Posts Tagged ‘bronx half-marathon’

I’ve been warned not to get my hopes up, but GMR teammate JD is blogging over at Runner’s World online. Check out his post about Facebook, it made me laugh out loud (I am an adamant Facebook abstainer)… Poet, children’s book author and cool Atlantan lady LS has a poem up at Starting Today (poems for the first 100 days of the Obama administration). The politically-minded of you may wish to check it….  Husband has always been a clipper. Even when we were dating he’d mail me newspaper articles about places he wanted to take me or things he thought would make me laugh. Now he clips articles about running and leaves them around the apartment for me to find, like this one about Rose Kosgei (who came in third last year at the Fifth Avenue Mile), or this one about a barefoot runner… Valentine’s Day is a load of bullshit, but I’m spending time with an artist I love on the eve….. I’m not the only blogger who ran the Bronx Half-Marathon this weekend. Read other reports of the race at Live to Run-Run to Live (“this course stinks like a 3-days-gone hooker”), Runner NYC spots her annual dead rat on the course, The Brooklyn Beast cut short his race to accompany a fellow runner tothe hospital (then ran home to Brooklyn), I feel your pain, Cowboy Hazel, but I take comfort in the strong race the Laminator had despite the headwinds that dogged us all…. And lastly, track and field factotum JPM shared this video of Alan Webb’s July 6, 2007 win in Paris at the IAAF Golden League track meet 1500 meter race as evidence towards his point that Webb Is Great, and also as evidence that the Brits are much better at announcing running events than us Yanks (no argument from me on that point)….

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Bronx Half-Marathon

Here are the stats:

  • 1:54:07 official finishing time
  • 8:42 minutes per mile pace
  • 57th out of 207 women in my age group (35-40)

This isn’t exactly what I was hoping this race would tell me.

Regarding effort, I can say I definitely raced this event, and gave it what I had to give (which doesn’t seem like that much, now that I have crossed the finish line and taken a nap). Even though I tried to hold back during the first eight miles, that earlier pace was only a few seconds slower than what I averaged overall. Thus, the Bronx Half-Marathon ended up a kind of slower-than-usual pace run (since I run my pace runs at 8:15), rather than my typical negative-split race timing.

Body checks revealed that my knees didn’t hurt me like I thought they would have (that pain really was due to my dead sneakers thank god), but my hamstrings were achy the entire race.  At one point, I felt so beleaguered by the wind, I found a big guy (chubby, broad shoulders, 6′ tall) and drafted him for about a mile along the Grand Concourse. I’d  never done that before in a race. The last mile, when I was trying to Go, my hips were basically like, “You’re joking, right? Good one!” When Coach Ramon spotted me with half a mile to go, his demeanor totally changed from Big Cheer Machine to Soft Encouraging One. Clearly I was crumbling, because he told me quietly “Shoulders Up, Relax, Chin Up, Come On.” He also said my name like five times–I don’ t know if he did it on purpose but it is a huge mental boost to simply be called by your name. I feel badly that he has seen me racing so poorly.

Mentally, I’ve been in a dark place for days. I’m a bit overwhelmed by work and personal obligations, am feeling unsure in a few friendships, and am caught in this rut where I am behind in everything.  Skipping my 8-mile training run yesterday* just added to that mild sense of self-disgust that’s been icing my cake all week. So, I wasn’t looking forward to today’s race, and while it’s unquantifiable, I wonder just how much my morose attitude may have slowed me down.

I certainly wasn’t expecting to PR , I know my fitness isn’t at 1:48:50 yet. I thought I’d be able to finish within a 10-second window around my second-best time of 1:53:34; it frustrates me that I didn’t (it feels sloppy). I did beat my time for the course from last year (2:12:31) but really: it’s sad to cheer over that. The one encouraging detail here is this: when I ran my 1:53:34 time, I was seven weeks out from the NYC Marathon, which means I had four more weeks of training under my belt than I do now.

Nevertheless, the bottom line is that I didn’t win an encouraging result for myself . (When I got home, Husband hugged me and sweetly said, “You can’t win every race,” which made me laugh.) This makes me stop and think that I’ll need to reevaluate my goals for London, and start getting used to the idea that a Boston Qualifying Time (3:45, 8:32 pace) may not be within reach this season. Recently, a friend pointedly reminded me I need to get 30 seconds faster per mile over my marathon PR to BQ; maybe I have set an arrogant goal. The way my body hasn’t been recovering between hard workouts (thus all my discomfort during today’s race) is a little more proof towards my suspicion that I’m a 1-Marathon-a-Year kind of girl, and I’m asking a lot of my joints and muscles to train and race again so “soon” after New York. (I’ve been pushing away the thought for weeks that it may be best to defer my entry to the New York City Marathon this year, as much as it would break my heart to not share that experience with Brother.)

I still have 11 weeks left of training; 9 before I begin to taper. Last season, my two half-marathons gave me the hard data I needed to dare to dream of a sub-4 marathon time. Staten Island was 3 weeks out from NYC, which forced me into a 3-week taper but also led to another PR. Should I run a second half this season? Will two halves make a whole? Going with this new attitude of setting realistic goals, will racing 13.1 on my last step-back weekend (3/28-3/29) be the best way for me to predict of what I’ll actually be capable on race day, rather than of what I’d like to be capable?


