Race Recap: Great South Bay Half Marathon

Who’s ready for for a delayed race recap? I planned on writing this recap within days of my race. I even tried to get my thoughts down the day after the race and again on our flight to Vegas, but nothing came. So here we are almost 2 weeks post-race! I guess it’s always easier and more exciting to write a recap for an awesome race experience, which this was not. In short, it just wasn’t my race. I didn’t PR, I didn’t go sub-2 and I didn’t even have the strong happy race I was hoping for.

Hurricane Joaquin threatened to make race day miserable, but with only 15% chance of rain at the race start, we were hopeful. Still, I tried my best to give boyfriend all the runner advice I could think of. We packed garbage bags in case it was raining at the start, I forced him to slather his feet with Vaseline to prevent blisters if his feet got wet and made him wear a hat to keep the rain from flooding his eyes with sweat.

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Oh and we wore matching outfits!  He’s such a good sport. 🙂  Getting to the race was super easy and parking took no time at all. We had plenty of time to kill before the race and spent most of it hiding in the car keeping warm and dry. The race started at 8:30am and both the 10k and half marathon runners started together, which was fine given that it was such a small race. No waves, no corrals, but luckily also not much weaving to find a good pace group.

Miles 1-5 pretty much flew by. It was drizzling and cool but I warmed up after a mile or so. My legs felt strong and although I had decided to run by feel, I couldn’t help but check my Garmin to see my easy pace was around 9:05-9:15! I was kicking myself for not peeing before we started because I felt like PR was an actual possibility at this point. I continued to run by feel and hope the need to pee went away. No such luck, and when I finally saw ONE single porta potty after mile 5, I dashed in. I was in and out in less than 30 seconds, hoping it wouldn’t ruin my PR plans.

Mile 6 is where the wheels started to come off. My feet started hurting, which I blame my shoes for, despite being newer and a model I wear often, they hurt my feet a few times during training too. And I still wore them race day. Dummy. Anywho, my pace started dropping here as we ran a little loop around this lake. Running just felt hard. I told myself it IS hard and it’s going to feel really hard if I want a PR. So I pushed, but my pace didn’t budge. I was now hovering around 9:20-9:30. Also, the course mile markers were about .15 mile off from my Garmin and I couldn’t understand how I had already overrun the course so much. I struggled, but I knew there was an out-and-back coming up where I would see boyfriend and get some encouragement.  It came up around Mile 8 and I tried to put on a happy face for boyfriend when we high-fived.  He looked awesome and I was so proud of him, but I was giving up on myself.

At Mile 9, the course turned South into a waterfront neighborhood and the wind really picked up, crushing my final hopes for this race.  When I hit the Mile 10 mark, I tried to do the math and figure out what my finish time would be, at first completely miscalculating and giving myself a 3 minute PR.  Then I realized I was an entire mile off.  Instead of digging deep and dialing up my pace, I gave up.  I wanted to walk, I wanted to cry, I wanted to be DONE.  The only reason I kept running was to finish ASAP and I wanted to hear how boyfriend’s race went.  I told myself that if I finished this race, I never have to run another one ever again.  I decided it was time to retire from longer distances and stick to lifting weights.  Maybe race a 5k or 10k, but no more half marathons in the near future!

Mile 12 turned back toward the marina where the race started, and the last stretch reminded me a lot of the finish of the Staten Island Half Marathon, just without spectators.  Seriously, there were maybe 10 people at the finish line and a few families speckled throughout the course.  I’m sure the weather contributed, but geez it would have been nice to have some support during those tough miles!  The last 0.1 was just awful.  My legs were completely shot and felt so heavy.  I staggered across the finish in 2:06:31 (9:39 avg pace) for one of my worst (best?) race photos ever:

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Boyfriend finished just under 2-hours and the very first thing he said to me after I finished was “I’m never doing that again.”  I laughed, knowing he would probably change his tune once he’d had a beer and some warm clothes on.  We grabbed our Entenmann’s donuts (something I’d been dreaming about most of the race) and got in line for the beer, even though it was only 10:30 am.  We earned it!

