Verrazano Half: a tale of two halves

or more like 4 halfs! Once you see the splits, you’ll get it. It was hilarious.

This race is in Bay Ridge, organized by NYC Runs. Basically we run on the promenade, it’s all flat, and around the area where the Verrazano Bridge connects to Brooklyn, hence the name. I picked it because it was flat and it’s right by water, so if it was a hot day, there was to be a nice breeze from the ocean. I never thought about the possibility of rain, October is usually great for racing… Then, the Staten Island Half, two weekends, ago was a mess of rain and wind (check the #StatenIslandHalf on insta, it was crazy), and I was shocked. I had done that race a bunch of times and it was always great weather. And I told everybody “I totally would have been in bed if I had signed up“, and destiny decided to teach me a lesson and shut me up!

Saturday had rain all morning in the forecast, but they’re always wrong, right? Well, it was crappy at 5 am when I woke up. I asked Juan what would he do. Stooopid question, he loves crazy weather, the harder the race the better… I figured a PR would be out of the question but why not try… well, it’s an hour and a half trip from the Upper East Side to Bay Ridge, so I had to make a decision. I decided I wanted to go, NOT SURE WHY.

hard-decisions-everywhere-meme

Juan and I got there by 7:15 am. He wasn’t racing, but we met up with Andrea right by the start and Stephen. Race Starts was at 8. It was raining. It was 44 degrees. And it was SUPER CRAZY WINDY. INSANE. We lined up. There were about 300 people though the race was sold out… Hmmm, WHERE IS EVERYBODY?? HUH?

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Start and Finish. 10 minutes before 8 am…

Well, we get moving. I see people take off. It always seems like I have a million people ahead of me. Then it happened.

I WAS FLYING. Half a mile in and I am running sub 7… WHAT???

If you have read just one of my posts, you KNOW I start slow. SLOW- SLOW. Then I pick it up at the end like I am running a 5K or there’s sushi at the finish line. But I don’t really ever start fast. To run a PR, which I had no clue if I could do in that weather, pace would have to be 7:19 (1:35:39 finish time); which means, in normal conditions, I would have started around 7:40, or 7:35 as the fastest..

But I was feeling AMAZING. I was literally flying. I tried really hard to slow down. Mile 1: 7:11MMMM. Am I really this fast??? if so, this is going a be crazy PR. But how…?

well, before I go on, let me tell you about the course, because I forgot, and it’ll help!

Basically, it was 2 out and backs in the same course. The first out was about 2.4 so back at the start by 4.8, then head back out again, for like 4 miles out, turnaround at mile 9, and 4 more miles back. Got it? Don’t forget, this will be important later when you are laughing at me!

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Anyway, there I am, thinking how fast I am, and how great I feel, Mile 2: 7:17, then I get to the turnaround and I see that Andrea is leading the women (by a lot) and that I am 4th… What? WHERE did all the people that passed me went? There weren’t that many apparently. Or they were all men!?!?!?!

Then the TURNAROUND DISILLUSION happened. As soon as I am coming back, it hits me. HARD. The WIND. THE $%&@[email protected]!&@@!!! WIND. What???? IT WAS INSANE. Now I understood why I felt so fast and like I was flying… it was the wind in the back!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Mile 3: 7:42 (half of this mile was out, half was back)

Now I had in the front. FULL FRONTAL. I also hurt a bit. UGH. I pumped up the music a bit to distract myself of my slowing down into the tornado, but it was so loud I couldn’t even hear the music!!!!! I was flapping everywhere. I wished I had all the aero stuff my triathlete husband talks about. I even felt my hat flapping. Mile 4: 8:20, all going back to the start. I am shocked it wasn’t slower. I felt like I couldn’t even walk. You know those videos of dogs you see with the faces out the car windows, with the mouth disfigured by the wind and drool everywhere: that was me. 100%. I chuckled when I thought of that, but it was only funny for a second.

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Then I saw Juan again, he was by the start, I had a gel (HUMA gels have saved my life!!!!!!! I didn’t have any pain!!!! I am SO SO SO HAPPY about that!!!!!) and turned back around to get the wind in my back again. Mile 5: 7:55 (another half out half back mile!). And BACK TO FLYING AGAIN!!!!!

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I made the executive decision to hit the gas. Why save it for the last miles against the wind where I could barely push forward??? I’ll just push now, and struggle all the way back again, and I had no choice about that. Unless the wind died down when I was coming back, then I’d be in serious problems. Mile 6: 7:05. I passed a LOT of people. It wasn’t even funny. Mile 7: 13. I knew, from all the turnarounds, exactly where #4 and #5 women where; they had passed me, BOTH, at mile 4/5 when I stopped to grab water and eat my gel. But I passed them right back, by the second turnaround I had put some space between us, but #3 seemed too far away, like 400 meters, or maybe a minute away. Mile 8: 7:27. This part seemed a bit long because I wasn’t sure exactly where we were turning (there were no big signage anywhere, which hey, they would have flown away and killed me!!!) and I was dreading coming back. Those last 4 miles with the wind at the front were going to HURT. I had only done 2.5 before, it was a longer stretch now… Mile 9: 7:39. On the other hand, I couldn’t feel the wind anymore… maybe the wind thing is over? It’s great how when you have the wind in the back you don’t even notice it!!!!

