this town is my town-after the race and beyond

So after 3 hours, 58 minutes and 26 seconds, I could finally stop running. And my quads were not too happy about that!! Surprisingly, though I did feel some leg fatigue in the final 10K, nothing really hurt overly bad. But man, after I crossed the finish line and started walking, my quads rebelled-to the point where a volunteer asked if I needed help. I thanked him, but I was fine and could walk on my own.

The finish chute was mad crowded…got my medal, got my finisher photo, got my mylar blanket…saw Moz had just finish and we congratulated each other and walked and chatted for a few minutes, until we parted ways at the chip removal-I kept walking because I wanted to keep my chip (I said that I when I run my first marathon, I will keep that chip as my permanent running chip.) Then came the trek through Central Park to my baggage truck. Never before have I cursed having a last name in the middle of the alphabet :-p I finally found my truck, got my bag, and kept walking. After passing another couple trucks, I heard a voice shout out “Hey Flygirl!” It was Chelly-she was volunteering, helping with the post-race baggage. We chatted for a coupla minutes-she’s hoping to run the marathon next year!! Good luck to you!!

I finally exited the park, and as I made my way up CPW, I saw a very familiar-looking guy in a Flyer singlet…”Skylight!!” I shouted. (well I actually shouted his name. But I ain’t posting it here :-p) “I did it!! I broke 4!!” he congratulated me and walked with me the few blocks I had to go to meet up with my family. He also gave me the great news that Sister Smile had BQed! We parted ways when I saw my family (one advantage to living on the UWS-not having to deal with the family reunion area!)-and wouldn’t you know it, Phil walks by and yells congrats. (I can’t ever escape you bloggers!! LOL…) I posed for pictures with my medal and stylin’ mylar blanket before we headed back to my place so I could shower and change. And oh boy…walking down the stairs to my apartment was not pretty. Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. I cleaned up because la familia needed to grab a bite to eat (and oh yeah, I guess I did too.) Headed to City Grill where I got what I was really craving-burger and fries. And the first of what would be quite a few glasses of wine that evening.

I did originally want my family to come with me to the Flyers’ post-marathon party, but they were tired from the long day, so they went home and I headed east, wearing my medal and Running Divas shirt 🙂 The party was definitely underway by the time I got there!! And I was flooded with congratulations all evening-definitely felt as much as a rockstar then as I did during the race 🙂 And I don’t know what they were more surprised at-the fact that this was my first or that I broke 4 on the first attempt!! (HC has always said to me that it is very hard to break 4 on a first marathon attempt.) The bloggers were represented by me, Skylight, Sara, and BrunetteChicagoGal. Downed 4 glasses of pinot grigio in the time I was there and chatted and mingled and just had a great time. Everyone I had spoken to seemed very happy with their races…the success stories include-but are not limited to-the following:

DL not only breaking 3-but beating Lance!! YEAH!!! (and making it on TV while passing Lance at the end!)
Plenty of other first time sub-4’s, with major PR’s on top of it.
MF battling a knee injury-but still ran a 3:29 and bettered her time from last year.
One of our female distance superstars running 3:17-the best Flyer female marathon performance this year…
Not only did Sister Smile BQ…but another one of our guys who had a breakthrough year BQ’ed with a 3:19.
Sara blew away her 4:30 goal…
Runner26 made it to mile 18 and then some-she was able to complete the marathon comfortably.
And a non-Flyer friend of mine who when running NYC the last 3 years, battled cramps and the Queensboro Bridge. Well I was happy to see that not only did he have a major course PR this year, but a marathon distance PR too!!

