Posts Tagged ‘new york city half-marathon’

I am so pleased with all of my running buddies’ accomplishments in the NYC Half-Marathon a week from today, I absolutely have to highlight all the race reports out there. I used to do this when I first started my blog, and I don’t know why I ever dropped the habit. I urge you to click thru to your heart’s content, I promise you’ll find much inspiration in these pages.

  • @Lord_Baker ran his third-best time for the distance despite weird tummy behaviors and an outfit inspired by Flashdance. If you don’t know how fast this guy is yet, read his report to be stunned.
  • My teammate from the Green Mountain Relay, AN, blogs most infrequently but when he does he is succinct in his assessments of his performances, and in the laying out of his goals. Read this whole post to see what his PR was at the NYC Half last weekend.
  • @dgerke survives the frigid corrals and goes on to run perhaps the most enjoyable half of his running career. He is also amazingly fast.
  • @tobadwater, another one of my GMR teammates, also ran a stunning PR in the race, then ran 9 miles home. I am starting to feel really proud to know all these fast runners!
  • And for something different–a race report with a ton of photos from a very enthusiastic tourist runner! Welcome to New York City racing, LM… where the amenities are lavish and the sing-alongs free. Thank you,, LM, for reading my blog too.

As a final way to say thank you to my blog readers, to my Twitter followers, and to the universe for the fantastic birthday week I had, I am giving away one burned CD of the playlist I created for my birthday party. That’s right–over 3 hours of excellent, upbeat party tunes. Some are songs you know and love, others night be brand new to you. All you have to do is post a comment with a link to your most recent race report (or, if you aren’t a runner, tell me what one thing you recently did about which you are proud). I’ll pick a winner Tuesday night so comment before then!

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Last weekend was the New York City Half-Marathon (sponsored by Nike). In an earlier post, I complained about the fact there’s no way to pre-qualify for this race, and about the way in which members of the NYRR’s were notified they hadn’t been selected. While I still hold these truths to be self-evident, I was nevertheless looking forward to spectating. The pro field was strong (my faves: Ritz and Catherine the Great) and international in scope; and I could also count on recognizing dozens of running buddies on the course. As schedules would have it, I had to get my long run in on Sunday. So far, I  haven’t found anywhere in Queens where I can get in an unobstructed long run (no way am I dodging traffic for 13 miles), so I knew I’d have to at least head in over the bridge and go up the East River. This made me consider, much to my surprise, about jumping in and running the Half-Marathon course. I could jump in at 0.1 miles, which would enable me to see Dathan and the other elites dash by, and most of the field. But, I have strong opinions against banditing a race, not wanting to take the race amenities and resources from the paid participants, nor to take advantage of all the vounteers and cheering spectators, and also believing that a race run without a bib doesn’t count towards my personal race results, pure & simple. These dog days of summer are getting to me, though, and while logically I know that 13 miles doesn’t even really qualify as a long run in my marathon training, it feels interminable in this humidity. When I decided that I would go against my anti-bandit policy and jump in, it was because I was more afraid of running in the heat all alone than of my guilty, post-race-stealing conscience. 

Early in the AM, I headed into the city with my house keys, Metrocard, and stocked Fuel Belt, determined to tread as lightly as possible on the course. The race course is seven miles in Central Park, and six out through the city, down through Times Square to the West Side Highway to end in Battery Park. I entered the park not really comfortable with my shifty and devious plan, sure that everyone could see I was going to steal the race. But then Ritz came by, in the lead pack, and I was hit with a rush of excitement so strong I almost took off after them. Now antsy, I waited as runners streamed by (I saw one guys with a GMR shirt on), until the 2:20 pace group showed up and I jumped in, looking nervously over my shoulder. The whole time in the park I tried to run behind bunches of runners, in the middle of the course, so race volunteers and officials would be less likely to see that I wasn’t wearing a number. Seriously-I was sure I was going to get thrown off the course and stripped of my NYRR membership card (not that I was carrying it, or any ID, for that matter; if caught, I would identify myself as Jenna Bush). 

By the time we exited the park (which couldn’t have come soon enough-the hills were annoying, and the trees blocked any chance of a breeze, leaving the first seven miles airless and numbing as we all trekked the loop we’ve run on hundreds of times before), I was a little more relaxed. I had come across some training buddies I knew, chatted with a few women who were running their first ever Half, and seen my old TNT coaches cheering from the sidelines like mad. I tried to demurely trot by these cheering squads, hoping they wouldn’t recognize m-since I wasn’t racing I didn’t want to steal any of the encouragement intended for real competitors. In the same vein, I apologized profusely whenever I bumped into anyone with a number, and tried my best to defer to them on the course-I didn’t want to get in the way of their race when I was just there to rack up the miles on the way to November 2nd. Are these attitudes too much? Maybe I took them on to hide the plain fact that I was a hypocrite; stealing the race even though I have so vociferously argued against that very thing in the past.

