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6 Minutes Shy? Cool! That Means I Get to Try Again!

A couple months ago, I wrote a post about Abandoning a Goal. I wrote about how I decided not to continue with my triathlon training so that I could focus more on getting ready for the NYC half marathon and qualifying for the NYC full in 2012. 97 minutes was the time needed to run 13.1 miles in order to qualify. That is a 7.4 min/mile pace. The fastest race I have ever run in the past was at an 8.4 min/mile pace, but that was 26.2 miles. Surely, I thought, I could cut one minute off if I cut the distance in half.

That would be the fastest that I have ever set myself up to run.

I ran the race this past Sunday, on a cool, crisp, one of the last days of winter in New York days, at 7:30 in the morning.

I finished running in 103 minutes, 6 minutes shy of my goal. I did NOT qualify for the NYC full in 2012.

In a situation like this, after training so hard, I always need to figure out why I didn’t make my time. Did I not train enough hills or sprint intervals? Maybe I should’ve rested longer, or less? Was I late, was I frazzled, did I have too much on my mind? Was my gear not appropriate, was I too hot or too cold? Maybe my belly was too full from my dinner, or I was hungry! Should I have had more carbs earlier, did I eat too much, or should I have taken more energy drink? The questions are endless but after having run as many races as I have, I pretty much have the basics down and I must say, am quite an expert at marathon preparation.

But, I never would have imagined what I learned from this race as far as what not to do. In fact, I feel quite silly! As much as I would like to blame missing my qualification time on the person that stole my IPod and all the precious endless hours of training music on it (sabotage!!), I won’t go there. The race through NYC took us through Central Park, Times Square, and all through lower Manhattan – it was very picturesque! With a mission at hand, I should have been focused solely on making my time, and for the most part, I was. However, as I often refer to the famous motto – it is the journey that matters, not the destination – I might have been enjoying my journey that day a little too much! Stopping along the way, amazed at all the sights and lights and bells and whistles, the whole race was a photoshoot – in my head and on my camera phone! They closed down 7th Avenue for us 15,000 runners and it felt like they did it just for me! I pictured Tom Cruise from Vanilla Sky, running through the streets of NY. 103 minutes and 13.1 miles never went by so fast…and I got to enjoy 6 more minutes of it than I planned! So for next time, shoot for a time a few minutes earlier to account for picture taking and stopping to sightsee along the way!

I did not leave the City too disappointed about missing my time though, at a 7.86min/mi pace, it was my personal best half marathon.

And I cannot wait to do it again! See a few shots from the photo session pictured below.

Starting off from Central Park…bbrrrrr:

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Breakaway onto 7th Ave, very much welcomed after 6 miles in the park:

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Into Times Square, my second favorite place in the world after Las Vegas!

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Wanting to stop at my favorite ice-cream place for a little Cold Stone!

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Scary! Underground running through Battery tunnel:

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The Elite! Their feet don’t even touch the ground it seems!

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Inspiring Strangers

While running on the treadmill at the gym, as part of my “that girl’s crazy” workout, an older woman started on the treadmill next to me. I had the setting on at 9 mph and was very much in my zone, making sure not be distracted by anyone working out near me. For some reason I had a lot of energy that morning (probably from enjoying a couple days off from the gym and my favorite Starbucks iced americano at breakfast), and found myself running at 7 min/mile pace for several minutes very easily. As a runner that had to run 10 marathons in order to qualify for the Boston marathon, that is fast for me and I was kind of proud! Well in the midst of my runner’s high, this woman next to me stuck her hand over to my treadmill and pointed at my time. I was kind of annoyed for being disturbed and grunted a “what?!” and she just smiled and gave me a thumbs up (and yes, I did feel bad for being a little mean).

Later, after my workout she approached me as I rinsed off my face, all messy and dripping with sweat. She said she loved running next to me and was so motivated that instead of stopping as she initially planned, she continued her workout and kept on going. I was kind of surprised but I thought that was really cool! In the midst of what was a great workout for ME, and where all my intentions were selfish, I had actually impacted someone else in a positive way!

And strange enough, a similar thing happened several days later. I was running along a walkway at the beach, when I decided to work on my stairmill skills outside. There are many stairs leading up and down the walkway to the beach that I decided to run up as fast as I could (plus I had a good fast song playing on my iPod). Darting in between surfers coming down with their big boards and kids playing around, I skipped, jumped, and high kneed my way to the top when I noticed a woman sitting at the top of the stairs watching me. At first, I was annoyed, wondering what the heck this lady was staring at! But I just decided to ignore her and not let her distract me from my mission of sprinting to the top. Of course, when I got to the top I could still feel her eyes on me, so I looked over and she gave me a big grin and two thumbs up.

Now, I don’t know what was up with the thumbs up that week, maybe I was training like a maniac for my upcoming show and people could see it?? But, either way, it made me a lot more aware than I have ever been. Even when you are all alone, in your zone, in your own world and you think that no one is watching, that nobody cares, someone probably is! So even if not 10000 people read this blog that I am throwing out there, to share all the ups and downs and lessons learned in training, I will keep writing (and training like a maniac) because you never who you might reach by doing the things you love to do, and who might be inspired to not quit and just decide to keep on going!

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