Brand Spankin’ New 5k PR!! And First Female Overall!!

Wow. Just, wow. I ran a 5k on Thanksgiving that I had no idea I had in me. I won the whole damn thing (for the girls, anyway) and have never ran so fast in my life.

Ahhhhh!!!!!

Ahhhhh!!!!!

So the past 3-4 years, since I started “running” running, my husband and I have done our local town’s Turkey Trot 5k. Even though I know the course/streets very well since I grew up on them and could run them in my sleep, this race always kills me. Always.

The first mile is downhill and half of the 2nd and half of the 3rd are on an long, gradual incline that just does me in every. single. time.

This graph makes it look worse but this is what it feels like, LOL

This graph makes it look worse but this is what it feels like, LOL

To put in perspective–the first time I ran this race was back in 2013 and I finished in 25:44, a PR at the time. As time passed, I PR’d on other 5k courses (down to 23:40) but in 2014 and 2015 I couldn’t beat my 2013 time on that dang Turkey Trot course!!

Anyway, going into the race my goal was to beat my course PR. But, my brother really wanted me to beat his course PR–24:30. I was okay with simply getting sub 25 but my brother was pretty insistent on me beating his time. So, I decided to shoot for that thinking it would be a pretty sweet win if I made it.

I had a really good run under my belt going in. The Tuesday before I had done a 5 mile run with my husband. But like, really with my husband. At his pace. Whenever we run together, he slows down to accommodate me, but on Tuesday, I was feeling it (and really, I wanted to actually run with him, lol) and he didn’t have to slow down all that much.

5 miles–8:20, 8;04, 7:45, 7:35, 7:23

So having done that run and feeling pretty good, I was confident I could get the time my brother wanted me to get.

5k First mile–7:14

Yeah…..like I said, it’s downhill and I worried that I’d blown it going so fast. Especially knowing I had the dreaded uphill coming my way.

5k Second mile–7:32

Holy crap, I couldn’t believe it. I remember climbing up (it really is such a subtle incline but it feels mountainous) and telling myself to push, push, push!!! I saw a girl up ahead start walking and that fueled me. I sought to catch and pass her and that helped me speed up on that uphill. When I did pass her, I told her to join me, but she was done.

As I approached the third mile, I saw that that girl I’d passed was the only girl in front of me!!! I was the first female at that point!

5k Third mile–7:25

No way was I gonna lose this chance. We got into the park to do the final loop and I just gunned it. I told myself to run as fast as I could, fast where it hurt. I told myself to make it hurt.

5k point one–5:50 pace

And I was the first female overall!!!! I have no idea where the young cross country girls were (the overall male was a 16 year-old cross country runner) but I’m glad as hell they sat this one out 😀

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I won this cool plate and my picture was taken for our local paper and I felt like such a badass, haha!!!

I may never win another race, but I’m so proud and happy I won my town’s 5k (and their last one, unfortunately).

–Have you ever won a race?

–Does your town have a popular race?

–How was your Thanksgiving, Americans?

 

 

Touring New York City

Well, touring the city was definitely more enjoyable having snagged a PR. I had a little more pep to my step you could say 😀

We got started the day after. Yup, we weren’t wasting our time. I figured the walking would help with recovery anyway, right? Ja!!

The main things on my list were the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. An early morning alarm woke us up and I honestly didn’t feel too bad considering I’d finished a marathon the day before. We arrived at the ferry around 9 a.m. and it was nice beating the crowds.

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It’s been a dream to see this statue in person. I mean, I’ve read so much about it in school growing up and honestly–sitting in a desk, it just seemed like fiction. But up close?? Man… And then to go to Ellis Island and read/see what the people arriving to the United States felt about seeing the statue–it leaves you a different person, really.

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My parents are U.S citizens. My mom’s mom wasn’t (but became one late in her life before she died). My dad’s dad isn’t and lives in Mexico.

I’ve seen firsthand the emotions one feels not being able to be with family. I’m not going to turn this into a political post, but I do have to say, I wish the process were easier. And I wish people had more compassion to those who have family in America and long to be with them.

We read and learned a lot during our visit to Ellis Island. The process was not easy then….and some things never change.

After our morning in the museum, we headed to the World Trade Center/One World Observatory. We went up to the top and just had the most breathtaking view of the city. It was another surreal moment as we looked out the massive windows.

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All in all, the day after the race totaled a whopping 10 miles of walking. I have no idea how I functioned, lol!

Tuesday, Election Day, was bittersweet. I was excited to be in New York City on a historical day but of course you already know in what capacity it was such.

We visited Central Park, a spot I had on my list I wanted to see.