Monday…I had no problem sleeping in. The calls and congratulatory emails were still coming in. Both my mom and Coach J said that I “outperformed Lance.” I picked up the special marathon edition of the Times yesterday, and got my medal engraved today!! With the first marathon, you want to remember it all…

It really sunk in after hearing all the kudos…I really kicked ass on this marathon. Somehow it just all came together. You hear that it comes together after 2 or 3…but the first time?? Led me to wonder-what exactly did I do right? I thought about it and came up with this…

  • The weather-but that was a no-brainer. (And out of my control too!)
  • Nutrition and hydration were right on. Besides having 2 PB/salt bagels before the race-I gelled once before the race, and at miles 6/11/16/21-and I never felt depleted. Everything was fine when it came to getting water/Gatorade (of course the conditions may have helped with that.)
  • My brother said that I probably “did everything I was supposed to, read everything I could on the subject”…yep, I did do my research. Practice makes perfect, especially when it comes to certain parts of the course.
  • There were a few fast miles in Brooklyn-but I recognized it early enough to pull it back, instead of thinking “oh, it’d be so cool if I can keep this pace.” Yeah, maybe I could have held it for the first half, but would have died in the second.
  • HC told me this once: “slow is smooth, smooth is fast.” As much as it meant swallowing my pride a bit, I think slowing training runs down really helped me handle the mileage without feeling banged up. And it also left me fresher for marathon day.
  • Certain runs like my 2 back-to-back medium-long run weekends, or fast finish long runs like the Palisades and the 18-mile Tune-up really helped teach my legs to hang in there when tired (Coach J, you were right about those 2 weekends!)
  • I made it a rule of thumb-no speedwork right after a hard half and/or long run, and didn’t do any during the month of October. Too close.
  • Most importantly-I set realistic goals. Though I had people telling me BQ…or 3:50…I knew what I was capable of-I predicted 3:55-4, and wound up pretty much in the middle of there 🙂

So the big question-how can I repeat this again? And when? Well the latter question to be answered in another post… 🙂

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this town is my town-the race

And so it began…

Staten Island
Mile 1-9:40
Mile 2-8:14

What an experience, running that bridge-so much excitement, the planes and everything flying overhead…the start was surprisingly, and thankfully clean-I was actually able to start actually running right away, but conservatively, keeping the bridge in mind. TB and I stuck together at the beginning…but she pulled ahead partially through mile 1 and I let her go. I saw a mile 1 marker when my watch said 8:15 and freaked out for a second…but then realized it was for the blue start, and that I still had a little ways to go 🙂 And I didn’t freak out on my actual mile 1 split either…I totally expected that with the incline, and knew I’d make it up on the downhill. And by then, it was pretty much ideal temperature, so I tossed my arm warmers to the side. So I exited the bridge, pretty much right on pace!! One borough down, 4 to go!! And now the fun would really begin…

Brooklyn
Mile 3-8:53
Mile 4-8:37
Mile 5-8:42
Mile 6-8:52
Mile 7-8:54
Mile 8-9:16
Mile 9-9:08
Mile 10-8:58
Mile 11-9:27
Mile 12-9:09

Now, I know I have said in the past that Brooklyn will “never be my borough,” but that was not the case today. Brooklyn was a huge, huge party. I loved miles 3-7, running up 4th Avenue through Bay Ridge, Sunset Park and Carroll Gardens…as I guess my splits showed 🙂 Uptown Girl warned me about this-“Brooklyn will make you want to go out fast!” Oh well 🙂 I spotted JGo from the Reservoir Dogs running near me around mile 4 and we chatted for a coupla minutes and wished each other luck for the rest of the race. Around mile 6, I saw NS from the Flyers cheering and holding a “Go Flyers” sign and offering me banana pieces (I declined, as I am probably the only runner who can’t stand bananas.) And the best sign ever was near the 10K point-“SLOW DOWN, THIS ISN’T A 10K!!!” Miles 7 and 8 were even cooler, it seems like the crowds and cheering just intensified there. To my left, I heard the Spanish version of “The Cup of Life” by Ricky Martin (best version of that song, IMHO!) To my right I heard “Eye of the Tiger.” Who the hell needed an iPod today? Not I!! And even though I know some NYC marathoners have said that the Williamsburg Savings Bank Tower by mile 8 is visible for miles, teasing you…I briefly noticed, but did not dwell on it, or how much further I had to go to reach it…sorta living in the moment here 🙂

