Posts Tagged ‘half-marathon grand prix’

I post this race report of the Staten Island Half-Marathon concerned that you are all going to roll your eyes and say, “Here she goes again, we’ve heard this song before.” Granted, my nearly uninterrupted stream of PR’s could seem a bit repetitive. But isn’t that the kind of repetition we all want in our running? 

Two hours before my alarm was set to go off, I was wide awake, fretting over the challenge which lay before me. How on earth was I going to break 1:53:34 today? It was a Charlie Brown Argh Moment, if ever there was one. 

Finally, finally 6 AM came and I could leap up with purpose, distract myself with race preparations. I cabbed it to the Staten Island Ferry Terminal, where I was meeting EN and his girlfriend AG (who was there to cheer) at 7:15. The terminal was full of runners, which was a pretty [cool] sight. I also ran into one of my TNT coaches, SH, and we all trooped onto the ferry en masse. I ate my breakfast (whole wheat English muffin with almond butter and apple jam) and drank my coffee and became decidedly non-chatty. I am a nervous talker, but apparently I’d entered a whole new realm of pre-race jitters. 

After we’d gotten our bibs and joined the TNT base camp (EN is mentor captain), we went for a very easy 10 minute warm-up run, then stretched. I’ve never done this before a race before, always figuring it was better to conserve my energy for the course, but today I decided to move the warm up out of Mile 1, since I needed to run strong from the start if I was to PR again–my first mile pace couldn’t lag more than 15 seconds. 

As EN and I stood in our corral, he generously offered an alternative race goal: let’s just run it as we feel it, have fun, and not try to PR. Even though this was an unacceptable plan for me, simply having him put it out there without judgment relaxed me enough so I could focus on what I needed to do to hold our goal pace of between 8:33 and 8:38 per mile, which would bring us in just under 1:53. Modest improvement: it’s all I dared ask. 

And, we were off, as luck would (not) have it, I somehow brushed the wrong button on my Garmin and didn’t end up starting my watch until about 30 seconds or so into the race. Another Charlie Brown Argh Moment, as I was totally looking forward to recording my first race on little G exactly. But finally I got him going, and just hit the lap button at each mile marker to record my splits, knowing Mile 1 would be the only one off. 

Even though conditions were much more hospitable than at the Queens Half (60 degrees and 65% humidity compared with 73 degrees and 83% humidity), nevertheless the bright sun beating down, coupled with the late 9:40 AM start, bothered me the first five miles or so–I even came away with sunburned shoulders and nose, despite applying sun block (wrinkles, no thanks). I was also a little dehydrated, and a little hungry–I ate breakfast too early. Gatorade didn’t show up on this course until Mile 4, which felt late. (This season I’ve been insistent on “Gatorade only” during my long runs and half-marathons. I think it actually maintains my hydration more effectively because I’m not diluting the electrolytes.) After I drank that first 8 ounces of Gatorade, though, I felt much better, and was much less affected by the sun, although we did run in the shade at every opportunity. If I do say so myself, I’ve developed quite an efficient water station technique over the years, and lose very little time drinking and eating. EN, on the other hand, slowed down every time to drink his water, and had to burst his speed to meet me up ahead. I felt for him, surely that uneven pace was exhausting.  He commented later via email, specifically for Pigtails Flying:

I have to learn how to drink water while running.  At every water station, I would deftly maneuver around the crowds, grab the water and slow down while hydrating. All the while, TK maintained her aggressive pace, forcing me to sprint to catch up; the uneven tempo finally took its toll around Mile 9, where I could feel exhaustion creeping in. 

The miles seemed to zip by. Part of that impression is surely due to what I remember of the course, which I ran two years ago in 2:22:27. At that race, I simply spent more time at each mile. The segments along the water, through the warehouses, and the out and back all loomed as endless in my mind, when in actuality EN and I handily picked the middle miles off, 8:00, 8:02, 8:04, etc. Mile 8 to 9 was one massive hill, and I motivated my way up it by looking for someone attractive in front of me to ogle. (I think I found the only hot guy on the course, but I can’t be sure as he powered up the hill and I never saw his face. He did have fine arms, however.) That was our slowest mile, at 8:46. 

