Thursday, March 20, 2014

Race Recap: New York City Half Marathon

The man who says he can, and the man who says he cannot, are both usually right.

Well on my way to 2015 NYC Marathon!

The weekend leading up to the half marathon was packed, starting Thursday with bib pick up.  Most half and full marathons host an expo during the days leading up to the race for participants to pick up their race day bags and various venders will sell running merchandise at a discounted price.  I volunteered to help with bib handout in order to earn my +1 credit for entry into the 2015 NYC Marathon.  I wasn't too impressed with the NYC Half expo so after I picked up my bib I checked in, received my volunteer shirt, and spent the next six hours handing out bibs to excited and nervous runners.  It was fun to see the diversity in runners. There were runners of all ages, for some it was their first half marathon and then there were several that had been racing for years, and each runner had a very different reason for deciding to run 13.1 miles through the heart of Manhattan.

Volunteering at the Expo
The day before the race CeCe, Genny, and I ran the Lucky Dash 5K.  After a leisurely trip to Trader Joe's--my first TJ's trip and yes I am now a huge TJ's fan- we realized we had the starting location confused and made a sprint to the subway and the start of the race.  Once we finally made it there we toned down our pace to a light jog so I wouldn't be too tired for the half.  The race was very relaxed, we didn't even have bibs, and it was the perfect warm up.  After the race we had brunch at Genny's and spent the day relaxing in her beautiful and festively decorated apartment!  CeCe also made her own take on a Skinnytaste bell pepper and potato frittata recipe--middle left below--with sweet potatoes, it was delicious in case anyone is looking for a new brunch recipe! 

Happy St. Patty's Day!

Sunday it was finally race day!  I was extremely excited, but also very nervous because it was a little colder than I was hoping for and pretty windy.  I had breakfast with CeCe, which has become a very nice pre-race tradition for, and then headed downtown.  Since the race started at 7:30 am on a Sunday it was mostly runners on the subway, which I always find fun.  Getting into the park was a little bit of an adventure because everyone had to go through a metal detector which took forever.  I was supposed to start at 7:45, but didn't end up getting to my corral until almost 8 am.  I felt much better once I started moving, and even though it was 30 degrees and I was in shorts I didn't even feel cold.  About 2.5 miles in two of my friends, Kyle and Sha, were there cheering me on, which gave me a great burst of energy.
Pictures of me racing from Sha

Since I've run through central park so many times the beginning of the race was pretty predictable and easy.  It was fun having all the spectators, and there were tons of funny signs.  Based off the NYC Half I can say the top 3 reasons people will run 13.1 miles at 7:30 am on a cold Sunday morning are puppies, bacon, and beer.  Once we got through the park you run down 7th Avenue right into Times Square, which everyone told me was the best part, and they were right.  Times Square is usually a mess of tourists and people trying to get you to buy things, and generally one of my least favorite places to go in Manhattan, but running through the clear streets with people cheering was awesome!

From Times Square you head west on 42nd Street to the West Side Highway, which was not so awesome.  42nd Street was essentially a wind tunnel and by the time I made it out to the highway my body was basically numb.  Once you're on the highway it's about a 6 mile run straight down through the Financial District to the finish line on Wall Street.  It was cool seeing the skyline from a different perspective, and if I hadn't cared about my time I would have stopped to take some pictures because it was a gorgeous day- minus the wind.  CeCe and Genny met me at the finish line with my dry clothes and helped me to open the gatorades in my refuel bag since my hands were completely numb.

They're the best!
I was incredibly happy that I not only beat my goal of under 2 hours, but was more than 7 minutes under with a time of 1:52:36--about an 8:36/mile pace!  

Less than 9 weeks until the Brooklyn Half Marathon- my next race for 9+1, and my third half marathon.  I'm hoping to shave another 3 minutes off my time to get down to ~1:49.  Keep checking for updates on training, workouts, and nutrition tips!  Thank you so much for your support in the NYC Half Marathon!!!

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