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 🙂

the season of excess

oh hi again!!  damn, i’m not even keeping up with my previous “once-a-week” thang.  but the last coupla weeks have been the weeks of the holiday party and other assorted goodies (yet not much running)

To sum up the last coupla weeks:

 So there being lotsa eating, drinking and socializing.  Which also equals hangovers, late nights, not waking up til the afternoon, lazy weekends on the couch.  I’ll actually be glad when January comes around and the party season has died down.  but don’t get me wrong, it was a lot of fun.  Work party was a good time, though this time around the CFO wasn’t even there, so a certain party tradition did not happen this year 😦  But what did suck?  Party on Wednesday, work on Thursday (couldn’t take off like I usually do since our group had a vendor take us out to lunch.)  Flyers party was a good time as usual, though some peeps were missed.  Throw in others here and there…then last nite I crashed the Flyers speedwork session (as UA is on hiatus this month) and partied at Rathbone’s afterwards (yum 2-for-1 Blue Moons…love their 2-for-tuesdays!)…sorta late night for a “school night” but still fun.  But man, I don’t know what worked harder yesterday, my legs or my lungs.  Short repeats on minimal running are not the best…neither was breathing in that cold, icy air.  Thinking tempo is better for the winter months…?

On the topic of running, no races on the horizon right now.  After that crappy job at the 10K, I figured a 15K PR would not be happening and decided to pass on that race.  (Turned out to be a good thing-as I didn’t leave a party the night before til after 3 AM!)  I had tossed my name in the ring for the NYC Half, but I got rejected…as did 90% of the tri-state area

Needless to say, NYRR’s facebook page blew up, and rightfully so.  Did I know there would be a chance of being rejected?  Oh yeah.  Did I know I wouldn’t have a shot in hell of getting in?  Hells no.  i definitely think that NYRR did not handle this well.  Between pushing off the lottery to mid-December (and leaving many in danger of getting closed out of other spring halfs) to disclosing all this information after the fact…I do appreciate that they sort of “came clean” but it’s also “too little too late.”  (And yeah, the truth does hurt.  Meaning about how they’ve strayed so far from their “base,” local runners (no I don’t mean local elite.)  As a friend of mine said (very well, I may say): “NYRR needs to remember their Charter and that the club was formed First & Foremost to benefit runners in New York City; The club was NOT formed to host triathlons, pay rabbits for professional track meets in CA, or to donate money to professional clubs in Mammouth Lakes or Minnesota.”  (There’s a good post on Joe’s blog too.)

So next year will be interesting I guess.  Especially since now NYRR is offering a guaranteed entry to the 2012 NYC Half for those who complete 4 out of 5 borough halfs in 2011.  I feel they are just going to cause another problem to try and solve another.  (Oh and don’t even get me started about the $70 registration fee for the More Half-marathon-which is 2 loops of Central Park!)  First off, given that 2 of the 5 halfs are on Saturdays, if someone can’t race on Saturdays for work or religious reasons, or other reasons, they’re automatically out of it (same thing for Sundays too.)  Secondly, those who want to run the borough halfs just to run them (and not caring about NYC Half entry) may get screwed.  Brooklyn is already tough to get into, I see it selling out in record time this year. (you can bet i’m going to jump on registration once it opens!)  Not to mention how they are always changing around the dates of the borough halfs…

As for me, I’m a little disappointed I didn’t get in, but it’s not the end of the world (there’s always the Brooklyn Half I guess.)  I’ve only done the NYC Half once and it was a bad race for me, so I thought that like Brooklyn, this could be a good race to “get revenge” on.  Guess only way I will ever get to run it again will be to have a qualifying time under my belt-and please don’t tell me that it’s so easy and everyone should be able to do it.  Those qualifying standards are no joke, even having my best half-marathon ever I still came up 36 seconds short…

Anyways, back to work…man, they’re still expecting us to work?  Doesn’t everyone go away for the holidays? 🙂

nyc half-marathon: from the water tables

So as I had so much fun last year volunteering for the NYC Half-Marathon, of course I had to do it again!!  (And I am not even getting my “+1” volunteer credit and I did it anyway, so that shows how much I liked it! 🙂 )  And luckily, the weather looked like it was gonna be perfect…not just for the runners, but for the spectators too!!  And you know how March can really be a wild card with the weather too…

pouring gatorade like it was my job...oh yeah, it was! 🙂

And once again, I decided “screw the MTA” and ran down to Canal St, where we were being stationed…c’mon, what are the chances of the subways being dependable at 6:30 am?  And it was a great morning to run.  So I got down to Canal St…and it looked like because of the course changes this year, the Flyers’ water/Gatorade station was past the 20K points, whereas last year it was in between miles and 11 and 12, i think?  I guess they had to keep the station there since the fire hydrant which we used to fill up the water and Gatorade was there, even though it doesn’t make that much sense to have a water table in the last mile.  Guess we may not have to worry about running out of water?

So we kept filling and filling til we couldn’t fill anymore and then was time to watch for the leaders.  The DJ once again was playing really good music…looked like the 80s were the theme for the day!!  And was getting into it…singing and dancing…of course 🙂  And so we were wondering…who were the leaders gonna be?  Haile and Deena?  Were course records gonna fall today, as the weather was perfect for it?  And as it was revealed…Haile unfortunately had to DNF, Deena was leading in the early miles but was approaching the finish desperately trying to hold on to second…and the course record only fell on the women’s side.

And of course, the early runners didn’t stop as they passed by the table (honestly, I don’t think I would with less than a mile to go, unless I really, really needed it…)   But eventually, our table had paying customers.  Well not really “paying”, but you know what I mean 🙂  Everyone was just having fun…especially the 2 young kids of Flyer (and b-day boy!) AP…everyone loved taking the cups from those 2!  (oh, to be young again…LOL!)   Once again,  I just kept handing out cup after cup after cup of Gatorade with a smile for all the runners. And of course, cheered for Flyers and other friends that I saw run by.  (though I think I may have missed more than I saw 😦 )  And sang along to the DJ’s music (songs that stood out in my mind were “Don’t You Want Me” and “Holiday”.)

the finish line by chambers street

And unlike last summer, the West Side Highway did NOT look like a death march this time around!!  What a difference 30 degrees makes, right?  Before we knew it, we saw the headlights of the sweep bus…wow, did 3 hours go by so quickly?  And we were not even close to running out of water!!   I did sorta feel bad for those who were behind the sweep bus and were forced onto the sidewalks (not sure if they were allowed to finish?)  Man…so close yet so far!!

So the work was done, time to have some fun…so headed to Urban Athletics for a little post-race party…some shopping (scored a few running tops with a discount), some beer (mmm…Coronas), some freebies (won a Timex sports watch in a raffle!) and some good company 😉  Thanks UA, for another great post-party…

And no rest for the weary today…I would have loved to have gone home and napped, but I had to go back out for some March Madness watching (although my bracket was toast the day before!)  What a Sunday funday…and I definitely slept like a baby that night!!

(BTW-here is a link to a great roundup of NYC half blog posts…written by one who ran the race, and ran well!)  Congrats to everyone who ran Sunday…saw a lot of great races out there!!