Hi, I'm Petra and this is my weight loss/fitness blog.
I used to be on Weight Watchers from January 2011 to October 2012, dropping approximately 45 lbs. I've made the transition from unhealthy and unhappy to athlete and this is my journey to becoming a healthier, happier me. I frequently post about my exercise (mostly running, yoga and lifting), the foods I eat, recipes I liked and my daily struggles. You'll also find the occasional tree hugger post, (travel) photography or anything else I find worth remembering and collecting.
I follow most blogs back that follow me. However, I do stay away from blogs that promote EDs, unhealthy methods of weight loss or negative body image.
Feel free to say hi any time!
Race Day, OMG, how much I love you! Today was the big day: the 10k I had signed up for on a brim without having trained for the distance. I had run 6 miles or more a few times on my training runs and I knew I could do it, but racing it was going to be different. When I read the course description again and it called the course challenging, scenic and fun, I did get a little intimidated. Had I bitten off more than I could chew?
(Spoiler: the course was all of the three and the answer is no.)
The race took place in Sleepy Hollow, NY. Yes, that Sleepy Hollow. It’s a 50 minute train ride north of New York City and by the time I made it to Grand Central where my train was going to leave, I realized that I wasn’t the only one who thought a Halloween-themed race was going to be fun.
I got up around 4:30, only to find out in horror that my roommate had come home from her partying and that she had just gone in the bathroom as I was headed out to use it and get ready. This is not a racing-only issue, but more a general quirk I have; whenever I need to be somewhere and can’t be late (like having to catch a train or plane) in the morning, I get extremely stressed out and anxious. Thankfully she wasn’t long and I always give myself a few extra minutes, so there was still plenty of time to get ready. Phew.
I had packed my bag and laid out my clothes the night before, so it was just a quick grab and go. I showered, then had breakfast: bread, peanut butter, more bread, cream cheese, coffee with milk. Apparently it was going to be another of these eat all the food days. (My guess is that it’s got to do with the fact that I’ve increased the milage this week and that it’s shark week - as sharky as my weeks get these days.)
I brought my usual for the road: a banana, a Luna bar, water and some coconut water. I never end up eating the Luna bar, but I like having it on hand, just in case. I also picked up a bagel at Grand Central because I didn’t know whether there was going to be any pre- or post-run breakfast like at the 5k and with my day already starting out so hungry, I wasn’t going to take any chances. Besides, I was very early anyway.
There were a few other runners on the train and quite honestly, seeing all those fit people was intimidating. I knew that I was going to race this for me and for my time, but I was self-doubting again and I didn’t like it. I wanted to feel like I belonged there just like these (what I thought to be) more seasoned runners. Once we got to Sleepy Hollow, we went to the registration desk to pick up bibs, chips and t-shirts.
The shirts are actually really fun!
I watched the 1K Kid’s race that some nut kid ran in about 6 or 7 minutes. That’s impressive. Once he crossed the finish line, he promptly puked and had to be taken away in an ambulance. All the kids got medals. It was fun!
The 10K started at 9:30 and everybody gathered at the starting line around 9:15. I was getting excited! I knew I was going to be slower than most people so I found myself a spot somewhere that was not the front. Just a couple of minutes before the start, I heard people clapping and cheering and when I looked around, I saw the Horseman! A dude on a horse with no head. A lot of the participants were dressed in costumes (bees were popular) and a lot of the volunteers too. I think it added to the fun. And the fact that the Horseman officially blew the whistle (figuratively) was awesome!
9:30, off we were!
What I really liked was that despite the fact that there were so many people, it didn’t feel crowded. We ran on the street and there was enough space to not get in each other’s way. I got overtaken by quite a few people but I was determined to not let others influence my pace, especially since I didn’t know what was coming up.
This was our course:
The first 1 mile was fine and it was only at mile 1.5 that it started getting hilly. We ran past some really gorgeous houses, especially once we ran into Sleepy Hallow Manor around miles 2.5 - 4. People in Sleepy Hollow take Halloween very seriously. Pretty much all the houses were decorated. I used the beautiful surroundings to let it distract me from the fact that I wanted to die.
I had set into a nice pace just a little under 10 minutes and I was content with how the race was going. I think overall, I could have pushed a little harder early on. I probably should have stayed a little more focused on my pace and the race and not so much on the surroundings. But fact is, I let my nerves get the best of me and I was intimidated (by the distance, by the hills, by how fast everybody else was). I was glad for any distraction, even though it might have harmed my overall time.
Miles 2.5 through 4.5 were tough. Boy, I’m not even gonna lie. If you look at the elevation (green line), you’ll see what I’m talking about:
We went from 35 ft to 141 ft. The big hill was nicknamed Holy Hill and it was definitely the toughest part of the course. Some people had to walk it. I really wanted to. But I pushed through and ran it. I was slow, sure. But I ran. And I’m really proud of that. It effected my overall split for mile four, which is not surprisingly my slowest:
I tried to make up for it as we were running downhill and I managed to increase my pace quite a bit. Once I had done the big hill, I knew it was going to be easier from there and that I was through the worst. It felt liberating and I think once I was past that hill I started really enjoying the race. I even dreamed of a time close to 1 hour.
Mile 4.5 - 5.5 felt somewhat easy as we went through a nice park. One of the girls that I’d been keeping up with took a detour at this point and cut out the loop around mile 5. She basically cut off 1 mile of her total distance. I don’t know how chips work and whether it’ll show at all or whether it’ll just show her time, assuming she ran the full course? I know that technically this is cheating. However, the only person she cheated on was herself. I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt and will assume she might have been in pain and just needed to finish.
At 5.5 I started pushing as much as I could, knowing that the end was near. I overtook a few people, waved at the Horseman and had to realize that the last couple of yards were up a steep hill. I saw people standing around who had already finished and they were wonderful and cheered on us, telling us that the finish line was so close and that we were almost there. But wow, I barely made it. I was so exhausted and the last thing I wanted to do was run up another hill. I engaged in the thought of walking because I thought I couldn’t do it. Then I remembered that I hadn’t walked the big hill and that I came to run the race and not to walk it. I kept telling myself that I’m strong and just pushed through. It was hard. And it fucked with my time, I think.
My overall (chiped) time was 1:02:02, which puts me as 481 out of 692. It’s not an amazing result, but I’m still proud of it. Especially considering the difficult course and the fact that I hadn’t properly trained for it. I finished 88 out of 145 for my age group. The guy who won the race ran it in under 34 minutes. That’s sick. The fastest woman ran it in about 40 minutes. My pacing wasn’t the best and I could potentially have done better, but I didn’t do horrible, so it’s a good enough result for me.
After the race, I refreshed with water, a giant bagel (not the one I had bought since there was breakfast), an apple and beer.
I was so hungry (I sense a theme), that I devoured the bagel and the apple. I didn’t eat the granola bar and since I don’t actually like donuts, I forewent them altogether. Funny fact: there were motivational posters along the track for the last few yards: pictures of Homer Simpson, speaking of donuts awaiting everybody at the finish line. I should change my tumblr name to willrunforfood.
After the race, I stretched, grabbed my stuff, found a Dunkin Donuts where I could use the bathroom and get changed. I headed back to the city because as much as I wanted to hang out in Sleepy Hollow, my legs were killing me and the idea of having to walk around was quite honestly not appealing at all.
I totally failed to take pictures, so I’m hoping there will be some on the race organizer’s site tomorrow. What a race! Well done, self!