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The post-race party was awesome, with Great South Bay Brewing Company and lots of food, but we were freezing and exhausted, so we ducked out early.  Maybe if the weather was a little nicer, we would have stayed and enjoyed the beer garden on the waterfront!

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We spent the rest of the day in sweatpants recovering on the couch and treated ourselves to a little celebration dinner.  I’m beyond proud of the boyfriend for completing his first half marathon and though I didn’t have the race I was hoping for, I’m proud of myself for finishing another 13.1.  I’ll be back another day to share my thoughts on training with CrossFit Endurance.  For now, we go back to lifting weights. 🙂

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Massapequa Turkey Trot 2014 Recap

Happy December everyone!  The holiday season is now is full swing now, with Thanksgiving behind us and Christmas just 24 days away.  Boyfriend and I put up our tree last night and it makes such a difference in my spirit seeing those twinkling lights!  Before I go full holiday cheermeister, let’s rewind back to Turkey Day with my Turkey Trot Recap.

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This year was my first Long Island Thanksgiving, and as such I obviously signed up for a Turkey Trot.  The Massapequa Turkey Trot is a 5k (3.1 mile) course that starts and finishes in John J. Burns Park and includes an out-and-back on some neighborhood streets.  I had signed up by myself, but was pleasantly surprised to find out that my friend Emily (you may remember her from my cousin’s guest posts about running with Team In Training) was also signed up!  Hi, Emily! 🙂

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I arrived about an hour early for the race, because I wasn’t sure what parking would be like and I wanted to squeeze in a warm up.  It was pretty cold and windy down by the water and by the time the race started, snow flurries were falling!  I only ended up doing a one mile warm-up and then got back into my car because I was cold. #Baby, I know! 

I met up with Emily for a few minutes and we listened to the race director speak about the race, which donates a significant portion of the proceeds to The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  Gotta love races that support charities!  After the National Anthem, we moved over to the start to line up.  They had signs to help people organize into pace groups/corrals…7:00 min/mile pace, 8:00 min/mile pace, etc.  My favorite was toward the back and said something like “Still wish I was in bed pace”. Cute!  Before we knew it, we were off!  

I should’ve wiggled my way up a little further in the group, because I spent the first half mile or so bobbing and weaving to get into a comfortable groove, but once I did I felt good.  Despite being cold at the start, after a mile in I was plenty warm and even debated taking off my ear warmers.  I hate being hot!  The route was quick (don’t 5ks always seem like they’re over in a flash!?) and there were a few spectators out on their lawns.  Mile markers were just people with stopwatches shouting out current time, which I loved.  I really didn’t care what pace I was running, but knew my competitive edge was taking over a bit.  I started out slow then picked up the pace until it was comfortably hard and really kicked it at the end to pick off some runners in front of me.   

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I snapped a picture of my Garmin of course, but my official finish time was 28:03 (9:02 pace).  I’m shocked how fast (for me) I was able to run this race.  My hip definitely felt tight and uncomfortable at some points, but otherwise I felt like I had some power in my legs!  The race itself was very well organized and fun to run.  I really need to sign up for more low-key races like these, vs. NYRR ones which tend to stress me out.  Note to self!

My only negative thought about this race has to do with parking.  Remember when I said I didn’t know how parking would be?  Turns out it took me 2 seconds to park right near the start, which ended up being a big mistake.  Some people opted to park in the parking lot of the shopping center across the street, but I didn’t realize why until after I was done running.  The parking lot was right where the race started and finished, so the exit was closed to traffic and I wasn’t able to leave until about 30 minutes after the race finished for everyone.  Lesson learned for next year! 😉  The good news?  This race had hot chocolate at the finish in addition to bagels and bananas!  So I sat in the car sipping hot chocolate and listening to Taylor Swift while I waited to get out of the lot…not a bad start to Thanksgiving morning if you ask me! 

How was your Thanksgiving?  Did you do a Turkey Trot too? Tell me about it!

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