Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Night at the Races Recap

I love that quote, because honestly, I stay in my comfort zone most of the time. I think most of us do, right? The day-to-day doesn't require you to leave your comfort zone. It's easy. It's nice. It's comfortable.

Yet all the biggest life decisions I've made have been hugely out of my comfort zone, like moving across the country for undergrad. Too often, though, I stay complacent.

I bring all this up because last night, I went to NYRR's Thursday Tuesday Night at the Races, an event which was totally and completely out of my comfort zone. (This event had been rescheduled to a Tuesday, but normally the event is on a Thursday)

I hadn't run on a track since I was 13 when I struggled to run a mile around my middle school track. In over 14 minutes, by the way. I'd also never run a mile race. And I knew most of the people at this  meet would be serious competitors (they were).

My law school friend, Christine, is a former collegiate track athlete and wanted to get some people together for the relay. She invited me to join and also to run the mile race beforehand. I figured it was a perfect speed workout for the week and something I'd never done, so I decided to join her.

Christine, former track athlete and resident Speedy Friend. 
I am so glad that I jumped out of my comfort zone and participated because last night was incredibly fun and reminded me of how much I love the sport of running and how glad I am that I found the sport last year.

I headed up to the Armory after meeting up with Christine, Rachel, and Yi Han. We had 8 Columbia Law students total (the rest were meeting us there) and we had to find two more runners to make up our relay team. Only Christine, Yi Han, and I were planning to run the mile.

Rachel stretching and psyching herself up for the relay. 

After arriving, we started warming up and chatting with each other, running 1/2 a mile around . I loved hearing about Rachel and Christine's track memories from undergrad. Track seems so foreign to me since all I ever do is run outdoors on trails and roads.

Way too soon, we were being called to the track for the start of the mile heats. Women were broken into three different heats based on estimated time. I'd never run a mile before so put myself in the very end of the last heat.

After cheering Christine on to a 5:30 finish, which seemed crazy fast to me, but Christine was hoping for better because she's crazy fast, I lined up alongside 9 other women. A starter gun went off and we were off!

Love this picture because I appear not to be moving and the girl in orange is a blur. Kind of how it seemed to happen! 
The race was 8 laps around the track. I started off somewhat fast but, since I'd never run a mile before, wasn't sure how much to hold back.

I felt kind of frustrated, actually, because the dry air of the Armory meant my mouth immediately felt dry and breathing started burning. I felt like I could have pushed harder throughout the mile, but it hurt too much to breathe harder.

Still, it was fun to push myself since I'd never run a timed mile before. I ended up with 7:28 and I was happy considering how much my lungs hurt. I want to try timing myself for a mile outdoors where I don't have any breathing issues!

Yi Han also ran the men's mile, his first mile race as well, and rocked. We're number one! (No, we really, really weren't)

The relay race was the best part of the night. Each member of the 10 person team had to run a lap, five times, for a total of 1,000 meters each. We grabbed two runners who were willing to join our motley crew and they turned out to be awesome.

Jeff joined us after Christine and Rachel asked around for another runner. He's a professional runner training for the NYC Marathon. His form was incredible, he was super friendly, and despite having just run the mile, he'd finish his lap and immediately start cheering for everyone else (despite the fact that we were all MUCH slower than him). He rocked.

Mary Louise also joined us. She was a 71 year-old dynamo who was eager to hop in and join us. She paced herself perfectly through each lap. She learned everyone's names immediately and was cheering us all on immediately. Did I mention I love runners?

Our Team!
Jeff, Yi Han, Christine, me, Tim, Rachel, Chao, Jason, Mary Louise, and Mia 
Running the relay was so much fun because it was such a team effort. We all ran hard and cheered each other on. And we didn't come in last! But it would have been fine if we had, because all the runners there cheered for each other even after their team had finished.

I am so glad that I jumped out of my comfort zone and participated in the races last night. I had a great time, I was inspired by some amazing runners, and I met awesome new people. Next time I get scared of doing something new and different, I have to remind myself of how often it ends up being a wonderful experience.

When was the last time you stepped outside your comfort zone?


  1. That sounds like so much fun! I'm so glad you had a good time and stepped out of your comfort zone :)

    1. Thanks, Emily!! It really was. I highly recommend looking for track events in your area because they're a blast!

  2. I bow down to you for the courage to do that. It sounds like an amazing experience and I do not know if I have the guts to do it! sometimes my fear of failure and absurd expectations can get the best of me and putting myself out there. You are inspirational!

    1. Girl, you ran a marathon! Don't be silly!! But thanks, it was such a great reminder of how much awesome stuff awaits you if you try to step out of your comfort zone.

  3. So sorry I couldn't join you--it looks like such a great time! It would've been totally out of my comfort zone too. Kudos for trying something new!

    1. Hah, says the Triathlete who joined a team!!! You get mega kudos :) It was a fantastic time and made me really wish I could join some sort of team. I just love the team environment.

  4. This looks like so much fun. Nice time!