I ran the last few miles with SR, a TNT teammate from the Winter 2008 season. It was great to catch up with her, and have someone to chat with. I passed MZ, the team captain from our Green Mountain Relay and ran with her for about half a mile; she was in town from San Francisco for work and was a jump-in runner just like me, except without the guilt. My old student (and fast marathon runner) AL was cheering for his teammates on the sidelines, so I trotted over to him for a quick hug & hello. (Props to AL for hugging my sweaty self.) And then, we were at the finish line, just like that. I let SR run ahead and cross the finish line; she had a fantastic race and has gotten so much stronger as a runner since Disney. My training run took me 2:16:51 for 13 miles, about where I wanted to be given the heat. 

Once out of the recovery area, I walked straight to the subway, where I stretched on the ride home. It gave me a taste of what it must be like after the NYC Marathon – all these sweaty runners splayed all over the subway cars, congratulating each other, snacking on potato chips, sipping Gatorade and apologizing for leaving puddles of perspiration on the seats. Man did that AC feel good. I got home, ate, drank, showered, and took a three-hour nap. So did my guilty conscience.

I have to say, I am glad I tried banditing. It’s definitely not for me–I really did feel badly for taking up even the tiniest bit of anything that was intended for the racers. But, at least now when I get on my high horse about it, I can speak from experience.

Here are some race reports by other bloggers. Run Dangerously welcomes a guest blogger, Marathonomy created his own half route, NYC Fly Girl gets in her mileage and her spectating, Kat wears her purple proudly, Runner NYC reviews the music on the course, Famous Ankles gives two fantastic spectator reports (part one has photos of the elites), Trakmaniac at Crazy Bandana races (and bonks) just a week before the San Francisco Marathon, Quinto Sol runs his half in the same model sneaker as Haile Gebreselassie, and Cowboy Hazel sets his speed at “full intensity.”

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Earlier this week they held the lottery for the Nike New York City Half-Marathon and the ING New York City Marathon. Luckily, I wasn’t relying on an entry through the lottery for the full, but unless I wanted to be a charity runner, I had no other options for the half but to leave my participation up to the Fates.

Last year, they were cruel, shutting me out of both the half and the full. I couldn’t help it, I took it personally. It seemed like everyone I knew had gotten in to the half; I was the only one left out. And when my friend JM from Chicago got in to the full, I just knew the deck was stacked. I moped for a week, trying hard to be excited for her but really in my heart feeling like it should have been me. After all, I thought, as I ticked off my higher qualifications, I a) live in this city; b) have been an avid spectator of the event for years; 3) run over the middle passage bridge practically every day; and f) am a member of the NYRR’s. By comparison, JM’s flimsy cred was built on speed, years of athleticism under her belt, a passion for running, and an out-of-state driver’s license. Seriously, folks: what good is an international race if there aren’t some (namely: me) local New Yawkahs in the mix to keep all the interlopers in check?

Once I was done moping, I responded to this unlucky turn the way the best runners respond to any adversity. I rose from the ashes of my defeat and said, fuck ’em, I’m running my nine qualifying races now so no durn for’ner can take away my rightful spot among the 40,000 competitors in 2008! (Never mind that I could have run for Team for Kids or Fred’s Team with a fundraising entry; I don’t look good in lime green or orange.) So I showed up at the 2007 race and cheered my guts out for the fabulous JM. I also ran my nine; and this November 2nd I’ll be racing over my city’s bridges and through her avenues with a whole bunch of French, Dutch, Italian, and Chicagoan (apparently) marathoners.

But this year, once again, the Fates governing the raffle barrel spitefully turned their backs on me for the Nike NYC Half-Marathon. I was not selected to be one of the thousands of runners who get to tear through the streets of Manhattan, in hot pursuit of the world-class athletes who get to actually toe the line at 6 AM that day. I suppose there are some folks who accept this, easy come easy go, but that’s not me. I am disappointed. There, I’ve said it. I am pouting over a theoretically fair selection process that would have only been truly fair (in my mind) if I’d been selected.

My disappointment would have, um, dissipated quickly if it hadn’t been for the form letter I received from the New York Road Runners via email on Monday informing me of my No-Entry status. I quote:

I hope you will still visit New York, whether in August or at another time. We host races in New York City almost every weekend…. [yadda yadda]… For complete information about all New York Road Runners races and membership, go to the NYRR’s website at…” etc. etc.

An earlier part of the letter went on to describe how if I lived outside the U.S. or New York, I could purchase a tour package for my guaranteed entry. Couldn’t they at least compose and send out a separate email for their members who were shut out of the race, maybe something that included an insider joke, or encouraged us all to volunteer, or to show up and cheer for the elites and the pack? Maybe I expect too much; maybe I should thank them for bringing Deena, Magda and Blake to meet us, and just shut up and sit down. But I can’t help but wishing that us card-carrying local runners, who spend hundreds of dollars each year on NYRR race registration fees, were treated as members of the club, rather than as just another possible tourist who wants to run through the Big Apple.

(Done with my sour grapes now. You know I’ll be there as a spectator, supporting my friends who got in or are running for charity, having a blast, and trying to catch a glimpse of whichever elites they can get to race this thing so damn close to the Olympics.)

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