The course merged just before the mile 8 marker on Lafayette Avenue-the nicely open road I had been running on for 5 miles seemed to bottleneck for mile 9. Actually a blessing in disguise, as I knew I really needed to pull it back. Mile 10 was through the Hasidic part of Williamsburg, and though a little more low-key than the 4th Avenue fiesta, still some support there. Miles 11 and 12 in Greenpoint seemed to have some familiarity…because that was part of the route we ran in the Hunter Moonlight Run back in October! It looked much different in the light 🙂 (XMas decorations were already up and it looked so festive…like I was running through a big block party.) I was hoping to see Jon amongst the cheering crowds in this area but missed him. Before I knew it…I was approaching the next big climb of the course, and I had conquered 2 boroughs!!

Queens
Mile 13-9:13
Mile 14-9:22
Mile 15-9:20
Mile 16-9:20

Over the Pulaski Bridge and into Queens. That bridge was another stop on the Hunter Moonlight Run, so I was completely prepared. Hit the half-marathon point on the bridge at 1:58:02-perfect, exactly 9 minute pace! If I could keep this up through the second half that would be great. Down off the bridge and running strong…and then it happened.

I was rounding a corner during mile 14-and some idiot who I guess thought I was moving too slowly knocked me down and didn’t look back. With the help of a couple other runners, I was able to get up, but my knee didn’t seem to like that fall too much. At this point, I thought my race was over…but I really took it easy for the remainder of that mile to kind of work out the kinks. I had regained my composure by….you guessed it…the Queensboro Bridge. (Though before we arrived at the bridge, I saw Silvercup Studios-where Sex and the City, in addition to other shows, is filmed. Cool.)

You hear so many horror stories about the bridge. So many people who run NYC dread it. For some strange reason, I was actually looking forward to it. I had run the bridge several times in training, so I knew what to expect. And that paid off-not only did I feel strong and steady while climbing the uphill portion of the bridge, but I was passing quite a few people (I do also think part of it was the excitement of knowing what was waiting for me on the other side!!) On the uphill part, a bunch of people were shouting “What goes up…must come down!!!” I cheered when the bridge crested and the downhill started “all downhill from here!!” Oh-and there was one part of the bridge where there was construction and was absolutely pitch-black-man, I was really, really watching my footing again, afraid of another wipeout!! Finally, we left the darkness of the bridge behind and were welcomed by screaming spectators on the exit ramp…just a taste of what was to come for the next 3 1/2 miles.

Manhattan-1st Avenue
Mile 17-8:58
Mile 18-8:56
Mile 19-9:01

This was the part of the race I was so looking forward to…not just because it was in my borough, not just because the fans were 4 to 5 deep here…but I had my own personal cheering sections to look forward to. (Best sign I saw in this stretch BTW-“Your feet hurt because you’re kicking so much ass!!”) First was a “Go Flyers” sign above Banshee Bar on 74th St (and I did hear some of that same cheer as well!!) But what I was looking forward to was just past mile 18…the PowerGel station, and in turn, my teammates!!! I was soooo happy to see them…their cheers gave me more energy than the Plain Energy PowerGel that I got from them did (yay, they had my flavor!)

But I had 2 more things to look forward to before I crossed into the next borough…approaching one of the Reservoir Dogs nabbed this pic while I passed by their cheering zone at mile 19104th St, I saw a familiar faded Yankee cap that belonged to my brother. My parents, brother and cousin were there cheering and holding signs for me-my brother even ran a few yards to high-five me!! I was looking forward to seeing them again later on 5th Avenue. A half mile later was the Reservoir Dogs’ cheering section!! Uptown Girl and her teammates cheered like crazy for me…what just the ticket I needed to finish out that mile!!! (especially since pretty much north of 100th St, the crowds really thin out compared to the insanity of the 60s, 70s and 80s.) And to the Bronx I go…

Bronx
Mile 20-9:23
Mile 21-9:23

Crossed over the Willis Avenue bridge (made a little more tolerable by a red carpet-cool, we were like royalty :-p) and into the Bronx. I saw PD with the rest of his bagpipe crew on the bridge-his back was turned so I had to yell and wave to get his attention. The Bronx was short but sweet-kinda like a big boom box party 🙂 And crossing back over to Manhattan on the Madison Avenue Bridge, I was able to get a glimpse of Yankee Stadium…yay!!!!

