I ran a race! Rather, I raced a race for the first time in two years. The whole training process lot a fire under me this winter that I hope I can sustain into summer and fall.
After a VERY easy taper week, I headed into the city fairly early Saturday to get my bib before heading to a lunchtime baby shower.
Long story short, the baby shower got delayed so I had to kill a few hours while staying off my feet. I ended up booking a last minute ticket to see Umma in theaters, then got a Blue Bottle cold brew and sat enjoying the sunshine before heading to Astoria for the shower. Got Korean for dinner – had a craving for bulgogi fried rice but also got Korean Fried Chicken which was possibly a mistake. Ate at 6pm but stomach was still full and churning at 9pm when I went to bed.
Got up and headed to Prospect Park where the start was. By the time I made it through security, checked my phone (and a jacket) with bag check, and used a Portapotty, it was time to get into my corral for Wave 2 start. The fields were super muddy so I was glad I wore throwaway shoes (and sweatshirt and joggers).
The first few miles felt really good – like I couldn’t have imagined moving up Zoo Hill that easily a few short weeks ago during the Cherry Tree 10 Mile. Was it the Next% that gave me a bounce in my step? Was it the perfect weather (though it did get warmer and sunny later on)? The crowds were amazing and I loved how I moved up and down the Manhattan Bridge. My race strategy went really well – take the uphills easy, have fun on the downhills, then zoom along the flat parts of the FDR. My watch’s GPS first messed up in downtown Brooklyn so I was doing a lot of mental math, making sure my splits were around 9:20. I knew I could get close to 2 hours but it could just as easily be a 2:05 day if all the factors didn’t line up.
Mile 8 was where the sun came out and I truly regretted my long sleeve. Singlet next time! But at least I was wearing shorts. Lots of people were super layered up and I knew they must be struggling. With the uphills on 42nd, I knew I had to dig deep. The crowds were awesome and my legs finally felt tired but that would normally happen much sooner during a half! I kept reminding myself that I had so much fun training under my belt (that 15 mile long run though) AND the benefit of all that strength training. I dabbled in the gym back in 2015 but never could squat or deadlift like this (much less the overhead press).
Entering the park was great and I saw and heard from friends cheering (plus caught up to and passed some teammates). I look like absolute death from some of the Central Park South photos but look great in the below!
Once I was in Central Park, my body was starting to face its limits. My heart rate shot up and my legs felt like Jello. I had to slow up a bit on the little uphills then push toward the finish. It was tough but I knew I could get under 2 hours if I didn’t fall apart.
I almost puked at the finish and the long walk before I could get water was terrible. People kept stopping for photo ops but I was dying. Happy with my time and performance but felt awful. Was able to get my goody bag and take the subway and chug the Gatorade. Met up with friends for dim sum before getting a cold brew and heading home (this part took a couple hours and I’m so glad I had a solid meal).
Reflections: This was my fastest half since October 2018 and my first race where I truly raced the whole thing since November 2019. The Next% have been sitting in my closet for a long time and I’m glad they got their chance to debut. It would seem the move to 30something miles a week was a strong one for me and I’m hoping to be able to do that again for a fall half.