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And then we made our way to the Hilary Clinton Block Party, which coincidentally was at the same place as the marathon expo.

at the expo

at the expo

at the block party

at the block party

When it started getting late and things were not looking too good, we decided to call it a night. 😦

Wednesday was the day I’d been waiting for……NEW YORK KNICKS DAY!!!

If you remember my sob story a few months ago, I was super sad that the only games playing while we were in the city were the day of the marathon and the day we were to leave. Well, my husband decided that this was truly a once in a lifetime opportunity so we extended our stay one more day!!!

I had breakfast with a blogging buddy (who sadly no longer blogs) and then in the evening, my husband and I had a pre-game celebration with the amazing Colby. It was seriously the best way to begin the night ❤

Me and the beautiful Colby--LOVE her.

Me and the beautiful Colby–LOVE her.

And then we watched the Knicks play at Madison Square Garden!!! Seriously guys, you have no idea how excited I was about this. Basketball was my first love. And while running has taken over, you never, ever forget your first.

HUGE check off my life list.

HUGE check off my life list.

We jam packed our New York City vacay and I absolutely had the time of my life. It was a stark difference from desert living but I think that’s why I loved it so much, lol!

In all, I’m so happy that whenever I think of New York, I’ll only have positive memories of a great race and a great vacation.

–Have you ever been to New York? If not, what would you want to see/visit there?

–What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of New York City?

–Do you tour a city when you go on a race-cation?

 

NYC Marathon: The Saturday Before

So I’ve already written about The Race, and I thought I’d share a little about what happened the Saturday leading  up to the big day.

Saturday morning before the marathon, I joined up with Run, Selfie, Repeat’s shakeout run. I “knew” a whole bunch of We Run Social and IG people attending and I was excited to finally meet some social media friends in person. It was a great turn out  (i.e. a shit ton of people) so we broke out in mini groups; it was a perfect 2.5 mile fun run.

BL: Me with Kelly aka-Run, Selfie, Repeat; M: Me with Gregg aka-NYC Sweat; BR: Me with Carlos aka-Carlos the Runner

BL: Me with Kelly aka-Run, Selfie, Repeat; M: Me with Gregg aka-NYC Sweat; BR: Me with Carlos aka-Carlos the Runner

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Saturday night was my charity’s pasta dinner. This was quite different than when I ran Chicago for the Ronald McDonald House. The V Foundation was more private and close knit which was really cool. The food was absolutely amazing but the biggest deal were the guest speakers.

Andy Katz from ESPN was the main speaker and he shared his story for why he has chosen to run for the Jimmy V Foundation the past few years. He talked a lot about how much more meaning a race has when you’re running for something other than yourself–which is a big reason why I think a lot of us do this (run for charity).

Andy Katz, me, and my husband

Andy Katz, me, and my husband

Then, he introduced his friend Seb Bellin. Seb was a professional basketball player turned successful businessman. He was in Brussels during the horrifying terrorist attack at the Brussels airport and very badly injured. Seb shared what helped him survive his near-death experience and his story brought the room to tears.

Seb almost died. But, less than a year after, here he was standing right in front of me. He related to us that while he’s never run a marathon, he can imagine that there are moments during the race where we felt like quitting. Where we felt the pain was too strong for us to keep going.

Seb recounted how there were many moments when he felt like that in the Brussels airport. But because he remained calm and in the moment, he allowed himself a chance to survive. He didn’t hope for the impossible–walking out of there; his legs had been severely damaged. Instead, he focused on what he could do: see, talk, and move his hands. He used his strengths to help find a way to get out and get help.

First, he was able to grab something to use as a tourniquet for one of his legs. Then, he pleaded for someone to put him on a luggage cart and take him outside. Once outside, he told the rescue officials arriving it was imperative they put him in an ambulance; he was losing blood fast and time was not in his favor.

He did all of this in unimaginable pain.

As he was speaking, I couldn’t help but think that running a marathon felt so trivial compared to the very near death experience he was sharing. I simply couldn’t imagine being as strong as he was in that situation (and I thanked God I had never been close.)

But I thought a lot about Seb when I ran NYC Marathon. I thought about how lucky I was to be able to run, to feel pain. And his words definitely helped me. His words helped me to embrace the pain–to accept it and find a way to push through it.

This is the video he shared to us that night. There are graphic scenes, but you can see/hear Seb recount the awful moments of that day and how he was able to survive.

The New York City Marathon is a race I’ll never forget for many reasons, and his story is one of them.

Team V with Seb--the tall guy in the back :) <3

Team V with Seb–the tall guy in the back 🙂 ❤

–What thoughts get you through tough moments in a race?