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10Kiversary: RunThrough Battersea Park 10K – January 5, 2020

A brief recap

I loved the RunThrough Battersea Park 10K so much in November, that I decided to come back for more! Since the course is so flat and I know it like the back of my hand–I do most of my runs in Battersea Park and my speed workouts are run on the 2.5K loop used as the race course–I thought it would be the perfect place to continue Project 10K and try for a faster 10K.

brief recap

Like last time, the race started at 9:35am. I set my alarm for 7:30am, snoozed for 9 minutes, then got up and was out the door at 8:45am. I built my warm-up into my commute and arrived with plenty of time to get my bib and use the bathroom.

The race felt great the entire time! That doesn’t mean I wasn’t struggling at the end–I gave it everything and fought for a time I’d be proud of. And I am! I ran this race in November in 52:48…today I ran it in 50:32! The course was still a little short (around 6.15mi) and my 49:27 PR was on a course measuring 6.29mi. But still! I am improving, and it’s only a matter of time before I run another sub-50 minute 10K.

Close-up of the medal, which is different from last time, featuring the bridge I cross almost everyday, on my way to Battersea Park.

four year anniversary

As this is identical to the November 10K, I’m skipping most of the race overview. Instead, I want to mark a special anniversary!

These days, a 10K has become my default race distance–even if I’m not in shape to really push for a fast time, I know that I can complete the distance. It’s an incredible feeling! I think that January 2016 is when I became a runner, making a lifestyle change that I’ve been happy to stick with for the past four years. Even if I take a break (usually during the summer because it’s hot and humid and was the busiest time of year at work), it’s never been a question if I’ll return to running, only when.

Four years ago (the first weekend of 2016), I ran my first ever 10K race, in 1:00:29! This was a very exciting moment for me, for several reasons. I had originally wanted to complete a 10K race in 2015, but didn’t go through with it due to lack of training.

For me, the jump from a 5K race to a 10K race was the most challenging transition of all my race distances. I was doubling the distance I could run, which I had never done before. How could I possibly run for over an hour? I had a mental block, so much so that during training for my first race, I did my runs on the elliptical machine…not exactly a good substitute. I was also afraid to run in Central Park…it was too intimidating, filled with serious runners…plus, I would definitely get lost and get mauled by a family of raccoons.

Running was something that I had done before, under duress, in order to lose weight. But this time, something was different. I wanted to lose a little weight, sure, but I also wanted to make a lifestyle change. One of my college friends had just run the 2015 NYC Marathon, and it was super incredible and inspiring! She didn’t run during college, and now here she was, choosing to run and loving it enough to run 26.2 miles around NYC. I made a secret goal to follow suit. To do that, I needed to complete NYRR’s 9+1 program, and this was going to involve lots of racing. I needed to conquer my fear of distance running, and do it fast! I told myself that if I didn’t run the marathon, it was fine…I’d still be running all of these races. And in order to run the races and not die, I’d need to train, at least a little. Therefore, by running races, I’d complete my goal of living a more active lifestyle.

So in early January 2016 I ran my first ever 10K–in Central Park, no less! (I figured that it would be impossible to get lost during a race, and I was correct.) I felt strong and powerful. I later registered for my first half marathon (which I completed in April). Even though this race was over double the distance of a 10K, this time I knew I could do it. I overcame the mental barrier of jumping from a 5K to a 10K…now, I knew that as long as I put in the work, I would definitely finish. Whenever I get anxious about pursuing a big running goal, I reflect back to my first 10K, and it gives me the confidence to challenge myself and see what I’m capable of achieving.

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