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!
While half of my Tumblr feed was out running the NOLA R’n’R (half) marathon, New York City saw a much shorter race: the Coogan’s Salsa, Blues, and Shamrocks 5k. The race was held in Manhattan’s Washington Heights neighborhood, a neighborhood I’m not familiar with at all, so it was exciting to see some fresh streets (and hills).
With a date this close to spring, I assume that Coogan’s kicks off racing season for many runners. Hence it was packed: a total of 7,000 runners of all ages and skill levels had signed up. On top of the adult race at 9 AM, there was also a Kid’s race an hour later. It was so great seeing so many kids, passionate and excited about the sport.
It was freezing cold this morning. I chatted with a Filipino woman, Cynthia, at baggage drop off and we both mock-complained about the weather. I couldn’t believe how cold it was! Yesterday was so nice and I was overdressed. Today I could have used a few more layers. (If only I’d bothered research the neighborhood before the race, I’d found out that Washington Heights is the neighborhood with the highest natural altitude in Manhattan and that capris were not a good idea.) I got so cold that I started jogging while I waited for the corrals to fill. I couldn’t feel my feet.
As I warmed up, my quads were screaming at me - my muscles were cold and still a bit sore from yesterday’s run, they were in a lot of pain. I must admit that after yesterday’s excitement about moving up one corral (and now playing with the faster kids), my nerves started to show a little just before the gun went off. What if I couldn’t hold the pace? What if I was going to be slow? What if the course was too hilly for me to keep up? What if I was going to fail?
Thankfully as I waited in the corral, a random stranger started talking to me and we kept chatting about running, Garmins, racing and marathons. I totally forgot to ask her for her name, but she was really nice and I was grateful for the distraction. After the gun went off, we stuck together for a while and it was nice running with somebody as opposed to running alone.
We set off with a 9:23 pace for the first mile, which felt nice and challenging without being too hard. The course led along Fort Washington Avenue, into Fort Tryon Park, looped around The Cloisters and then went back. Before we even reached the first mile marker, we already saw the first runners come back with about one more mile to go. We laughed out loud. (The guy who won ran the 5k in a little over 14 minutes. Haha, of course.)
I really liked this race! Along the hilly and challenging course, there were plenty of bands playing salsa, blues, funk, folk, rock, merengue, mariachi and even bagpipes. I didn’t listen to my iPod, like I usually do because I wanted to take in all the different cultures. It was beautiful.
My companion and I stuck together until shortly after the turning point, then I lost her. We both had to maneuver past other runners and at one point she was gone. My second mile was almost a minute faster than my first: 8:34. Knowing I was so close to the finish line and that I only had one more hill to go, I really pushed it and finished mile three in 8:21. My official chip time for the 5k was 27:41. My pace was 8:56.
I’m so ridiculously proud of myself. Sure, it’s only a 5k and no, I wouldn’t have been able to hold the pace for that much longer, but I ran my first ever race at a sub-9 min/mile. This is huge for me!
After the race, apparently many runners head to Coogan’s, a runners’ bar in the neighborhood who gave its name to the race. I was tired and starting to get cold again, so I grabbed an apple, piece of orange and a banana and headed home instead.
I have little to no hope for the official pictures to turn out well. I didn’t pay attention to where the photographers were, but hopefully I’ll be lucky. I really need to start remembering to take some post-race pictures. Instead of pre-race only:
The still empty streets with volunteers getting ready for thousands of hungry and thirsty runners.
Random pretty building.