I am a nerd. Really and truly. Always have been and always will be. My nickname in college was Schwanda. This was a contraction of the phrase Schweiger Amanda. Schweiger was the term used by my freshman year neighbors to mean “Nerd.” It was not (initially) intended to be a compliment. We eventually became friends and soon everyone called me Schwanda instead of Amanda.
When I’m not working, running, or parenting I can be found reading. Obsessively. I devour books and hate to be disturbed when I read. I particularly enjoy reading nerdy books – like epic fantasy. So it’s not surprising that Harry Potter is on my list of favorites. I’ve read the entire series multiple times. I read each book of the series – in its entirety – on release day. Yup. A Nerd.
So when the opportunity came to run a virtual race in honor of Harry Potter’s birthday, I jumped at the opportunity. This was the 2nd virtual race in the Nerd Herd series (the first race was the May the 4th be with you 5k held on May 4th). The option was a 5k or a 10k. Since I had 6 miles on my training schedule, I opted for the 10k. The rules were as follows: “You are welcome to walk, run, or fly your race distance at any time during the week of July 28th – August 3rd. (Please no apparating.)” If you don’t understand the preceding sentence, you are not a Nerd. (The series of races is a benefit to help a charity called Stupid Cancer and there is still one more race in the series if anyone in interested.)
New York Road Runners – the organization responsible for the NYC Marathon and many other races in NYC – sponsors several “Long Training Runs” in preparation for the marathon. These are supported long runs, meaning that water stops are provided, but no timing device is worn. Although we were given bibs to wear in order to distinguish participants from other Central Park runners, this was NOT a race. The run could be as short as 6 miles or as long as 18 miles. As one benefit of running with Team for Kids, I was given a complimentary entry into this event.
I woke up around 5am to get ready for this event. I had prepared my clothes the night before – including my Harry Potter bib on my shorts. I grabbed my running fuel and water and hopped into the car. Luckily the starting point was close to the NY Academy of Medicine where I attend many events each year so I knew where to find parking. I was at bib pick-up soon after it opened (probably by 5:50am) and was ready to go. Team for Kids met before the start for some team building and stretching (Jeff Galloway is vehemently opposed to stretching – especially cold muscle – so I faked it a bit). It was great to meet some other Team for Kids members since I don’t routinely drive into NYC for long runs.
I headed to the WAY back of the pack to start. We were divided by pace starting with 7 min/mile and increasing by 30 sec/mile. The slowest pace group was 11 min/mile – which still seemed too fast for a training run. I guess we know where I’ll be starting the Marathon!
The morning was hotter than I expected and I had left my water bottle in the car. I was already dehydrated before we started. I chose a run 60 sec/walk 30 sec strategy because that’s what I’ve been using for my race rehearsal segments. (My usual long-run is run 30 sec/walk 30 sec). My run went pretty well – once I reached the first water stop at mile 2. I definitely needed my water bottle for some water before the start and at mile 1. Good lesson to learn. I averaged about 11:40 min/mile which would be a great race pace for me for the marathon. Considering it was 75F and I was under-hydrated, I think it went very well. My 10k time was 1:12:00 which isn’t bad at all for a training run. Best of all I didn’t feel any aches or pains beyond a little overheating and the need to re-hydrate post-run.
My only regret, of course, is that I didn’t dress up as my favorite character – Hermione – who is also a Nerd!