Monday, February 6, 2012

A Weekend of Running & Volunteering (Long!)

On Saturday, I had a mission. Armed with a pack of shot bloks, a water bottle, and some cash, I went with Rachel into Central Park to do my first 16 mile run. Previously, the longest run I had done was a half marathon, so I was a little nervous going into this.

We decided to do two full six mile loops of the park and then the four mile inner loop to finish it off. 

The entire first loop felt pretty good. We had to keep reminding ourselves not to go too fast, and would occasionally back off when we saw the Garmin go below 10 minute miles. After the first mile, we realized that my garmin was somehow a bit behind Rachel's in terms of distance. By the end, I was over a tenth of a mile behind. Oh well! We had a quick bathroom break at the boathouse between miles 5 & 6, refueled, then kept going. 

The second loop felt good for most of it. Harlem Hill didn't feel easy, but the rest of the loop felt ok. My legs were starting to get tired towards the end. We stopped twice, once for a few seconds to refill our water bottles, then once to use the restroom and refuel. 

As we got into the four mile loop, my legs started to protest loudly. They were tired, and were clearly letting me know it. It was physically and mentally difficult for me to finish, but I managed, and at the end, Rachel stood by our park exit and humored me while I ran the extra tenth of a mile to get 16.00 exactly on my garmin. 

I averaged the pace I wanted for the run, so I was very happy about that. My legs were initially very sore, but as the day continued, they gradually began to feel better. I thought that the strategy of fueling every 5-6 miles worked very well, and I had enough water with me the entire time. When I hear people discuss how they don't fuel for runs over 10 miles, I wonder how they do it and not feel like crap.

The next morning, I went to NYRR headquarters as a volunteer for bib / t-shirt pickup. I had planned on sitting indoors and having an easy, comfortable "+1" experience, but that was not to be. Apparently they needed more people at t-shirt pickup in the park, so another volunteer and myself were sent by Janet Cupo to the park with a couple of NYRR employees. A short cab ride later, we were drinking coffee and setting up the t-shirts in the park.

The bright side was that I got to see a few friends before their race, and they were wearing football uniforms. It was chilly out, but it wasn't too bad. The following were the most common phrases I uttered during the next one hour time period:

"Sorry, we're out of smalls" (Soon to be expanded to "Sorry, we only have large and extra large")
"Number pick-up is at NYRR Headquarters" (the later it got, the harder it was for people to accept)
"I need your shirt tag. The one attached to the bib"
"No, we are not selling the t-shirts"

People: It clearly states on the NYRR website that bib pickup is at NYRR headquarters. While I feel bad that you have to find this out close to the last minute, it clearly stated on the website that number pickup was not going to take place in the park. Always double check!!!!!!

I usually get a t-shirt for volunteering, but when they ran out of mediums I didn't even bother taking one. The medium would have been huge on me as it was. 

We were let go shortly after the race started, and after taking much longer to get home than planned, I went on a recovery run. Too bad my legs weren't able to stick to recovery pace. Bad Dahlia!!! (It's like my legs were asking to be sore all day). I did warn them about the 5 flights of stairs they would have to climb to get to my friend's apartment....


Overall, I had a nice weekend of running, bridesmaids dress shopping, superbowl watching, and almost finishing up a major project. Completing my first 16 mile run gave me a lot of confidence, and I felt that in total, it was a good week of training. Only 1 month and 12 days until the NYC Half! More importantly, less than 9 months left until NYCM!!!!