Posts Tagged ‘NYC 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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It’s my birthday week on the blog, which means I’m going to post every day, Sunday through Saturday. This is the first post of the week. My actual birthday is Friday.

This morning I woke up when most of the other people who were up at that hour were stumbling to bed: 5:30 AM on a Sunday is the hour of golfers, runners (racers or people running long in July and August), and people who party on Red Bull.

I was heading in to Central Park to spectate the NYC Half-Marathon since the elite field was superb, and I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to catch such talent doing that thing they do best, live and in the flesh. The subway service changes conspired to get me there late, and the NYRR was very strict about who had access to the starting line; since I didn’t have a racer’s wristband I wasn’t granted entry. So I just took entry: I was the lady in mauve corduroys and a black puffy coat clambering up the stone wall and hopping the wire fence at 96th Street around 7:15 AM. But soon enough I met up with @ericasara and @FitChickNYC. I’d never met Fit Chick before, so it was a treat to put a name and face with the Twitter handle. While we were waiting for the race to start I snapped this picture with my Blackberry, it’s the area where the elites were hopping around and the lead vehicle was gearing up. There was a Very Serious Vibe going on, with lots of NYRR people barking orders. I love this behind-the-scenes crap.

It was impossible to take pictures or even really pick the elites out at the start, they were all smushed together and just two feet away from us. Bear with me as I add all the crappy Blackberry photos I took today to this blog post. After some light debate about what is an appropriate cheer for runners at Mile 0.01 of a half-marathon (surely “looking strong” isn’t right), we strolled across the lower half of the reservoir to pick up the elites at West Drive and 87th Street, except we missed them by about 2 minutes. I immediately turned around and headed back to the East Drive to try and spot them at Mile 6.5ish. I had some great memories of watching the Men’s Olympic Marathon Trials in 2007; I crossed back and forth nearly eight times during that circuit course race. The trials were right before I started my blog so I never wrote about it, but that is one of the specific moments I point to when I explain how I first understood the excitement and drama of the marathon.

When I saw the men come by this time, I was disappointed to see how far back Ryan, Meb and Abdi were. I missed Galen all together, but I did give a big shout for Jason. Then we all kicked the dirt for a while until the women showed up, and it was nice to see Kara tight in the lead pack. I was curious how the rest of the race would play out, and tried to keep up on Twitter as I

zoomed downtown in a yellow cab to catch the last 200 meters of the race at Franklin Street and the West Side Highway.$26 later, I arrived just in time to hop up on a concrete barrier to cheer as Mo Farah and Gebre Gebremariam sprinted by in a battle to the finish. And Galen! Mo took the win from Geb in the last meters, it was very exciting, and Galen was a solid third place. What a tickle, this track star placing in this world-class half-marathon ahead of his distance running compatriots. Later I learned that he ran a time which qualifies him for the Olympic Marathon Trials; wonder if he’ll go for it at this distance or if he’ll stick with his distance track events.

In an eerie echo of Boston 2009 (when Americans took third place in the men’s and women’s races), Kara finished third place, behind Caroline Rotich and Edna Kiplagat. This time though she didn’t look nearly as destroyed as she looked at the finish in Boston. Her finish was 2:06 off her PR (1:06:57) and 34 seconds off her time at Lisbon which was her tune-up before Boston in 2009. I am looking forward to cheering her on from my usual spot at the finish line in Copley Square next month; I still want to see her win a major marathon.

After the hullabaloo of the pros coming by, I stayed and cheered until I couldn’t stop my teeth from chattering anymore. I saw RJR, CB and EN come by, but I had to throw in the towel because I was chilled to the core. It took me two hours to warm up! No doubt it was a great day for racing but as a spectator, we had it rough. While I always like seeing the elites, and I was glad I was there to give a few of my friends a boost, I think I would have been just as happy watching the race on my laptop; I would have seen a more thorough story of how it all played out with the elites, at least.

