Any other year, I would have hated this race.
But things change so much…so fast.
There I went, into my race #90, undertrained and not ready for anything. With the NYC Marathon less than a month away, I figured this half marathon could be a great training run. It’s hard, there’s hills, it’s loopy, a tough run on any day. This past Sunday, it was 65 degrees with 94% humidity, though I have to say the weather was fine for me (in my under-preparedness!). My problem was the two months I sat out because of my ulcer, losing all speed and any chance to train for the fast Hudson-Mohawk marathon I was drooling over, and a fun NYCM three weeks after. Instead, I tried to do some catch-up/lame/slow few weeks of training, plus this half, plus one 18 miler. And be happy with that.
So I went in relaxed, looking for a training run, to get in around 1:50 or 1:55, possibly some soreness, and I came back with a lot of happiness. Who knew?
For official pictures and recap: NYRR Grete’s Great Gallop (13.1), official page
Bib Pick Up/Registration. Loved the tech shirt and the race’s motto all over the back “Imagine a world without Cancer”. I do. Getting there. I live super close, so it took me just 1.5 walking miles! Start. Super organized. Lots of security. Just like any other NYRR in Central Park. Safety. There was security all over the place. Baggage was inspected at tons of tables before you could drop it (no lines!).
Race Atmosphere. This is a special race for Central Park/NY runners… we have all met Grete at some point and we know how amazing and inspiring she was. Her husband Jack is always at the race. It’s just sad that she isn’t, but somehow, you feel like she is. ❤
Weather. 65 and really humid (95%!). Luckily there was no sun and a constant drizzle that kept me happy and somehow lowered my core temperature.
The Course. Is… OY. This is Central Park. Twice. Rolling hills 75% of the time. And I think Harlem hill is WORSE in this direction, clockwise. Not a PR-friendly course, barely any flat, but nothing also that you can’t do. Here is the course map.
The Finish Line. Is great to see… because you run past it two times before your finish, eeeek. The second time around I just really thought it was cruel ;-(
The Post Race. OMG, cheering fun and kids races! Really, a great day in the park to celebrate our runners legacy dedicated to Grete and Fred!
Well, I went in thinking, ugh, this is gonna hurt, the park loop gets old soon, expecting the worse. What happened? Well, as I had no pressure or expectations, I run super relaxed and I run a lot better that way… I actually had fun, felt fast and really enjoyed myself.
Weirdest part? I actually enjoyed RACING IN CENTRAL PARK. Seriously. I do this all the time so you’d think I love it. I don’t. It’s hard, it hurts and I always have some goal that will put me through hell. I think having been out of the races for 3 months made me appreciate it and enjoy it. It was amazing.
There were a couple of miles of adaptation though. I went out as relaxed as I could in the narrow and crowded first mile. Mile 1: 744 felt very easy and relaxed but I instantly thought I went out too fast. Or not? Maybe I can do this faster than 8:30 pace?? It was still crowded and I was trying to find my rhythm. I felt a little crowded at times and tried not panic, found some slow song and slowly I started loosening up and feeling chill. Mile 2: 7:51 Really? Still feels easy but looks fast. My left foot (which has never given my trouble!) was hurting like it was gonna snap. I decided that if I saw Juan soon I might drop! Mile 3: 7:43, Okay something is up here, how on earth am I keeping up this speed in Central Park? I had just gone over all the west side hills… Mile 4: 7:53 there’s both climbs in the Harlem hill loop. I started believing a bit. I also told myself who cares I fade out in the second half? At least I got a good 10k workout in!! Low expectations are my thing! Mile 5: 8:36 this is always the fastest one, but I stopped to have a gel because I was completely out of energy. Yes, I do stop to eat. oh well. Mile 6: 7:32, oh hello gel! Mile 7: 7:40 wow, the gel didn’t make sick! Hallelujah! Mile 8: 8:04. Uh, where did my gel go?? I felt like I was empty again and walking. Resorted fast to gel #2. Whatever. Mile 9: 8:25 I felt so slow and tired, and out of energy going up the hills. Mile 10: 7:45, back to gel crack flat zone! Like I could smell the finish line… this is when I started passing every single woman I could spot ahead. Mile 11: 8:14. Not sure, will try to ignore it. Mile 12: 7:42. I latched behind this tall dude who was passing people left and right and ALSO running tangents (it still amazes me how many people do NOT run tangents.. in Central Park!!… in a club points race!!! PEOPLE!). He was pacing perfectly and we were at it together! Mile 13: 7:31. Just passing people left and right. Last bit, at 7:17 pace!
Finish time: 1:44:33. Average Pace: 7:59
Previous PR: 1:37:35. From: March, 2013
Age Grading: 64.36%
Overall Place: 1006 of 5476
Gender Place: 199 of 2652
Age Place: 24 of 439
It felt easy. It was wonderfully fluid and I never felt like I was working hard (well, maybe I wasn’t!). I wore my Mizuno Wave Sayonara and it seems like I might be wearing them in the marathon next month. I am VERY HAPPY with the run. I never thought I could enjoy a two-loop in Central park marathon, so I guess I had to miss it enough…
Well, if you’re thinking I am not taking this racing thing seriously, well, I was not. But these people topped me:
A couple of cool shots I got… 😉 Thanks Ben Ko, Brian Hsiah, and Juan Becerra, my favorites!
These are from my finish dash… uh, grab yourself (for the speed?!?)
And with my official time of 1:44:33, the WINNER of my Guess My Finish time contest is… RIGHT ON THE BULL’S EYE:
Dave, pick a prize from the list!! And maybe I can take you out for food or a drink when you come for the NYCM next month! ehem… and did you say I get a prize???
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