Tag Archive | staten island half

Race Report: Staten Island Half. Oooops.

Hey friends! Wow. this half was a MEGA-MESS and I should have known better. I was a dehydrated overovercaffeinated mess and I paid hard for that…. Let me get to it.

As you know, all year I wanted to PR at the Half but my hopes went down the drain when, in August, I did too much, strained my hamstring and had to take 6 weeks off speedwork. I skipped my goal half in September but decided to still do the Staten Island Half because, you know, I can!

Friday I really overdid it with the food. Like A LOT. A LOT of fried seafood and many other things that my stomach didn’t appreciate. It was so bad, I had to lay down when I got home and couldn’t even stomach any dinner. Zero dinner. Can you imagine ME, skipping a meal?? it was AWFUL.

Saturday, my stomach felt better but I had zero appetite. If I didn’t have a race the next day I probably would have not forced lunch down. Ugh. I tried to eat but it wasn’t happening.

Sunday Morning, race day!!! I am not a coffee-drinker, but always have coffee on race morning to, you know, take care of the business! It worked. Race morning seemed like it was going to be great! We met up Eric and Elke on the ferry… you can always count of finding many friends to travel to any race!

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Photo Credit: Elke Gasselseder

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The view from the ferry never disappoints. Photo Credit: Juan Becerra, the hot husband in the picture before

We got on the 7 am ferry so we were in Staten Island super early, just like we like to! We waited in the terminal for a bit, used the bathroom and I had my pre-race fuel. I don’t eat before races but I usually have a gel an hour before. I had a gel with caffeine, because we couldn’t find the non-caffeine gels… (keep track of the caffeine, will get back to this)

We left our clothes at baggage and headed to the corral, there I took out the new thing Juan had gotten me, the Run Gum. Caffeine Gum!! Why not? There were two pieces and I started chewing them both. Bitter bitter aftertaste.

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In the corral, I looked for Christine to no avail. She told me she was going to do about 1:40 and I knew I’d be around 1:39 something so why not run together. I had so many numbers in my head… my PR was 1:37:35, which is 7:27 pace. I hoped I’d be around 7:30s and that would give me a 1:39… I get rid of the gum, the gun goes off and I find myself, alone, trailing Juan. He was going at 7:20 for the first two miles. WHY am I so close to him?? I SHOULD NOT BE RUNNING SO FAST!!!!!! I just couldn’t stop it. My heart was racing, my body was out of control and I couldn’t pace myself. Plus I was freaking out about all of the above. With a quarter mile in, Christine pulls up “we’re going a bit fast” “I know” would be our over and over conversation for the next miles… Mile 1: 7:20. SHIT. This is PR pace and I am NOT in PR shape. Plus… NO. I tried to adjust but I just couldn’t. I was right behind Juan until he hit mile 2 and took off (that was the plan for him). Mile 2: 7:24. CRAP.

The first 2-3 miles (as well as the last 2-3) are were most of the hills are. It wasn’t pretty at that pace. I was breathing extra hard and wondering what the hell was happening. Mile 3: 7:33. Still really fast for that uphill mile. And I was so so so SO hot… I could barely stand it. I am sure I must have told Christine I am so hot like 50 times a mile. I was throwing water on myself at every water station. I really wanted to drink it too but I didn’t want to slow down and lose Christine. Mile 4: 7:28. Still too effing fast. By Mile 5 I knew I needed to have the gel before it was too late. Because I was still going too fast. Mile 5: 7:17. CRAP!!!!!! So Christine kept going and I told her I’d catch up. I stopped to drink, and I ended up ingesting 3 cups of Gatorade, I was sooo thirsty. I sped up as much as I could to catch her as I could see her about 150 meters away, it took about half a mile!

I really like that long stretch of the course, but I missed the wild turkeys I had always seen, and I REALLY missed coming back on it. I always loved watching the runners ahead and behind me, it’s really entertaining to see all your friends. Plus, I don’t like running on boardwalks… I am always afraid there’s going to be some nail tripping me, or something. And there’s no bounce back! Mile 6: 7:31. That includes probably the 10 seconds I was going crazy on the drinks!

Christine and I in the boardwalk. Photo Credit: Ben Ko

Christine and I in the boardwalk. Photo Credit: Ben Ko

I am not gonna lie, I kept wondering if I could sustain that pace. Parts of me were telling me I was crazy and there’s no way. Another part (with a Kara Goucher voice) kept telling me to believe in myself. Mile 7: 7:13, still TOO EFFFING FAST. Actually, too early to run this fast! I kept doing the whole 7:20s vs 7:30s math in my head and I knew I was going to be this close to a PR. If I could sustain this mess pace, obviously. So I just told myself to keep at it, as it’d be a matter of seconds.

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Mile 8: 7:27. I think I lost Christine around here. As soon as we got off the boardwalk it got really narrow, she got behind me and I never saw her again, though I turned around a few times. I was a bit disheartened but had to keep pressing. Then… OMG… THAT MOUNTAIN..!!

