NYRR had two races this weekend – the Healthy Kidney 10K on Saturday and the Japan Day 4 miler on Sunday. I knew I wanted to do one as kind of a test of fitness and to see how the knee held up, but I wasn’t sure which. I’ve run HK a bunch of times and it’s a great race despite those Central Park hills, which can be soul-crushing during a 10K. I haven’t run a 4 mile race in maybe two years (gosh how time flies!), but it’s a pretty fun distance and sounded like the less painful of the two. So decision made, game on.
I ran a longer, hard effort on Friday, so didn’t really have goals for this race other than another good effort and to have fun. The weather was beautiful on race morning – about 60 and sunny – and it felt so nice and positive to be in Central Park amongst the masses of runners all excited to get going. Waiting in the corral I couldn’t stop thinking cheeseball thoughts of how happy I was to be back running and racing. The gun went off, as did I.
Miles 1-2: 7:18, 7:17
Didn’t look at my Garmin at all, just had the goal of staying somewhat comfortably hard and enjoying the ride. After Cat hill I knew it was mostly flat with some downhills until mile 2, so I settled into the pace and felt pretty good. I don’t really remember much except that I was having fun and kept exchanging the lead (between the two of us) with this girl in pink compression socks.
Miles 3-4: 7:26-7:13
Just as mile 2 was flat and downhill, mile 3 was a lot of uphills and I knew I’d slow a little. Still, didn’t look at the Garmin, stayed comfortable and looked forward to the mostly downhill sections in mile 4. By then, I had passed girl in pink compression socks and thought, got her! she’s not catching me now. As we round the bend onto 72nd street and the finish, I relaxed a tad and pink compression socks barreled past me. Shit. I tried to kick it to the end as much as I could and took myself near the Pain Place until crossing the finish line. I didn’t catch pink compression socks until the post-race water in which we shared pleasantries.
extreme Garmin closeup
Technically a PR since I hadn’t run a 4 miler in so long, so I’ll take it. Most importantly, the knee felt great, and for that I’m pretty thankful. I did a nice cool-down around the bridle path with an admittedly silly grin on my face. One of the reasons why I like running is the solo, compete-against-yourself aspect of it, but there’s also something to be said for a little competitiveness among strangers (who may be in bright compression socks). Sometimes it’s just what you need to help push it to the next gear.
I wore one of my Brooks shirts that says “Run Happy” on it, and think that’s exactly how I ran. No stress, no pressure, and it worked pretty well. Imagine that.