|The medal I almost didn't receive!|
But I got in through the lottery! Since they charged my credit card right away (and the race was not cheap), I had to run it. I had secretly assumed that I would just be cheering for J from the sidelines. I've run the NYC Half twice already (2007 & 2010) and I felt a bit guilty to be able to run it again when so many people had wanted to run but were denied. To be honest, I wasn't super excited about the course either since the first 8 miles are in Central Park (which I run all the time) and the last 4 miles are down the West Side Highway (which I have run often and find kind of boring). The only exciting mile was the one through Times Square - hopefully that precious mile would make up for the other boring twelve.
J got into NYC on Thursday morning and we hit the expo on Friday to pick up our bibs and wristbands. The wristband was a new addition to the NYC Half - basically, every runner had to put one on at the expo and not take it off until the race on Sunday. Runners without wristbands would not be allowed into the corrals and they wouldn't receive finisher medals. This extra layer of security was foreign to me since the bib seems to be a good indicator of a legit runner. Anyway, I neglected to put on my wristband at the expo because I don't like scratchy things on my wrist. Then, we were off to a two day carbload bonanza. We had paella at Socarrat, a pasta brunch at Spigolo, and I capped off my carb-feeding frenzy with my lucky pre-race capellini primavera from Zucchero e Pomodori.
I was feeling pretty good until Saturday night when I went to put together my race day materials and outfit. I hit snafu #1 when I discovered I had somehow lost my arm warmers after the NYC Marathon. J witnessed me throw a minor fit and overturn my closet multiple times because I thought there was no way I would be able to run without the arm warmers that I had PR'ed in! I never found them.
My annoyance at losing my lucky arm warmers was eclipsed when I hit snafu #2 - I had lost my wristband! I freaked out at this point because the site explicitly said runners without the wristband would be unable to run. J and L assured me that NYRR would still let me run, and there was no way I would be the only person without a wristband but I was not completely reassured. Luckily, my friend Lisa works at NYRR and I sent her a frantic text asking for her advice. She told me to go early to the race and get a new wristband from NYRR. I was able to rest somewhat more easily after that, though I never am able to sleep well before a long race.
J & I woke up at 4:45am on Sunday morning and got ready to run. We got to the start before 6:30am and I ran to find Lisa. After some more frantic and stressful minutes, I was able to get a new wristband. I was finally able to relax. Luckily for me, the wristband fiasco completely eclipsed my nervousness over running a good time. As a side note to NYRR: THE WRISTBAND IS A BAD IDEA.
I slipped into my corral around 7am, and shivered for about 30 minutes before the gun went off. Temperatures were in the mid 30s at the start! In retrospect, losing my lucky arm warmers as a blessing in disguise as it forced me to wear a long sleeve shirt underneath my DWRT singlet. I'm pretty sure I would have been crying if I had to stand for 30 minutes wearing just arm warmers with my singlet.
Once we were off, I started to feel better about running. Since I had spent so much time freaking out about not being able to run without a wristband, I felt really lucky that everything had turned out ok and I was able to be out there with the other 10,000 people. Though I had no specific time goal, I told myself that I wanted to feel mildly uncomfortable during the entire race - a sign that I was pushing myself! I hit the first mile in 7:47 and I was surprised that I wasn't feeling too poorly. It helped that I ran into Elizabeth cheering for us! It's always nice to see people sacrifice precious weekend sleep hours and stand in frigid temperatures to cheer for their friends.
The rest of the loop was quite uneventful for me as I pushed myself to stay uncomfortable. Once I went over Harlem Hills, I reassured myself that the hard part was over. Once we exited the park, I sped up since I was still trying to stay slightly uncomfortable. Running through Times Square was fun - screaming crowds, music, and giant potholes all served to make the course much more interesting. I was sad to head west on 42nd Street but I distinctly remember seeing the 9 mile marker at this point and thinking that this race would be over before I knew it.
|Running through Times Square|
The last few miles were sort of a blur with a few distinct memories. First, I ran into Annette, cheering during the early section of the highway. Second, I ran into Jane, a friend from business school. Actually, I noticed her hot pink Under Armour ColdGear shirt first (I love ColdGear), and then I saw it was connected to a face that I knew. I screamed her name, she screamed mine, and I powered on. I completely missed my friend A at 14th Street but it was impossible to miss the Whippets water station at Mile 11.5! They were crazy to have gotten out there at 6am in the cold to dispense similarly frigid fluids to runners for five hours - but it was good to see them. I didn't bother to stop and take fluids from anyone since I wanted to PR but I did smile and say thanks to all of my teammates who were there!
|Happy to see my team!|
|Kicking it to the finish|
Turns out, the NYC Half was a great race for most of the Whippets. There were 17 of us running, and it seemed like at least 3 of us PR'ed. Weather, course, cheerers, even the wind direction - everything had worked in our favor! I couldn't have asked for a better race.
Despite my enjoyment, I don't think that I'll be doing the NYC Half again next year. I would rather be spectating so I can see the top runners in the world. Kara Goucher was there running the same course and I would've gotten to see her if I had been cheering! Also, the half just isn't worth the $85 or $90 that I spent on it, considering most NYRR half-marathons are $25. I understand the excitement of running through Times Square, but after having done this course three times, I don't think that I need a repeat next year.
So next year, I'll be cheering!
1:40:32 (7:41 pace)1748 / 10203 overall
444 / 5440 females
137 / 1329 age group
Links: Garmin Results Race Site
Photos courtesy of Elizabeth & Amy
Post written using my brand-new MacBook Air, courtesy of E