I see the turnaround, it feels great, there’s no wind… at the turnaround, I see #5th woman is about the same distance as #3 so I think I am safe. Which also, doesn’t motivate me to go faster… I now head back to the start, for the 2nd and last time. OH NO. THE WIND WAS WORSE. how? no clue, just got worse. ^%#@[email protected]#!

It was insane. I actually thought about giving up. MORE music please, it was pointless, all I could hear was the wild flapping of EVERYTHING. Mile 10: 8:09. I fluctuated between leaning into the wind, and feeling defiant and straight, plus trying to be thinking I was being aero, and then just telling myself it was just 3 more miles. Of course I can do 3 more miles. But it was rough, there was nothing to look at, not one person cheering, just a highway to the right, and the FREAKING MOST AMAZING VIEW OF THE VERRAZANO AND THE CITY AND THE STATUE OF LIBERTY on the left. But I could barely see anything… ugh the wind, so I just imagined seeing it. And how amazing it’d be if I could see. And how cool that in two weeks all these thousands of people would be on that bridge for the first time to make memories for a lifetime. I just hoped they’d get nicer weather. Mile 11: 8:23. I looked down a few times and my pace looked worst than that. Then I saw a guy walking backwards… ?

Just two miles. I wished I knew the course better. I had no clue what to look for to know where I was. I was also running all alone, I had a Queens Distance runner ahead of me, like a minute out, and no one close behind. I am not used to pacing by myself!!! Mile 12: 8:26. A mess. I was so sick of the wind. I decided to take out whatever I had left, which was pointless.  I looked back once to see if there was someone close enough that would scare me into racing harder, nothing. Mile 13: 7:52. HA, slowest closing mile ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Last bit: 7:30 pace.

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Gosh, so happy to finally stop the wind madness!

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Andrea had finished like 9 minutes earlier, emmmmm, FIRST WOMAN!

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YEY US! We survived!

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Heres my CRAZY splits. Check how I was working hard, by the Avg Heart Rate, on the fast AND the slow miles….

Juan was right behind the fence taking pictures, and FROZEN. Almost blue. Like everyone else.  That’s when I realized, well, I was told, that it had been raining the whole time. WHAT? I thought he was joking. I NEVER for a second felt the rain. The wind was just so ridiculous… I didn’t feel one drop. I might be crazier than I thought.

Well, my math was right, if I was 4th woman, I was bound to be 1st in my AG! HA!

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Stephen and I got AG awards and Andrea got 1st woman, which was a win-win. They were both freezing, can you tell? The both had done Staten Island two weeks before and said the wind made this race a lot harder. So there, I AM CRAZIER THAN I THOUGHT!

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as you can tell, I over prepare and packed a whole set of dry clothes for after, even another pair of shoes… we had brunch plans!!

I made these little videos on instagram. Not sure you can appreciate much of the wind there, but it’s something:

So, here’s the official results! This is the Top Women:

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And of course… there has to be a giveaway winner!!! No one guessed 1:4X:xx which means you guys were WAY OFF. My last half was 1:4o or 1:41 something… you guys NEED TO STOP BEING NICE! Think about it, I almost had a DNS! Jeffrey, email me and pick a gift from that post!!!

CONCLUSION. Glad I showed up, because it was a great effort, mentally and physically. It WAS NOT the race I wished for at all. All the goal races I had before the marathon did not go as planned… Which makes me rethink my marathon intentions… I know I am fit, and I know that given the right situation I could have a great time, but, how good? And, when all these halfs end up being so painful, I wonder, do I want to suffer this much for 26.2? I don’t know. I don’t know yet. I have no idea. I have a month to decide. I did all the training (plus one last long 20 miler next weekend) and I know I am fit, but do I have any proof? Anything to bring to the start with me on race day? no.

All I have is my love for running and knowing that whatever happens, I am ready to tackle it. Hopefully.

Thanks for being there friends!

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8 thoughts on “Verrazano Half: a tale of two halves

  1. I race there a lot. It’s a crap shoot with regard to wind and weather. On a bad day you know half the race is going to be BAD. On a good day you could PR because it is flat. Great effort!

    Like

  2. Congratulations! Excellent finish…..I’m northern and from the UK so the cold and rain are not too bad but wind…….don’t give me wind. It sounds really tough so you should treasure the extra effort you gave in this race.

    Liked by 1 person

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