Two Boots whole wheat pizza with basil, eggplant, mushrooms, onions and artichokes with a side of pesto. Also, red velvet cupcakes and Haagen-Dazs ice cream.
Two friends from Connecticut got in around 10:15 that night and we stayed up chatting for a while, so it wasn’t the most sleep I’ve gotten before a race, but still a solid 7 hours.
The journey to Roosevelt Island was an easy one and it was a gorgeous fall morning – crisp and cool but warm in the sun. And I was wearing my favorite color-coordinated outfit. The Halloween race was put on by NYC Runs and they offered both a 5K and a 10K. Everything was well-organized and I loved that it was a smaller race. Tons of people were dressed up and there were hardly any spectators – which meant I got to be front and center as Allison and Kait finished their 5K.
With a really official, “Pretend this is a gun – on your mark, get set, BOOM!” we were off.
The course was two loops with a few wonky little “go down this side street and then make a U-turn at the end so that we can get the right distance” portions – not my favorite type of course but what was awesome was that the course was flat as a pancake! And again, the weather was perfect for racing AND we got to go along the water for a portion of the race which is always pretty.
I tried to start out conservatively but that’s never my specialty. My Garmin informed me that my first mile was a 7:12 and I knew I would be in serious trouble if I kept that up. Luckily, two runners on my right were chatting about how they were going to try to run 7:30s which sounded much more realistic. I creepily paced off of them for the next 3 miles. Around mile 4 I told them they were officially my pacers like a total weirdo and when they asked if I had a goal I said no, but my PR is a 7:19 pace. The man who was clearly better at math than me said that I should think 7:18s and I could definitely get it.
So I pulled away and spent the rest of the race trying to keep two other women slightly ahead of me from getting too far out of reach.
I was feeling wonderful which was such a nice surprise and I was also scared that at any minute I was going to regret running 7:20s. But I just tried to enjoy the strength I was feeling in my legs. There’s something about racing that I just love. I’m a competitive person, and I can say all I want that I’m not there to “race” a race, but without fail once I’m out there – it’s on.
Up until mile 5, it was all about competing against myself. Setting a new PR, proving that I CAN still run fast after months of feeling “meh.” Proving that my work on strengthening my legs and hips has paid off.
And then, something happened.
The woman who I had been trailing the entire race turned around and said, “You better tell them you cut a corner.”
“What?” I asked , completely dumbfounded.
“You cut that corner. You were behind me and then you pulled up ahead.”
She sounded so nasty and so vindictive that I really didn’t know how to react.
“Well I’m not trying to win or anything so go ahead!” I yelled.
I was so upset – this has never been my experience with runners and the running community especially at a Halloween run. This woman was dressed up for God’s sake! And I had been planning on complementing her at the end for a really well-run race and for looking great doing it!
Then I got a little pissed.
“Happy Halloween to you too!”
Then, I started thinking that maybe she was doing this as a way to mess with my mental-game. Which is a game that two can play.
“You know, I was going to compliment you on a great race and tell you you looked great doing it. I think you’re just scared I’m going to beat you.”
It just came out.
And as soon as I said it, I regretted it. Because I just gave her all the fuel she needed to kick my butt and I had also given myself a lot more motivation to beat her.
A minute before I had been happily cruising to a PR and now I was scared this race was going to end a lot differently. With me angry and beaten down by this bitchy Wonder Woman.
I got a little teary. In my mind, I had let her take this race away from me. I had let her get in my head and suddenly I was no longer just racing for myself. I was racing to beat her.
But it is what it is – now I knew there was no slowing down that last mile. I stayed close behind her, sure not to pull ahead and give her something to chase.
Luckily for me, I could tell she was fading. I probably could have gone faster overall if I wasn’t playing a strategy game with her, which is frustrating to look back on. But hauling-ass the second I saw that finish line and leaving her in the dust felt damn good, I won’t lie.
I told the race director that I totally understood if they had an issue giving me an award and he said they would look at the splits and that would make it very obvious if I had cut any corners.
Apparently, the clock told them all they needed to know and I received my plaque for 2nd place female ages 20-29.
She ensured that I finished with a major kick at the end – which is my favorite way to cross a finish line, so for that – I thank her. I legit blacked out those last 100 meters so THANKS ALLISON for these baller pictures.
NYC Runs had lots of candy, fruit and bagels afterwards along with a fun costume contest. It was a great way to spend Halloween and I even got to take the Roosevelt Island tram for the first time on our way home! It was anticlimactic but still a nice change from the underground subway.
Congratulations to everyone who took on the five boroughs on Sunday– it was a beautiful day and I loved getting to give a giant hug to some of my favorite marathoners at the after party!