Race Report | Fifth Avenue Mile

Screen shot 2013-09-24 at 9.04.12 PMThere’s nothing quite like flooring it for a mile to remind you what racing fast really feels like. One: It’s incredibly exhilarating feeling smooth, speedy and powerful. Two: After teaching myself to hold my horses for at least 13 miles in a marathon, getting to unleash them over just a mile is a rush. And three: It still manages to wipe me out after just 5,280 feet.

On race morning, after watching my friends run their heats of the Fifth Avenue Mile, I genuinely couldn’t contain my excitement for my turn. Unlike last year where I lined up with cold legs and paid for it for 800 meters, I wanted to do it right this year and give myself a chance to drop my post-collegiate PR of 5:40. So I snuck into Central Park for a few miles and did some striders with my coworkers. I won’t lie, going through the motions of prepping for a race put me right back in college, reigniting those pre-race nerves. My body and brain knew it was time to race (even if it was purely for fun!).

My favorite part of this race is the start. Since I was in the Media Heat, the field was small so the corral wasn’t jam packed like the normal ones. That meant I could put my toe right on the start line. Ahead of me was the pace truck and a straight stretch of Fifth Avenue framed by skyscrapers and elm trees from the park. For a moment, I could imagine what it’s like to be an elite. Not to mention the anticipation of tearing down the middle of a wide open NYC road was killing me.

With a 30-second warning (cue another round of adrenaline), then the gun, off we went! I think I went through the first quarter in maybe 82 or 83 (WAY too fast) and the 800 in 2:42. Then began the internal battle – I had only 800 meters to go, but man was I hurting already. I might be rusty racing distances like this, but they were tricky then and it was tricky on Sunday. To keep pushing or save something for a kick, that was the dilemma.

I held on and attempted to keep my pace, shifting into a slightly faster gear for the last 100 meters. The crowds got progressively louder and more awesome the closer I got to the finish line, so I tried to feed off their energy. I might’ve been dying inside, but I was having a blast.

And with that, it was over. Short, sweet, and seriously ass-kicking. (It’s amazing how racing a mile and cram the feeling of hitting “the wall” in a marathon into just 1,609 meters.) I ended up sneaking just under my PR, running 5:39 for a second Media Heat win in a row. The funny thing about the mile? I want to do it again, like now. It’s like riding a roller coaster. Let’s go again! Let’s go again!

My with my coworkers Budd and Robert. Thanks Erica for the shot!

My with my coworkers Budd and Robert. Thanks Erica for the photo!

The cherry on top of the cake was watching the pro race that was jam-packed with Olympians and World Champions, then sneaking in a quick congrats to Jenny Simpson (who’s back AND better than ever!) and Nick Symmonds.

This race is definitely making it’s way onto my yearly must-do list. The 20 blocks turn into a running party all morning long and it’s just flat out fun. If you want to read more about my experience, check out this post I wrote for RW’s Race Tour Book Column!

2013 Nissan Fifth Ave Mile

QUOTE OF THE POST: “I told him I was nervous about this because Brussels didn’t go well and I haven’t really raced at 1500 for a while, and he said ‘If you’re nervous, just run as far as you can.’ So that’s what I did. Sometimes the easiest instructions are the best instructions.” – Jenny Simpson to her coach Mark Wetmore before her win on Sunday

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Friday Faves | Reasons Why I Love Running

In honor of Valentine’s Day (I’m sorry, I had to give in to the chiche cheesy-ness!), this week’s list touches on some of the reasons why I LOVE to run:

  • My quirky and super-clever boss Mark Remy writes some seriously brilliant blogs every week (check it out here), but this one from Monday is one of my all-time favorites“The Most Important Word In Running”
  • Fellow Sister in Sport chica Morgan (@MoHoSjo) ran a speedy indoor 3K this past weekend and wrote a recap that made my feet literally itch to get back on the track. On running her PR: “A new PR flashes on the screen and I take in a long sweet drag of doing something that I have never done before…In the past I would run a PR and immediately begin thinking ahead to what I needed to run next. I absorb the moment, allow the endorphins to keep me up smiling all night, and I am delighted with the possibilities on the horizon but content with things as they are.” – Read the rest of “Breaking Speed Limits” here.
  • Here’s the most brilliant use of halftime during a basketball game ever:  
     
    Read more about the halftime mile at the University of Portland here.
  • This awesomeness via @TheRunnerProbs:
    BCykt8NCUAAVhZT
  • And also this via @ihaverun:life is like a marathon
  • Even though Valentine’s Day is SO NOT my holiday (and that I’m a day late now), I have to share this runner-inspired Valentine’s Day gift guide via Running For Dummies“How To Win Her Running Heart”. A sneak peek:

    giftguide

    I NEED those undies!

QUOTE OF THE POST: “Running has always been a relief and a sanctuary—something that makes me feel good, both physically and mentally. For me it’s not so much about the health benefits. Those are great, but I believe that the best thing about running is the joy it brings to life.” – Kara Goucher

What do you love about running? 

Race Report | Lehigh Covert Classic Indoor Mile

Reunited! The itch satisfied at last.

Reunited! The itch satisfied at last.

Here’s a quick race recap for my quick, debut track race as a Lehigh alum – the mile!

Once I arrived, I won’t lie when I say it felt surreal going through the pre-race routine again – I warmed up through campus with a teammate, hit the bathroom, cheered on the 5-K girls, hit the bathroom again, stretched out, picked up my hip numbers, stretched some more, went on one final bathroom trip, laced up the spikes, shed my layers, slapped on the numbers, and hopped on the track for some striders. I even did my high-knee/butt-kick drills that I’ve done before every race since middle school because, heck, I’m a little superstitious! Even though it’s been a few months since the last time I did this, it felt so familiar. And it felt incredible.

If I had any real goals going into this race, they were:

A) To break 6 minutes.

B) To not get last.

C) And above all, have fun and enjoy the opportunity to be back out there again!

When the starter lined us up on the track, I reveled in the surge of adrenaline and the dead silence that buzzed with that pent-up energy once the gun was up. Then with a bang, we were off! We sped around the track, jostling for position. I settled in the back, but within meters I found myself surging past a few girls. (Yes! The competitor within me was finally bubbling to the surface again! Booyaa!) I tried to keep my pace as I clicked off lap after lap, soaking in and loving every moment of it. My teammates’ cheers carried me through the rest of the race, and before I knew it, I crossed the finish line. What…a…RUSH!

Now, it was by no means fast – I ran 5:45, which is about 30 seconds slower than what I could do in college (not to mention I’m in marathon training, not MILE training! Ha!) – but I’m SO glad I ran anyway. Today made me truly appreciate and be thankful for my experiences at Lehigh. They made me the runner I am today, and this race forged a connection between the old me and the new me. It certainly was a step toward figuring out how I want to approach my running in the future!

Plus, I think it rekindled a bit of that competitive flame! I’ll admit I was eyeing another open runner in the 3-K, and I desperately wanted to race her!

P.S. I might just start a yearly streak with this race. Don’t want those spikes to gather too much dust in my closet, right? =)

QUOTE OF THE POST: “The mile has all the elements of drama.” – Sir Roger Bannister

Read my other Race Reports here