Past mile 20 was uncharted territory for me, as I did nothing more than 20 miles in training. Though I had slowed down a little bit from the first half, was still feeling fine and showing no signs of bonking. I did not have to do any walking just yet (though at some of the water/Gatorade stops, I had to slow dramatically due to some major bottlenecking-but I was able to drink on the run.) I did some quick math and noted that I needed 58 and change for the last 10K in order to make it under 4. I told myself I’d be OK if the clock time was over 4. I wanted to finish strong first, and if I could do that with the chip time under 4…even better. With some fuzzy math, I estimated I’d need to average 9:20s for the remainder…so my plan was to try and do that, then once I hit Central Park, leave it all out on the course.

Manhattan-5th Avenue to the finish line
Mile 22-9:19
Mile 23-9:15
Mile 24-9:27
Mile 25-8:58
Mile 26-8:49
Last 0.2-1:52 (8:32 pace)

Back in my home borough, to finish what I had started. I had no doubt in my mind at that point mile 23!!  not much longer to go!!I was going to finish. It was now just a matter if it would be under 4 hours, and it was going to be very close at this point!! I heard “Eye of the Tiger” again during mile 22…and you know, I honestly welcomed hearing it again 🙂 Was looking for another teammate of mile who was cheering near Marcus Garvey Park at mile 22…dang it, missed him!! But saw our men’s masters captain cheering near 110th and 5th…around the time where the last killer incline would start!! And my family cheering contingent made one more appearance at 104th St…my dad got a picture and my mom shouted that I’m almost done, I’ve got it…normally, you just want to tell people who say that to shut up, but I believed her 🙂 The remaining half-mile or so uphill on 5th Ave…although my mile split shows the perceived effort, it didn’t feel so hard-the crowds are fabulous here. Finally I got to 90th Street and entered the Park at Engineers Gate, and was welcomed to cheers from the Flyers’ secretary, who was cheering with CPTC‘s “Wall of Orange.” (and yes, they actually cheered for me. Well, I know one of them did.) Now I was really home. I knew once I got here, I was golden 🙂

At this point, I knew every single hill in this park, I knew what to expect when…the crowds were screaming my name (so glad I had my name on my shirt!!) and knowing I didn’t have much further to go…I picked up the pace and as I mentioned before-left everything I had out on the course. Cat Hill downhill was sooo welcomed at that point…and I was so happy to see my mile 25 split, I knew I had sub-4 in the bag. But wait a minute…right around the mile 25 marker, I passed Morrissey…that wasn’t supposed to happen!! I hoped he was OK.

We exited the park and headed out onto Central Park South…another uphill but I didn’t notice it. I didn’t notice the avenue signs so i didn’t even know how many more I had to cross. I just noticed the crowds. The TimeWarner Center, the fountain at Columbus Circle, was getting closer and closer…and another kick-ass split for this mile…I was still able to move my legs this fast, at mile 26…this was unbelievable!!! Not only did I NOT hit the wall, I knocked it down!!

Columbus Circle had the big video screen, and the last thing I remembered there was a band beginning to play “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” by Pat Benetar…I thought that was a very appropriate song to hear at the time. Set me up for that last .2 miles to Tavern on the Green…and yes, another uphill that I didn’t even notice. Either all my practice running that hill paid off…or once again, the crowds carried me…or I was just too focused on that finish chute up ahead. I got closer and closer and saw the clock still said 3:59:xx…OMG, I couldn’t believe it. 400 yards to go…300…200…100….I put my arms up in the air just as I did when I finished my first half-marathon…but this one was so much bigger. In less than 4 hours after I started this journey on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge…I crossed that famous NYC Marathon finish line at Tavern on the Green.