Mile 10: I sang a little “chicka bow bow” (split–7:57). It’s at this point I quickly did the math and pondered how fast we’d have to run to break 1:50, instead of just breaking 1:53. Mile 11: picking up the pace as much as EN will let me, still feeling like I’ve got plenty to give. EN was hurting at the pace I set, but it was time to reverse our roles from Brooklyn. I urged him on, reminding him that his girlfriend, AG, was waiting at the finish line to give him a big kiss and a homemade banana walnut muffin. Mile 12: ready to go! I’d been steadily picking it up, but when we made the final turn into the straightaway, I though of my declining ladders at 6:40 pace and knew I had it. It was definitely a Hells yeah! kind of moment. EN and I played our How Many game from the Bronx Half, and passed about 36 runners in the last half-mile, but I couldn’t be sure because we both stopped counting. I think we ran the last mile in about 7 minutes, because when I looked at my watch at Mile 12, I thought, there was no way we were going to finish sub 1:50 unless we really laid the hammer down. (Which, apparently we did.) 

EN and I crossed the finish line together, per tradition. It’s possible I knocked into a couple of runners, which is bad manners, I know. (In my defense, a pet peeve elaboration: runners who pull up before they cross the finish line. Don’t they understand that every second counts? If not, then A: Why are you here? and B: Get out of my way!) No swells of emotion for me this time, I just was feeling like a bad ass tough chick. Gave a few hollers of “whoo hoo,” EN and I gave each other a big sweaty hug of congratulations–for running a strong race, for completing the Grand Prix cycle, for running dozens and dozens of miles together. The next time we run a half together, we’ve decided, it will be to break his PR, which I think is 1:44-something.  I really like EN’s take on the event, again from his comments written for this post:

TK later told me I bitched like a little girl but nevertheless, I’m proud of the effort…we set out with a challenging goal and kicked its posterior.  We executed our race plan perfectly, had a ball along the way and started our finishing kick with 1/2 a mile to go.  We completed the Grand Prix with panache and now 26.2 awaits. 

In two shakes we were flopped out on the grass overlooking the water, two cold beers cracked open, toasting all of the above. AG showed up with her banana nut muffins and bubbly personality, and after a good stretching-out we were on our way back to the ferry. It took me nearly two hours to get home, but it was good chill out time, I even napped for a second, my head on AG’s shoulder as we headed uptown on the 1 train. 

It wasn’t until I turned on the home computer and checked my results on nyrr.org that I knew my official time – 1:48:50 (averaging 8:18 minutes per mile). Not only did I break another personal record by nearly 5 minutes, I broke 1:50 (which seemed so far-fetched 24 hours earlier it hadn’t even been suggested as a goal), I came in 24th out of 218 women in my age group, and 176th out of 1429 women overall (not quite in the top 10%, but darn near close to it). 

Oh yeah, and I can check off another one of my Five Worthy Goals.

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Friends, I’ve done it again. If I weren’t so happy, and proud, I’d be embarrassed at my streak of PR’s, but fuck that. I ran today’s half-marathon in 1 hour, 53 minutes and 34 seconds: now is the time to revel.

All week I was waiting for my right leg to feel strong again, for that warm, tender spot in my hamstring to go back to a painless normal. Alas, I woke up this morning still not feeling 100%, so I reset my goals for the race. Instead of breaking 2 hours, I just wanted to beat my last PR (set in Brooklyn) of 2:06:02, which would have required a 9:30 pace. I knew I could do that, and after all, I thought, there’s still Staten Island next month to go for the sub-two. Another part of the original plan that got scrapped was my cheering section. Husband and Matilda were going to be there, but he’s been sick with some back to school bug and sorely needed the rest.

I arrived at the race with just the right amount of time to drop my bag, empty my bladder, and stretch in my corral, all without rushing or stressing. The staging area seemed much less crowded than when I ran Brooklyn, or even The Bronx. I suppose the out-of-the way location, and the tougher, hilly course kept away the less-serious runners. (There were 3,054 finishers today, as opposed to the 5,832 who finished at Brooklyn.) Because of this, once they pushed aside the barriers from within the pens, I was able to move up closer to the start, and hopefully align myself with some faster runners out of the gate.

Nevertheless, I knew the first couple of miles were going to be slow simply because the course was narrow. I’d heard it was picturesque, through the neighborhoods of College Point, but I hardly remember a bit of the scenery. Mile 1 took about 9:45, and Mile 2 9:15, but once I hit my stride somewhere in the middle of Mile 3, I was so focused on what I was there to do that almost everything else dropped away. It was a humid morning (87%), my clothes were drenched halfway through, but again: by Mile 3 I was only vaguely aware of the conditions, and I never once thought they were slowing me down. I watched my splits at each marker, expecting to run 9:15’s, then realizing I was running 9’s and they felt fine. Soon after that (Mile 5? Mile 6?) I was going faster than 9’s. I can only assume each mile got progressively faster (by seconds), since I finished the last 1.1 miles in at most 8 minutes.

Scattered impressions: running through an aroma cloud I can only assume had wafted from a nearby bakery, which made me dream of Linzer tarts, croissants, and jelly donuts. Giving up somewhere around Mile 6 at checking my pace and instead just letting my body go with the sub-9’s it wanted. Realizing at Mile 9 that I was beating the clock, since the net time on my watch had officially dipped lower than the time on the NYRR’s digital clocks. (I have no recollection of running the tenth mile at all, since I was so pumped by this.) Looking up, always (normally I watch the ground when I run). Running the tangents. Being completely contained within myself, but also feeling like I was watching the race from ten feet above the ground. Doing the math over and over in my head to reassure myself that I was not only going to break 2 hours but I was going to break 1:55. Hills–I know they were there, and I’m sure I adjusted my form for them, but none of them were a struggle. Maintaining my form was where I pinpointed my focus, repeating to myself over and over Abs down. Collarbone up. Going for it at Mile 12, gently picking up the pace, cued in to my breathing and right hamstring, until I saw that finish line and told myself (one word for each step until I crossed) Strong, Beautiful.

I crossed the finish line with my arms up over my head, and I gave myself a huge cheer. I couldn’t stop running I was so excited so I zigzagged through the chute for a few seconds, then dashed over to some guy with a spray hose and let him mist me. I was soaked before anyway! Then it all sunk in and of course I cried for a second or two, no tears but just that emotional release that comes when I allow myself to believe what I just accomplished. And finally, the mechanics: Gatorade, bagel, bag watch, chip return, finding friends (I saw a fellow polar bear; TW from my Green Mountain Relay van–who was running on literally three hours of sleep as he raced Reach the Beach this weekend; a ton of TNTer’s, and my speed training partner, DT–who also PRed Yeah D!)

A shout out to Romy and Jimmy, two people I just met today. Romy (from Chicago) ran nearly the whole race at my shoulder, we were on pace together perfectly. She reminded me of Deena Kastor with her little blonde haricut, her trim physique and long strides. We acknowledged each other, and after the race I found her in the finish area and she told me how even my form and pace were. That was great to hear; even better to hear once I realized she’d qualified for Boston at my first marathon (Phoenix 2007). Jimmy was my seat-mate on the bus coming back from the race, an ultrarunner who ran his first ultra on a bet. Um, yeah. He also lives in Woodside (the neighborhood right next to Sunnyside), runs over the 59th Street Bridge as often as I do (I guess I’ll share it with him), and is going to hook me up with some long run routes over other bridges. Once again, my faith in the essential goodness of runners is affirmed.

[To EN: I missed you and lamented that you wouldn’t be there next to me talking up a storm, but when I finished I could imagine you saying, “You’re in the best shape of your life.” Thanks for that, friend. See you at Staten Island, yes?]

