Saturday morning started, well, before it really was morning. I awoke at the unpleasant hour of 5AM to my alarm trying to figure out why that noise was occurring! Ha. Fortunately I had placed everything out the night before so there wasn't much to do besides get changed, grab my stuff and head out. I picked up the ZipCar at a location right around the corner. This became incident #1 of the day. As I got to the garage, I started looking around and couldn't find the car!! I had allotted extra time to find the car, etc but it was a bit embarrassing too! Finally, I called the help line and gave them the information but there were no free cars available so I had to find this one. As I was on hold for them to find the person before me, I finally found it! It was tucked in a corner which made it more like where's waldo. Oy.
I drove up to the UES to pick up the crew. There were 6 of us but one guy had his own car since he had to head out right away after the race for a family function. The drive out was uneventful and thankfully one of my teammates, AH, had picked up our numbers. One sign that clues you that I was not racing: I went with the short sleeve shirt! You'll be hard pressed to find me short sleeving it until it's basically 40s. Anyway, bus shuttle to the start. You could tell we were not in NYC anymore as the running crowd was much different. Let's just say not your elite pack:) I'm not being an elitest, just saying.
So KP was not racing and I told her that I was planning to run 8:15s with the hard PDR behind me and gearing up for the big one in 26+ days. It was nice they had wave starts a minute apart to break up the corrals. There also was a cow shooting off the start gun! Hehe!
Anyway, off we went right into our comfortable 8:15s. People passed us as we probably signed up for a true racing corral but stuck right to our pace. Mile 1 was a net downhill which I find to hurt the quads a lot! Mile 2 brought you the hill that is Cat Hill on steroids! It was only a third of a mile but one of those kick you in the a** hills that makes it like you are walking instead of running:-p I knew there was a hill but didn't know where it was so after we got up it I turned to KP and said "well if that's all they got, I'm good to go for the rest of the race." She laughed:)
The scenery was gorgeous as we ran by the water and through little residential roads. People were out of their houses cheering and passing out water. It truly gave a sense of American spirit. It was this town's NYC Marathon:) I smiled at the people cheering and even threw out a few high fives. It was nice to not all out race as I feel like I really got to enjoy the full atmosphere. As we approached mile 5, a guy goes to us "watch out for the next hill, it's deceiving." KP and I were confused as I we passed mile 5 and went up a little blip that was a hill? Oh well. As we got up the "blip", there was a sign that said "it's all downhill from here." Literally, it was. We were doing 7:30s and didn't even recognize it because of the severity of the downhill. We were chatting and able to give an interview to the cameraman riding alongside. As we approached the finish line, the announcer got our names which was cool! Finish time? 51:24 - good for 8:17 pace. Perfect. Just what the doctor ordered today.
The finish area was awesome! They had so much food from smartfood to pirate's booty to beer to chocolate chip cookies! :) YAY! Found my teammates and many had set HUGE PRs. Woohoo!
After the race we headed back to AH's parents house for a BBQ of yummy food: burgers, hot dogs, salad, fruit salad, baked beans - you name it! Finally, it was time to head home. I got into the car and tried to turn on the engine. The lights and radio came on but no engine! Uh oh. So guys being guys, tried to use jumper cables. No dice. At this point people were panicing so I called ZipCar. First thing to try? Use the zip card to lock and unlock the car again and see if that works? Sure enough, I do that and at the same point the guys were configuring the jumper cables the car turns on! Whew. So, yes, there is tight security in the zip cars:)
Part 2 of the weekend brought a 16 miler. My legs were definitely feeling beat from a week of workouts and no days off since pre-PDR. AU and I decided to wait til the afternoon to give more recovery time AND more important - SLEEP! My first weekend day of sleep in who knows how long. I lounged around watching football and napping til around 4. AMAZING. :)
So off I headed to the UES which ended up being a trip and a half because the trains were local. Ugh:( I was so glad to have AU to run with because I did not feel like running. Not at all. But having someone to get you through it is all the world. So off we set in the humid air and all.
The run was peaceful as the sun set on another day. The west side path was free of wandering pedestrians, crazy cyclists, etc. It was just right. Mid run the shirt came off because it was so hot and the mugginess of the air. The legs once again fell into a rhythm and things felt good. Mid-run I told AU we should hit the west side path to save the legs rather than doing a lap of the park and then Morningside park. Ouch. We headed down the westside and I said she could count on me to properly get the right distance. I used time - not mileage and figured out how far we had to go downtown. Sure enough - picture perfect. 16.2 miles total. The average pace was 8:51 which considering this was an LSD I'm quite pleased. Things seem to continue to fall into place.
Today I'm taking the day off as it's Yom Kippur. I'm recharging the batteries for the final push to October 25. I'm getting super excited and nervous at the same time. It's a good thing - it reminds me of the excitement I felt for my first couple of marathons. Something that you just can't explain.
Keep on runnin'. And smiling. Big things await.