Oh. My. God.
It was like a dream.
That’s really all I have to say about the NYC Half Marathon that I ran on Sunday, March 15.
But that’s not really what you want to read, so I’ll give you a little more info 🙂
After a 4 hour bus ride from Boston to New York City, and a 33 block walk from the bus stop to Central Park area, I was ready to start the NYC Half weekend with my friend Sydney.
After she finished up for work, we headed over to the expo, which was super well organized (great work United – I loved the “airport” style theme you gave it!) and fun. I’m a fan of a good expo, and there were plenty of photo ops to take advantage of, great snacks to try out and an awesome amount of apparel your credit line can handle. I wish I had picked up this awesome looking hat from one of the unofficial vendors – it was right by the NYRR merch, and it had the logo of the race, along with the course on it.
We then headed back to Brooklyn and had a little bit of dinner and turned in for an early night.
The next day, the skies decided to open up on NYC and it rained all day. That didn’t stop us though – I was taken on a little walking tour of Brooklyn, which included a stop at Brooklyn Running Co (loved it) and ended at New York Distilling Company (yes, I went on a booze tour… don’t judge me). We headed back for some delicious ramen dinner and proceeded to slightly freak out and pack our clear bags for a bright and early start the next morning.
My alarm went off promptly at 4:45 am, and I started to get ready. Mentally, I was prepared just to have fun at this run. I didn’t get that many outdoor miles this winter, due to this winter from hell in New England. I was going to rely mostly on my cross training, and focus on the fact that I was going to get a running tour of NYC.
We got into a car at 6:00am, hoping to get there by 6:30am, in order to drop our bags off. Wrapped up in the leftover space blanket from the Marine Corps Marathon, I tried to keep warm, and was doing an ok job at it. Sydney went off to meet up with the rest of the Team For Kids team, so I wandered through Central Park before heading to the corrals.
It was SO crazy to see Central Park full of runners, and also super exciting.
Finally our corrals started opening and I made my way in. I met some awesome local New York runners, who told me all about Central Park running and validated my plan that I was going to go pretty easy until I finished Harlem Hill, and then try to pick up the pace and enjoy. One of them made a comment on how crazy I must be to run in shorts. I basically told them that my warmest run was in 20F, so the 48F that it was at the start line was pretty balmy for this New Englander!
And then… we were OFF!
The first mile was a steady uphill, but it was barely noticeable with all the people and cheering going on. The next couple miles were some really nice rolling hills, which were pretty fun. Me? Say hills are fun? Yes… especially after doing hill sprints on a 7% incline on a treadmill, you forget the fun part about hill training – the downhill.
Mile 4 came and there was Harlem Hill. It snaked it’s way around this hill, but just as my legs started burning… it was over.
Nothing to worry about.
After a few more rolling hills to shake the legs out, we headed full speed into mile 7 – 8… aka TIMES SQUARE!
This was the first time EVER that I took my phone out and snapped some photos. I made sure to pull over and that I wasn’t in anyones way. There are only two times a year that Times Square is closed to traffic: New Years Eve and NYC Half Marathon Day! I also took the time to high five some kids who were lining up for the first ever Kids Run through Times Square. The energy was palpable and that Jay Z Alicia Keys song rang true:
“These streets will make you feel brand new. These lights will inspire you. Let’s hear it for New York”
I took time to mentally check in with my body… I was feeling pretty strong and wasn’t nearly as fatigued as I thought I was going to be. I tried to keep that thought out of my mind though, in fear that I would feel good one moment, and the crash the next.
We made some turns and then found ourselves on the West Side Highway… with the Freedom Tower on the horizon. Here is where I just started ticking off the miles. Mile 8, I felt awesome. Mile 9 even better. I told myself I would really pick up the pace at mile 10, when I would have a 5K left.
And book it I did.
It wasn’t until I hit mile 12 that I realized I would PR… and that I was feeling better than ever. I had no soreness, was still breathing steadily and was waving and hi-fiving people everywhere I could. I barreled down the tunnel and came up with a little bit of fire in my legs. I saw the “800m to go” and started pushing a little bit more. Then “400m to go”. I was a little annoyed at all the turns at the end – especially since we had just run 4 miles in a straight line, but I kept pushing.
Then, I crossed and checked out my Garmin – a shiny new PR by 2 min.
Plus, I negatively split:
Here were my splits:
Mile 1: 10:50
Mile 2: 10:45
Mile 3: 10:38
Mile 4 (Harlem Hill): 10:45 -> this was the only mile that was not negative
Mile 5: 10:35
Mile 6: 10:20
Mile 7: 10:15
Mile 8: 10:00
Mile 9: 9:55
Mile 10: 9:50
Mile 11: 9:30
Mile 12: 9:15
Mile 13.1: 8:55
So needless to say, I had a freaking fantastic time… and I hope to get to do this one again. Plus, it never hurts when the photographers get some awesome shots of you. I feel like I never get good pictures… feel like that? Read this blog post I wrote a bit ago on race pictures!
Have you started your race season yet? How did it start? What are your goals for 2015?