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Has anyone registered for the 5-mile NYRR Anniversary Run in Central Park?  It’s on June 4th, at 5:30 in the morning!  I’m definitely running it, in fact I’ve already signed up.  Here are five reasons (one for each mile) you all should, too:

  1. It’s a NYC Marathon qualifying race.
  2. It’s free to register. (FREE, people!)
  3. Five miles before work!!  Five miles of superiority!!
  4. Celebrating our [club’s] anniversary together.
  5. Another chance to prove what a crazy runner you really are.

The Anniversary Run is a weekday race.  There’s something very summery about weekday races, as they are official, on-the-clock indications that our recreation has pushed its way out of the weekend window, and is now filling in the extra hours of daylight we all get during the week.  Corporate Challenges, the AHA Wall Street Run, Media Challenges… I’ll race ’em all!

Home from work today in under 30 minutes (29:53; 8:32 pace, 3.5 miles) for the first time ever.  Kind of a landmark event.  I’ve been waiting for it to happen, I knew it would come.  Of course, I was helped along by leaving work as late as I did — there is considerably less traffic at 7:20 PM, I probably saved 2 minutes not waiting at intersections. It still means, though, that rather than my goal being to get home under 33 minutes, I’ll now be shooting for under 30.  In the scheme of a runner’s world, I’m still not fast. But, I can feel myself becoming less slow.  My successes here, whether quotidian or personal bests, are a treasured consolation on a bad day.

All this without regular tempo runs, speed workouts, or hill training. Naughty, naughty me. Let me pull down my old Runner’s World magazines… I’m looking for the issue that presents Ryan Hall’s half-marathon training plan, as adapted for mere mortals. Here it is, on the top shelf, August 2007. What I like about this plan is that the weekly mileage never exceeds 46 miles. And oh yeah — I also like that Ryan Hall did it (or something like it).

If I follow the 10-week plan for the July 27th New York City Half-Marathon, I’ll have to start this Tuesday with Week 1. However, I don’t yet know if I’ll get in to that race through the lottery.  Really, I was planning to use this training program for the Queens Half, in August, but a quick scroll through the NYRR race calendar shows that it went from scheduled (8/23) to not even on the calendar.  WTF. By the time Staten Island Half rolls around in September, I’ll be waist-high in training for the NYC Marathon.  Considering all of this, I’m going to stick with Plan A and expect the Queens Half sometime in August, and train for that. 

On my run home today, my wandering brain took me through the following scenario.  I meet my running goals for the year (complete the Half-Marathon Grand Prix; run a sub-2-hour half; run a sub-4:30 NYC) and buy myself the self-promised Garmin Forerunner 405.  It’s a crisp November afternoon, and I’m heading home, on a recovery run.  My Garmin happily tracks my every move from midtown office to Sunnyside coop.  And what do I discover upon my arrival? The route I thought was 3.5 miles, for years, from my tracks on gmap-pedometer, is actually 3.3, (or worse, 3.1 miles) and all the “fast” runs home suddenly convert to chump runs.  For sure that would suck.  But, how bad could it be, because if that Garmin is on my wrist, it means that I still ran at the right level to meet my goals, even if my jiggity-jigs weren’t quite as jiggy as I thought.

How bad could it be, indeed.

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Ah yes, a fabulous case of deja vu.  Once again, got to the race just hoping to cross the finish line a minute or two under last best time, I was thinking 2:10-ish. Admittedly, I was a little nervous because of my recent bout with exhaustion, having only run once in the past (I am so ashamed) eight days.  And, the Brooklyn Half-Marathon course is fantastically obnoxious — flatness for the first nine miles, then non-stop hills for the last four — which made me indecisive about my race strategy. But, and I can’t wait to tell you: I finished this half in 2:06:02, a PR by more than six and a half minutes.

Now that I’ve blurted out my best news, I can settled down to my race report.  Husband gets mad props for getting up at 7 AM to drive me to Coney Island, because otherwise I’d have had to get up at an ungodly hour and endure nearly two hours on the subway to get to the boardwalk.  The start was gorgeous, next to the yellow beach and the glittering ocean. NYRR has begun lining us up by corralls (based on your previous race times) to ease congestion, and that seemed to go very smoothly.  The two-plus miles run on the boardwalk, though, were treacherous.  I’m not kidding–EN and I easily saw half a dozen folks take face-plants as their shoes got caught on the loose or rotting boards. Yikes.  Even though it was scenic, I was relieved when we finally got onto Ocean Avenue. These first few miles EN and I were shooting for 10-minute miles, but they ended up averaging around 10:20’s.  But, out speed picked up on the pavement, and we ran consistently between 9:45’s and 9:30’s almost until the park (around mile 9).

