Saturday was my worst race ever. I mean, I have only raced in seven or so other races. So there’s not a lot to compare it to. And it’s inevitable that bad races happen.
I watched the “shocking upset” in yesterday’s World Athletics Championships 800 meter women’s race — defending champion Athing Mu, whose sparkling Nikes had been one of the stars of the competition, was beaten in the last 100 meters of her race and she came in third. It was a bad race for Mu. It was unexpected.
Saturday, the forecast here was for 70+ degree temperatures and 90% humidity, and the course — a 6 mile look around Central Park — is tough under the best conditions: rolling hills from miles 3 through 5. So having a bad day wasn’t a surprise. But when I headed out the door at 7am to jog over to the park — a little warm-up run — the skies opened and it just poured rain. I was absolutely soaked before I lined up in my corral. It was my first NYRR race and so they had to take my word for it that I could run a 10K at an 8:05/min pace.
I was about 40 seconds off that mark by the time everything was said and done. It was so hot — 77 degrees “feel” — and so humid that I stopped at every water station, something I’d never normally do at a 10K, as it’s a fast race where fueling is typically totally unnecessary.
But I wasn’t alone in having a bad race; everyone on the r/RunNYC subreddit said they had a tough time of it too. And by the time I’d been “age-graded” (something I quite like!), I was actually 148th for women overall, out of 3200 women — 2007th overall, without the curve, out of 6971 participants. I was 24th in the women 50-54 group. And I am pretty pleased with that, even though my time was so slow I’ll be knocked down into a slower corral for my next big race: the Bronx 10-Miler.
I saw a professional athlete say that they give themselves an hour to be deep in their feelings about having a bad race — to rage or cry or beat oneself up or blame someone else or whatever — and then they just let it go because yeah. Not really useful to get all wrapped up in a bad race. Indeed, I pick up another race bib this afternoon for my next little race: the Fifth Avenue Mile.
Racing and writing: that’s what I do. And I am getting into a rhythm — or trying to — of balancing the two. It can be exceptionally difficult to work one’s body and then expect one’s brain to work. “Jock brain” is real, if you’ve asked your cardiovascular system to divert all energy to your muscles. As usual, Second Breakfast published three newsletters: a veggie smoothie recipe (and rant), some fast food breakfast reviews, and my usual Friday round-up. I’ve also prepped upcoming essays and recipes, as I’m trying to stay ahead of things, with an editorial calendar and whatnot.
On the training side of things, it was a bit of a cutback week, running-distance wise, with Saturday’s race. Tuesday’s run was on the treadmill — a speed workout coming in at little over 11 miles, which according to my watch was a PR for both the 1 mile and the 10K, hahahaha. Maybe I should have saved some energy there. Thursdays run was outside, in an attempt to get some more heat/humidity acclimation — just a 45 minute run, and the acclimation didn’t help. On Sunday, my friend Paul was in town, dropping his kid off at college, and we ran around Central Park. Paul is my OG pacer from my first half marathon training, and it was so good to run with him again — good to run with anyone as I’ve been on my own for while now.
Lifting went alright. Squats, bench, single leg RDL, Bulgarian split squats and reverse lunge on Wednesday; and on Friday, deadlifts (I got the yips at the top weight again) and OH Press, which I advanced on quite a bit, which was a surprise. And swimming went fine too. Both it and biking (and walking) do little to elevate my heart rate so I am going to have to figure out how to train more efficiently (while also giving my heart and my joints a break).
Media consumed: We finished the Inside Voice audiobook, and started listening to Paved Paradise. On the treadmill, I finally finished John Wick Chapter 4, and continued Physical (Season 1). I’m still reading New York 2041. While running, I listened to the latest Barbell Medicine podcast (on balancing cardio and lifting, interestingly enough) and the latest Burnt Toast podcast. We watched the latest episodes of Only Murders in the Building and Reservation Dogs, and we started watching the documentary series Telemarketers — holy shit!
And the best part — meals cooked and eaten: I made baked beans (not sure where the recipe came from) and sheet pan full English breakfast; I made a strata (which wasn’t that great sadly); I made curry peanut chicken bowls; and last night, I made Korean-ish tacos with homemade tortillas, which I screwed up by cutting the recipe in half. (Why are bread items so finicky that way?!)
We had bagels delivered from Ess-a-Bagel again. Saturday, we ate at Real Kung Fu Little Steamed Dumplings, which you’d never guess by the looks of it actually is a Michelin Bib Gourmand. We ate what is, I think, the perfect post race food: fatty and salty carbs salty: some pork soup dumplings, fried pork buns, fried Peking duck buns; sticky rice shumai; scallion pancake with beef. Everything was just amazing, and surely the best soup dumplings — one of my favorite foods — I’ve ever had. Afterwards we returned to Little Pie Company, where we each polished off a 5” pie: Kin, cherry; me, sour cream walnut apple. And on yesterday’s run, fellow donut runner Paul and I stopped at Le Pain Quotidian, right by the park so tourist-central, and I ate a massive cream-filled donut. It wasn’t the best pastry, but whatever. It hit the spot.