and just like that, it’s taper time again

Yeah, was it really only a few months ago that I was tapering for some other race?  Where does the time even go?  I guess I have the mild winter to thank, as I was afraid it would drag on forever, hasn’t really been the case.

So since I was lagging in talking about training, here are the last few weeks in summary form:

  • 2/20-2/26: ok week, ended with my first 20 miler of the cycle.  Pretty much averaged 9 on the dot for that one
  • 2/27-3/4: sort of a crap week.  My Monday run the day after my 20 was a disaster, as my legs were dragging and therefore got dropped by the group I was running with not even one mile in.  I even had to cut my run short and stop after 3 miles.  Had an encouraging tempo workout a few days later, but the 16-mile long run didn’t go well.  Felt slow the entire time, had to make a pit stop after 12 miles, and really struggled for the last 2 miles.  Was seriously questioning after this one if I really deserved to run Boston…
  • 3/5-3/11: Ok track workout, struggled on some repetitions later in the week.  My second 20-miler was this weekend…maybe not ideal timing with the NYC Half the week after, but I had to get it in.  I just purposely held back a lot with the pace and I think it went OK
  • 3/12-3/18: NYC Half week!  Read all about it
  • 3/19-3/25: Highest mileage week, last 20-miler.  I braved the Palisades for that run, figuring I needed the hill training.  I had run it twice before-in 2006 and 2007 but this would be the first time with the Garmin.  And I’m telling you, having the info is very interesting.  Though I pretty much averaged around 9:30-9:40 for the run, the mile with the crazy evil hill took me 11 minutes-and no, I wasn’t walking.  It was a nice run though-even though I had to do it solo (due to having to get an early start and of course, being too damn slow) I didn’t need the iPod once.  Though damn, my quads and butt were still feeling this a day or 2 later…

This week?  Cutting down the long run, still keeping the speed for now to try and keep things sharp.

And I got this nice little treat in the mail last weekend! 🙂

It’s when you get the official documents and the bib number, it starts to feel real 🙂

And I really like my bib #-17764.  Number one, two lucky 7’s, 6+4=perfect 10! 🙂  As for corral placement, I made it into wave 2, but the last corral.  (And no, I am not complaining about being in wave 2…unlike this lovely occurrence. )  I actually like this placement-I think I’m better off being at the back of wave 2 instead of the front of wave 3.  I’ve been warned about how overzealous Boston newbies go out too fast in the beginning, and I figure having others in front of me will sort of prevent that.  Also, this isn’t like NYCM with their stupid “honor system” that lets 5 hour marathoners into wave 1-this is seeding by actual time, so there most likely will be other 3:40-3:43 types around me.

17 days to go!  Only a few more days before the weather obsessions can begin again!

nyc half 2012 race report

So I have been a little remiss with regards to blogging (I guess that’s what work and kinda of a crappy training cycle does to the motivation to write) but I’m sure readers (all 5 of you) knew that I had the NYC Half-Marathon on the agenda.

And to be honest, I was a little apprehensive about it.  Based on how training was going, I knew my previous goals (NYCMQ, PR, sub-1:40) would not happen.  When discussing with Coach T the week before and talking about goals, he didn’t think it was possible for me to not break 1:45 (he was thinking 1:43-ish) but I was even doubting that.  I mean seriously, in what universe does 7:43 pace for 3.2 miles translate to a sub-8 pace for a half-marathon?

But as race week approached I kinda got more into it.  Hit up the expo on Thursday (gotta love that it was right by work and I could go during the day), got my number and tech shirt and did a lap around…not really much to do damage to my wallet.  (I’m saving that for next month. 😉 ) Though I had to get another sparkly headband- ❤ Sparkly Soul!

Sunday morning arrives as does early wakeup call.  I awoke to perfect conditions-in the 40’s and overcast-quite different from the hot, humid summer version of this race 🙂  Did the pre-race routine and headed out the door.  Though I was loving the fact that the start was near Tavern (and therefore less than a mile from where I live), I had to go to the east side to drop off my bag.  So I hit up the N/R train, and it gave me an opportunity to see Times Square “before”…and even saw partiers wearing green staggering home from their St. Patrick’s Day festivities 🙂  Of course the subway was filled with other runners…some more excited to be up at this early hour than others 🙂

I got to 60th and 5th with plenty of time to check my bag and then head west to the start.  I wasn’t really able to get in a true warmup, so thankfully the paths heading west weren’t too mobbed and I was able to jog it a little.  With 20-25 minutes til the corrals closed (7 am for a 7:30 start!) I decided I needed to make one last pit stop.  I thought I was being smart in waiting in line at the Le Pain Quotidien in CP instead of the port-a-potties (figured it would be cleaner and the light would be on too!) but with only 2 stalls, it wasn’t moving as quickly as I had hoped.  (and to top it all off, one woman who wasn’t even running in the race was in line too!)  Flyer DC who was waiting with me eventually gave up and headed to her corral, but I stuck it out, and still made it to the 2xxx corral with a few minutes to spare.

Waiting in the corrals actually went by surprisingly quickly.  I didn’t see my teammates who I expected to be in my corral, I hoped that they had made it in time!  Flyer DK and I chatted away to pass the time before the start.  2 aspects of weirdness I noticed: 1-the announcer pronounced “Goucher” totally wrong and 2-the start clock started running early, there were like 7 1/2 minutes on it by the time the starting horn sounded!

