Many people told me that after I finished my first half marathon, I’d get the racing bug. I didn’t believe them. I had gone through several periods in my life of running and not running, so I didn’t believe that 13.1 miles would really change my outlook on running. It did.

I’ve always been a competitive person. I often find myself wanting to be the best and crafting a plan so that I can reach my goals. When I crossed the finish line at the Rock n Roll Brooklyn Half Marathon back in October, I realized that was only the beginning.

I spent a few weeks after my first half trying to figure out what I wanted to do next. Living in NYC, there are so many races; it’s easy to get overwhelmed. I decided that I wanted to set my sights on something that I could comfortably train for-I wanted to enjoy the journey along the way. I picked the NYC Turkey Trot for several reasons. First, I was really curious about Roosevelt Island since I had never been there before. I love running in new places and this race would give me the opportunity to do that. Second, having roughly 7 weeks in between races would give me enough time to recover from my half, address my injuries and gear up for my next race day. Thirdly, I thought a 15k (9.3 miles) would be a great distance to try out since I had never done one before.

When I woke up this morning, my throat ached. I was worried that I was starting to come down with a post-Thanksgiving cold. Nevertheless, I got out of bed, got dressed, and ate a banana and some water. As I rode the train to Roosevelt Island, I smiled. The time had come again to put my training to the test.

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So, first off, Roosevelt Island is beautiful! You can see Manhattan AND Queens, so #views! When I flew home for Thanksgiving, I sat next to a guy who told me that NYC was an ugly city and there were no spaces to bask in nature. That is so false! That’s also what I told him before this race because NYC really does have some gems if you know where to go.

Although the views were amazing, I was unpleasantly reminded that I am still in the hustle and bustle of the city when it came time to line up for the race. There were two races going on at once-the 5k and the 15k-and all of the runners were starting together. Some people that were not planning to run and/or had strollers/children did not move to the back of the pack. I spent the first two or so miles running around people. I even stumbled over what I thought was a rock but turned out to be a small child. It was hard to stay motivated while I was wasting vital energy on zig zagging, but I pushed through.

Once I reached mile 4, the walkers and strollers cleared out and I was able to run on a reasonably open path! The weather was nice-sunny but cool-I was able to stay warm without overheating. I was a little concerned that I was running faster that usual because let’s face it-it’s not really race pace unless you’re actually racing-but I felt good and decided to trust that my  body could maintain the speed. I was finally able to enjoy the run-something I feared I wouldn’t be able to do given the mosh pit I started the race in.

I crossed the finish line 6.5 minutes before my goal time. I wasn’t even expecting that I would run that fast-even with the course being relatively flat!

My performance overall was much better than that of my half. Although this race was 4 miles shorter, I think that the endurance was really only half the battle. For this 15k, I ran 3x a week and did 3 strength training workouts. For my half, I was running 4x a week and still doing 3 strength training workouts. I was constantly sore, tired and hungry. Now looking back, I do not think I gave my body enough R&R time in between workouts so that I could perform optimally on race day. Nonetheless, you live and learn! I am happy to add another medal to my collection for 2016! I’m not sure what races I’ll be running next year, but I am confident that the saga will continue.

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