Clock time-3:59:37
Net time-3:58:26 (half splits 1:58:02/2:00:24)

Placing:
11576/37840 overall
2082/12312 females
781/4362 females 30-39

After the finish line and beyond to follow in the next installment!!

this town is my town-before the race

Sunday, November 5th, 2006. 3:30 am.

Normally, I would complain about being awake at this ungodly hour on a Sunday, but this wasn’t just “any given Sunday.” This was Marathon Sunday. Between the sounds of Shakira coming from my clock radio and my excitement about what lied ahead for me that day, I was wide awake, and happily so. Yeah, that was kind of early considering I wouldn’t have to leave my apartment til 5:15, but I had things to do…have a cup of coffee, have a pre-race bagel (salt bagel with White Chocolate Wonderful peanut butter-best thing before a long run/race!) and make another one to have a coupla hours later, pack my UPS bag, get dressed, apply BodyGlide, listen to some music, etc…and not feel rushed. Finally, 5:15 came-MF picked me up in a cab and we headed over to the east side to catch the Flyers‘ bus to Staten Island. And MF told me that she apparently hailed the last possible cab before the cab drivers’ shift change. We both took this as a good sign for the day!!

Took us no time to get over to 86th and Lex where the buses were loading. MF and I got onto the first bus, as did Runner26. We all chatted on the way to Staten Island, and the ride was thankfully smooth and traffic-free (apparently the past few years, buses have been caught in traffic and did make it to SI-but with not enough time to spare.) We arrived at Fort Wadsworth mad early-I think like 6:30-6:45? But honestly, I’d rather have time to kill instead of being on the bus and stressing. So it was all good. First order of business-use a porto-potty while the lines were short!! Then me, MF and Runner26 found a spot in the orange “village” to hang out. We chatted, ate, hydrated, MF pondered putting her name on her singlet, just observed the goings on…was a nice bonding experience. After another bathroom break, another friend/teammate, TB, found us and hung out. But it was chilly-the rest of me was OK, but my feet had gone numb. I was saying “I have cold feet-literally!” (They did warm up once we were off the grass and lined up in the corrals.)

Honestly, the time seemed to pass by so fast…before we knew it, was getting close to 9 am, and time to check our UPS bags, put the final touches on our running outfits and line up. I made one last minute decision-I had terrain-specific pace bands for 3:55 and 4, courtesy of the Nike booth at the expo…at first I was thisclose to putting the 3:55 one on…but decided I really want to go with my own pacing and not be a slave to what a bracelet says-so I threw those back in my bag before checking it. We left MF, who had a spot in the local competitive women’s start and headed towards our corrals-where we wished each other luck and went our separate ways-Runner26 to her corral, TB and I to ours in the F3000s. And lucky for us we got there early-Sister Smile already mentioned this, but there were way too many people who should have not have been there-meaning men-and no one was really policing it. There was actually a group of people sitting down in a circle right smack dab in the middle of the corral-like they were friggin protesters or something. Whatever. I decided to finally shed my throwaway shirt and pants and take my pre-race gel (I try to take one 30-45 minutes before a long race) and soon enough, we were moving towards the bridge. Since while lined up in the corral, we were standing near the 3:50 pace group, TB and I tried to stay as close to that as possible so we didn’t “lose our position.” We made it to the bridge still in a great starting position-TB predicted we’d be across in 30 seconds.

Was still a little chilly at the start but not too bad-by then, I was just in my singlet, shorts, makeshift arm warmers and just ditched my throwaway gloves. I saw Derek trying to line up in our section and called out to him but he did not hear me. As always, wants to get with the ladies :-p 10:10 was getting closer and closer…we heard the elite male introductions, the national anthem…then Mary Wittenberg’s voice announcing…

“New York City awaits you!! The world awaits you!!”

