This past Saturday I ran my first ever 15k! The thing I love most about any first ever distance… automatic PR. So, now I have a PR in the 15k of 1:31:48 or a pace of 9:53. Considering my pace for the half marathon in September was 11:17, I’m really happy with this.
This is the closest I’ve ever gotten my Garmin to my actual race time. That’s a PR of sorts too.
The race was the Ted Corbitt 15k in Central Park, and it was a lot of fun. I’ve run a little in Central Park, but mostly I’ve just biked around, so it was exciting to see more of the park on foot. Waking up at 4:45 on a Saturday morning was significantly less exciting. The race started at 8:30, and it takes about 90 minutes to get from Jersey City to the UWS on the weekend. That combined with the fact that my stomach has been less than cooperative lately meant I wanted a lot of time to get up and moving before the race.
I met up with Debbie, Meg and Jenn, and we all got to head into the city together which made public transportation before sunrise a little more bearable. We got to the park with about an hour to spare which was the perfect amount of time to drop our bags, use the restrooms and line up.
The weather was chilly but beautiful.
We didn’t run together for this race, so we parted ways at the starting line, and then we were off! Honestly, I probably should have been, but I wasn’t at all worried about the distance. I think I was so nervous that my stomach wouldn’t cooperate, that I didn’t even stop to think about the fact that I haven’t run further than 6 miles in months. Talk about your blessing in disguise. The course was two loops around most of Central Park excluding (thank goodness!) the Harlem Hills. Still, it was nowhere near as flat as my usual Jersey City runs. I actually think this helped distract me from the distance too. I was in my own head just strategizing and trying to figure out how best to tackle the rolling hills and completely ignored the distance.
My basic strategy was this: on the flat parts of the course I tried to keep my pace right around 9:30 for the first half. As I approached a hill, I’d aim to keep my pace under 10, and on the downhills I’d fly and try and make up some time. I figured I could always speed up if I had anything left in the tank during the second half. I was actually feeling really great until about mile 7. Then, my stomach reminded me why it’s my most unreliable organ (thank goodness?). I actually had to come to a full stop three times. I just felt all my stomach muscles lock up, so I stopped, pulled off to the side of the road (after nearly being killed by a bike) and breathed calmly until I could get my stomach to a more peaceful place.
After mile 7, I ran when I could and walked through the water stops. I finished strong, and felt really good that I was able to finish as fast as I did given all the stomach drama.
The rest of the ladies did awesome, and we congratulated ourselves with a little brunch by the park before heading home.
The rest of the weekend was pretty calm and lovely. Backing up a bit, Chris and I were supposed to see the tree in the city after work on Friday, but I cancelled our date because I was just too shaken up by the Connecticut tragedy to even want to be around other people. He eventually convinced me to leave the house and take a little walk around Jersey City that night, and I’m glad he did because I do think it lifted my spirits a bit. We walked through the downtown farmer’s market and stopped to browse some vintage… CDs? Yep, apparently CDs have replaced vinyl records as the hipster’s collectible of choice. Weird.
I don’t think anyone is collecting Marilyn Manson CDs.
Saturday night, we went to dinner with Chris’ family to celebrate his mom’s birthday. It was actually Friday, and she’s a preschool teacher, so I know she felt the impact of the tragedy especially deeply. It was nice to be together and allow our hearts to be a little lighter for a few hours.
I earned a stocking on the family mantle this year, which was really touching. Chris’ mom also sent us home with a little Christmas carousel that lit up and spun and absolutely made a certain blonde cat’s night.
Sunday was rainy and cold. It was the perfect day for staying in PJs until noon, so we did.
I spent a bit of the morning doing some baking for the evening’s cookie exchange hosted by my friend Cameron. A baker, I am not, but I gave it my best shot with a tried and true recipe for gluten free chocolate coconut macaroons.
I follow this recipe exactly but I add half a bag of melted dark chocolate chips to the mix before folding in the egg whites. If I’m feeling really fancy, I’ll also add 1/4 cup of cocoa powder.
The don’t look pretty, but they taste lovely, and my favorite part is whipping the egg whites into a frenzy.
Just kidding. That’s the worst part, but the rest of the recipe is a cakewalk (see what I did there?), so I shouldn’t complain.
The cookie exchange was lovely. There were about 20 girls there with the most amazing recipes, and I left with a giant container of treats for Chris and I to share. We’ve each been sampling between 2 and 3 a night. It’s a pretty good way to get into the holiday spirit. It’s also a pretty good way to get into a larger pant size. So, there’s that too.
I can’t believe this weekend is already Christmas. I’m looking forward to a mini break and time with family. In light of everything that’s happened, I’m going to focus especially hard on soaking up every minute with the people I love. To you and yours, Happy Holidays!