The day before the NYRR Queens 10K on 6/20, I detached my mind from work/emails/texts around 5 pm.
I did the same thing before running the marathon in October to save all the mental energy to focus on the race. I perform best when I get more rest. I got consistent sleep for the few weeks leading up to the race, drank about 1.5 gallons of water, and ate tons of fruit the Friday before the 10K on Saturday. I knew Saturday would be a fun day, regardless of the outcome, based on how I felt during my Friday rest day. Focusing on everything outside of the actual training has been my focus for this marathon build-up for Chicago, and it seems to be proving to work great for me.
Overall Time: 38:04
Overall Place (Gender): 16/4,639 Female Runners
This was by far my best 10K!
Covid Protocols have finally been lifted, and races are RACES again! The weather was perfect; it was the mid-60s and not humid, but sunny! I love flat courses, and this was 95% flat, with two overpasses, a beautiful course, and a windy one. I had almost no nerves. At this point in my training (I’m running the Chicago marathon in October), my long runs averaged around 16-18 miles, and I will be going over 20 miles since I run for time on my feet, chasing a sub-3-hour marathon this fall!
Before The Race
I always feel a little emotional during races, especially in the corral; just being around so many people who have worked and trained so hard for something always gets me. Except this was exciting! I started with fellow NBR teammates in Corral A and knew I would be eating a piece of the humble pie being the back of the pack in the first corral. But I felt good; my nutrition had been on point, and my sleep had been consistent. I stood waiting to take off like a racehorse! I said, “I have everything to gain,” going out at my old 10K PR race pace, close to 6:20 min/mile until that felt more doable than I had ever imagined, so I picked it up to a 6:01 mile and held it throughout the rest of the 10K! Whoa?
My goal was to shoot for a consistent pace throughout the race, finishing the last 1.2 miles with a negative split, and I ran the second 5K walking away with a new 5K pr of 18:40 and an official 10K pr by over a minute and twenty seconds of 38:04. It’s only been a little under four months since my previous 10k PR, and just when I thought I was more of a winter runner, things aren’t always as we expect them to be! I have a terrible habit of getting caught up in the moment for the first few miles of a race, so I need to self-coach myself out of that negative talk and say YES, no matter the distance. Doing that allows my brain to stay relaxed and my body to follow. When I tense up (like any of us), my form gets all wonky, and I waste energy unnecessarily. I did my best to keep it fun but pushed it to let my fitness shine! I felt like I ran “my race” and didn’t get caught up trying to pass people or keep up with other runners. I stuck with a runner for a few seconds at a time, then inched up and held a pace unimaginable four months ago to me. I love running with other runners. Plain and simple. I was highly consistent, and I felt great.
Race Day Morning Routine
I had half of a fig bar, left the house around 5-5:15 am, and got to Flushing Meadows with plenty of time to check my bag, tossed my blue Baleaf shirt, and wait. I did my heel drops and calf raises and the Kenyan shuffle for 25 minutes before the race as the warm-up routine I had been practicing in my training. I finally took it to the race.
Mile 1 – 6:18 pace and stuck close to the 6:20 plan. I felt good, so I picked up miles 2 & 3, embraced the hill on mile 4, and accelerated out of the turns. Out of the corral.
I stayed conservative as planned for mile 1, knowing I could hold a 6:15 like I said the week of the race. I inspired myself by splitting with a 6:07 overall average mile pace.
This time, I promised myself I would not say could’ve, would’ve should’ve. I raced that 10K like a freakin’ race. I need to learn to push it like that in every race and endure that hurt.
I learned more about my WHY. My passion for running, and exploring different ways to help others run faster for longer distances is just as rewarding to me as doing that for myself, and finding breakthroughs that look different for every individual. We’re all different, and we all have different quirks that work for us.