This was it. Before we knew it, the cannon sounded, and “New York, New York” started playing. The start I have seen many times on TV, now finally living it. After a minute and 11 seconds, I had crossed the starting line, and was on my way to take on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, to take on 26.2 miles, to take on the 5 boroughs.

The actual race portion to follow in the next installment of “this town is my town”…

sub-4, baby!!!

quickie post since I need to head out to the Flyers’ post-marathon party…but I leave you with this…

5K-27:40 (8:55 pace)
10K-54:52 (8:50 pace)
15K-1:23:08 (8:56 pace)
20K-1:51:51 (9:00 pace)
Half marathon-1:58:02 (9:00 pace)
25K-2:20:54 (9:04 pace)
30K-2:48:50 (9:03 pace)
35K-3:17:38 (9:05 pace)
40K-3:46:28 (9:07 pace)

Finish-3:58:26 (9:06 pace)

ok, not the smartest run race in the world 🙂 , but a 2 minute positive split really isn’t so bad considering the second half is tougher and i took a fall in mile 14…but had a very strong last couple of miles.

full report to hopefully come before I have to go back to work on Wednesday!! And congrats to everyone else who ran today!! And many thanks to the spectators and volunteers 🙂

bring on the taper!

and not a moment too soon!!

capped off my last peak week, 41 miles, with the Staten Island Half meant to be run around marathon pace-ish….close enough…

Mile Split Mile Split
1 8:46 8 9:21
2 8:32 9 8:54
3 8:46 10 8:52
4 8:50 11 9:00
5 8:56 12 8:57
6 8:44 13 8:24
7 8:43 .1 :47

Final time of 1:55:32, 8:49 pace. I guess technically it’s a PW but I really don’t want to count it as such since I was not racing it.

Some notes on the race today…

  • Was very underwhelmed by the course-now that I’ve done halfs in all 5 boroughs, Queens will continue to always be my favorite.
  • Miles 6 and 7 were fun as that was where the turnaround was so I could see runners going in the other direction and cheer them on. And thanks to the Flyers who cheered back, and to the 4 Rez Dog guys who were cheering for me too 🙂
  • Mile 8 had a hill that was a bigger bitch than I am.
  • The Mile 12 point psyches you out, because you can see the finish area, and at that point, you just wish you were there…
  • The song I am listening to now is one of the coolest songs to have playing on your iPod when sprinting to the finish.
  • Weather was nice-would have been perfect marathon weather with a little less sun and a lot less wind (the NYRR site is full of sh*t…3 mph wind, my a$$! I felt like we were running into a headwind the entire time.)
  • Good thing about the shorts I bought the other day: they felt at times like I was wearing nothing. Bad thig about the shorts: they felt (and probably looked) at times like I was wearing nothing. (My teammate who bought the same ones had the same consensus.) Can’t wait to see the Brightroom piccys for this one…
  • The 8:30 am ferry was a mob scene. As a result, exiting the ferry was a mob scene. And I’m sure baggage was a mob scene. I’m sure quite a few people missed the start (or maybe not, looked like it was delayed 10 minutes.)

So not too shabby considering I did 15 on Saturday, right?

Not kidding there. My coach’s reasoning behind it…total weekend mileage is only 2 more than last weekend-it’s just broken down more evenly. It would be a good strength-building weekend, as long as I took it easy. And you know what? He was right.

Anyway, yesterday was the Flyers’ annual Fall Foliage Run through Croton-on-Hudson and around the Croton Reservoir. (I actually recognized a couple of the roads and landmarks from the Need For Speed relay!) Was a pretty run, with the leaves changing colors. I took it very easy, which was not too hard to do since parts of the run is on the road and I was trying to follow directions I was given. The organizers and volunteers once again did a great job (there was a water/Gatorade stop every 3 miles-nice to break the run up like that.)

