if it ain’t broke…

“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?”
“this sucked.”

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…

  1. 8:42
  2. 8:18
  3. 8:42
  4. 8:59
  5. 9:06
  6. 9:08
  7. 9:11
  8. 8:44
  9. 8:58
  10. 9:13
  11. 9:31
  12. 9:01
  13. 9:20

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?)

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9 thoughts on “if it ain’t broke…

  1. Nothing like waking up at 4:45am the day after fasting. Umm, yeah…As for a good half? Philadelphia Distance Run!

  2. Let’s not forget my favorite comments…”CAN’T ONE F’ING BORO OUT OF FIVE BE FLAT?””I feel like puking. Sadly, there’s nothing to puke. Why? Oh, because we FASTED.””A special welcome to all of our Jewish Friends from the Queens Race Chairperson, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.”This was not, in any way, shape, or form, a fun race. I bitched about it here: http://tinyurl.com/34wutsUgh. Either way, though – we both got through it. 🙂

  3. Ill recommend Long Island….scenery may not be great, but there’s a lot of crowd support.Chin up – it was tough half with many turns! But i liked last year’s course a wee bit better

  4. You kids complain too much. When I was your age, we ran in 2 feet of snow wearing combat boots and cotton t-shirts.LOL

  5. uptown girl-you woke up at 4:45? i was on the bus by that time…yikes. (and im sure everyone staggering back home from the bars thought i was insane.)peter-funny…i think we found each other’s race reports at the same time! at least this race was fun to bitch about :)moz-well, at least i got to listen to some good music for a coupla hours 🙂 thanks for the LI recommendation (and uptown girl for the PDR one!)…i just may do one or the other or both next year…js-im surprised you even wore combat boots…i thought all you old-school peeps ran barefoot :-p

  6. I guess I’m one of the only ones but I liked the course. Having been one of only a few races that I ‘ve done outside of Manhattan probably had a lot to do with it.

  7. and i’m beginning to think i need to travel 3,000 miles away to have a good race :-p congrats on yours though!

  8. I stumbled across your blog when researching pre-race advice for my half marathon this Sunday. I love reading what you have to say and will definitely be tracking your progress in the future. And I say kudos on at least finishing. Most people wouldn’t even think of getting out of bed that early or, heck, even signing up for one. Sometimes you just have to chalk it up to a bad day. You’ll do better the next time!

  9. Thank you SO much – that map is really helpful!!! Hopefully it will be the same course…Also, if you change your mind and want to do Queens in addition to Philly, I think my mom and I will be driving from Manhattan – you’re welcome to a ride.

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