This weekend has definitely kicked off on the right foot.
After hearing that we were going to enjoy last minute visitors last night, I cranked up some Brittney Spears and my race mix for some power cleaning. I’m so pleased with how our house and decorations turned out this year!
I finished just as this adorable visitor came to say hello!
Can you tell we’re in love with my cousin’s daughter Sedona? She’s 6 months old and absolutely adorable!
They had quite the social calendar yesterday so Sedona could meet all their New York City friends so they weren’t here long. But, considering that Bo and I had to be up early to run the New York Road Runners Jingle Jog race in Prospect Park that worked out well.
The New York Road Runner Jingle Jog has become one of my favorite races over the past few years. This was the 3rd time Bo and I have run it together and each time we enjoy it a bit more. Three years ago I was still new to running and just focused on having fun. Last year the race course was cut short due to construction and was therefore a 3.8 mile race or something wonky like that.
This year, after verifying with the NYRR that the course would truly be 4 miles in length, I decided I wanted to try and PR. Even though I’ve been training for distance, after talking with a few trusted runners I decided that a short distance like this was possible to PR for the primary reason that telling myself that I can do anything for 4 miles really works. In addition, I’ve been doing some speed sprints the past few weeks with my work run club. That, combined with the great strength and cardio workouts I’ve done the past 2 weeks through personal training, Uplift Studios Workit Circuit, and the bootcamps Bo and I have done together I am feeling really strong!
Bo volunteered to pace me for the race, in hopes of helping me break the 9:17 4 mile PR I set earlier this year in Central Park. We decided that he’d wear the Garmin and focus on the pace so that we didn’t go out too fast or too slow and that we maintained a pace fast enough to break 9:15. The weather worked in our favor, perfectly cool but not frigid. In addition, this year’s crowd was the best yet with almost everyone there in some type of spirited, festive costume! The race didn’t sell out this year, which I think may be due to the cost and recent NYRR debate, but I was thankful since this provided us with a less crowded race.
At 9:02 am, perfectly on the dot, we crossed the starting line, just 2 minutes behind the front of the pack. As soon as I started running I knew this would be a great race.
I was wearing the new Mizuno Wave Rider 16’s which the MIzuno team sent me to try out post marathon and they felt light as a feather. Every stride I took felt stronger than the one before and instead of feeling like I had no speed in me I felt the opposite. Within five minutes of starting Bo yelled at me to hang back with him. For once, I listened. I focused on keeping him in my peripheral vision and listened to my music.
I remembered the course well, knowing that there would be a few hills early on and then after that it was primarily flat to the finish. Based on this info our plan was to start out at a 9:15 pace, keeping that until mile 3 when we’d start dropping the pace to around a 9 minute pace.
I trusted Bo the entire time and just listened to my legs. After mile 3 when he told me to hang back with him I finally told him no. I knew I could push through the new feeling of lung strain and leg tiredness for the remaining few minutes. Suddenly an inspiring thought crossed through my head.
So this is what it feels like to race eh?
This is how my speedier friends feel and what they mean when they say that a short race will challenge you in different ways than a marathon. But, the energy I felt today and strength was like none I’ve felt before. As we neared the hill that comes in the last quarter mile of the race (thanks by the way for that NYRR), I looked at Bo and asked if we were alright. Unlike most races, I had no sprint left in my legs. He smiled from ear to ear and said hell yes, which told me we’d PR even if I needed to slow down.
Bo yelled to me as we crossed the finish: “35:20! YOU FUCKING CRUSHED IT”
It took me a minute to realize that meant I’d also surpassed the goal of joining the 8 minute club. Now my mile pace was in the same realm as people who I’d looked at in awe before. Who cares if it was by just a hair, I left the 9 minute realm.
Don’t worry, my friends at NYRR decided to change it a bit, thanks to their 4 mile course calculations but you know what, it’s still at 8:58 pace which is below 9. I’ll take it!
NYRR Jingle Jog I love you and better believe next year I’m coming after you again for another PR crushing race!
What’s your favorite race distance or race? While a marathon and half always hold a special place in my heart there is something to be said for the 4 mile race distance. It’s a bit further than the 5k so requires more thought and strategy but is shorter than the dreaded 10k!