After two consecutive fitness-free weekends, I resolved that this Saturday and Sunday would not be another “lost weekend.” The last two weekends had celebrated a longtime friend visiting town and a local friend finally returning to the city. The excessive indulgence of food and wine came at the expense of my usual fitness activities. For each of the prior two Monday mornings , I found myself operating on an endorphin deficit. I vowed this beautiful weekend wasn’t going to be a three-peat!
Friday evening’s post-workweek gym outing was a welcome prelude to a low-key evening, as I rested up in anticipation of a pavement pounding weekend. By Saturday morning I was more than ready to knock out an easy 10-miler. With temperatures hovering in the low 60s, running under the bright, sunny sky was invigorating. In fact, about halfway into my run I couldn’t resist the urge to peel off my top to cool down a tad and let my skin fully absorb the vitamin D-rich rays. This was one of those runs you just didn’t want to end. I was tempted to keep going, but I needed to remain fresh for today’s race.
After achieving a sub-8 pace during my most recent 4-miler on April 6, I was hoping I could do the same at today’s Run as One. PR or not, I was going to give it my all.
Arriving at Central Park this morning, I was surprised to see that there were literally a dozen corrals. I didn’t realize that today’s sold out race to benefit the fight against lung cancer was so popular. I’ve noticed that larger the field sizes often result in a more congested course. In theory, proper corralling should rectify this annoyance. In practice, however, it never seems to fully resolve. I can only assume that larger races attract a greater number of non-NYRR members, who might tend to be a tad overconfident when estimating their pace at registration.
As suspected, the course was quite congested. I guess that meant I’d have to race, right? I remained alert, kept my legs moving and committed to running my best. I felt good throughout. Perhaps because my self-imposed burden of breaking the sub-8 mark had already been lifted, I felt more relaxed. Much more so than during my April 6 outing. The West Side hills didn’t seem as daunting today, and I was pleased with my energy level in the final stretch.
Once my feet hit the finish mat, I looked down at my Garmin and a smile crossed my parched lips. My time had improved! After a slow start, I had still shaved nearly 10 seconds off my previous best effort. I managed a 31:45 and inched my pace per mile down to 7:57.
After rehydrating, I was ready to look inside the numbers to get a better sense of my progress. On my previous 4-mile outing only two of my splits had been sub-8. Today, all but the first mile were on target. For two of the miles, I had even managed a 7:41 and 7:35. An encouraging sign of continued improvement, and hopefully a harbinger of future results.
It’s always nice to make time and catch up with friends, even if doing so results in a “lost” fitness weekend every now and then. Especially when doing so makes you appreciate how truly fulfilling your fitness-filled weekends have become! Best of all, tomorrow I will begin my week with the sense of refreshment that only an endorphin-filled weekend can provide.