Monday, December 3, 2012

Race Recap: 2012 Join the Voices! 5M

This morning, I woke up at 6:30 AM to get ready for the Join the Voices! 5 mile race in Central Park to  support Voices Against Brain Cancer. I woke up and saw a thick, dense fog outside. Ew, gross. Checked Twitter to see if anyone was bailing, but it apparently New York runners are used to far worse weather and I had no excuse to sleep in. So I rolled out of bed and got ready for the race and the extra miles I was tacking on to make it a long run.

I came back to the bedroom and saw this. I've been replaced!
After finishing my pre-run breakfast of a slice of cinnamon raisin Ezekiel toast and almond butter, I gulped down some nuun hydration and headed out the door to grab a cab. Yes, a cab. It was gross and foggy out! Don't judge me!

I met up with Beth, Kara, Nicole, and Annie. I hadn't met Kara or Annie before, so it was nice to chat with them a bit and take away any pre-race nerves by getting to know some new people.

L-R: Annie, Kara, Nicole, Beth, and me
I really like running races where cancer research foundations are the organization being supported because cancer really, really sucks. I doubt anyone reading this hasn't been touched by it in some way.
I got choked up several times during the race as I saw people running in shirts commemorating loved ones who had been lost to cancer. So while yes, I love running and racing in general, when I can race for something important to me, it makes the race even more meaningful.

We headed to our corrals and stuck together until we crossed the start line, but at that point I moved ahead because I really wanted to push myself. For some reason, I had it in my head that I could run the race with a pace faster than 9:00 miles. I didn't post an A, B, and C goal for the race because hey, it was just a 5 mile race. But honestly, I had a goal, and it was to run faster than 9:00 min/miles.

I was excited to finally have a Garmin so I could more accurately track my pace as I ran. But then, disaster!, it lost satellite and I spent half the race with no way to tell how fast I was running. So I just ran at what felt like a hard-but-doable pace.

I am excited to have a way to track my pace, but I think I'm going to try to use my Garmin in the latter half of the race, and avoid looking at it when I set my pace early on. I just don't want to see a pace and slow down because I don't think I can keep it up -- I want to listen to my body telling me the pace it can achieve, and then use the Garmin as motivation later on.

I regained satellite reception around mile 3 and saw that I was running a sub-9:00 pace. I was excited, but I wasn't sure how much Cat Hill had slowed me down and whether I would end up with an overall pace that was less than 9 minute miles.

At mile 3 by the turn onto the 103rd Street Transverse, I saw Abby cheering and she jumped in for 30 seconds to check in on how I felt. I've been running with her often lately and she is my speedy inspiration, so it was great to see her! She just ran her first marathon in Philly two weeks ago in 3:33, AKA Boston Qualifying time. Seeing her was the perfect boost with two miles to go.

Then, at the top of the final rolling hill on the west side, I saw Jocelyn cheering. I hadn't met her in person before, so I ran up and yelled "I haven't met you but I follow you on Twitter!" Thankfully she didn't punch me in the face (a natural reaction to an apparently crazy person approaching you out of no where) and instead gave me a high five and a huge smile. Thanks, Jocelyn!

I was feeling pretty gassed out with 1/4 of a mile to go when I saw some great signs and people cheering, "you're nearly done!" "Pedal to the metal!" I wanted to end on a high note so I sprinted (or, my version of "sprinted") the final distance to the finish line. My Garmin said I hit 7:50 on that last sprint -- woooo!

I doubled back to cheer on Beth, Annie, and Kara as they crossed the finish line. They all looked so strong coming through!! (Unfortunately I didn't see Nicole.)

finisher smiles!
L-R: Jocelyn, me, Beth, Annie, Abby, and Kara
Jocelyn and Abby had run down with them and joined us to celebrate at the finish line. We all felt good about the race, but I didn't want to celebrate too soon -- I thought I'd made a sub-9:00 pace, but since I hadn't had my Garmin on the whole time and since I didn't catch what time we passed the start line, I wasn't sure.

I got lucky, because by the time I got home after running a few extra miles around the Reservoir with the girls (thanks for the company!!!), NYRR had the results up!

44:49 for a pace of 8:58. When I ran my first race in July, I barely made a 10:00 pace for 4 miles. To run an 8:58 pace on Sunday was SO thrilling. It showed me how much I can do if I just keep pushing myself. I don't expect to take another minute off my time four months from now and be running a 7:58 race pace come April, but just to know that if I work hard I will see improvements is exciting.

the reservoir view -- I told you it was foggy!
This was also my first race where I wasn't showing up and running it alone. For my half-marathon, Sourabh and our dog, Mason, came with and cheered me on, but it's not the same as attending a race with a group of other runners. You just can't share the same pre-race nerves and excitement with someone who isn't running the race. I feel so lucky to be meeting so many wonderful new runners who inspire me daily.

Do you get excited when your pace increases in a race?


  1. Congratulations! I remember the first time I ever raced at a sub-9:00, it was thrilling! I'm sure your times will continue to go down :)

    1. Yes! It was the first time I've ever felt "fast" :)

  2. You have some serious speed in you and no doubt we'll all be seeing it soon. Congrats on a great race! I'm still disappointed I didn't see you out there!

    1. Aww, thanks!! I'm hoping so... continuing to work on form and speed!

      I was looking out for you, too! Hopefully next race we won't miss each other -- are you running the Hot Chocolate 5 or 10K?

  3. Amazing job!!! It was so wonderful to meet you, I had the best time. Oh and thanks for getting me to run those extra few miles, haha. I needed that! Can't wait to run together again!

    1. It was so great to meet you, too, Kara! Looking forward to more miles together :) Thanks for joining me!! Kept me going on lead legs!

  4. Congrats! You will keep seeing improvements the longer you run :) So nice to meet you at the trunk show on Sunday!

    1. Thanks, Celia!! It was nice to meet you, too. Can't believe we had so many connections but had never met before!

  5. Congrats Jen!! That's an amazing improvement! Can't wait to see what you can do in future races.

    Loved seeing your on the course :)