NYRR Achilles Hope and Possibility, 5 Miler… FINALLY

Another weekend, another race. Seems like races is all I write about lately! Well, I just counted, and I did SIX races in June… 87 miles total and 18 of those were racing! wow, 87 is not much… but there was a lot of tapering before races and resting after races… Sometimes the racing bug bites me and you know there’s no antidote for that… July looks a bit race-less, well, probably 4 races (all my races are listed here if anyone is interested) but I am hoping I can stop this madness and get some more quality training and miles in! Fingers crossed.

Every year, I do the Pride Run. It’s SO fun and a points race, and always spectate and cheer at the Achilles Hope and Possibility. It’s wild that we have 2 5 milers back to back on a weekend but the Achilles race is amazing to watch. So inspiring. Check out the race pictures here if you never have.

On Saturday, Carolina and I had planned to go cheer at the Pride Run. I took a lot of pictures that you can see here, but I’ll leave you with this craziness:

pride run nyc cheering tutu spectating carolina pena

We cheered our freaking legs out! My hair is TOO LONG.

Sunday, I woke up early. Juan was already up as he had planned to bike but it had been raining, so he was just going for a long run… I got ready, had TWO cups of coffee and set out to run the 1.5 mile to the start by myself.

I had two things in my mind going into this race:

  • the weight. I had been hovering at 106 for the last 3 weeks since I was sick. And my last two races, I felt flat. Was I tired from the 5K a couple of days earlier or was this weight catching up? I asked Juan, he gave me very politically correct “you know your body better than anyone else”. I love him. I was fine last Saturday at the 5K I won, then I was flat and had no kick in the 5K three days later and the Mile on Sunday. Nothing. We’d find out soon what was happening. Am I weak or was I just not recovered?
  • Something told me I was going to do well in the this race. This, I didn’t mention to anyone. I was 100% sure. Since the day I signed up. I have no idea why. I found myself thinking of mantras when running to the start line, which I never do. I was ready to set myself on fire and blast out of the gates. Maybe it was the two coffees but I was 105% sure.

I run into Juan on my run to the start.

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I look so tall!

We kissed and he said he’d be at Engineers Gate, waiting to cheer: that’s mile 2. Weather was fine.

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A bit humid but it was overcast. I barely felt the humidity to tell you the truth. When the heart is fired up, there’s no slowing down for the little things!!!! I had checked my post about my 5 Miler PR, which was in the 2010 Pride Run with 35:37, and a 7:07 pace, memorized the splits, did all the homework, I was ready…

Carolina had signed up but she got there later and never saw her! I lined up, saw a team mate Adam in the corral, chit chatted around a bit, and heard all the speeches. Jon Stewart was there as usual, being funny and fantastic.

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A bit blurry because my iphone was in a sandwich bag in case it rained. Which did. BUT AFTER THE RACE!!! ūüė¶

Soon enough, there’s the gun and¬†hand-cyclists go. 10 minutes later, the runners go. And we are off. I trailed behind a girl wearing a purple tnt shirt for about a half mile, and then broke free. I had started a it harder than usual, but it was sustainable pace. Mile 1: 6:50. Mile 1 was mostly flat, Mile 2 on the other hand, has Cat Hill on it. I kept truckin’¬†trying not to slip off the pace: Mile 2: 6:59. that’s fine for the hill mile! Still on pace for a PR. As soon as I clicked Mile 2 and headed to EG, I relaxed: this is going to be the fastest mile and Juan was there… Hey!!!!

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He yelled at me, I yelled at him. And as soon as that happened I heard my name also coming from a few other directions. I turned left and I saw Stuart! If you don’t know Coach Stuart Calderwood, you should! He’s a freaking legend!! He’s got a bunch of American records and one of those “sub 3 marathons in every decade” titles, plus he has a 28 year running streak (that’s EVERY DAY people!!!) and he’s super fast, and a NYRR Coach, and really fast. Plus, I get to run with him once in a while. Well, he shouted, then I heard someone else, then someone screams from the bridal path (turned out to be Eric), I look down and my heart rate had spiked from all the excitement. NO!!! Focus Elizabeth!!!!! Mile 3:¬†6:47. FAST YEAH! I have to admit, mile 4 is when I start to hurt and question everything in life. I wanted to quit, or go slower, or sit down. “Don’t give up in your head because then your body gives up” one million times. I always slow down in this mile (same in a 10K) and it’s just a matter of saving enough for the last mile!!! Hang on. Mile 4: 7:16. It’s ALLRIGHT. Just one mile to go. I spent all of mile 4 doing the math: if I hit Mile 4 about 28 minutes, I can PR. that was all I came up with. Of course, when I got to the clock, I forgot to look… haha. The last mile is a tough one, but I was ready to hit it hard. As soon as I leave the reservoir, Stuart, who had crossed over from the east side, joins me and keeps pace with me. He was telling me stuff, I feel awful but I have no idea what he was saying. I do remember something about trying to catch 2 girls who were ahead of me, and I knew I just didn’t have enough for that. It was not a chase race for me, it was a race to try to PR and I had to keep my head on my pace. I tried to navigate all those little hills as careful as I could but my breathing was SUPER loud and I knew I was annoying everyone around me. I always feel so bad. Some guy even turned around from about 4 yards ahead of me. Oh well. I tried my best. I really felt like I didn’t have the kick I usually have but I got the job done: Mile 5: 6:45.

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Yeah, that happened. I crossed the finish, freaked out at the time, dry-heaved for a bit, thanked Stuart for the company, finally started breathing, saw a lot of people vomiting, and then I looked at my watch. 34:36. That’s ONE MINUTE and ONE SECOND PR.

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That’s a bit much huh? Is my watch really working?

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Well, I have the 5 miles so I think yeah. I got overly excited really fast. Then Carolina showed up and we took some pictures!

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OMG look at her stomach!! and she has FOUR KIDS! Plus she’s a sub 3 marathoner. Crap, I have to think of a good excuse, quick!!!!!

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someone was happy…!

well, it’s official. I PRed. After 2 years, 2 months and whatever, it finally happened. by a minute, which is A LOT in 5 miler!!!! Also, I am FIVE years older since the day of the PR… crazy.

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Stats Time:

Finish time: 34:36 Average Pace: 6:56

Previous PR: 35:37 From: June, 2010

Age Grading: 72.28% 

Overall Place: 157 of 3,318

Gender Place: 19 of 1,627

Age Place: 2 of 389

I am ALSO happy about the Age Grading of 72%. I’ve been¬†getting to 70% often this year, but 72% is the highest so far, EVER.

Carolina and I grabbed some Shake Shack they had at the finish, plus some goodies, coffee at Le Pain and walked home in the rain.

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I was soooo hyper ¬†from the two coffees and the race time, I had no clue I was walking through the whole city soaking wet… oh well. Juan was so happy… we celebrated with more Shake Shack and then some 16 handles. Because.

I am so happy it finally happened.

So, apparently this weight is ok. I still feel like I have no kick at the end, but turns out I am running faster from the gun, instead of saving more for later… it works. Doesn’t feel AS GOOD but I’ll take it!

15 thoughts on “NYRR Achilles Hope and Possibility, 5 Miler… FINALLY

  1. Outstanding race! I can’t believe your average pace for this FIVE miler was 4sec faster than the average pace of your FOUR mile one month ago. Whatever you’ve been doing (training/nutrition…) is clearly working. I’m extremely happy for you girl!


    • I know. I can’t believe it either. that 4 miler was the fastest I had done, and that was the week I was sick. So, since I lost the weight, I seem to be faster… THANK YOU HON! LOVE YOU!


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