Wednesday, April 22, 2015

better late then never- NYC half recap

Alright so it's been a long time since I've blogged and there has been a lot that has happened (running wise!). I wrote a blog for Innovative Fitness about my race in NYC. So I'm pretty much just gonna share that blog with you guys today. I will write more about World XC, Sun Run and whats coming up this spring in another blog.

The NYC Half Martahon was a fantastic race experience. About a month ago I went to NYC and not only smashed my half marathon PB, but had a super fun weekend too. The elite athlete co-ordinator, David Monti (and his lovely wife Jane) take such great care of all the elites. They treat us like gold,- amazing accommodation, super awesome healthy food for breakfast and lunch, and every detail of the race weekend is taken care of. It's pretty cool to be surrounded by some of the world's best runners too- I got to meet last year's Boston Marathon Champion, Meb Keflezighi- such a nice guy!

Ok so lets just get to the race! I couldn’t sleep the night before the race- stupid time change really messed with me. Getting up at 430am EST was not easy, as I still felt like I was on pacific time (3 hours earlier). Felt like I slept maybe 1 or 2 hours....but once I was on the bus to the start line, I forgot all about how tired I was and just felt excited! I was also very nervous as I had been dealing with a few minor injuries leading up to this race. My last few runs weren’t feeling good and this pain in my left groin-abdominal area was flaring up (ongoing issue for past year). My left calf had also been unusually tight....and during my strides right before the race it started to hurt pretty bad. I told Lanni (who was also racing) about my calf and she was like – its just a niggle it'll settle down once we get going- don't worry. She is the Canadian Marathon and half marathon record holder, so figured she probably knew what she was talking about:). This made me feel better and I relaxed a bit and was ready to go!

The race didn’t go out as hard as I thought it would. Surprisingly I found my self in the back of the front pack for the first 3 miles- hitting 5:21-22 miles and feeling good! I was ranked 15th going into the race, so I wasn't expecting to be right in that top group...But I was, and I felt good, so I just went with it. My calf had settled down, but I definitely still noticed it. For the most part I blocked it out and don’t remember feeling a lot of pain- just more tightness. We went through 5k in 16:26 and this is when the lead pack of 8 girls dropped the pace and broke away. I knew that I couldn’t run that fast so I stuck to my own pace and continued rolling along through hilly Central Park with Lanni next to me. Around 8km we went down a big hill and I got a little gap on Lanni. And from this point on I was alone for the rest of the race. Running through Times Square was amazing- the energy was unreal and really got me pumped! It was the motivation I needed to going into the second half of the race. I split 33:42 at 10k and was still feeling good. My plan had been to go through around 33:45, so I was right on pace. I was relieved that my calf was under control and the pain in my left side was not flaring up.
After 12km the race goes right down the river for almost 9k straight. We were told that the wind would likely be at our backs for this part of the race. I was really looking forward to a nice little tail wind for the last half of the race. However, I came around the corner and was not happy to meet the wind right in my face. Knowing I was gonna have to run the rest of the race into the wind was pretty lame, but this almost meant so did every one else. And I tend to be a pretty decent runner in the wind. So perhaps this was to my advantage.

With about 5km to go I could see 2 girls up ahead starting to come back to me. I kept pushing on and with 1 mile to go I had caught one of the girls. I passed her and kept my eyes focused on the other girl still about 100 meters ahead. With 400 meters to go I had closed the gap and was only about 20 meters behind her. I scrunched up my face and ran as hard as I could- I passed her with only 30 or 40 meters to the finish line. I was pretty shocked to see the finishing clock- 1:11:20! A 63 second PB! I was very happy, especially when I was told I was 6th place- I couldn’t believe it! This was totally unexpected and really awesome. I never gave up and pushed when it was really hard. I finally felt like I was “back”. Its been a long time since I ran that hard and it felt good!

I attempted a cool down but my calf was now very painful....managed a 10 min shuffle/jog but knew my calf was not in a good place...I found out a few days later when I got home that it was strained:( I had to spend a week of just very easy running and cross training while it healed up.

After the race I spent the rest of the day and night enjoying NYC with friends and it was a really great day. We drank wine, ate lots of delicious food and had lots of laughs.

I came home from NYC feeling motivated and hungry for more Pbs. The strained calf slowed training down a bit for the first week when I was home, but perhaps this was a blessing in disguise because it allowed me to recover fully from the hard effort in NYC. When I arrived in China 10 days after I got home from NYC I was feeling recovered and ready to race hard again! I'll save my World XC race for another blog.

Ok that's my lil NYC recap for ya'll! I'll write more soon!

jogging in central park with these lovely ladies