I started drafting this post immediately after the race (3pm from my couch, recuperating with bagels), but left the ‘Intro’ portion blank. It’s definitely hard to write about races (and running in general) sometimes when things don’t go exactly your way, but it’s time to push it out there anyway since I’ve officially done two races after the NYC Half anyway. And yes, my Mom noticed its absence. This will be woefully short on photos because my few MarathonFoto shots aren’t great.
Fun fact: This was my FIRST half marathon EVER in 2015. The 2017 iteration was my 6th half.
I went to the expo the day before fairly early and grabbed my shirt (long sleeve this year in a great bright blue) and bib. I had just stocked up on Gus at Jackrabbit during my Ghost 9 shopping spree, so didn’t need to linger too much. I did grab pre-made pace bracelets for 1:55 (ha! just saving for another time), 2:00, and 2:05. My A Goal: Sub 2:00, B Goal: Under 2:02:11 aka a new PR, C Goal: Under 2:05 just to prove that I was in fact in shape enough to get under 2 next time.
After a lot of hemming and hawing the night before on temperature, I chose to wear my Sugoi Subzero tights (rather than the Midzero ones, just in case we did get some flurries after all since they are somewhat more water resistant), my PPTC short-sleeve t-shirt, and my blue Lululemon Go the Distance jacket. I pinned my bib onto my pants since I wasn’t sure if I would end up keeping my jacket on the whole time. I knew not having the red shirt be super visible would make it harder for cheerers to spot me, but there are enough people out on the course that I wasn’t too worried. I also had a neat NYRR National Running Day buff that I was planning to wear around my neck but ended up using as an ear warmer/headband. The finishing touches were some sweet homemade arm warmers made of men’s socks from the pack I bought for the NYC Marathon last year as well as my beloved Lululemon Run With Me gloves, which were a Christmas gift from a Secret Santa friend.
I got to Central Park with more than enough time to spare before dropping my stuff off at bag check by 6:50AM. It was so cold before and at the start and I was very lucky that a teammate had some extra disposable hand warmers to slip into my gloves.
Miles 1 – 3: It took a full 2 miles for me to feel my toes. Cat Hill was over and done with pretty much immediately in the first mile, then you get to enjoy the rolling hills on the East side of the park. It was around here that I saw my first Golden Retriever of the morning and started counting dogs. According to NYRR, my time at the 5K was 29:00 exactly, but my watch was around 27:30 or so.
Miles 4 – 6: They had to change the course a little bit this year because of construction near the finish, so they added an up-and-down to 113th street during the out-and-back along 110th St. I hit the 10K in pretty good shape and realized that I had hit a new 10K PR of 57:42. Yay! I pulled my tube sock arm warmers out from under my jacket and tossed them into Central Park. My dog count ended unofficially at 50 dogs because I was losing my mental focus a bit around #40.
Miles 6-10: This section includes the exit from Central Park, the very surreal experience of running through down Broadway and through Times Square, then the move along 42nd St and down the West Side Highway. I got to see my teammate Brittany cheering at 50th St. which was such a nice boost.
I ate 2 salted margarita Shot Blocks around mile 8 and chased them with water. I saw the PPTC cheer squad around mile 9.5 and went in for much-needed high fives. Thanks, guys!
Miles 10-12: These were the worst miles of the whole race but still faster than the frozen first mile. It’s not that the wheels fell off entirely, but my pace slowed, my feet were tired and my form suffered. I caught myself awkwardly straddling the main buckle in the road as I ran and couldn’t really seem to stay in a straight line on the crown of the road. My breathing never got raggedy, but I was worried that it would if I tried to push the pace. I had started just in front of the 2:00 pace group, then they passed me, then I passed them, but this is where they passed me for good and I knew I couldn’t keep up. My race plan had been to negative split to make up for the slower hills in the first half, but I couldn’t drop the hammer as much as I had wanted. I knew I was 40ish second off from 2:00 but it was just not happening.Miles 12-13.1: Sweet relief! The tunnel felt great, if a little longer than before, but the uphill finish shredded me. My legs would just not move faster. Final time of 2:00:49.
In summary, I missed my A Goal got a sweet new PR. My 9:13 minutes per mile pace means that my best Half pace is now faster than my recorded NYRR paces for the 10 Mile, 10K, 5 Mile, and 4 Mile. Ok, so I haven’t raced as many of those, but this is still an exciting start to Spring 2017 racing season. I’m trying to race all of those at or below a 9 minute mile. But I did get a new PR and nabbed some unofficial 10 mile and 10K PRs during this race, so felt like it was a strong foundation.