NYC Half – the great winter running motivator.
I’ve been lucky enough to run this half several times – I think this is the race I’ve repeated the most.
I went back and looked at my results on NYRR, mostly so I could accurately count how many times I had run this race.
Here’s a breakdown based on year, what I was doing in my life, how I felt.
Where was I in life? 3rd year of medical school, on clinical rotations, I think on my peds rotation, but don’t quote me on that
Any particular recollection? I was training for a marathon at the time and I know this was slower than my PR at the time (which I think was like 1:48…maybe). I remember being a bit disappointed because I thought I would run faster. I also remember it being fairly warm during the race and I was overdressed. However, I also remember it being extremely windy at the finish.
Where was I in life? 4th year of medical school (if you’re confused, I took a research year between my 3rd and 4th years). I was literally LIVING THE DREAM at this point. About to graduate medical school, one rotation left, lots of free time, and people basically congratulated me on living giving said impending graduation.
***Even more special, “Match Day” for residency was two days before this race. I got the program I wanted to go to so I think that high is was drove me to a PR. A mile 8, I remember thinking “OMG isn’t this the best! We’re at mile 8!” Normally, I’m like “omg, only 8 — we still have 5 more?!”
It was also 20 degrees at the start and I couldn’t feel my arms. Another reason I probably ran faster than I thought — to feel my extremities.
Time? 1:42:25 (still my PR)
Any particular recollection? An AMAZING day. PR. Just matched. No worries. 4th year dream world. Had Hu Kitchen pancakes after. Basically, I was a unicorn for a day.
This was also probably the best running shape I have ever been in my life. See also – BQ a month or two later. I will probably never have as much time to train as I did that spring. Thus, I’ve realized this was probably my peak as a runner.
Where was I in life? 2nd year of residency and trying to survive in the foxhole that is residency. This was also during my SoulCycle kick. See also, bank statements from this period and multiple purchases to SoulCycle, LLC.
Any particular recollection? I was really scared before this race because I really didn’t run that much before it. My longest run was definitely 8 miles max. I did a lot of SoulCycle so I knew I was in good cardiovascular shape, but was unsure how my legs would take the pounding. I survived and got a whole milk latte afterwards.
I also ran with Jaime during this race, which was super fun! And, we both did it for Every Mother Counts, which was also fun and meaningful.
I remember talking to Jaime a lot about how I was terrified I wouldn’t match into REI and how I might not survive residency. I think that run was mostly a therapy session for me. Thanks, Jaime :).
Where was I in life? 3rd year of residency and still in the foxhole. Preoccupation – resident research project to present, fellowship application. However, starting to see a way out of the residency foxhole.
Any particular recollection? Yes, I trained more for this race (running wise) than any other in residency. Meaning I ran long runs and workouts (mostly Mile High Run Club) and such. I remember being super exhausted on a lot of long runs but also having some really fast workouts. I was hopeful that maybe I could run under 1:45 if the stars aligned, but also knew that residency is a leech that can sometimes suck the life force out of you, no matter how much coffee.
I ran over 1:45, but under 1:50 and was pretty happy with that. Still wanted that 1:45, but at the end was like “I gotta go home – I start nights tonight!”
I also got hot chocolate and a blanket at the finish so that was all a win-win.
I did feel fairly fatigued that night and nauseous that morning. So, I checked some labs at work. My Hct was 36. And my cholesterol was 119. Booyah. [ie nothing is wrong with me other than being a resident.]
So, where does that bring us?
Well, now I’m a 4th year resident, getting ready to graduate! I will leave the foxhole! Although, to be honest, a little sad to do so. The foxhole has been very mentally, emotionally, and physically exhausting, but also a whole lot of fun.
My ultimate half marathon goal is to one day run under 1:40. I give myself about a 5% chance of that happening in residency or probably ever.
Not that I don’t think I couldn’t run a sub-1:40 with proper training — more that life is full, excitingly busy (as Ali likes to say), and that there are other goals I have right now that mean more to me than a 1:40. Might not stay that way forever, but for now, that’s the truth.
I’d love to run under a 1:45. I give myself a 10% chance of this happening.
I give myself about a 60% chance I’ll run under 1:50…if I modestly train.
That leaves about 25% I’ll run over 1:50.
Closer to the time, I can adjust these percentages based on what I actually did. It will depend how much residency and winter (really, winter) suck out of me.
So, if I’m giving myself these wacky percentages that are generally point to something that isn’t a PR. I bet a lot of runners out there would be like “then why train?”
I’ve thought that myself.
What I think brings me back to these races — despite the high mental/physical/emotional demand and profound exhaustion of an OB/GYN residency — is the feeling of racing.
I just want to feel like I’m racing – like I’m out of breath, that I’m trying my best, that I’m not sure I’ll make it to the next mile, and…well, you get it.
So, that’s the goal – to feel like I’m racing – and if thats 8:45/mile or 7:45/mile, that’ll be fine.
Given that my workout routine in residency is fairly capricious and mostly based on what’s going to make me happy at the moment, here’s what is making me happy.
I train at a Crossfit gym (but don’t do Crossfit, actually) and it is so much fun. I train with Alex Silver-Fagan. She is extremely knowledgeable and knows her stuff. Two thunbs up or insert the hands up emoji. Or both.
We’ll see how this translates into racing.
I also still love boxing (Shadowbox) and Pilates (Flex). And, running, obviously — its my real one, true love.
Ideally my plan would be 3-4 days running and 2 days of strength training. It also includes 3 cups of coffee a day and the occasional “I’m too tired” day.
TBD. Who doesn’t love a good experiment?
Ideas, suggestions, comments welcome!
That’s all for now:
Daily Coffee Tally: 3