October 2, 2011

Race Recap: Grete's Great Gallop and a New PR!

This race was a lot of things for me. It was a training run, it was a dress rehearsal run, it was both the best and worst race I've ever run, and it was the first race I've ever done where I actually almost quit.

Thursday night, I had a dream nightmare that I woke up late and didn't get to the race until 20 minutes after it started. I had been really pumped for the race all week but something happened Friday night as I was getting ready for bed and I just wasn't excited anymore. Was it the impending rain for race morning? Was it overtraining? These questions and a million others circled my head all night Saturday and I didn't sleep at all. I got out of bed about 20 minutes before my alarm, made breakfast, got dressed and headed to the race.

If you follow me on Twitter, you know that my Garmin died on Thursday. It's currently en route to Olethe, KS where the folks at Garmin are going to replace it with a new one. So I packed my iPod with the idea of using my Nike+ without the headphones and still using my Sony headset since it has all my updated music.

When I got to the race, I dropped off my bag, pulled out my headset and my iPod and with a last minute decision, threw my iPod back into my bag. I didn't even have time to think about this before I ran to the starting line about 2 minutes before the gun went off.

The course was a familiar 2 loops of Central Park starting on the East Drive and ending at Tavern on the Green. I was in a pretty far back corral (I really don't understand NYRR's corralling system) so it took us a bit to get to the start and as I heard the beep-beep-beeps of Garmins going off all around me, I thought to myself, "Well this will be interesting" and off I went. I tried to turn on my headset which I had fully charged the night before and it wouldn't turn on. I started panicking...no music? For 13.1 miles? And no Garmin to at least distract my attention for part of it? I'm f*cked.

My legs felt like lead as I took off over the start forgetting to see what time it was that I crossed the starting line. By the time we hit Mile 2, I thought...I'm going to run as far as I can go and call it quits, I don't know what's going on but I don't have the stamina to finish this race. We starting climbing the Heartbreak Hill around Mile 3 and I thought about stopping to walk but I told myself to get to the top of the hill and if I wanted to walk then, I could. That mentality saved me this entire race. Every time we hit those hills which I've never once walked up in any training run or race, ever, but seemed so difficult yesterday, I told myself that I had to run to the top and could walk down from there.

And you know what? I never once walked.

Coming down Cat Hill definitely woke my legs up and at Mile 5 I GU'd and almost immediately felt the effects. I started feeling good and started playing Math games in my head trying to figure out how I was doing pace wise. I figured I was hitting at least a 9 minute mile. We hit the starting line again and the next mile or so went by quickly. As I was approaching Mile 7 (also the Finish Line), I heard the announcer say that the first place male finisher was approaching the start. I turned to look behind me and there he was! Not only did I see him break the banner, but I was running right alongside him (in the passing lane of course) which was awesome and gave me a little spring in my step to get through the next few miles.

I was in the passing lane at this point...and a little jealous that he was already done!
The second time around Heartbreak Hill didn't seem so bad but I really wanted music at this point. It was really humid out and it had been cold in the morning so I wore capris and I was starting to get warm. When we started the ascent up Cat Hill, I started thinking about walking and again told myself I could walk if I just made it to the top. I got to the top, just about Mile 10 and really started thinking about quitting. I was tired, I was hurting, it was hot and I just wasn't feeling the race. But then I saw the clock and it said something like 1:31 and I thought...hey, I just might be in range of a PR if I keep this up. So I GUd and kept going. I knew I was maintaining a pretty fast pace the whole time and I tried to slow down a little bit but my body just wouldn't let me. Maybe I was, maybe I wasn't, I had no idea and you know what? That kind of felt good.

Miles 10, 11 and 12 seemed absolutely endless. I almost wish I had had my Garmin just to see if the miles actually measured evenly because they seemed to go on forever. Between 10 and 11, my heel started to really hurt and I stopped to adjust my sock only to realize that the whole back of my foot was bloody.

That's what happens when you forget to wash your socks the night before a race and just throw on any old pair.

I had come into this race with the idea of treating it as a dress rehearsal race but without a Garmin, that was tough. I still had plans to run the last 5k as fast as possible. I know I definitely ran Mile 11 the slowest of all of them, I could just feel it but Mile 12, I started to sprint and just run out everything I had. By Mile 13, I was done, I ran through the finish line but definitely didn't sprint. At that point, I had nothing left to give.

I crossed the finish line in just under 1:59 and was anxious as to whether that would be a PR or not. As I walked through the finisher's chute, I got so dizzy and felt like I was going to pass out. I slowed down, took some Gatorade and started to feel a little better. I saw a very sweaty Emily just at the end of the chute and we had a very sweaty hug and made our way to the Norwegian festival for waffles. I stuck around until they posted the results and freaked out when I couldn't find my name among the 1:58:xx or 1:57:xx finishers.

And then, I saw my name and my time.


A 2 1/2 minute PR.

And all of a sudden, the race became awesome. I ran this race purely by how I felt. I had no idea what my pace was or how far away from each mile marker I was. I had no music to get me through the tough points of the race but I still managed a huge PR even after I thought about walking and even after I thought about quitting.

You know what that means? I'm ready to take on Marine Corps and I'm ready to kill it.


  1. congrats on that! All of your hard work paid off.

  2. Wow. Great job, seriously! ;)

  3. Christy this is wonderful! What a read! Congrats to you on pushing through and achieving your best PR - I can only imagine how well you'll do at the Marine Corps with your music AND proper socks!


  4. i know im still on an emotional roller coaster but on any other day, including today, this post made me cry :) you F-ING ROCK!! so much of the things that went through your head was exactly what i had going through mine at points yesterday. great job, and yes you are going to KICK ASS in the marathon!

  5. Awesome job on getting a PR without the use of a garmin or music! That is really impressive. :)

  6. H*ll yeah girl!!! The really tough races that end up pulling together at the end are always worth it! Way to go!!!! Can't wait to watch you destroy MCM!!!

  7. CONGRATS!!! I can not imagine running a race without my Garmin and/or music. You did AMAZING!!

  8. Nice work! Good luck at the MCM you will do great!

  9. Congrats, Christy! What an an awesome accomplishment! I'm so happy for you!

  10. Great job! Sounds like you are totally ready for MCM.

  11. YAYAYAYAYAAYAYAY! I am bouncing up and down in my chair! I am so dang proud of you, Christy! CHEERS! We need to celebrate this!

  12. That's the best feeling - when you totally surprise yourself. Its the feeling I keep hoping for with all my races -- pretty much why I run. I'm addicted to it! You did awesome and 2 loops of central park isn't easy! CONGRATS!

  13. I love that feeling of surprising yourself - its basically the feeling I keep chasing in all my races...maybe why I don't make real race plans - that way I'm always surprised hahaa! Anyways, CONGRATS and GREAT JOB - two loops of central park isn't easy. Can't wait to see how you'll do at MCM!

  14. i read this post the other day and was so excited for your PR - and such a well run race in general!

    bring on MCM :)
    ... and philly ... and the hot choc 15k!


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