Staten Island, Sunday October 7th, 2012 at 8:30am. 50 degrees, overcast and breezy. This was the scene at the NYRR Staten Island Half-Marathon this weekend.
This race was scheduled to be my second half marathon and my training was pretty solid up until 2-3 weeks ago. I’ve since been battling some quad/hip pain (Don’t worry, I have an MD appointment scheduled), so I wasn’t sure how or if I was going to be able to run this Sunday. I ultimately decided to give it a shot. After all, I had paid for this race and more importantly, Dad was coming down to run too!
On Saturday, after Dad and I went out for a pre-race dinner, I got my gear together for race day: C9 by Champion running shorts, Nike Dri-fit top, Asics, RRS Dryroad socks, Sparkly Soul headband, SpiBelt, Blueberry Pomegranate Gu Chomps and Jet Blackberry Gu.
We arrived to the Island of Staten around 7:30am and quickly found parking. Race Central was right next to Richmond County Bank Ballpark (home of the SI Yankees) with amazing views of lower Manhattan and an incredible September 11th Memorial.
There was a ridiculous line for the porta-pottys right before the start, so we didn’t have
much any time to warm up. NYRR had their usual color-coded corrals and we lined up to wait for the start. While listening to race announcements and the National Anthem, we snapped a few pre-race photos.
One of the best parts of the race came right as the starting gun went off…A FDNY Marine Unit in the harbor put on an awesome show for us:
The course was an out-and-back with a few hills and one long hill around mile 8-9. Most of the course was along the waterfront, with awesome views like the one below of the Verrazano Bridge.
I started this race with no expectations of pace or time, especially because I didn’t want to worsen my injury. Since I mentally break the half-marathon distance into two 5-milers and a 5k, I told myself I would get to the 5-mile marker and assess how I felt. Although the out-and-back course wouldn’t have made it easy for me to stop and turn around if my leg acted up, that was my plan.
The race started out fabulously. Miles 1-4 absolutely flew by. I was loving the cool weather, I wasn’t paying any attention to my splits and my body felt happy to be running. My quad pain was noticeable but I didn’t feel hindered by it. As I came across Mile Marker 5, I took some Gu Chomps and decided I would push through. A few minutes later, I started seeing the race leaders speeding by me. I was expecting the turnaround to be around the 10K marker, but it ended up being further along around 7.5 miles. Mile 6 through the turnaround flew by as I was so distracted by all the runners on their way back to the finish. It was super motivating and I picked up my pace, realizing I had some potential to PR.
Mile 8-8.5ish was the one serious hill of the course, but I had gone down it during the first half so I was mentally prepared to go back up it. My only complaint with this race comes in here. There was a water station placed right BEFORE the peak of this hill. Maybe it’s just me, but I like to power through all the way to the top of the hill!
At Mile 9, I could definitely feel the impact of my sub-par training over the last 2 weeks. My feet were tired and my lower back started hurting. The next two miles were mentally challenging, but I was motivated by the fact that I was still on target to PR.
Mile 12 was a slight uphill back toward St. George terminal and the finish line. This was tough because I hadn’t realized it was a downhill during the first half and I wasn’t ready for it. I was so close to the finish but this mile seemed to go on forever. There were tons of spectators at this point and they were great! Cowbells, funny signs, high-fives, motivational cheers…I love it all. And then finally there was a right turn back down to the waterfront and a quick sprint to the finish line.
|Smiling at the finish!
Apparently in previous years, the course had one of those finishes where you can see the finish line but have to do a wrap-around or little loop to finish off the 13.1. No one likes that. So this year the course was modified in response to runner feedback and I have to say, this finish was awesome! I flew down that last hill and finished super strong. My official time was 2:10:46. That’s a 4 minute 6 second PR! With an injured leg. Boom.
And Dad? 2:01:21, which would have been sub-2 hours if he didn’t have to make a pit stop! As usual, I’m in awe of this guy…
I guess getting older=getting faster?! Maybe one of these days I’ll be able to keep up with him (and maybe beat him??).
It almost doesn’t need to be said that NYRR put together fantastic races. They’re always very well organized with plenty of water, post-race refreshments, volunteers, etc. and Staten Island was no different.
All in all, a great day, a great race and a shiny new PR. Next up…a visit to the MD to figure out what’s going on with my leg. Hopefully followed by the Disney World Half Marathon in January! 🙂