In order to help prepare her for the race, I needed to prepare her for the hills of the course, so we ran them a few times as well as some hill repeats on Cat Hill. I also made sure that our training runs weren't too fast - while it's hard to believe, taking training runs at a slightly slower pace most of the time actually helps you perform faster in races. I learned that tidbit from Kathy and I have yet to be proven wrong, especially after getting injured from taking what was supposed to be a training run too fast.
The day before the race, Tatiana and I went to NYRR headquarters to pick up our bibs. To my surprise, I actually liked the race tank we received, and in the spur of the moment, I decided that we should both wear it in a show of solidarity. After going out for pizza in the middle of a thunderstorm, we called it a night and got some sleep.
The next morning, we decided to walk some of the way to the start, and jog the rest of it. When all was said and done, we ran just over a mile. I had a GU, and Tatiana ate a banana. While I didn't think it was substantial enough, she thought it was and I wasn't going to belabor the point. Tatiana thought that it was great weather to run in, but I just shook my head. She would realize the errors of that thought soon enough...
Once we arrived, we took our obligatory pre-race picture, and went to line up. Since we wanted to start together, we lined up further back than I would have if I were racing it on my own. After a bunch of pre-race speeches and announcements, the horn blew, and we were off!
Throughout the race, my goal was to make sure that we stayed between a 9:00mm - 9:30mm pace the entire time. We ran up Central Park West, which is very flat, for the first mile and a half or so, and although we were on the faster end of the range, I let it go since I knew that the upcoming hills would slow us down naturally. Well, at least that's what I thought would happen.
The third and fourth miles were by far the most difficult since we had the Harlem Hills, plus a long, slow incline towards Engineer's Gate. To my surprise, we didn't slow down significantly, but by the time we ended mile 4, I knew that Tatiana was starting to get tired. It's common race wisdom that the mind gives up long before the body does, and I wanted to make sure that she didn't let herself get discouraged.
So I spent the last two miles encouraging her and making sure that she stayed on pace for as long as possible. Towards the end, I thought that we had a chance at sub-57 minutes, but it was not to be. Our official time ended up being 57:07 @ 9:12 mm pace. But that didn't really bother us for too long - her goal had been under an hour and we had smashed it! Once the official results went up I found out that my amateur pacing efforts were pretty solid - the 5K splits were pretty much even. It turns out that I pace pretty well when I aim for marathon pace. Not too shabby!
Although we had fantastic results, Tatiana found out the hard way that she needed more sodium in her pre-race food, and that a banana wasn't sufficient. I don't think any further detail is necessary.
Now that we have this accomplishment under our collective belts, our next collective goal race will be the Staten Island Half in October! I am in the process of creating a training plan for her, and the 12 week clock will start ticking down before we know it! Thanks for reading!