I typically adhere to one of two race strategies:
- Over-plan, train like hell, and treat race day like the solemn culmination of effort that it is.
- Wing it. Make solid effort to show up to the starting line on time and in the right shoes.
My experience with the Oakley and New York Road Runners Mini 10k fell squarely into the second category, and I must say – winging it has its perks. But let me start at the beginning.
An email popped into my inbox a few weeks ago offering a spot on Team Oakley for the all-ladies Mini 10k in Central Park. Having just come off of the Brooklyn Half Marathon and looking ahead to the NJ State triathlon next month, this was the perfect midpoint opportunity to stretch my legs and get in some race experience. I was very excited to be asked and immediately sent back a “yes, hell yes!” response.
But did I exactly train for this upcoming 10k? Not really. I was consistently running 4 – 6 miles a few times a week, but to be honest, my focus has been on strengthening my biking and my swimming.
And to top it all off, the week of the race I tweaked my hurt knee and was unable to run at all. So there I was on race day. Having not run for a week.
Very well tapered.
Very eager not to set any expectations.
And very ready to get out there and just enjoy the experience.
I joined the thousands of other ladies at the swampy starting line in Columbus Circle.The air felt like pea soup and the energetic crowds were packed tightly into the corrals. Don’t let the name fool you. There is nothing quite “mini” about the size of this 10k.
Luckily I was standing next to Grace and we used the down time to chat (and sweat) before the gun went off. We both recently started new jobs and haven’t had a lot of time together, so it was an extra treat to use those pre-race moments to catch up on training, life, workouts, and everything inbetween.
So how did the race go? The short answer is: really crowded, and really hot.
At no point did the course thin out. It was a bob-and-weave game of cat-and-mouse the entire way. Which I would normally find really annoying but, since I was just out there winging it, I didn’t find myself getting in too much of a fix over it. The heat and humidity were also unrelenting, so I’m sending out a huge digital “thank you” to whoever had the glorious idea to station misters and sprinklers every mile or so. You get a gold star.
But honestly, the race went better than expected because I had zero expectations. Zip. Zilch. Zero.
I just showed up and started running. And wouldn’t you know, I had such a fun time. It wasn’t fast. It wasn’t easy. But I finished with zero knee pain and crossed that 6.2 mile marker feeling strong, capable, and ready to take on the next challenge ahead.
Something tells me there’s some sort of secret to this winging it strategy.
After the race, the ladies from Team Oakley met up for a brunch of epic proportions to celebrate our morning miles. But due to the hot + humid conditions, I was in no shape to sit in an enclosed space next to non-runners trying to enjoy a meal. I mean, there was some serious projectile sweating going on.
I was not, however, going to let a little sweat stand between me and brunch carbs.
So let me share a pro tip: learn to embrace the post-workout, pre-brunch wipe down. It doesn’t matter what brand you use, but it always helps to have something handy in your post-workout bag just in case brunch strikes unexpectedly. You’ll thank me later. I had one of these handy-dandy ActionWipes tucked into my backpack for just this predicament. I popped into the restaurant restroom, quickly toweled off, and changed into some dry clothes. It was almost as good as a shower – or at least did the trick until I could dunk into the real thing. These wipes are awesome because they use all natural ingredients, smell fresh + clean, are big enough to use over your whole body, are reusable (hello bike grease rag!), and really do the trick to stifle that post-workout stink. Total fitness-fanatic-on-the-go life saver.
And what about that epic brunch, you say? It was full of peonies, bellinis, burrata, and sweet potato fries. I thought I had died and gone to post-run blogger heaven.