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What was that? I really wasn’t mentally prepared for that there, and not even trained for it. Everyone around started walking. I was REALLY tempted but told myself about the seconds, the seconds!!… I kept running. Mile 9: 7:39. Not sure how that wasn’t a 15 minute mile, it felt like it. Plus I was so effing hot.

It was horrible.

There was another climb on the next mile too and I was just done. DONE. I was super hot and thirsty and my feet started seizing up, WTF! Like they wanted to claw up. I felt like they were going to break in half and I felt the pain up both my legs during some stretches. I really wanted stop and stretch but I wasn’t sure if it’d even help or if I wasn’t going to be able to keep running after I stopped. It hurt a lot. Mile 10: 7:53.

This is when I went indoors (in my head!). It hurt. My feet were SO stiff, I tried to land on my heels to bend them less, I tried everything, but I just kept checking off the seconds. Mile 11: 7:06 yey for downhills! I remember people cheering, my feet super stiff, a left turn on some overpass, my shins feeling like they were about to snap off, and a right turn where I high-fived Sid Howard and Asteria yelled for me –she’s one of the few people in the US that calls me Ely the Argentinian way 😉 I love them both so much!-. And kept going, head down, checking off seconds.  Mile 12: 7:17. I kept trying to do the math and I KNEW I was going to be super close to my PR… just keep on, no more thinking, crazy woman!

And through this, the heavy heartbeat I had in the beginning got a LOT worst. By mile 5, that was the norm. After mile 9, I was breathing so hard, you’d think I was doing an 800 meter race. It was bad. I am sure anyone running around me must have been SO ANNOYED. It totally sounded like I had signed up for the 5K and got myself in the 13.1 course. UGH. Mile 13: 7:30. I was falling apart but keeping it up. The last bit was rough because you have to make that hair pin left turn into the stadium and there was a bit of sand there, which is quite slippery, so we had to go around it, while looking at my watch about once a second. I fought with all I had for that PR, thinking I might have it. That stretch… was rough

this is what crazy-all-out looks like

this is what crazy-all-out looks like sometimes, not pretty

I run the last point one, at 6.02 pace. Seriously. See my face?

I crossed the finish line FOUR SECONDS TOO LATE. Seriously. FOUR.

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I am really tired.

Still happy to have gotten so close, after TWO YEARS AND A HALF. I was 38 years old when I set that PR,  I am now 40.5!!! Plus, I thought I’d be around 1:39 so this is beyond amazing. To Me. I know two minutes is nothing for most people but to me, that’s a lifetime of difference sometimes. Some runners might get it. 1:39 was doable: 1:37 is amazing.

Then the worst happened. A few steps after the finish line my legs and feet seized up, it hurt SO much. I couldn’t move them, it felt like they were going to explode and my shins and feet turned really really HARD, and bulked up in my leg. I went on the floor like a rock. I couldn’t move. A fellow Whippet (SAVIOR!) came over, tried to help. I asked for water, as soon as I got it, I felt better. It hurt, but they relaxed a bit and I could move them… UGH!!!!

Turns out, I was “cramping” or something. I had never had cramps before, people!!!! Had them for the last 3-4 miles and because I wasn’t going to stop, my muscles kept shuffling the blood there. As soon as I stopped, they went berserk. Had some more water, it helped calm them down. Think about it: I had 1 cup of coffee in the morning, 1 caffeinated gel, and two pieces of run gum. For someone who doesn’t do coffee that’s a lot. Plus, I was hot and sweating a lot. AND, I only drank twice. VERY STUPID of me. VERY. ALL my FAULT. How on earth did I get myself so dehydrated???? Oh, and that amount of caffeine is why I paced like crap too!!!


all my laps. nothing to hide. it was a mess.


the elevation profile. in case you were wondering how much fun it was.

Stats Time:

Finish time: 1:37:38

Previous PR: 1:37:35 From: March, 2013

Age Grading: 69.68%

Overall Place: 667 of 8586

Gender Place: 68 of 3989

Age Place: 6 of  483

Top 10% of the whole field… good for me! And because I am older, this is the highest AG I ever got in a half, so… WINNING!!!

Here’s the official 5K splits. Not really so bad, I dropped it on the 15K part, but that was also where the stoopid mountain was so my pace would have slowed down there a bit anyway. Could have been worse!!!

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Soon, I found Juan and he started heading home. My legs were a MESS.

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at the stadium in the finish line. why am i not wearing the sunglasses here?

I spent the rest of the day re-hydrating… I never thought I’d do something that stooopid!!! Such an amateur move!! But in between being sick Friday, not eating enough on Saturday, all the caffeine and the little hydration I did during the race, it was a mess.

My lungs hurt so bad all day Sunday… I was really breathing hard and pushing through the race. But now I see that a PR is just within reach. And that I should listen to my inner Kara Goucher voice more often.

NYC Half: I am coming for you.

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Race Report: 2014 Staten Island Half

How convenient is it to run a half marathon the week before another half marathon? You’ll know exactly how to pace it!!!! Well, that part I had covered. I had crushed and burned at the Grete’s Great Gallop the week before so I knew

– I had to start a bit slower and save it

– my final avg pace of 8:01 could turn into something a bit faster if I had some grip over the first 5-7 miles.

