Thursday, June 13, 2013

Race Recap: 2013 JPMorgan Corporate Challenge

To say I'm excited about last night's race is an understatement. I am thrilled, exuberant, and my love of racing has been reinvigorated. And all because a race finally went well!

I have total crazy eyes here.  Don't worry, I did not harm anyone.

I did not expect to be writing a post where I was excited and jazzed about my race performance. In fact, going in to last night's race, I expected that it might be one of my slowest paces recorded. After all, I haven't really raced a short distance since February.

I ran the NYC Half in March, Cherry Blossom 10 Miler and Nike Women's Half DC in April, and then I took May "off" from racing and training. When I have been running, it's been slow and easy, all about getting miles back on my legs.

So I guess the strength training I've been doing is paying off, because the day after a chatty and fun 5 mile run with two girlfriends, I just PR'd my Central Park race pace by 7 seconds, in an incredibly crowded race of roughly 12,000 people!!

After the finish line, but this was how crowded the course was as well

The entire race, I thought I might be running my slowest average pace to date. It was impossible to get into a groove because there were SO many people. While I love to see that many people running and walking in Central Park, experiencing the sport that I love, it can be frustrating to those who want to race when you have to continually weave around others and hop onto the side of the street. I think the fault here lies not with individual racers but with the organizers; it's a huge race, but figuring out a way to better regulate the corrals and keep people roughly with their appropriate speed group would really help ease congestion.

Part of the reason I thought I was running slowly was that I did not have my watch. I was running by feel and not until the last 1/2 mile did I feel uncomfortable, so I figured I was running quite slowly. I would have loved to push my pace more, but the race crowds didn't really thin until that last half mile, and even then I had to weave a bit.

As soon as I crossed the finish mat, I pulled out my phone to turn off my music and saw an email with my results! Loved the instant notification.


My previous Central Park race pace PR was 8:55, meaning I PR'd my Central Park pace by 7 seconds! I am absolutely ecstatic and feel so excited to see how much faster I can get through marathon training this summer.

A few notes on how I prepped for this race:

  • Warm-up of 1.5 miles -- this is new for me and is something I will always do for short races from now on. My legs felt so much better after having run an easy 1.5 miles to the start line!
  • Ran by feel, AKA without my Garmin -- I love my Garmin, but I definitely think that on shorter races, where going out too quickly isn't as much of an issue, they could cause me to get into my head too much. I loved running by effort and only figuring out how fast I was going by how hard it felt.
  • Fueled with a glass of nuun, glass of iced coffee with almond milk, and a Picky Bar about 1.5 hours before I actually started racing. I also had a Clif shot blok about 20 minutes before I started racing. I'd had salad for lunch with a side of apple and peanut butter. 
And some final thoughts ... Until I was sprinting for the finish line, this race did not hurt at all. I think that was largely due to the fact that I wasn't racing that hard for me; I was capable of a lot more, but having to weave around and get through crowds of people meant that my pace was kept a bit slower. 

Especially if I race a shorter race with someone faster than me, so that I spend the race trying to keep up with them and not letting my head get in the way with "ow this hurts" thoughts, I think I can race a short distance much faster. Really eager to try a 5K now!!

HUGE thanks to my firm for letting me run! I am not technically a member of my law firm yet. I was a summer associate there last summer and will be joining as an associate at the end of September, but right now I'm just studying for the bar exam. However, when I reached out to legal personnel about running the race as a member of my firm, they immediately said yes -- despite the race entry fee -- and even brought my bib to the hospitality tent so that I didn't have to go to the firm to pick it up. The happy hour afterwards also helped remind me of how grateful I am that I ended up at a firm with such awesome people. Oh, and a female associate from my firm came in third overall for women!! WOO!


Have you ever surprised yourself in a race? Do you race with or without your garmin? Do you warm up for races?

11 comments:

  1. Awesome job! And I agree - short races - warm up is a must (not that I have practiced this but I always SAY it) but my 10K this weekend I wasn't ready to run until the end. Took me forever to loosen up!

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    1. Thanks! I was shocked by how much better I felt after that first mile warm-up. Definitely going to be a new requirement for me!

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  2. Nice job, Jen! I've heard this race is usually a zoo, so it's tough to go with the intention of racing it. (Even though a few of my teammates plan to anyway. ;)) Good move to warm up first, too. I always "forgot" to warm up before races, lol.

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    1. Thanks, Carrie! I wasn't meaning to race it but once you cross that start line, it's so hard not to push it a bit :)

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  3. CONGRATS! This is so awesome. Just reading this made me really excited about racing too. You should run this one: https://nycruns.com/races/?race=new-york-harriers-randalls-island-5k. I'll be volunteering! (And probably running the July 4 one...)

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    1. That one might be great timing actually! I'll look into it :)

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  4. Congratulations! I wish I had thought to ask my firm to let me run - great idea.

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    1. I was so bummed that I couldn't run last year that I made sure I did this year :)

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  5. Congrats on the awesome race! I'm looking forward to my 5K this weekend!

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    1. Thanks, Emily! Hope your 5K went well!!

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