Well apparently, August 29 is a milestone date of sorts. In 2010, this is when I move to a new apartment, a new neighborhood. Back in 2004, that was the date of my first half-marathon ever-the Manhattan Half-Marathon. As I found this race report somewhere, I figured it’s only fitting to share this one with you all (while I’m busy with, uh, manual labor of sorts.) Enjoy-and see ya on the flip side!
Here it was-my first half marathon. The distance was a little intimidating, especially considering my previous longest race was a 10K, which was half as long. My mileage leading up to the half was pretty good. I had lots of encouragement from my teammates that I could do this (one of them even thought I could do it in 1:45-sheesh!!)
But I was still nervous-I had 2 things working against me: 1-the remnants of a tight right hip that I incurred in the mile race 2 weeks earlier-it was still bugging me in the race the week before, though the pain had substantially subsided, and I truly felt like I had gained my speed back. 2-as per tradition, this race, no matter if it was scheduled in the beginning or end of August, would be a hot, humid day (the weather report was 81 degrees, and was humid as hell.) The upside was that after a horrible course design last year that included 3 repeats of Harlem Hill, 2 repeats of Cat Hill and the course moving in the harder counterclockwise direction, the course this year was just 2 clockwise loops of the park-meaning the easier of the 2 Harlem Hills (but still tough), and Cat Hill being downhill.
So I get to the start bright and early (7 am start!) Was absolutely packed-probably about 6000 people there. You knew it was gonna be a full house when you see race bib numbers in the 10000’s. Lined up near the back of the 8 minute group in hopes that it would prevent me from going out too fast. Saw a teammate of mine, CC, at the start and we chatted a few minutes before the starting gun went off, trying to get each other psyched up for the race. The starting gun goes off but due to the volume of runners, we didn’t actually reach the starting line for about another 3 minutes. So trying to be cautious, ran the first mile at an easy pace. Wound up leaving CC behind, as she going slow due to nursing an injury but saw another teammate of mine, TB, midway through mile 1, and we just started chatting and just decided to team up and pace each other, as we’re pretty similar in terms of pace. My first mile was 9:14, which I thought was a little slow but figured it was much safer than going out too fast, and stepped it up a bit. We were joined by another teammate, NG, during mile 2, and we pretty much finished the first loop of the park through mile 7 together.
During mile 8, I started to fall behind TB and NG-this was where my inexperience with the distance was coming into play, as well as the heat and humidity taking its toll. But I gelled at the water stop right after the mile 8 marker-that gave me a boost. I was still lagging, but then I was joined by another teammate friend, DC, who wasn’t running in the race-she tried to keep me encouraged and entertained up until mile 11-and then I knew while I was tiring, I had 2.1 easy miles in front of me. Mile 12 was Cat Hill downhill, did it only 3 seconds slower than the first time around. Caught up with TB during mile 13 and we pretty much stuck together til the finish line.
Then came that last .1 mile. Unfortunately it was uphill. But at that point, it didn’t matter. The announcer was saying “finishers, stay to the right” and I could see the finish line and I think to myself “Holy sh*t, I’m FINISHING this thing!!” Even put my arms up victory-style!! Crossed the finish line in 1:52:55 (8:37 pace.)
I netted out like this:
1st 6 miles-9:14/8:42/8:22/8:45/8:24/8:14
2nd 6 miles-8:41/8:29/8:42/8:59/8:46/8:17
Last 1.1 miles-8:26/0:55
I’m very happy with my time considering the course, conditions and my first attempt at the distance. Also-I know I lost a minute or 2 due to the water/Gatorade stations-they were pretty slow especially during the second loop, plus due to the weather and distance, instead of taking a gulp of water on the fly, I took my time and drank the entire cup-probably 6 times in total. But it greatly helped to have my teammates and I pacing each other-all about teamwork baby!!!
I was glad that my one big summer goal was fulfilled!! (And surprisingly, I was a LOT less banged up after this than I was after the mile race-not sore, however was very slow a few days afterwards. But got my groove back later in the week.) No more halfs for me this year-looking forward to running some fast fall-weather times in some shorter races, but looking forward to tackling the half-marathons in the other boroughs next year!! (cooler days and flatter courses-I’ll get that 1:45 yet…)