I had still had the same cold I had the week before, so I wasn’t sure my performance would be any better. On the other hand, the course is a bit flatter… It was easy to plan though. I’d go out easier than last week: 8:15s or around there and at 7 miles, on the turnaround, I’d start pushing it.


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Well, I’ve never been one of those people who had issues with the ferry or anything. Yesterday, I did. there was a 7 am ferry, a 7:30 ferry, and an 8:00 ferry. The race would start at 8:30 half a mile from the ferry terminal, so the 8 am ferry was out, it’d leave us in SI at 8:30! So, we got there at 7:23 to board the 7:30 boat. We line up, everyone starts going into the boat, and at 7:35 they close the doors. WTF??? “the boat is moving, are you on the boat??” texted Blaise from the boat. NO!!!!! Crap. They left without us. “It’s not that crowded in the front of the boat”, great! now I am going to make it late to the start, have to wave around like a maniac, UGH, flashbacks to a week ago missing connections when coming back from the honeymoon. The Staten Island turned into JFK and LGA and all my worst possible scenarios. I hate travelling.

Luckily, all the drama in my head, and poor Juan’s ears, dissipated when another boat decked at 7:46 and we quickly left! We made it to Staten Island at 8:15 so we hushed to the corral, undressed and in 5 we were moving. No time to get cold waiting!!!! YEY. #win


Well, the course is pretty flat. there’s about 3 hills but they’re little (smaller than Cat Hill) and one nasty bump at the end I didn’t appreciate. Still, quite an easy course and I liked it. There were enough spectators to distract us, a few bands and DJs and quite some action…

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Ugh. At Mile 5.5 (or something) I saw a runner (a man, around 55 years old)  lying on the floor, with a police car and he was getting chest compressions. I was so shocked I almost stopped on my tracks. I barely kept running. About 15 or 20 minutes later, after the turnaround, my mile 8 or something, I saw they were putting him on a stretcher so made me feel a little better. I felt so stooopid running when someone’s live was at risk, i really wanted to stop. You always hear about those races fatalities but it was shocking to see it happening. It took me a while to shake it off. What was I supposed to do? but also, how do you get that out of your head??


Well, it was tough to relax. An 8 pace which should have been easy, was not. My breathing was still shallow and I was coughing and had som fun mucus that wouldn’t let me breathe. LET ME BREATH! Anyway, I tried as best as I could to relax and it wasn’t working. Then I tried to just slow down. It was tough to relax knowing last week i was toast at mile 10. What if the same thing happened??? UGH. Eventually by Mile 8 or 9I started relaxing and feeling normal… by Mile 11 I was able to push a bit harder and finished in an ALL OUT sprint, which was quite exhilarating!

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If you look up there, I didn’t start as slow as I wanted to… even with the little bump on the first mile. Miles 5 and 10 are way slow, but looking at the course profile I can see why! Look at Mile 5 highlighted int his next image:

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And look at mile 10, see:

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I guess that’s why I slowed down. I really don’t remember the hills being that bad, other than the one on mile 10, but with my chest filled up with stuff the whole race was a hard-breathing hill… what a great workout though, right?


So, the finish line was at the Staten Island Yankees Stadium. A new finish so I had no idea what to expect. this is what it looked like, from Juan’s pictures. He was waiting there the whole time.

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The last half a mile I passed a lot of people. A LOT. I had some nasty speed sprint fever and I burned it down. Then we turn onto the stradiums entrance, which was EPIC, and oh crap, we’re running on fake grass: ugh. Way to slow my sprint down 😦 Still a great finish line… as epic as Brooklyn I’d say!


I then bent down holding my knees and coughed for 10 minutes straight. SO GLAMOROUS, I know.

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because 4 cups of Gatorade are not enough

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heavy heavy staten island half medal



WOW, that finish escalated quickly!! the sun was nice, w could sit in the grass, I saw many team-mates in a minute and we were all happy just laying around. So much for being tired or layering back up so I couldn’t turn the cold into enterofluebolaenza. Nah, I’ll just hang out here.

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why is he eating my apple?? WHY? oh, being married and sacrifice and all that smush

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Stats Time!

Finish time: 1:43:39 (a minute faster than last week’s 1:44:53). Average Pace: 7:55

Previous PR: 1:37:35. From: March, 2013

Age Grading: 65.26%

Overall Place: 1614 of 9518

Gender Place: 271 of 4466

Age Place: 39 of 742

Official NYRR Staten Island Half race results and pictures

Soon Juan andBlaise and I headed for the ferry, got back on the Island, had brunch and run some 5 miles more. I turned Sunday into a double. the second run was NOT pretty. Actually, you can barely call it a run, but I didn’t stop once and had an avg 9:47 pace so I am counting it. This cold has annoyed me to no end this week.

Well, so… now I have the NYC Marathon in 3 weeks and I am not sure of my goal, as I HAVE NO IDEA what the hell I could have raced if I wasn’t sick… so my NYC marathon prediction guess will be interesting… 😉 let the gambling begin: