Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Race Recap: NYC Half 2013

Well, folks, I completed my 8th half marathon on Sunday. Wow. Let's let that sink in for a second. Eight. 

The 2013 New York City Half Marathon was a day of ups and downs...highs and lows...cold and frigid...drunk and more drunk. But more on that later. Let's start from the very beginning...

On Friday, my co-worker and friend Sarah and I went over to the Expo.

This was Sarah's very first Half Marathon (yeah!), and therefore her very first expo! She got the pleasure of witnessing me hemorrhage cash for running gear that I really really needed!

Obviously I needed more BondiBands to add to my absurdly large collection of sweat-collecting (yet also amusing!) headgear. I chose two that I felt suited me well. 

First (in black as shown):

Source: www.Bondiband.com (I'm a lil' prettier)
Second (in a light pink):
Source: www.Bondiband.com (And is a totally accurate phrase.)
I also added a second pair of CEP compression sleeves to my wardrobe in order to have a second in the rotation. I also only had white before and OBVIOUSLY I needed hot pink. Clearly.

So we got our bibs, we got the goods, and we went our separate ways. Saturday I relaxed, stretched, and carbo-loaded with some of my favorite ladies (such supportive friends that they even carbo-loaded with me!) But the entire day I was feeling a bit "bleh." Could it have been because I drank heavily on Thursday? Perhaps. Could it have been that I didn't stretch nearly enough the past 7 weeks since Miami? Most likely. Either way I was feeling sore and tight and not necessarily in tip-top shape.

The weather forecast continued to show a steadily plummeting temperature for Sunday morning. Awesome. I went to bed full of yummy pasta and calm...but not feeling that same buzz of nervous, positive energy I usually experience on Race-Eve.

Let's not mince words. Sunday morning was way too cold. I know some crazy people out there think it's soooo much fun to run in sub-freezing temps and to them I say:

Photo stolen from http://health.howstuffworks.com

I got dressed from head to toe ready for the "Real Feel" of 24 degrees Fahrenheit as Weather.com suggested.

And then I was out the door to meet Sarah and her husband for the walk over to the starting line in Central Park.

Sarah and I in the park, shivering, before we got in our respective corrals. I look like the devil and Sarah looks absolutely terrified. As she should be! Your first half is a BIG DEAL!

Before I go on to tell my tale, I'll let you know that Sarah not only completed her first Half, but she rocked it with a time of 2:12:14 (yeah I stalked you on nyrr.com...what!?) This took me years to accomplish. And so, Sarah, you should know that in the depths of my heart, I truly hate you.

Just kidding, Sarah! (or am I...) I'm so proud of you! (or am I...)

So this race was scheduled to start at 7:30am, but we had to arrive in the corrals no later than 7:00am. And because there were almost 15,000 people running it took me (who was lined up somewhere near the middle) 13 minutes just to cross the start. That mean almost a full hour of standing and waiting. Below freezing.

Not happy. I brought my angry eyes. And a weird shaped head.

Waiting in the corral

Finally, we began.

I'm not going to go into every twist and turn of the race, but I'll call out a few highlights.

The first six miles were in the Park, and my feet were frozen for the first three. From 3-5, my feet and hands were then tingling with pain. This was somewhat a cause for concern, but more a cause for general crankiness up and around my general direction. Somewhat tempering the crankiness was that I noticed how many amazing spectators there were who came out despite the gross temperature! Thank you to all the cheerleaders! Honestly, there were so many most people for this race than for Miami, and I really noticed it. Every single person who holds a sign or calls out something positive can truly help a runner. Keep that in mind!

I started at a good pace, but never fell into a grove like I normally do around miles 4-5 in a race. We left the park after the 10K mark and headed down through Times Sq. A really nice scene, but I remember last year feeling so free and light and warm whereas this year I was just kind of pushing to muddle through.

In Time Sq between miles 7 and 8 a group of my girlfriends were there to cheer me on, and that gave me a much-needed boost.

Miles 8 - 12 were along the West Side Highway. Last year I found this a very quick stretch, but this year I truly was hurting. I ran into Coach Scott from Team For Kids training who ran with me for a few minutes. We chatted (which made me feel better with the distraction!) and he encouraged me to try to PR by running sub-9 min miles the rest of the way. 

He also said to me, "Um, you also should get some water. Because you're sweating a lot. Like, a lot lot." Yep, I have now shocked the Head Coach of a major running team with  my copious sweating. I am a disgusting freak of nature and I have come to terms with it.

Normally, I could have pushed for that PR because I do have the capacity from my training to run a few miles under 9:00min per mile pace. But the tightness was preventing me from dialing it up. 

Although when I read other blogs I honestly don't care so much about people's splits...I've included them for your reference. You don't care. I don't care that you don't care. Enjoy:

5K: 29:22 (average 9:27 min/mile)
10K: 58:28 (average 9:22 min/mile)
15K: 1:26:57 (average 9:10 min/mile)
20K: 1:55:18 (average 9:05 min/mile)
FINISH: 2:01:24 (Overall average 9:16 min/mile)

So try as I may, I just could not break that 9:00 average pace. 

Around mile 12 we entered the tunnel and there was a lot of "echo!!" and "wooo!" just like last year. With 800 meters to go (and a sign explaining as such), we were out of the tunnel into the light and nearing the finish line near the South Street Seaport.

I pushed as hard as I could, and as I rounded the final corner for those last few yards to the end, I saw my cheering squad again. I honestly wanted to cry because my legs felt so tight. Seeing them made me so much happier as I barreled over that finish line with my face twisted in pain and my body ready to rebel against me. 

Stolen photo from the finish line of me faking happiness

I am pleased with my finish time. Don't get me wrong. But I KNOW that I could have PR-ed if I felt better. To have my second-best Half time ever...and to feel like total poop...was an interesting feeling of "wow, I'm getting faster naturally!" and "wow...think of what I could have done...."

So now I'm making a plan to change the negatives and turn my frown upside down. More on that in future weeks...

The post-script of the story is that I finished and I was cold, but the girls had my puffy coat ready and waiting like angels brought from the heavens. We then went into a bar near the end where I could warm up and revel in my accomplishment with some St. Patrick's Day debauchery.

I tried to correct for red eye and it made me look soul-less and crazy. I left it as such.
ME WITH MY CHEERING SQUAD: Silvia, Nicole, Nicole (yes another one) and Betsy!

10:30am is an appropriate time to start drinking, right?

Bangers & Mash with a beer. THE PERFECT St. Patrick's Day post-race brunch!
It's better tasting than looking, I assure you.

So there ends my story.I wish I could be more positive for you, but I always promise to keep it real.

...So real, that I will admit that instead of going home and resting after the race I instead stayed out for 11 more hours, pausing from drinking and eating only to go to a NYSC and quickly shower and change in their locker room. So. Damn. Classy.

Admit it: If you got this far, you are now more impressed that I drank for 11 hours than the fact that I ran a Half. Fact.


  1. Great job! So impressed you ran a half so soon after your first full. rockstar

    1. Thanks! Although this will be the last time I attempt to do something like that, haha. I think another month off from racing would have served me well! Brooklyn, here we come...

  2. Nice one! Well done on your race. :)

  3. I'm impressed you ran a half and then continued to drink for 11 hours. THAT is epic.
    And I'm still impressed you finished Miami, especially considering you had NO music and NO people.