All in all, once I’d defrosted, I realized it had been quite a day in the world of distance running, and in the world of TK’s running. As I watched the pack start to come across the finish line, I remembered the best part of cheering at races. I love the way it stirs up my own desire to race, and perform. I love that moment, when the excitement and expectation for a race ignites within me, and I turn my primary focus to training; I love when it takes over my life. By the time I’m done cheering at Boston, I should be ready to dive in to base building for my Fall marathon. Soon, it will be my turn to own the roads.

But for today, congratulations to all the racers who owned the streets of Manhattan and finished the NYC Half-Marathon today. I know RJR set a wicked PR, and Galen has perhaps given himself a taste of what another kind of racing could be like for him.

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My long-time readers (are there any of you left?) will recall when I used to gather the links of other bloggers’ race reports after I ran a local race. This NYC Half-Marathon was such an exceptional event for so many of my friends that I will recognize their achievments with a round-up… EG is a friend through blogging and Twitter who ran the NYC Half as a final tune-up for the Boston Marathon; she was paced by our friend ES and discovered that sub-8’s are actually “chat pace” for her. But EG, was that before of after you spilled water up your nose?… I haven’t seen JG in far too long; he runs in Westchester but races in NYC with the Warren Street club. He came in second in his age group, and kindly gives me a kind shout-out in his review. If you’re into video, here’s something neat, too… RJR, blogger and 2009 Green Mountain Relay teammate, reflects on about spectating the course. He took pictures of the elites and cheered on his lady love, who finished 8 minutes faster than me. NICE!… CB, who I just met this year, also had an incredible race (PRing). Scroll down a bit to get to the report, but his photos are pretty cool–you can see  how fast he’s going… Lady Southpaw writes and performs music just for runners, and she was rocking out along the side of the course for us runners… Another woman I know through Twitter, PS, tweets and blogs from the Bay Area, where she works as a cameraperson for the TV series Glee. Here is the first part of her race report, which details the final 36 hours leading up to the race… One of my Team Fox teammates is TR. He loves red wine as much as I do and is always good for a laugh and a big ole meal. Click over to see the header photo on his blog, we don’t call him the “Funner Runner” for nothing!… The relentlessly chipper blogger over at Early Morning Runner experienced the race from the curb as well, here is her report along with pictures of the elites and her scrummy-looking breakfast…  Speedy Midwestern transplant MP set four (yes, 4) new PRs in a single half-marathon. That’s got to be somekind of PR-setting PR, right?…

Congratulations one and all, and thank you to everyone who cheered the racers on. If you’ve written a report of the New York City Half-Marathon but your blog is not represented in this post, please add a link in the comments!

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NYC Half-Marathon

Last night, I had two dreams. The first was that in the middle of the New York City Half-Marathon, I decided to take a different route to the finish line, one that was less crowded, since I am so familiar with the city streets and I was tired of the crowds. It was a beautiful run unimpeded by cars and pedestrians. Except, when I crossed the finish line, I was disqualified for going off course. The second dream was stranger, and more disturbing. I dreamed my dog’s paw broke off! There wasn’t a lot of blood and she didn’t really complain about it but nevertheless it was heartbreaking and we put the paw on ice. This morning, while going through my pre-race ablutions and rituals, I got a bloody nose that lasted a few minutes. Add these foreboding signs to the ominous projected race times McMillan’s calculator spit out at me (based on my 15k PR, 1:50:21 & based on 4M PR, 2:03:27), and the best I hoped for was an average pace of 8:40’s. I set Little G’s Virtual Partner to 8:40, then, as I waited for the port-a-potty.

Dear Readers, I may never learn. When it comes to racing, sometimes I am the last person to believe in myself.  I require convincing, with hard evidence. That makes me a bit of a pain in the ass before big races.

