When I pick up my race packet at the NYRR headquarters on the Upper East Side, a registration staffer hands me a sheet with tips for running in hot weather. One tip suggests eating salty food during the week prior to the race. The idea is to keep your electrolytes in balance and to prevent hyponatremia.
I walk out of the NYRR and see a vendor selling hot dogs and pretzels. Bingo. $2 for a pretzel is completely justified. I mean, come on. It's balancing my electrolytes.
This morning, I ran the 10K race in Central Park. I set a fast pace for myself -- my lungs cooperate (I'd like to thank speedwork), but my legs are still tired from the past week and I lose time on Miles 3 and 4. I push it on the last two miles, because there's absolutely no reason not to. This is it. I'm telling myself to take quality breaths, but I'm not. I'm just running. I see M at Mile 6 and she shouts one word: "Go!" So I go. Fast. And then a woman yells out my bib number -- I look down to check; yes it's my bib number. She's cheering me on.
It's only 70 degrees and thankfully there's a cloud cover, but I'm dripping sweat as I cross under the pink race finish banner. My official time is 12 seconds slower than my personal best. And that's okay. Breathing hard, I snag paper cups of Gatorade and water and a volunteer drapes a medal around my neck. The medal hangs from a polka-dot ribbon. I dig it.
M and I leave the race finish and cut through crowds of race participants still running to get to Central Park South. A cyclist has pulled over and is cheering the women on: "One last mile! One last mile! You look hot! Red hot!" Yeah, we're red hot. Literally. We're all flushed and sweaty.
And I start to think about a 10K race in two weeks. Plenty of time to recuperate.
There should be a warning posted: Do not make important decisions while under the influence of a runner's high. So let's see how I feel tomorrow. And then I'll decide.