*Why did I skip this workout? My knees were hurting, badly. I was completely enervated. I had obligations, appointments, and chores that were non-negotiable and that had to be done within specific windows of time.  But, mostly, I was hung over from a long Friday evening happy hour during which myself and a hot Australian blond finished three bottles of wine. Gentlemen, trust me, if she was leaning towards you saying, “Another?” you wouldn’t have said no, either.

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Med school bound TNT Coach Steve H. is training for his first triathlon (a half-Ironman! Steve, are you gonna shave your legs?) as a way to raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Click here to help him reach his $10,000 goal…. Alan and Shayne Culpepper have opened their running shop in Louisville, CO (of  Boulder County), Solepepper Sports. I’m going to visit Brother & Co. in Lafayette later this month and will stop by…. I love how Olympic marathoner Magdalena “Chewy” Lewy-Boulet won the USA Half-Marathon Championships in Houston; and I like how Andrew Carlson came in fourth (setting a PR; this FloTrak video from after the race also tells about how he’s now coached by Greg McMillan and sponsored by Brooks), less than a minute behind winner Meb Keflezighi (ever since I saw Carlson race in Central Park I’ve been a fan). Crazy though to think that the first place finishers won $12,000 each – that’s about $916 per mile…  The USATF announced that the 2009 Men’s Marathon Championships will be run at the ING New York City Marathon. Excellent, as it will (hopefully) bring some of the best American distance runners to my city in November; and frustrating, as I’ll be running the course with Brother this year and once again missing out on quality spectating….I’m looking forward to this weekend’s Bronx Half-Marathon with excitement and nervousness. It will be my first race since the New York City Marathon, and I don’t expect to PR but I would like to finish with a respectable showing. Still trying to figure out what “respectable” adds up to…. My running buddy from my first season with Team in Training, BS, is training for her first triathlon (are you sensing a trend here, people?) and raising money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. If you’re balking at making a donation in these tough economic times, BS argues that “People don’t stop getting cancer when the economy is in a slump.” A sad yet valid point. Click here to help her reach her $3,000 goal…. And, better late than never, I’m linking to Running USA’s 10 Best Moments for U.S Distance Running in 2008. My favorites are #10, #6, and # 2.

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Honestly? I woke up this morning thinking, Well, it would be nice if I ran the whole thing (now that I’m marathon-recovered) and maybe I can match my SI 1/2 time from ’06.

I should have taken it as a good omen when I saw about a dozen of my Team in Training teammates on my way to bagwatch, and when I saw all my coaches there, out to support the Spring season runners.  And, it’s always a good sign when I can feel my excitement mounting as gun time approaches. It doesn’t always mean a good finishing time, but it pretty much guarantees I’ll have fun. Plus, conditions for this year’s Bronx Half-Marathon were good (41 degrees, and none of that predicted precipitation).

The first couple of miles weren’t promising, as we hit times between 11 and 10:30 minutes per mile.  (EN, mind you, is much faster than me and does me a kindness to jog next to me.) The big excitement came when we ran on parts of the Mosholou Parkway, this little spit of a roadway that runs through the Bronx and lower Westchester.  How often is it that a highway closes in your racing honor?  Plus, Husband drives that road twice a day as part of his work commute, so I felt connected to the road (and to Husband). 

Because the course has three out-and-backs, there are plenty of opportunities to see teammates and friends as there is a steady stream of people running towards you.  EN and I got all kinds of cheers from old teammates and coaches, with one coach (the one running Flora London this year) PR’ing today, too. Conversation once again ranged wildly, from politics, religion, and the meaning of life to the fleeting fun of strip bars and googling exes. 


It was just hilly enough to keep it interesting, with sections lined with trees or with classic Bronx apartment buildings.  For about a third of the race (this is a very unscientific estimate here), we were battling a headwind that blew like it was protecting state secrets.  At one point, our old coach saw us and said, “What, were you walking backwards?” and another coach felt compelled to point out, when I slowed to snap their picture, “You’re supposed to be running.” 

Which just goes to show you, I had no intention of even trying to PR when I left the house this morning, otherwise I’d never have been taking pictures along the way.

It didn’t even occur to me until Mile 10 that I could actually PR.  EN and I had been picking up speed with almost every mile (we just felt good), and even if I walked the last 3 miles, I’d have still run a personal best.  At Mile 12, we said we’d pass 50 people before the finish line.  Well, we passed more than that, but I lost count when 200 meters out, EN picked up the pace for real and I started sucking wind so badly he had to remind me to pump my arms.  And then there it was, the finish line, and we crossed it together in 2:12:31.   A fine improvement of 9:56, don’t you agree?

A lot of my other teammates PR’ed today as well, and I’d like to give a big Whoohoo! out to all of them.  You know who you are, kids! (Please brag on yourselves in the Comments.)

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