It seems like it's been forever since I have written about running. This is not because I'm not running anymore, but because the pastry program has pretty much taken over my life and, honestly, I am way more excited to share my weekly pastry updates than my squeezed-in lunchtime treadmill runs.
I am still running - three or four times a week in fact. After recovering from the half-marathon, I shifted my focus my attention to shorter-distance races, as summertime is the season for 5Ks (3.1 miles) and 10Ks (6.2 miles).
I ran the Healthy Kidney 10K last Saturday in Central Park. This was my first 10K and while I was not worried about finishing, racing a new distance is always a learning experience - how fast should I go out, where shoudl I back-off or push the pace, at what miles will I feel strong or miserable?
The morning was cool and overcast, as the afternoon was supposed to bring rain showers. The start line was on the West side, so I hopped on a cross-town bus to make my commute a bit easier. I felt a little guilty take the bus to go run a race, but I was relieved to find many other runners sporting race bibs in my company.
The race was almost at full capacity (5,000 runners) and, for some reason, my starting position was much further back than usual. I nervously hopped in place in my corral, waiting for the piercing noise of the start gun. "Runners...on your mark...get set....BANG!" As soon as the gun went off, the skies opened up - it was pouring. For the first mile and a half, I not only dodged too-slow runners, but felt like I was running through a waterfall. I couldn't see very far and the heavy raindrops kept getting under my contacts.
At about the second mile marker, the rain stopped as suddenly as it had started. The rain shower left behind soaked runners with 96% humidity. I'm pretty sure the "slosh, slosh, slosh" of 5,000 pairs of sneakers could be heard throughout the city. My right shoulder started whining in pain - I had probably tensed my upper body way more than I should have during the first few miles. Then my shoelace came untied, which wouldn't have been too much of a problem, except I couldn't get my shoulder to cooperate long enough to tie it.
Fifteen seconds later, I was back in the race, completely regretting wearing a black sports bra under my white running shirt. I distracted myself for the next mile wondering if Mum would be upset with me if she was here. Her philosophy of "A lady never wears a black bra under a white shirt" had crossed my mind while I was getting ready that morning - but my new, hectic schedule wasn't leaving much time for laundry during the week. I concluded that she would probably let it pass, just this once.
Despite another untied shoe, I finished the race very strong. Mike was away for the weekend, so I started on my way home as soon as I crossed the finish line. I thought about catching another bus, but decided against it due to being drenched in rain water and sweat. Back in the apartment, I enjoyed a nice, hot shower, climbed back into my pajamas and put together a little breakfast for myself. As soon as the groceries were delivered, I hopped back into the unmade bed to enjoy a couple hours of relaxation - blog writing and Food Network.
The results of the race were posted quickly and I was happy to have finished the 6.2 miles in 48 minutes 38 seconds - putting my average split time at 7 minutes 50 seconds.
I felt like I had found a good race distance for my new schedule. As my only opportunity to run during the week is my lunch hour, I usually cannot squeeze in more than three miles at a time. 10Ks would allow me to do shorter training runs during the week and a longer run on the weekends.
I do not always look forward to running during my lunch hour; lack of sleep and the mind-numbness of my job usually put me in autopilot mode until 5 PM. But knowing what the evening's class will hold in terms of tastings sometimes offers me all the motivation I need - like tonight, when we "have" to try nine different flavors of ice cream, accompanied by freshly made cones and four different sauces. I've never been more inspired to finish my tempo run!