So whereas 15 miles would have did me in for the weekend a few months ago, I was still able to get a good run in today. Granted, not a PR effort (and that was his reasoning for scheduling this weekend…to ensure that I wouldn’t race the half!), but 13.1 quality miles in the bank…and surprisingly, not feeling sore at all (but I bet I will tomorrow!)

I think I can do this, kids.

now playing: “think about the way” ~ ice mc

18 glorious miles

(plus 2 warm-up beforehand…)
today’s miles have officially redeemed me for Grete’s Great Washout and the LTR #2 fiasco. I think this says it all…

Loop 1
(53:01, 8:50 pace)
Loop 2
(52:53, 8:48 pace)
Loop 3
(52:31, 8:45 pace)
Mile Split Mile Split Mile Split
1 8:56 7 8:53 13 9:09
2 8:49 8 8:50 14 8:59
3 8:39 9 8:46 15 8:33
4 8:49 10 8:37 16 8:43
5 9:01 11 8:52 17 8:50
6 8:47 12 8:55 18 8:17

Final time was 2:38:25, 8:48 pace.

My original plan was to start off the first loop slower than 9’s…then pick it up with each loop and try to get some marathon pace work in. What happened? I was actually surprised to see those first coupla splits, but I just went with it…

So, I tried to put last week behind me and start fresh for today. The weather was perfect, and even though the iPod was on the fritz (though I just got a replacement one today for free-yay!) I had my Rio Cali loaded with great songs and set on shuffle. I was running this at the end of a 41 mile week, so I wasn’t going to be tapered or anything.

I jogged 2 warmup miles to 102nd street and a little bit down the east drive (and one of the marshalls was yelling that “the race is THIS way!” umm…haven’t you seen anyone adding on mileage before?) I ran into Jon just as I finished up my warmup and we chatted while I waited on the long-ass line to check my bag and we walked over to the start, where we lined up with a bunch of other Flyers, and eventually we were off!!

Mile 1 was very crowded, and but felt pretty relaxed and content to let whomever pass me since I’m sure no one lined up right. However, I still had Jon in my sights near the first mile marker and hoped I hadn’t rabbited the start. Was a little faster than I had planned, but not so bad. I tried to pull it back for mile 2 but another one faster than expected…hmmm. I decided to just take advantage of the fact that I was feeling good and just go with it. Sister Smile was running in the other direction, cheering on the runners-thanks and good to see you out there! I was still feeling strong through the first loop, so tried to either maintain or pick it up a little for the second. Saw Derek and he ran with me for miles 11-so fast it's all a blur...14. But I honestly did not feel like chatting, I just felt like running by myself, listen to my music, do my own thing. (BTW-you are officially not allowed to run with me at the marathon :-p )

The last loop had heated up quite a bit and I felt it getting to me a little. By that time, I knew I could ease up a bit and still put up a good time, but I felt I needed to prepare the mental game…c’mon, no slowing down with 6 miles to go in the marathon!! Once I hit mile 14, it became more of a countdown to me…“you got a 4-miler to go…now not even a 5K…2 miles, that’s 4 songs…1 mile, take it strong to the end!” And that last mile turned out to be my best! I finished up strong (hey Josh-was that you I saw near the finish line?)…and thanked the Harrier guy that I was sorta pacing off for a good part of the race and told him “good job!” (we had been sorta trading places throughout the run until I passed him for good around mile 15. I finished a few seconds ahead on the clock, he got me with 1 second on chip time-so all in all, pretty much equal.) Chatted with a coupla other Flyers and said hi to a coupla Rez Dogs before walking home (and who comes up to me while I was walking home? The cute married guy who was in my LTR #2 pace group. Too funny.)

