“what was up with all the f*cking hills?”
“this started too damn early.”
“it took forever to get here.”
“why was this scheduled the day after yom kippur?”
And that was just a sampling of what was heard after today’s Queens half. A new date, start time and course change wound up turning what was my favorite NYRR half into my least favorite. I absolutely loved the old course-a 2-looper through College Point and Malba, not too hilly, in late April/early May so the weather was always great, and I was always able to consistently run under 1:50 (1:47 and 1:48, to be exact.)
But this year, it was decided to change the course from a 2-looper to a 1-looper including Whitestone as well. Which forced a new date in September and an earlier start time (7 am)…which seemed to cause a bunch of logistical issues. With a 7am start time, you can’t really rely on public transportation, so the bus from NYRR is the best bet. However, they didn’t really plan for that, and the bus was sold out early (thank god I got my ticket early!) and left a lot of peeps scrambling to find either a ride or some type of alternate way out to Queens. Second, the date was less than ideal, being that yesterday was Yom Kippur, which meant fasting for 24 hours. Yeah…great half-marathon prep.
I wasn’t sure how I’d do, my training had not been going well ever since the San Francisco Half, and it was warmer than I would like…but was hoping to get under 1:50. I made it out there in one piece, though the bus driver kept driving in circles once we got to College Point…I was thisclose to faking being sick so I could walk. But we got there, and there were lots of people sitting down in the dark, trying to kill an hour…seemed like the marathon start. Saw NSA, and Johnny and a few other Flyers and chatted. Finally it was time to get to the start…oh, and anyone note in Mary Wittenberg’s speech, that “we were a part of history, there’s never been a race start at 7 am.” Um…didn’t the NYC Half start at 7 am? Not to mention the old-school late-August version of the Manhattan Half? Anyway, off the subject here.
So yeah, we started. First mile was slower than I wanted, there was quite a bottleneck in the first mile…made up for it a little on the 2nd…slowed on the 3rd and had a feeling it was not gonna be my day…never, ever again will I do a half marathon the day after Yom Kippur. I definitely was not properly fueled, even though I ended the fast a coupla hours early and tried to eat as much as possible yesterday evening and this morning…these mile splits tell a story of someone who hit the wall hard at mile 4, and was just trying to hang on for the last 9 miles…
Last .1 :53
The goals kept changing from “1:50” to “1:55” to “just get in under 2 hours.” Hell, at one point a DNF sounded appealing-I was so off my goal time, what did I have to prove by finishing? But I didn’t know how I’d get back to the start and my baggage (and my family was taking me out for an early birthday dinner later in the day, so I needed to earn the extra calories.) The scenery on the course was nice, though I was too delirious and too busy climbing to appreciate it…I thought I was hill trained before today, the hills on this course killed me-especially that one in mile 13 that I actually had to walk up. And to put things in perspective-SF was easier than this!! There were at least a good share of downhills and flats in the SF half. Here, I felt like we were going uphill the entire time. (You can see the elevation here…)
Finally, somehow, I made it to the end…a bunch of Reservoir Dog guys who had finished cheered for me in the last .1 mile (thanks guys!! I really needed to hear that)…crossed the finish line in 1:57:46 (8:59 pace)…I had never been so happy to be done with a half-marathon in my life. First thing I did was get ice from the med tent for my knees which hated all the climbing (they’re fine now!)…then was the usual game of “spot the blogger” on the way to get my bags…saw Moz, Crazy Bandana-head and Uptown Girl, in addition to other Flyers and Rez Dogs…the usual post-race recrapping. Thoughts on the new course among the masses were mixed, but the majority was a thumbs-down.
Not sure what to make of my race. I know there were things out of my control, but I know I’m capable of much, much better than a 1:57…I feel like I have to do something about my training, I just don’t know what!! I’m a little disappointed in running a PW today…2 minutes slower than last year’s Staten Island half (which you may remember, I was only doing as a training run…whereas I was trying to put in the effort this time!) But I’m a little sad that my favorite half is really no more…as this post title says, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!! If this course remains, I definitely will not be doing this race next year…and will need to look outside NYRR for some good halfs (any recommendations, anyone?)