People often ask why and how I can willingly run. Sorry to disappoint but unless you run, you’ll actually never know. Only six days after completing the France Run (8K) 2016, I was back at it again with the Percy Sutton Harlem 5K Run on Saturday, August 27th. This race honors the late Percy Sutton, the 21st Manhattan Borough President who made the NYC Marathon happen and remained a proud supporter of the NYRR. It was part of Harlem Week’s festivities and I loved the invigorating energy that surrounded me during the race. It was the first 5K of my 9+1 journey and am happy to say that I owned it. As always, here are my race reflections.

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post-race aerobics!

1. Don’t fear the hills
Unlike most other races, this one was hilly towards the beginning. If you ran with SUA’s Track & Field team, you know what I mean when I reference “The Hill” (with a capital H). One of the most brutal workouts of my university days includes scarring memories of running up an insane hill four or five times in a row. My teammates and I joked that it’s an 89-degree hill because it is basically a vertical line and I’m sure it was anywhere from 200-300 meters long (or shall I say up). I never thought I’d say this but I appreciate that training because the hills from this race were nothing compared to The Hill. Instead of seeing them as huge obstacles, they were mere speed bumps. Sure, they slowed me down a bit but they didn’t stop me from pushing myself.

2. I had a Forrest Gump moment
In Robert Zemeckis’ 1994 film “Forrest Gump,” there is a scene where Forrest is sitting outside his empty house after his mother had passed away. For no particular reason, he sets out to go for a little run and keeps going. Although he started out alone, people joined him and he was running across America with a lot of company. I sure am not running across the country but I had the honor of running with three dedicated friends who inspire me to push my limits. Running with them felt like my own Forrest Gump moment of acquiring company. Doing this alone is hard but I’m delighted to be joined with people who share my passion. I want more people to do this with me because as that number grows, my motivation to do what I think is near impossible grows magnanimously.

3. The summer fatigue is real
Although I’m not a fan of summer for its high temperatures and humidity, there’s something so energizing about it. This is one of the reasons why most of the races I signed up for were during the summer. Summer races bring together lively energy and I love being surrounded by that support. After racing in the morning, the entire day seems more beautiful. However, I also realized that when I’m training and racing, I need to account for the summer fatigue. There were moments when I over-pushed myself and didn’t properly rest and recover. Summer fatigue creeps up unexpectedly so I need to build that awareness to account for it. I’m bad when it comes to staying hydrated, stretching and sleeping sufficiently. These are habits I’m going to start working on.

4. I don’t know how I made it this far
If it wasn’t for each of my post-race articles, I wouldn’t be able to comprehend how I have managed to make it this far. Reflecting on the process helps me appreciate the things I would normally overlook. When I started the 9+1 with the Retro 4-Miler race, I had a mountain of doubts and insecurities. I faced a lot of obstacles like not having proper shoes, which led to blisters and mild injuries. Completing nine races sounded intimidating and I wasn’t sure if I could even get through it halfway. Now that I’ve gotten six credits, I’m surprised at how fast things happened. I remember a time not so long ago (literally, only two months ago) when running five miles was brutal. Now? It’s still brutal. I’m just more prepared to handle it.

5. How much more can I do?
Now that I’m more than halfway into receiving my qualifier for the NYC Marathon, I should be ready to take it easy for a while, right? Absolutely not! I’m already signed up for races to complete the remainder of my 9+1 journey but that doesn’t satisfy me any more. After completing each race, I surprise myself with the new PRs I get and the strength I gather to sprint through the finish line. I keep asking myself, “how much more can I do?” Two days ago, I registered for the NYRR Ted Corbitt 15K 2016 race even though I have never ran more than five miles. I’m looking at other races to sign up for because I’m never satisfied. Or shall I say that I’m only satisfied when I’m not satisfied?

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SUA Cross Country graduates in the house!

This race was a great way to start closing out the summer. I’m actually excited to run more during the fall when the weather conditions will be more ideal for workouts. Also, I need to gush about how amazing my foam rollers from TriggerPoint are. I use the GRID STK in the regular density for my legs and the NANO Foot Roller in the firm density for the bottom of my feet. Recently, I also purchased the GRID X Foam Roller for my back and am loving it so far. I’m building a team of physical therapists. Part of the motivation to push myself during training is knowing the satisfaction I’ll get when I go home and foam roll. It hurts so bad but it feels so good. Two races in two weekends was tough – and if I wasn’t crazy enough, I’ll be running the New Balance 5th Avenue Mile race this upcoming weekend on Saturday, September 3rd at 8:00am. Finally, you have one more day to register as a TCS New York City Marathon volunteer. I’m doing it.

Cheers,

Riri