And as for today, I really needed this one. Finally, the hard work is paying off. Very respectable time, considering it didn’t even feel like a race effort (well until the last loop-but I think that was more due to the heat.) Plus, I didn’t lose time at the water/Gatorade tables…yay, I finally got the funneling thing down! (Only took 2 years…) I doubt 8:48 is going to be my marathon pace (not too sure I trust Toby Tanser’s theory that your pace for this 18-miler will be your pace in the marathon)-the goal remains the same-4 hours. But at least it’s a little boost of confidence that all is not lost and a 9-minute pace is realistic (of course, as long as the weather cooperates.)

One more 40-mile week to go…man, I can taste the taper!! It’s getting soooo close…

now playing: “maneater” ~ nelly furtado

karma

(yep, be prepared, another bitchfest. if you don’t want to read, please press the back button immediately. in addition, if you intend on leaving a snarky comment, you best be signing your name.)

the veterans of the NYC racing scene say the same thing about Grete’s Great Gallop…”everyone PR’s at this race”-between the traditionally cool temps, and being at the peak of marathon training. As a result, I was really, really hoping for a sub-1:45…or at the very least, an improvement on my previous half times from this year.

well I guess someone didn’t like my bad behavior Friday nite, because karma truly bit me in the ass today. The weather? Think 42nd Street for me during the NYC Half. And imagine that for 20 minutes before the race, and throughout the entire race. (Thank god I actually decided to wear the DS-Trainers for this one…my regular trainers would have felt like bricks.)

The splits tell the sad story… (hey jbl, hope you don’t mind that I adopted your chart from last year…I liked your course descriptions.)

Mile Split Notes
1 8:04 South end to 59th and then up to Tavern on the Green
2 8:19 West Hills
3 8:03
4 8:15 Harlem Hill/Lasker Pool
5 8:31 East side including the Museum Moguls and Cat Hill
6 8:19
7 8:23* South end to 59th and then up to Tavern on the Green
8 8:29* West Hills
9 8:14
10 8:25 Harlem Hill/Lasker Pool
11 8:37 East side including the Museum Moguls and Cat Hill
12 8:14
13 8:10 South end to 59th and then up to Tavern on the Green
.1 0:54

*I hit the mile split button a coupla seconds late…so mile 7 was probably in reality 2-3 seconds faster and mile 8 2-3 seconds slower.

Final time-1:48:57, 8:19 pace-my 2nd worst half of the year. I knew from the beginning I did not stand a chance for sub-1:45. But I just never felt good the entire time…to add insult to injury, the iPod shut off after mile 10. I looked at my watch after mile 11 and saw that unless I really picked it up for the last 2 miles, I might not make it under 1:50. At that point, since I didn’t have my music, I just wanted to finish the damn thing… (and in another cruel twist of fate, the weather clears up around noon, and the afternoon has weather that would have been perfect for the race!)

I know the conditions weren’t ideal, but I’m still disappointed. Disappointed about a waste of a good racing attempt due to something I could not control. (This would have been my last chance to race a half…Staten Island is too close to the marathon.) Disappointed that I didn’t feel like an athlete-I felt like a fragile flower that wilts at the first sign of bad weather and can only grow if the weather is 50 degrees and dry. Disappointed that after 3 months of consistent marathon training, I can’t seem to improve on my half times…I’m like stuck at that 1:47-1:48 plateau. In fact, I’m not improving in general-I’ve been struggling to keep training runs under a 10 minute pace (man, do I miss the days when I could run sub 9’s) and I just really, really needed a good race to give me a boost of confidence and I didn’t get it.

(And I don’t want to hear from anyone that I was still recovering from Friday-I really did feel fine on Saturday, and besides, I’ve read too many race reports that read “I got soooo wasted last night and was so hung over this morning, but I still PR’ed, yay!”)

Once again, I’m just feeling pretty lost. Running is the one thing in my life that I really need to be going right about now, and it’s not. I guess I’ll just suck it up for 2 more weeks and pray that tapering will help…though I am a little skeptical. After this one, I’m not sure what my future as a marathoner will be….is it truly worth it if the training just sucks the life out of you and your running legs?

now where’s that damn Daniel Powter song when I need it…