So off and running and by the miles…

Mile 1 (7:58)-time to start executing the plan.  What was the plan?  Try and get to the 10K point and through the park comfortably, try and pick it up a little from 10-15K, then go for it from there.  And of course, this meant letting whoever pass me-especially knowing people may have missed the corral closing and have to line up further back, etc.  Looks like I got off to a decent start.

Mile 2 (7:48)-up Cat Hill and I kept reminding myself not to surge, not to make it into a hill repeat, etc 🙂  Despite that, the split was a little quicker than expected.  Maybe I was finally warmed up?

Mile 3 (7:33)-The time is deceiving, as this includes that long downhill stretch from Engineer’s Gate to the bottom of Harlem Hill.

Mile 4 (8:04)-The start of the tough miles, as this mile included Harlem Hill uphill.  Just kept maintaining the effort, told myself if this mile is over 8 minutes so be it.  Flyer FA was cheering at the top of the hill which was a nice boost!  All in all, the mile split wasn’t that bad.

Mile 5 (7:59)-Last tough section of the course-the West Side Hills.  All I had to do was make it to 86th street and it was downhill from there.

Mile 6 (7:40)-Down the west side of the park, and past the start line!  And with “Stereo Love” playing in the background, the announcers reminding us that we were about to leave the park 🙂  I saw my favorite sign in this mile-“Run faster than Missouri and Duke left the tournament!” 😛

Mile 7 (7:43)-yay, 7th Avenue!  Definitely a lot easier running on the road than dodging people on the sidewalk 🙂  And Times Square was so cool…quite the difference than walking through that area several times a week 🙂  In a way, I think this was more of a novelty now, given I live in midtown as opposed to the UWS in the race 6 years ago…if that makes any sense? 🙂

Mile 8 (8:00)-turn onto 42nd street and kept heading west.  Took my gel around halfway through this mile.  Was a little surprised at this mile split-given the mile was net downhill, I thought it would have been faster. (Garmin said it was 1.2 miles…I don’t think it was that long, but I think was longer than 1 mile!)

Mile 9 (7:53)-heading south on the west side highway…

Mile 10 (7:58)-and south some more.  I felt a little bit of a fade here, maybe the gel hadn’t kicked in yet?  And I thought seeing my office building would make me run faster 😛  (as well as seeing Crazy bandanahead and Flyer SM cheering)

Mile 11 (7:45)-OK, last 5K, time to try and pick it up.  And was helped by seeing the Flyer Nation Hydration Station™ near Canal Street!  After 3 years of helping out at the table, now it was time to be on the other side.  (And they were in a perfect spot this time-as opposed to the 20K point in years past!)  It was great to see them-definitely made this mile feel like it went by faster!

Mile 12 (7:41)-passed by the WTC site, and lotsa cheering crowds in this mile.  And passing quite a few peeps here…guess I executed the plan well? 🙂

Miles 13.1 (7:37, 0:45-6:53 pace)-this part of the course introduced the unknown-the Battery Park underpass tunnel.  Was kinda cool, though I found it a little hard to breathe in there.  Finally I saw the light at the end of the tunnel…literally! 🙂  (And LMFAO’s “Sexy And I Know It.”)  In addition to the 800 meters to go sign!  Oh but wait…to get out of the tunnel there was an uphill!!  Cruel to have it with a half-mile to go but honestly there have been worse things 🙂  But looking at my watch at that point, I knew I was gonna come in well under my hopeful goal time so I didn’t care 😛  Onto the FDR Drive and the South Street exit, which was kinda bumpy-those streets were kept worse than the Coney Island Boardwalk!.  Left onto Old Slip, right onto Water Street.  The 13 mile point was not long after the turn and I could see the finish line up ahead and hear the finish music playing…and what was playing?  “Give Me Everything”!  One of my power songs!  How absolutely perfect was that to finish to?

Finish time was 1:42:26-more than 5 minutes faster than my 2006 time!  Redemption achieved!

And the pacing wasn’t half-bad either…looks like I executed well! 🙂

Split Time Overall pace 5K split Pace per 5K
5K 24:08 7:46 24:08 7:46
10K 48:41 7:50 24:33 7:54
15K 1:13:12 7:51 24:31 7:53
20K 1:37:17 7:50 24:05 7:45
last 1.1K 1:42:26 7:49 5:09 7:33

So after I got past the finish line, i got my bling (aka medal), got my Brightroom pic, my Mylar cape, food bag, then began the trek to get my bag.  Not quite as bad as the death march after NYCM, but this part of the logistics could still use a little work.  I met up with some teammates and headed to Keg No. 229 for some yummy brunch with mimosas, topped off with some “Sweet Action” (beer!  what were you thinking? 😉 )  And already had a congratulatory email from Coach T!  After assembling for a team pic at the Seaport, was time to head home for a much-needed nap and some compression sock action.

So even though I wish I could have gotten under 1:40 again, this race was still a monkey off my back.  First, Boston may not be as much of a struggle than previously thought.  Second, as I said before, much better experience than 2006.  What a difference no downpour during the race makes!  I would actually do this one again.  Well-as long as the lottery lets me in 🙂