.
So, there we were at the starting line, me and my not-so-smart race day strategy…
…the National Anthem played and as we crossed the staring line I wished Kellie a good race and we parted ways.
Did I mention the part of the plan where I decided I would run on feel and only look at my Garmin as I passed each mile marker?
So I took off at a comfortably hard pace. I had no idea what that pace was until I got to mile 1…8:29. Oops. That was definitely faster than I had in mind. My previous half PR pace was 9:05 min/mile so I was thinking more around 9 min/mile for my “run hard” part of the race.
I tried to rein in the pace a little, but kept running fairly hard. I was surprised to see the miles ticking away all under 9 min/mile and I got to the 10k split with a 8:45 min/mile average.
Now that I had my 10k pace to plug into my training plan I gave myself permission to slow down at any time.
But I had kind of been pacing myself off this guy in front of me in a bright red shirt and I think I had sort of locked into autopilot following the red shirt and I just kept going…
By the way, did I mention this course sucks?
We basically ran this crappy winding loopy mess (below) twice.
We ran up and over a small (but brutal) overpass and then back up and over going back. And then did it again on the second loop. That damn overpass sucks.
We ran through a gross muddy area where the lake had flooded (twice) and then had to jump up this big curb to avoid another flooded area (again, twice).
All the while I kept the red shirt in my view. I tried to avoid doing any mental math figuring out my time if I kept up this pace, I really wanted to be ok with backing off if it felt like too much at any point since I really hadn’t trained for this.
I kept running hard. The miles ticked by. I cursed the damn overpass. I splashed through the mud. And the red shirt was still there.
At the mile 12 marker I finally did the math and realized that even if I slowed to a walk for this last mile I’d most likely still end up with a PR.
I think I was giggling to myself the last half mile since the whole thing was kind of ridiculous. As I turned down the home stretch I could see the clock counting towards 1:55 and figured, what the heck, may as well go for it.
With a final kick I crossed the finish line in 1:54:42.
An 8:45 min/mile pace and 4 minute 23 second PR.
Well that was unexpected.
I learned a lot during this race though. I plan on writing a separate post about it, but basically I realized that sometimes I need to push myself out of my comfort zone. When I do I often surprise myself with what I’m capable of…like running 13.1 miles, ALL of them under 9 minute miles. Who knew!?
Oh, and I found the guy in the red shirt after the race and thanked him for his unofficial pacing services!
You are amazing. Great race Danielle and congrats on your new PR!
Like I said before, if I didn’t like you so much, your amazing race performance would probably annoy me! Congrats on a new PR! I feel like you said something similar about Marine Corps re: pushing yourself. I am excited to follow along with your training and see where some speed work will take you! 🙂
Thanks Christine. It’s true, I think I just get kind of lazy and figure running 13.1 miles is impressive enough, why worry too much about time, but when I actually do push myself I’m always surprised!
Wow, that’s seriously amazing … congratulations! I’ve been so slow and bad at training ever since WDW Marathon Weekend, so I need to read stuff like this for inspiration. I hope you used your medal to open a few frosty beverages … you deserve them!
Honestly, my training hasn’t been great since Marathon Weekend either which is why I was so surprised with this time! I like to look at it as a 2 month taper preparing for this race ; )
CONGRATS! Your plan cracks me up 🙂 I’m hoping for some of that race adrenaline on race day as well! Excited to see what is in store now that you have a base to build from.
Thanks Megan! Definitely not a race day strategy recommended by ANYONE in their right mind, but it seemed to work : )
Sometimes we gotta go sans electronics to see what we can do. Great job on the PR, and the course does sound bad. I hate doing loops as I get bored easily.
Yeah, I don’t even usually mind loops that much, but this course us just a crazy mess! Yet, I’ve paid to do it 3 years in a row…go figure.
AWESOME PR!! I have to admit that this course really does look like it sucks, but it seems to agree with you 🙂 Big congrats…you deserve it!
Thanks Sarah! I know I’ve been working hard through Dopey training and all, but I was still really surprised at this PR!
Of all the things I get to say “I told you so” about, your PR is probably my favorite! Even though my race sucked, I am still glad I did it and was glad I was there to witness the beginning of your PR! …even if it was only the first 3 seconds of it lol. Congratulations again! Awesome! Amazing! Fantastic! Fabulous! And all those other good adjectives, even though I kinda hate you a little bit in a not at all sort of way! 🙂
And btw, that course TOTALLY SUUUUUUUUUUUUUCCCCCCKKKKKKSSSSS!
Haha thanks Kellie, I’m glad we got to meet up, it was fun to have someone to hangout with before the start of the race. And yeah, that course totally sucks…I know I keep going back since I keep PRing it, but I think this may have been my last year! Hope your foot’s feeling better!
Nice job, congrats! Is that medal also a bottle opener?
Too bad about the course – the 13.1 in Dallas is a really good course!
Why yes, it IS a medal/ bottle opener! Classy, right? : )
Congrats on your PR, lady!!
If you think that course sucks, try running the NYRR Queens 10k- it’s the suckiest of the sucky parts of this race.
I really need to check out that book about getting faster, I’ve read 3 different blogs referencing it today alone.
Thanks! I haven’t really used the Run Less, Run Faster book yet, but the nice thing about it is that it’s only 3 runs a week and isn’t heavy with crazy mileage like a lot of other training plans. I think something like this will work for me since I like to do stuff other than running like yoga and swimming!
Great job! Very proud!
Nice job! Who knows what you can do if your tried to PR! 😉
Haha, I think the key to the whole thing was that I wasn’t trying! If I had been I probably would have gotten nervous and totally psyched myself out! (Although I still don’t recommend this racing strategy!)
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Congrats!!! Yay #beatDan!!!!
Hey Dani… As you so astutely pointed out in a previous blog….”outside your comfort zone, that’s where the fun begins.” Awesome run…. Love dad
Congratulations!!! I love that you just threw down a huge PR! All that winter running paid off!
Thanks Karla! Honestly I was totally surprised!
Yay!!! Congrats!! Ugh, I am not a fan of loops but you totally rocked this race.
Congrats! I thought about running this race but looked at the course and thought… ehhh, that looks kind of boring LOL Glad to see I was right in my assumption of the race. BUT, if I knew you were going to be there, I might have sucked it up. Maybe next year. CONGRATS again on the PR!
Haha, I’m torn between wanting to do it again because I keep PR’ing it and wanting to NEVER SEE THIS COURSE AGAIN! Maybe we should pick a different race to meet up at ; )
Thaaaaaank you! : )
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