I was really looking forward to the half-way point, at Ocean Avenue and Avenue J, because that’s where my family would be cheering for me.  You see, my Nana’s sister lives right there, and my folks were bringing my Nana from Hicksville to come see me run, with a whole boisterious coterie of Italian-American extended family members in tow. Well, we saw and heard them from more than a block away. I pulled out from the pack and started waving, they recognized me right off and went bonkers. I was half-expecting them to be banging pots and pans, like we used to do on New Year’s Eve.  I ran right for my Nana, since I just wanted to give her a big hug and kiss.  It was like my wedding — the whole group of them were videotaping and snapping photographs as if I was walking down the aisle, god bless ’em. Then, it was right back into the stream of runners. I was elated from seeing my family for at least a couple miles. [After the race, some guy I’d never met before said to me, “That was quite a cheering squad you had on Ocean Avenue!” And I later learned that apart from my mom, Nana and aunt, everyone else stayed and cheered until the last walker went by. Now that’s fabulous!]

Before we knew it we were in Prospect Park, grimacing at the prospect of the hills that awaited us (and grimacing at my bad pun?). We passed our TNT coaches easily four times, always a welcome distraction. Now, probably, those hills still would have sucked, but maybe not as badly, if we hadn’t been posting 9-minute miles. At least, they sucked for me, not so sure for EN who kept chattering away as if I wasn’t completely panting like a fat man who just climbed ten flights of steps. I think it was mile 10-11, or maybe 11-12, that is mostly downhill; that one we ran close to an 8:30 pace. Apart from that, the only other good thing about the park leg were all the cheering hipsters (I didn’t know cheering was ironic). The hills came one after the other and it was impossible for me to catch my breath the last mile and a half. Of course, if I’d been moderating my effort level on the hills, I probably wouldn’t have been that out of breath, but by mile 10 we’d decided to go for broke (real scientific race strategy, aye?) and I could feel I wasn’t going to bonk or anything like that. Just pant, wheeze, and otherwise force my lungs to capacity. Four times EN asked me if I was ready to kick, and it wasn’t until the 100M mark where I trusted myself to.  At this point, for me, the only benefit in kicking was that it would get the whole wheezing/panting thing over with sooner.

And finally, we crossed the finish line! I couldn’t speak; fuck, I could barely breathe. Gatorade. Baggage. Dry shirt. Stretch.  Yay!  We met some former TNT teammates for pizza at this awesome joint called Enzo’s (we just explored & found it nearby). Then: subway, hot shower, Husband, and dog.

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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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I Am an Ingrate

Because only an ingrate would complain about how unimaginative and unattractive the designs are for the Half-Marathon Grand Prix tee shirts.  I was hoping, when I got the tee shirt for the Manhattan Half, that it wasn’t the first in a themed series.  But my hopes were deashed when I picked up my Bronx Half bib and chip from the NYRR brownstone last night.  Here, Matilda models the Manhattan tee.


Now, I know you all can’t yet read my dog’s thoughts by the way she cocks her head, but take my word for it: even she doesn’t like it.  The Bronx tee is basically the same, with Bronx written inside the shape of the borough, but in green.  See, like I said, boring.

EN texted me earlier: “its the perfect throw away t for the nyc marathon.”

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While I was in Florida for the Disney World Marathon earlier this month, I had plenty of time to thin about what kind of goals I would set for my running self in 2008.  A few of these were ostensibly fine-tuned while I was actually running the marathon, even though by mile 22 I was convinced the only goal I needed for the whole year was to just cross the current, most iniment finish line.  Without further ado, my goals for 2008.  (Never say I’m not willing to put myself on the line.)