I FaceTimed athlete Megan Hilands to discuss her AWESOME race. We planned to ditch the clock and run based on feel. I’ve learned that running means something different for all of us, even if it means running for the same reasons! Employing this racing strategy, Megan had a great first race back from Covid. Megan’s debut comeback race kicked her marathon mindset in gear. It gave her the confidence boost she needed to regain motivation, mental toughness, resilience, drive, and stop doubting herself to chase her wins and finish them!
Listening to the others that care about me the most, that genuinely are looking out for my best intentions, are the ones I need to keep close to and be less stubborn about listening to. Because… let’s be honest. I can be stubborn. Aren’t we all?!
Running makes me whole. It makes me feel alive to run fast. How about you?
I discovered my runners high again throughout the entire afternoon after the race.
Pushing my limits, saying YES when it hurt most, and not so much focused at all on the speed and my pace, but being able to endure mentally and physically all of the stresses of life that were holding me back and break away from them felt limitless; running sets me free when I run FAST and HARD. All the training makes the races extra special; I get to do them, and I have built a strong body to enable me to keep doing them! One of the reasons I love races is because we get to pull each other forward together every step of the way.
Over the past couple of years, my perspective and attitude have slowly been changing. I have ways to go still. BUT, instead of getting defensive when given advice or being open to others’ opinions, I’ve been working on becoming the opposite. I continue to teach myself to shush at times and be more accepting of different views.
Like anything in life, success in running doesn’t happen overnight. Learning how to fight your mental limits and push past them doesn’t either. It takes time.
In the last mile of the race, there were four turns. I kept thinking each one was the last one. I pushed on the gas pedal while hearing running friends and coaches Ben Saah and James Gray King. They were both yelling “Go Alli Go” around miles 4&5, which helped me endure the hurt, my heart beating against my chest, allowing me to regain focus every stride.
I pushed harder than I ever have in any race to get myself out of my comfort and to push my limits!! I thought of my parents, my brother, other loved ones, and all of life’s stresses getting in my way, and I felt like I had broken free. I panted and stomped on the time pad at the finish line with sass and with a 5:53 ending split, a 5K PR of 18:40 in the second half of the 10K, and the fiercest Coach Alli I’ve ever felt or been.
I almost feel like I ran out of my anxiety. Is that weird? The song ‘Fly Away’ by Lenny Kravitz came on while writing this blog post. This song happens to be my pre-marathon song to get me pumped up! Total side note. And kind of ironic! 🙂
My current goal is to run a faster marathon. Fitness breakthroughs become possible once you consistently show up for yourself daily, train smart but hard, and push through physical and mental limits in your training.
Believe in a plan, work toward it, follow a structured program that works for you, and see where it gets you!
Email firstname.lastname@example.org for coaching if this sounds like something you’re missing in your life. I got you!
Race Day Recovery Routine
I got 9 hours of sleep for the past two weeks leading into the race. I was sleeping 10 hours a night on some days. Full disclosure! I was able to experience and feel what I truly am capable of doing in a race when I do everything to the best of my ability. More importantly, what I can accomplish when I accept help and guidance from others is a game-changer. Every coach needs a coach. No incredible feats are accomplished alone!
The raw iron, the well-rounded diet, understanding more about nutrition and still having ways to go; constantly learning; all of it is on my mind as I head into heavy marathon mindset mode! I’m working on being more disciplined with my time and more regimented when giving full detail to every little thing I do while keeping work and coaching fun; it’s not that serious.
I enjoy the marathon process for others and not just myself because I get to train with the athletes I coach. I experience similar setbacks and small wins. And I love that I can do that right now in life! Every other runner’s goal is just as important as my own. To them, and for me to help them find it! THAT is why I coach.
I am counting the days until the Chicago Marathon this fall, and I’ve never been more ready for all the work ahead! Let’s get this party started! Riding along with all of the ebbs and flows! I appreciate every day of this journey because every day is different but keeps surprising me in new and unique ways.
Do what you love, believe in it, trust your process, don’t let comparison steal your joy, and don’t blame others for anything.
Be accepting, kind, open, and willing to adapt, accept help, and most of all, find what makes you happy, and don’t hesitate to do it!