Inspired by the New York City Marathon as I am every year I don’t run it, this year I decided to take action and sign up for the NYRR Ted Corbitt 15K. The 9.3 mile race would be the longest distance I’ve run in some time – maybe even all year. Aside from the distance itself, the only potential challenge was that I had only four weeks to prepare.
I did some digging around on the Internet for a 4-week 15K training plan, but they’re hard to come by – I’m guessing because it’s not advised to train for 9 miles in as little as four weeks. I settled on a Hal Higdon 10-week plan and focused on the last four weeks of it confident that my current fitness level could get me through a six mile run with no trouble at all.
My 4-week plan consisted of class at The Bar Method 3-4 times per week and three weekly runs as follows:
Run #1: A tempo run that ranged from 3- 6 miles as the weeks went on
Run #2: Interval speed work
Run #3: A long run that increased in distance from 6 miles to 8 miles as the weeks progressed.
I did most of my shorter training runs in the Mizuno Wave Rider 21 aptly named as the Wave Rider celebrated its 21st birthday last month. Getting consistently better with each year, the 21 has a re-engineered mesh upper which comfortably hugged my foot and I noticed a softer heel strike thanks to increased cushioning. The Wave Rider is designed for any neutral runner from a seasoned marathoner to a newbie. If you’re new to running or like me, making something of a comeback, this is an ideal shoe.
I had been lucky to have some mild winter weather leading up to the race and was hopeful the weather would be similar on race day. However, the weather report for race week looked grim with snow in the forecast. The day before, it was clear that New York City would get its first snow on race morning.
As is typical, the race organizers monitored the weather and made the final decision early on race day. I would be lying if I said that part of me wasn’t hoping that the race would be canceled or shortened so I could sleep in. I’ll chalk it up to race day jitters.
The race went on as planned and I made my way up to Central Park Saturday morning dressed to run in the cold and possibly snow. My strategy was simple. I wasn’t planning on speed but rather running consistent, strong miles. I felt sufficiently prepared so I decided that mentally I would break the race up into a six-mile run and a three-mile run. Easy enough.
Waiting for the race to start was the worst part of the experience as my fingers and toes turned to icicles. I knew once I started running they would thaw but it would take a mile or two. As we got started, I focused on the energy and pace of my corral. People seemed to be taking it slow and steady to start so it was easy to do the same, but mentally those first few miles were tough as I struggled to get into a groove.
At mile 1 my pre-race hydration got the best of me so I stopped to use the bathroom. After that, things were smooth sailing as I focused on hydrating every mile and taking in a little fuel at regular intervals. The first part of the race was a four-mile loop of Central Park. The second leg of the race was a bigger five-mile loop. From miles four to about seven I zoned out a little and by then I had only two more miles to go. Since I was feeling good, I started to push a little harder for a strong finish.
As I approached the finish line, the snow started coming down harder. I turned off my music and let the energy from the crowd push me to the finish. I’m so glad I challenged myself to do this race. December has been one of my busiest months yet and it would have been a lot easier to talk myself out of it. It ended up being just the challenge I needed to end this year of running.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Mizuno. The opinions and text are all mine.