1. Complete the New York Road Runner’s Half-Marathon Grand Prix.  The first half I ever ran was Staten Island in 2006, and it was a revelation for me, an exercise in faith-building, almost.  Ever since then, I’ve always been game for any half offered by the NYRR’s but never really made the time for them, nor did I maintain the mileage base necessary to run so many in one year.  But, I can feel it, it’s gonna happen in oh-eight. Hey — I’m already one-fifth of the way there!

 2. Run a sub-2-hour half-marathon.  I’ve run the distance in 2:11 during one of my long training runs for the Disney World Marathon, so I believe a sub-2-hour half is within my grasp, but I’ll definitely have to work at it (and pick the right race).  I’m seriously thinking about trying out the adapted Ryan Hall training program that Runner’s World published in 2007.  More on this in future posts.

3. Maintain a mileage base of 8 miles.  By which I mean, on any given Saturday, I can go out and run 8 miles and have that be my minimum long run distance. So far, I’ve been in marathon recovery so I haven’t held myself to this goal, but I suppose I’ll start this weekend (in the Poconos, no less).

4. Finish the ING New York City Marathon under 4:30.  Exactly how much under will be sorted out later in the year once I can see how much my speed & strength improves over the next six months, but I am pretty confident I can shave another 6 minutes off my marathon time, even with the more challenging NYC course.

5. Qualify for the 2009 NYC Marathon.  I should have no problem getting in my 9 NYRR races again this year. 

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Quite as scheduled, but not at all as planned, I ran the first of the five half-marathons in the New York Road Runner’s Grand Prix series, the Manhattan Half-Marathon.  I’ve wanted to run the circuit of half-marathons for two years now, but only this year, 2008, have I set it as one of my running goals for the year.

So, despite having just run the Diseny World Marathon two weeks ago, last night I arranged with EN to meet at 7:45 am at 5th Avenue and East 84th Street.  I laid out my clothes and packed a change of dry clothes to change into before going to brunch.   I drank glasses of water.  I ate a bag of microwave popcorn.  And, I set my alarm for 6 a.m.  I swear.

Well, at 7:51 am I woke up feeling great, until it hit me that I was supposed to be outside Central Park six minutes ago.  One minute later, my Blackberry rings, it’s EN. I promise him I’ll be there before the race starts at 8:30.

I dress in a hurry, grab a Gu, a Diet Pepsi and enough cash to pay a cab to Bangladesha nd back, and dash out the door.  I meet EN at 8:30 on the dot, caffeinated and not at all anxious about the 13.1 miles stretching out ahead of me (no time for anxiety, apparently).  As I’m pinning my number on, we hear the starting gun.  We scooted into the line of runners at the flag for the six-minute milers, laughing that this is the only way we’d ever get to start this close to the starting line.

Two familiar loops of Central Park and 2 hours and 40 minutes later, we crossed the finish line.  During the race, we’d talked about running, TNT, work, dating, marriage &(um) running.  We’d also walked at least two miles throughout the course, usually up the hills, putting our cares about finishing times aside in light of our incomplete marathon recovery, just wanting to get a chip time and avoid injury.

I did something I’d never done before but have always wanted to do: I danced across the finish line, doing some sort of wavy, wacky boogie-woogie as I trotted along the 102nd Street transverse. It felt good, and earned me a few hoots from the sparse crowd.

 This was a different kind of race for me.  While EN and I made a sincere effort to launch into a (relative) finishing kick, passing 30 runners in the last three-quarters of a mile, it was more about enjoying the company, spotting as many TNT teammates as possible, and feeling good.  Truly, the conversation was some of the best I’ve ever had while running, companionable and even.  While I didn’t cross the finish line feeling like I usually do (that is, with nothing left in the tank, completely panting, and victorious), I was happy, smiling with the knowlegde I’d just done something purely fun.  And, of course: one down, four to go!

Post-race: brunch (onion & lox omelette with half a bagel & cream cheese.  Hot chocolate), then home for a snoozy woozy warm nap. And, oh yeah, I launched this blog.

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