Unlike most of my running pursuits, I did not originally set out to run the Bronx 10 Mile this weekend. Sandwiched between my most recent half marathon and my next half marathon, I thought that I would sit this one out.
6 days before the race, I got an email from NYRR saying that the race was still open. I checked the weather forecast-85 and sunny-and signed myself up. Before I knew it, I was picking up my bib and lacing up my shoes just a week after Rock & Roll Philly. At first, I couldn’t believe myself. It seemed insane to sign up for another race while I was still icing my feet and shins in recovery from from the last one.
Deep down, I was so excited about the race that I knew I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to run on unfamiliar streets in beautiful weather. Maybe I just had a severe case of runner’s high. Or maybe I had finally reached the point where I could run a race for the joy of running. Given my recovery state, I knew a PR was out of the question. I have never even raced 10 miles as a distance alone, so my true potential remains unknown.
I approached the starting line with two goals: run the entire race and enjoy it. Time wasn’t on my mind today since my legs were already tired from the start. I’d heard that the course was hilly, which would be challenging but also good preparation for my next race.
Miles 1-3 were pretty easy. There were some minor inclines, but nothing too intense. Like many out and back courses, we could see the runners on the other side as we moved along. I laughed to myself as the professionals were nearing mile 8 as I approached mile 2. Granted they started before I did, but still! Everyone cheered them on as we continued through our first quarter of the race. It’s moments like these that best exemplify why I love running. We’re all on different journeys, running at unique speeds, and pushing our limits. We root for everyone because we know what dedication is, we know what fatigue is, and best of all, we feel victory at the finish line. With or without a team, running is a team sport.
Now, back to the race. Around mile 4, we started to turn back around. I used the loops as a chance to take in the neighborhood around me and bask in the ever-so-fleeting shade. We made another turn around mile 5. By that time, I had no idea why we were turning again. I have never been so thankful for orange cones because nothing looked familiar to me again until we hit mile 6. I knew from that moment on it was a straight shot into Yankee Stadium. Or so I thought. Right after the mile 7 sign, there was another hill! I didn’t mind it because it really put my endurance to the test. It’s great to get toward the end of a race and coast on in, but that hill forced me to do the opposite. As I approached the finish line, I felt a wave of excitement. Not only was I going to finish this race, but I had a great time doing so. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited to see Yankee Stadium!
To no surprise to me, I did not run my fastest splits, nor did I run negative splits. Yet, I have no regrets about running this race. It merely served more as a “long run” for me than an all out fight to the finish. I was able to explore a new borough without getting lost. I finished knowing that I did the best that I could given the circumstances and timing. And that’s something that I’m proud of. So next time you review your race calendar, consider adding in a race or two for fun. Sometimes it’s refreshing to run without fixation on the clock.