Running in general is a solitary sport, we know this and often enjoy that aspect of it. But sometimes having that little extra support can carry through some of those challenging miles.
Last weekend was my first scary mileage weekend with eight miles on Saturday and 17 on Sunday. Remember when I was having all those panic attacks about running all those crazy miles? Well looking ahead on my training plan is gave me those panic attacks. It was no longer about looking at the training plan but actually running those miles. GULP.
New York Road Runners had a team points race on Saturday and I have been trying to run in most of those races this year which meant adding on the four miles to this four mile race. I decided to head into NYC before the race to get them in and not worry about actually racing. Then something odd happened. I just felt really relaxed after the first four miles and when I crossed the starting line I began to pick up my pace.
I started thinking that there was a slight possibility for a new PR after the first mile but I knew I would have to keep up a consistent pace. Thankfully, the men’s race had an earlier start and many of the guys from my running club, Front Runners New York, were all along the sidelines cheering us on. I was able to pick up my pace each and every time I heard a group of them cheering me on. It was Tim and Chris at the four mile mike who reminded to start kicking it for the last mile and then the larger group of men about 200 yards from the finish that really got me to kick up yet another notch to the finish. Yup, I got my PR (one whole minute!) and celebrated with the rest of the women from my team at the finish.
While Saturday was great I knew Sunday was going to be hard. Sticking with my go to long run along the Hudson Greenway I was feeling pretty good but I knew mentally I was going to have a hard time as I passed the South Street Seaport heading uptown on the Eastside for a bit. That was when my friend Cenk came up from behind me. We hadn’t seen each other in while so the brief time we ran together was a nice way to forget that I was running through a section that I always have trouble with. I used that to get me through my turnaround spot to head to back uptown along the Westside again.
Of course, nothing is easy and when I hit the 11 mile mark I hit headwinds off the Hudson. Lovely. I knew these next six miles were going to be tough but I stayed focused and tried to pick people off or at least stay close to them along the way. When I was approaching 54th St. I saw this one guy ahead of me who looked to be running my pace. At this point I had about 2.5 miles to go. I was eventually able to catch up to him and then we started pass each other on regular intervals. As we approached 72nd street he caught up to me again and asked if we could run some miles together. I had about a mile to go and he had four, yikes. And that is how I met Jake.
For the next mile, usually the hardest for me, we chatted about our previous marathons, our goal times, our training, and future marathon plans. Before I knew it I was done with my mile. I sent Jake on his way for his final three miles with words of encouragement and felt great that I got through my long run.
It’s nice to know that you can count on the people who know to help you out on these long runs and incredibly pleasant to meet knew people who can help you out just as much. This is why I love runners.