This past Sunday, March 17th I celebrated St. Patrick’s Day by running the NYC Half Marathon. I was pretty excited about this race, mostly because it’s a fantastic course through my beloved city. Also, aside from the lottery requirement and fairly steep race fee, I knew it’d be a great race because NYRR (almost) always has their stuff together. The volunteers are AMAZING and the races are always well organized with plenty of water/Gatorade and port-o-pottys!
The 7:30am start time meant Dad and I were up and at ’em by 4:30! We bundled up in our throwaways and met Steph and Lauren (who both ran for Team in Training–way to go, girls!) at the subway. It was low-mid 30s, but windy and felt like in the 20s!!! We had to be in our corrals, which were supposed to (but never did) collapse by 7:00am. We dropped our bags and outermost layer and spent the next hour freezing our butts off waiting in the corral!
|Steph, Dad & I freezing pre-race!|
Mile 1 (10:14)-I couldn’t feel anything from my waist down and was so excited to be moving that I didn’t even notice this mile go by!
Mile 2 (10:30)-We began to thaw out a bit and I started taking in the beautiful sights of the Central Park loop. Cat Hill came and went and we tried to stay conservative with our pace being that we were so early into the race.
Mile 3 (10:02)-I was started to defrost so I used this mile (and sweet downhill) to take inventory. I’d been experiencing some calf/shin pain two weeks prior to the race (shin splints,maybe?), so I had skipped my last long training run and rested more than usual. Luckily, my legs felt fantastic. I wasn’t in any pain and I was totally ready for the beastly Harlem Hill.
Mile 4 (10:48)-Right after the 5K point, we started the uphill. I tend to do pretty well on hills, but this one is always a struggle. I just put my head down and put one foot in front of the other until we reached the crest. There were a lot of people cheering along this mile, which was awesome! Just before the 5-mile mark, I took half a pack of Gu Chomps.
Mile 5 (12:06)-I usually don’t mind the rolling hills along the West side, but Sunday they seemed to go on forever. I also started feeling like I had overhydrated, which meant I had to stop at the Port-o-Potty. Hence the extra 1:30-2:00 added to this mile.
Mile 6 (10:10)-At this point, I still hadn’t turned my music on and just past the mile marker I heard someone yell “You’re halfway there! Keep going!”. I wanted to scream. We were NOT halfway…and by the way 7.1 miles is still a LONG way to go! But I was so happy my leg was cooperating as we headed South and out to the most exciting part of the course! My stomach started feeling iffy, but I just ignored it.
Mile 7 (10:12)-Turning out of the park and onto 7th Avenue was awesome! We were able to spread out a little and the energy along the course was amazing. Somewhere in the 50s I saw (and heard) Beth, Abby, Liz and Allison cheering! It was a perfect little boost and definitely put a smile on my face! As we headed into the heart of Times Square, I knew we’d be seeing our family cheerleaders. They grabbed a great spot at 42nd and 7th and we were able to stop for some high fives!
|Dad and I on 42nd Street|
Mile 8 (10:11)-We hit the West Side Highway and as the crowds and excitement died down a bit, I started noticing that stomach pain again. I am lucky to normally have a super solid stomach, especially during exercise. This was not the case on Sunday. The stomach upset was all I could focus on.
Mile 9 (10:00)-At this point, the course turned Southeast and the Freedom Tower came into view. It was so incredible to see and I got a little emotional. I was reminded how lucky I am to be alive, living in this amazing city and physically capable of running through it! This was a temporary distraction from my stomach issues. Mile 9 is usually when I take the rest of my Gu chomps, but I was scared that would lead to another bathroom trip and there weren’t any port-o-pottys in sight! Instead, I held the pack in my hand for a few miles, debating whether or not to take it and hoping the pain would dissipate. I couldn’t keep pace with Dad who was feeling great, so he started creeping ahead of me.
Miles 10 (9:54), 11 (10:01) and 12 (9:33)-I felt fantastic during these miles, except the nagging stomach issue. I eventually gave up on the Gu chomps and tossed them, knowing I only had a few miles left and they wouldn’t help me anyway. My legs were feeling so good and I was keeping Dad in my sights. I knew this race wasn’t going to be a PR, but I still wanted to finish strong.
Mile 13 (10:41)-This mile included that very short but killer hill coming out of the Battery Tunnel. Luckily, Beth warned me about this little hill, so I was mentally prepared but it still wasn’t fun! I was ready to be done and hit the bathroom. Sorry if that’s TMI, but I discuss this stuff all day everyday so I’m used to it! The last 400 meters of the race was jam packed with people cheering and I fed off that energy to power through to the finish.
More than anything, I have to say I’m SO unbelievably proud of my cousin Steph, for finishing her first half-marathon (in a fantastic time btw) and raising over $2,000 for Team in Training/LLS. She ran and finished the race with a huge smile on her face! I can’t wait to see what she does next! 🙂