I had no intentions of running this race. A handful of weeks ago, after entering the lottery for the NYC 1/2, I was notified (along with alot of my friends) that I didn’t make it in. I had a busy dance card this winter with a January 1/2 marathon, a February marathon and 5k along with races coming up this spring so I wasn’t worry about it. But clearly NYRR got permission to expand the race field and we all got our credit cards charged and notified of our entries.
So I found myself readying my race gear last night as always and after a rain-checked bday dinner with a friend at Ditch Plains, I hit the sack later than I wanted. The forecast all week called for 40′s but when I woke up today, it was considerable cooler so I adjusted the race gear accordingly. I knew ALOT of people running today and was excited to see how they would do. One of which, my friend Brian, used a 6 week training plan I wrote for him to prepare for his first 1/2.
As usual, I attempted to get to the race start at the last minute possible which means when I locked up my bike and walked over to the baggage drop, the UPS trucks were already closed up and there were just a couple guys collecting the late-comers bags. I just made it.
The race with 20k people took a page from the NYC Marathon and had 3 separate waves all releasing at different times. I was in the first and on the way towards the corrals we passed through a NYPD security checkpoint, a first for me. Sadly understandable after Boston, but besides a minor bottleneck, not a problem.
Once past, it was easy going towards the corrals.
It was cold
So everyone was ready to get moving and soon enough we were off dashing up CAT hill with fresh legs. I was moving nicely, getting warmed up right up until the 2nd mile when I felt something very familiar, something unwelcome, lets call it an…urge. I had availed myself of facilities during only one previous race ever and that was a 13 hour Ironman, so I gave it a pass. I was loath to lose any time during a high profile half like this but by the time we sped down the first hill at 110th and cut out of the park for a turnaround at mile 3, there was no ignoring biology.
I had no choice but to relent and could have gotten in and out quickly (I have practice unfortunately) if it were not for a small line (a line?! this early in a race?) My eyes were alternately glued to my watch and the porta-potty doors as I counted the seconds and did mental calculations on how much time I would have to drop off successive miles. Finally my turn came and after a grueling 1min 42 seconds, I was racing out of there and directly up Harlem Hill with a jacked HR and anger pushing me along.
I was cooking, throwing caution to the wind and holding well under 8′s with HRs in the 170s. Not a great place only 4 miles in but there was no stopping me, I was convinced a PR wasn’t out of the question. Through the park and down 7th ave were well trod paths for me so I knew when to push and when to hold back. I was feeling better and happy to be cruising.
But nothing good can last forever and as we turned west onto 42nd street and dead on into a brutal headwind I once again began to feel questionable. Once we hit 11th ave I knew I’d have to make yet another stop and saw some lonely porta-potties with no line. This time only 30 seconds later.
That did the trick and with a monster tailwind and a per-mile average a couple seconds down from a PR I shot down the WSH with renewed vigor. I felt 100% and super strong.
My HR was holding steady at reasonable levels in the high 170s at this point in the race and I was running 7:30s and under. I knew I still had the PR, now it was a matter of how much.
Before I knew it, we were heading through the Battery Tunnel and only a 1/2 mile away. I pushed with whatever I had left and came home with a clock time of 1:42:59 (nearly 2 min PR from my BK 1/2 time) But with the 2min 20sec delay removed, my moving time was 1:40:40 good for 7:40s per/mile
Brian was right behind me with a SICK first 1/2 marathon time of 1:45. We made our way through the financial district canyons, buffeted by huge freezing gusts of wind until we got to the subway and home to clean up before brunch.
All in all, it was a great race despite my detours and I’m in a great place for Placid training this early in the season.
Another shout out goes to my client and good friend Miranda of The Cupcake Triathlete who also ran her first 1/2 marathon today and easily the longest she has ever run. This coach is SUPER PROUD!