There was a 16 miler on the calendar for this weekend but I decided to sign up for the Fitness 4M. Why did I think this was a good plan? Maybe because I'm a glutton for punishment (but isn't that a requirement for running anyway?) For the record, only break up a long run for a long race. 4 miles wasn't even worth it, but now I'll know better for next time. On top of that, brunch plans were made that I really wanted to attend. All of these totally appealing factors meant one really early wake up call, which turned out to be not as painful as I thought. I'm actually a fan of beating the heat and the crowds. Who knew?
Finding a bathroom that early proved to be the pain in the ass part. TWC was opened for employees but the bathroom was locked. Boo. I found a lady at the entrance of the park who offered to run with me to the ones by 59th. Those seemed to be locked also, judging from the person who was relieving themselves right outside the door to it (Welcome to New York!), so we decided not to go there. I started a very dark run by myself and I think it was the first time I didn't feel that safe in the park. It was eerily empty. I made my way to 72nd cautiously. I found the portapotties for the race (score!) and thats about when the sun started to come up so I felt better about running alone. More runners started showing up, but it was still quiet and peaceful. I could definitely get used to running earlier, if I can find open bathrooms!
By the time I got back to the southern end of the park, I still had time to squeeze in another mile before the race (score!) and jump in the corrals with 15 minutes to spare. I ran to the finish line and only 20 minutes into the men's race, there were a ton of finishers. Homo say what?! That's a 5 minute mile, crazy! And they weren't even Kenyans. I took my slow behind and went back to the start.
The 4 miles of the race totally sucked. I felt like I should be running faster like everyone else, but I had to make myself realize that this was my 10th mile, not my first. I finished and continued to get the rest of my miles in. Those were painful and no fun. I wanted to be finished when everyone else was! and the lower loop was starting to get over-crowded. Bleh.
Since I ran more earlier, I had time to stop by the Fitness Games Expo. It was really cute and a pleasant surprise (I was unfamiliar with the event). The gift bag was nice; it had a Fitness magazine, headphones, raisins and some other stuff. Birkenstock was the most popular booth, but there were tons of other ones. Live music and group classes. It was a nice Saturday event for everyone.
16 miles done! My hips didn't bother me at all this time, which was a pleasant surprise. Random knee pain? Not so much. I also concentrated on keeping my form which I'm sure helped a lot. Who knew?
As I keep getting higher in the miles, I'm starting to understand the concept of runner's wanting to do farther distances; marathons, ultras and tris. Getting to see how far your body can take you is kind of amazing. I never thought I could get through a 5K let alone a half marathon. Then I was content with half marathons and didn't think I could actually get through a full. It took me an entire year to register for a full and up until about yesterday to admit that I can actually do one. It's actually fun getting to new distances you've never done before. Saturday I felt like I needed to enjoy my run more because that was my 1st 16 miler; I'd never get to have another 1st one. Hopefully that thought process will continue to resonate in the rest of my training. Instead of wishing for death :-)