How was your weekend? I had one of the best weekends I’ve had in a long time! I went into the weekend already feeling warm fuzzies from the challenge I did for Elf for Health on Friday – leave an Operation Beautiful note. If you haven’t heard of this mission, please check out that link. It’s guaranteed to make you feel good. Basically, you leave a post-it somewhere in a public place, with a message to make the recipient feel beautiful. I left them in a cafe restroom, in a fitting room and in the locker room of my gym.
And guess what? Someone found one of my notes and posted it on Instagram!! Thanks to my new elf friend Allison for discovering their photo and sharing it with me! Social media is really amazing sometimes.
Saturday morning I left my boys to go out for breakfast together (they headed to to diner for pancakes), while I rolled out of bed and walked into
my backyard Prospect Park for a NYRR 4 mile race, the Jingle Bell Jog! Now, you remember from my weekly marathon training posts that I am pretty familiar with the running loop of Prospect Park. So, I went into this race with a PLAN.
It all hatched a couple of weeks ago when I ran the NYRR 4 mile Race to Deliver in Central Park on THE coldest day we’ve experienced in a loooong time. When I checked my splits for that race, the last two miles were super incredibly fast (for me), which at the time I put down to just wanting it to be the hell over and have a coffee in my hands in a warm place. But then I got to thinking…
If I could run that fast just because I was cold and uncomfortable and wanted to be done already, then that meant I CAN RUN THAT FAST. I knew I had the race in my park coming up. I know that loop like it’s my best friend. If there was ever a time to PR, this was it.
I wanted to PR. And I don’t mean a since-I-had-a-baby-PR. I mean, I wanted to run this 4 mile race faster than any time I’ve run that distance before. A true PR.
After checking out the route online, I planned my attack. The first mile is the major hill in the park, followed by a flat mile, a downhill mile and then a partially flat, partially uphill mile. My plan was to attack the hill and try to keep that level of effort through the second mile (so it should be faster than the first). Then for the third, I could back off a bit and let the downhill keep my speed up, so I had a little left in reserve for the hard last mile.
Mile One: 8:18. Felt good, felt like I was pushing myself, without going too hard. I chuckled at the quarter-mile mark when I heard a young kid ask his running partner how far they’d run (runner’s equivalent of ‘Are we there yet?’).
Mile Two: 7:41. Stuck to the plan and kept that same effort level. First time in 5 years I’ve run a sub 8-minute mile as part of a race. I started to feel pretty confident here.
Mile three: 7:33. This was the downhill section, so I backed off a little but was able to keep the fast pace. It was about here that a RUNAWAY HORSE galloped past the stream of runners. I am not making this up.
Mile four: 7:51. This mile SUCKED. It was hard. I was hurting. I started to think I had gone out too fast and was going to bonk. Enter mantra time. Strong, Fast, PR were the words I repeated. It was at the last quarter mile mark that I thought back to the kid asking how far he’d run, but this time no chuckle. This time I understood how long a quarter of a mile actually is.
Add to my tally a little extra (because you always end up running a little longer than the official race length) and what it all adds up to is THE FASTEST 4 MILE RACE OF MY LIFE. I did it. I ran faster than I did in my 20s. I ran faster that did pre-baby. I ran faster.
I’m sorry for the bragging, but I am so happy, you guys. I honestly didn’t think I had it in me to get faster at this point in my life. But I’ve started to think lately, what if I’m holding myself back? What if I just go into every challenge believing that I can do it, just to see what happens? As it turns out, that approach really worked out for me on Saturday morning.
The Saturday Elf for Health challenge was to do a fridge and pantry purge. Ugh. This was one I was dreading. It wasn’t the most fun challenge in the world, but I feel so super-organized and neat now it’s done. AMAZING bonus – I forgot there was a bottle of champers hiding in our fridge. (Yes, it was pretty packed). Luckily, Saturday night we headed to a friend’s apartment for a tree-trimming party. It was so much fun – just a small group of us, some delicious wine (AND champagne! ;)) yummy eats (cheese was heavily featured) and Fran and I taking turns trying to keep Roman from destroying the place. (He was pretty good actually, and our friends have a baby too, so they understand).
Sunday it was TREE TIME!!! 😀
Nearly all the tree lots in NYC are run by Vermonters or Canadians. We were happy to have found a Vermont lot near us (VT LOVE! – that’s where Fran grew up) and picked a beautiful tree. Roman called the tree lot “a forest!” He had a lot of fun. We went home and decorated that beauty.
Roman LOVES it. He gazes at it and says, “It’s PRETTY!” He also takes my hand and pulls me over to it, saying, “Come sniff it, Mama!” My heart pretty much explodes every time he does that.
Do you have a tree? Real or fake? Where did you get it?
What was your favorite moment of the weekend? (I honestly don’t think I can pick one!)