Let’s do it! After a semi-sleepless night, I got out of bed and put on my carefully laid out race outfit:
- Athleta Swagger Skort
- Energy Tank
- Long Sleeve Wick it Wonder Tee
- Hydrology Asics socks (purchased at Athleta)
I stashed my key, money, metrocard, etc. in my skort pocket and stuck my safety pins and fuel in the pocket of my tee. My bib, sunglasses, phone (in ziplock bag) and water went in my bag to check.
As I rushed out the door, I worried that I was running late. I considered taking a cab, but chanced it on the subway. Just as I was in full panic that the next train wouldn’t come for HOURS, it came. In the span of 3 minutes my faith in the MTA completely vanished and then was miraculously restored.
I was at the park by 7:13AM, but had over a mile walk to bag check. I kept my eyes out for friends, but sadly didn’t see Theodora, Jess, Jocelyn, Stephaine, Gia or Laura. Finally, I reached bag check, put on my bib, grabbed my water, removed my top layer and tried to find a dry spot for my bag in case of rain. I made the mistake of not going to the porta potties just a few hundred yards away from baggage, which had almost no lines. Instead, I went to the ones near the corrals, which had huge lines and no place to stand. At 7:47AM, I was still in line. Fortunately, my corral was close and I was able to duck in with minute to spare. Some lady told me I was in the wrong corral and needed to move up, but actually I was in the right corral, it was just that everyone else had moved up and no light blue runners were left in their rightful corral. I wasn’t sweating it, I wasn’t planning on running a 9:13 pace anyways.
After a few words of encouragement from Elisabeth Hasselback and a great rendition of the National Anthem, we were off! The announcer guy was top notch and really got me going!
Mile 1: Crowds
The first mile started out crazy packed. I did a lot of weaving and sometimes just hung back behind people. I realized I forgot to start my watch, so I started it a little late. My first mile I realized what I was in for, two loops of the full park and three times around the bottom. It was a little daunting.
Mile 2: Catty
Cat Hill was our first challenge. I gave the cat a good look in the eye as I charged upward. I glanced at my watch as was shocked that we were running at a 9:17 pace. Wow! I felt good, but was worried I was going out too fast!
Mile 3: Doubt
Normally, I spend a lot of time before the race psyching myself up. I didn’t do that this time. I spent a lot of time doubting myself in the early miles. Thoughts kept crossing my mind, “will I finish, should I slow down, can my body handle this?” I also got mad for not sticking to a training plan and missing a few runs. Eventually I shook it off and enjoyed the beautiful blossoming trees and sun peaking through the clouds.
Mile 4: Form
Around mile 4, the real hills started. I just thought about how Coach Ramon had trained us to run hills and straightened my back and hinged every so slightly from the waist. This was actually very effective, it created a sense of falling forward, so you were basically forced to keep running forward. Even though the only real hill work I did was with Laura and the Athleta Run Club, the hills went way better than expected. They gave me something to focus on.
Mile 5: Frank
The sign is a reference to this fabulous jam.
Yeah, so there I am, and it sure looks like I am walking. And for the record, the lady in front of me is definitely walking. However, I finished the first six miles in 57 minutes, so I was at least jogging!
Mile 6: Sticky
Mile six was basically the start, so there were speakers all around and the announcer had a running commentary going. I really enjoyed listening to him chatter on about the runners passing by. At miles 6, I whipped out my gu and ripped off the top. Then I realized that the next water station was nowhere in sight. About a mile later, I finally had water to take my gu. It would be another mile before I could rinse the sticky gu off my hands! Oh, one other mile six note, it was here that I switched my ipod from passion pit to girl talk at this point.
Mile 7: One more time
At mile seven I got a glimpse of the finish line. It was actually relieving to know that I only had one more loop. I had it. I could do it again. I also wondered if anyone had finished since no one was in the passing lane. Later when I checked the stats, the first finisher ran the race in 1:13! Crazy!
Losing Focus Brunch
Some point around here I realized I had really lost myself in silly thoughts, like where I wanted to go for brunch. Landmarc? Bouchon Bakery? For the record, we ended up at the Smith, which allowed me to change out of my race clothes. My pace slowed and I sort of forgot that I was running. I had to snap out of it and pull myself together and at least as much on running as I was on my next meal.
Mile 9: More Hills
Not much to say here. I was worried about round 2, but it wasn’t so bad. It wasn’t quite as fast, but Girl Talk got me through.
Mile 10: Athleta
Throughout the course there with signs that denoted the race sponsors. There was one for Athelta around mile 4 and 10, which always made me smile. I am so honored that they wanted to sponsor my race entry and my outfit! Mile 10 was my thankful mile!
Mile 11: Frank again
Once again, I had Frank to look forward to. I knew he was waiting for me at the transverse. In fact, this is exactly where he waited between cheering duties.
He even had a new sign for me!
Yet another awesome song reference.
Mile 12-13.1 Are we there yet?
This was tough. It was my third time around this section of the park and it seemed like it had doubled in length. My legs were tired and it was really everything I could do to keep them turning over. I wasn’t in pain, I was just tired. The long training runs I didn’t do had come back to bite me, but at the last mile, I couldn’t complain. I never even looked at my watch the second time around, so I didn’t realize that if I pushed, I might PR. I just kept waiting for the transverse and finally, it came. I managed to pick it up for the last .1 and was thrilled to cross the finish!
After exiting the finish area, I quickly found Frank!
Boy did I kick some boy butt, not a single boy beat me!
Total Finishers: Men – 0 Women – 7,092 Total – 7,092
My finish time was 2:12:40 and a 10:08 pace. So I am not Paula Radcliffe or even Theodora for that matter, I was actually really happy with my time. It is the fastest half I have run since 2009. My PRs are both from Grete’s Gallop: 2:10’s in 2008 and 2009. Definitely not too far off!
I feel pretty good post-race. A bit sore, but I think the short run yesterday followed by a good foam roll and stretch session was the ticket to a good race today. A massage would be awesome and all, but it’s probably not in the budget!
Congrats to my fellow runners! (an go yankees!)