Sunday, December 1, 2013

Holiday Run Streak and Hot Chocolate 10K

We're going streaking!!!
Okay, not that kind of streaking. I'm doing the 2013 Runner's World  Holiday Running Streak as a way to stay active, fit and sane during the busiest time of the year. I generally have no trouble staying active when I'm home, but we're going away for Christmas this year to Mexico and I tend to get very comfortable with frolicking on the beach and swimming and forget to run when on vacation. I thought this would also be a good way to bump up my mileage, something I've been wanting to do but was having a hard time scheduling. With the streak, I hope to find new chunks of time in each day to fit in a little run and hopefully I'll carry some of them over into the new year. I'm already enjoying getting outside in the evening when I'd otherwise be getting comfy on the couch with some tea because it is dark outside at 5pm here.
For anyone who has never heard of a "running streak" the rules are simple:
Run every day between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day
Run at least 1 mile each day

My streak started out innocent enough, I got up and braved the cold, windy morning in NJ for a progressive 5 miles through the neighborhood. I saw FIVE other runners out there, a record high for the area. I was so excited to see other people layered up out there, working up an appetite for Thanksgiving dinner! Day 1: 5.01 mi, 8:09 avg pace.

Day 2 brought company- my husband joined me for a walk around the neighborhood on a beautiful, sunny morning. He walked along while I ran ahead, clocking a quick 7:54 mile in the middle of our almost 3 mile walk. Dave has agreed to join me for the streak, but his goal isn't running 1 mile, it is walking at least 30 mins or hitting the gym. I'm excited for company and a buddy to help with motivation.

Day 3 brought my first little moment of "wahh, I don't feel like running" which I quickly pushed aside when I realized it was barely 5:00pm and I had no other plans for the evening and would be loafing around for the next 5 hrs. I threw on the same clothes from my Friday run/walk (they barely got sweaty) and threw on a headlamp and vest to fight the cold and wind. It turned out to be a beautiful, sparkly run around my neighborhood. My goal was really to loosen up enough to be able to stretch well when I got home, so I kept going until I hit 2 miles and really felt warmed up. 2.02 miles at 9:04 pace - welcome back home to the hills of Washington Heights. Dave went out for a walk at the same time and was enjoying himself so much that he stayed out for an hour!

Day 4- I didn't even have to think about the streak today because I had my last race of the season all planned. Today was the Hot Chocolate 10K in Riverside Park by NYCRuns. I couldn't pass up a race in Riverside park in Morningside Heights, so close to home that I got there on the 1 train in 15 mins. NYCRuns puts on a great race and I was excited to get in a 10K this year to see if I could top my 10K PR (45:52) which was set during the NYC Triathlon in 2010- ridiculous, right? Who has a run PR from a 100 degree triathlon? Clearly it was time to run a 10K again. It was chilly today, but about 15 degrees warmer than last weekend in VCP and there were no 40mph wind gusts to contend with- excellent. I wore shorts because the temp was around 40, but I think they were too short and my ass was frozen within minutes of my starting to warm up. Capris next time, got it. Anyway, it was a beautiful morning in Riverside park with leaves on the ground and sun streaming through the buildings up on Riverside Drive. I arrived in time to see the 5K runners rolling over the hills as they headed south. The 10 would be 2 loops of the 5K course, which I'm pretty familiar with from my days coaching Young Runners on 110th and Broadway, just up the hill, so I thought I knew what I was in for. Of course, I stopped coaching like 3 years ago and haven't run there too much since, so I had a rude reminder of how much the west side rolls. Anyway, I made some buddies during the race and we lamented not signing up for the 5K as we battled the hills between miles 2-3. There weren't many other women around (there were only 2 ahead of me) so I worked hard to stay with the boys who were no doubt vying for a age group awards. It was a really fun race, I knew I needed to stay around 7:15-7:20 in order to PR, but I also had the added pressure of being in the top 3 women through the entire race. No way was I letting that slip away and the out and back course is great for eyeing up the competition behind you. I enjoyed this aspect of the race, but I also really enjoyed the cheers from my friends at NYC Runs who were yelling and hollering as I entered my second loop and as I neared the finish- thanks Wallis and David! I also spotted a fellow Inwood Hill Runner, Jennifer, posted as a volunteer at the top of the nastiest hill and I was grateful for her cheering and motivation each time I passed. When I passed her for the last time, I was going into the downhill and flat last half mile or so and I picked up some speed. I was running hard to keep up with the guys around me and enjoyed the back and forth as we made our way toward the finish. I was stoked to cross the finish line in a new PR (45:09 according to the clock!) and in 3rd place for women. My goal had been to get sub 45:00, but I think I should save that for a flat course!
The numbers:
6.2miles, 45:09, 7:17 pace
3rd female overall, 12th overall out of 236 runners
1st in my age group, meaning I was beat by 2 women in their 20's. Bastards. ;)
Damn you, hilly mile 4. 
There was delicious hot chocolate (I used my new mug!), apples and bagels at the finish and people stuck around for the awards and mingled. It was a really nice day and once I got my long pants back on over my shorts, I was able to enjoy myself a bit more.

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