This past Sunday was the NYC MS Awareness walk. Me and my S.O. decided to go for it and do the six mile loop, which crosses over the Brooklyn Bridge a couple times. The weather was perfect, cool and sunny. The walk didn't seem nearly as long as six miles should, until we sat down for some food and coffee afterward. Then the combination of lack of sleep (we got to bed really late Saturday night, and the walk started at 9am) and the walking caught up to us. We managed to get home (barely) before taking an awesome two hour nap.
Today I tackled the Prospect Park loop again. This time, I learned from experience and started my run at the bottom of the Hill-o-Doom (now it's official name as far as I'm concerned.)
I was a little concerned starting out, as my legs hadn't had a ton of time to rest since our little six mile stroll on Sunday. Furthering my dismay as I started up the Hill-o-Doom, a couple jogged past me on my way up. The guy was walking intermittently to keep pace with his girlfriend (or wife or whatever.) Walking. I was getting passed by a guy who was walking! Somehow this tripped the competitive side of me, and I would now refuse to give up. I dug in, and kept relative pace with them, refusing to let them get far enough ahead of me for me to loose sight of the Woman's pink running top.
By the top of the hill, they were a good distance out in front of me, and I dismally admitted to myself that I was going to have to let it go, and just focus on my own run. So I did. I just let myself enjoy how beautiful the park looked as the trees were flowering and just starting to get leaves. It was intermittently sunny, which Illuminated the new leaves on the trees.
I was so deep into just enjoying my run, that I barely noticed until I was right on top of them that I had caught up to the running couple. Now this woman in pink, she has her own competitive spirit. I know this because as I started to pass them, she sped up. Way up. She pushed herself to keep pace right beside me for a while (almost a 1/4 mile) before falling behind me.
The longest stretch of the run for me is after you turn the corner around the back side of the lake. Both times I've run this loop I've hit stiff headwinds in this stretch. It's also the last mile (and a bit) of the run, which always to me feels way longer than the first two miles.
I was once again just pushing through it, starting to really feel the lead in my legs when the couple passed me again. They were flying! I tried to push myself a bit faster to pass them again, but could just barely keep pace with them as the sped on. Not too long after we reached the spray painted marker on the pavement that reads "5k Finish!" My unknowing competition stopped at the marker obviously excited about having finished their run. I'm guessing they started at the "5k Start!" mark a little up the road and had just run a full 5k. They had been sprinting for their finish line when they passed me.
I continued on, pushing myself the last little bit to my own finish line, a wooden bench next to a sign advertising an upcoming run in the park. It was where I started running, at the bottom of the Hill-o-Doom. When I stopped running, and proceeded to walk the rest of the way back up the Hill-o-Doom and to the entrance of the park I sent a text to my S.O. "12:40 - 1:16 no walking".
When I got home and put all my stats into MapmyRun, I realized that I had done two amazing things. Not only had I conquered the loop, and the Hill-o-Doom, running the entire 3.35 miles without stopping to walk, but I had also done it faster. I averaged a pace of 10:43, or 5.58 Mph.
So thank you, Woman in the Pink shirt and her running buddy, the unspoken competition help me push myself harder.
And to the Hill-o-Doom: Nya nya nya. I win.