Miles 1 through 4 were the toughest, as I was scrounging around for an even pace. It takes me about four miles to warm up these days. That must have something to do with the way my engine burns–so that I can run fastest at the end of longer races (that’s my theory and I’m sticking to it).  The splits for Miles 1 through 4 were: 8:26-8:12-8:19-8:28 (this was my slowest mile). At this point I was thinking grimly, you’re gonna blow up, you can’t maintain this pace for 13.1 miles, TK. I tried to slow down, I swear I did, but my body was having none of it. I did stay true to my rudimentary race strategy, which was: be conservative in Central Park, except for the downhills (where you will push). I also struck upon a mantra that I would return to throughout the race: The further the distance, the stronger the woman. Oh Miles 5 & 6? 8:14 and 8:19, and that would be the last time my pace saw 8 minutes for the remainder of the race.

By Mile 7 I started to get excited about exiting the park. The sun was shining, I had on my fierce running sunglasses (they don’t look superhot on me but they are so light and cut glare extremely well), and even though I feared I was going to bonk (I took an espresso-flavored Hammer gel around Mile 6) I had basically surrendered to the pace and decided to just see how far I could ride it out. Oh and also–I reset my VP to 8:15. Just, you know, in case. Mile 7: 7:59

At Mile 8 we were out of the park, and this is my favorite part of the race, running down wide Seventh Avenue, taking up a whole lane of the street all for myself, and pounding out that slight downhill that basically carries us to the finish. The second half of my race strategy was to run as fast as I thought I could sustain once I exited the park, given the terrain. The music on this part of the route perked me up, and along with the cheering spectators was enough to put a smile on my face all the way to Mile 10. The smile also helped me play my little mental game which was: don’t calculate your new potential finishing time until you get to Mile 10. I was taking in about five sips of Gatorade at nearly every hydration station now, since the heat (relative to my training thus far) combined with my serious effort was making me quite sweaty.  Miles 8 thru 10 shook out at 7:54, 7:48 and 7:45.

At Mile 10, I did quick math. If I ran the next three miles at an 8-minute pace, I would PR by more than a minute.  What the? Quick systems check: um, yeah, I think I can hold this pace for another three miles. Let’s go for it! The sweet familiarity of nearly every step of this race surely contributed to what happened next. I have run around Central Park, and down the West Side Highway, more times that I can remember. I know every slope of the big loop, and I have memorized the Greenway’s progression from Midtown to Chelsea to the West Village to Soho to the Financial District. Another home team advantage I have is recognizing people on the sidelines and on the course. TNT coaches and teammates, Twitter buddies, Team Fox officers–they all decorated my great sweep through Manhattan with their brand of greeting.

The last time I ran this race in 2008, it was in the 90’s with something like 90% humidity. I was running as a bandit, as a long training run for the New York City Marathon. I ran the last half with SA (from Team in Training), and crossed the finish line with MZ (from my Green Mountain Relay team). This time, I deliberately chose to race it by myself (EN had offered to run it with me)–I knew this performance had to be mine and mine alone in order for me to confidently race the Virgin London Marathon in a month. The further the distance, the stronger the woman. I wasn’t bonking but I was definitely tiring a little. I kept pushing, and honestly the last three miles went by quicker than I thought they would. I was working as hard as I could but I wasn’t feeling that burn, that depletion like I felt at the end of the Baltimore Half last October. Perhaps the last three miles went by quickly because (for me) I was MOVING. Miles 11, 12, 13 and the last 0.21 split as 7:54, 7:52, 7:49 and 1:33 (7:33 pace). Yes, the last seven miles were all under 8 minutes each. (This just blows my mind. I will repeat that to myself as I drift off to sleep tonight, with a smile on my face.)

I crossed that finish line with my arms up, whooping loud & clear Amen Sister! I clicked off Little G, spotted Mary Wittenberg greeting the finishers (how awesome), and did a little jumpy dance and applauded myself. I am not being disingenuous nor self-deprecating when I tell you that I would not have bet money on this horse to PR today, that’s for sure, but Sweet Jesus I am a believer now. My official NYRR net time is 1:46:36, a full 2 minutes and 14 seconds faster than my previous half-marathon PR. My average pace of 8:09 was 9 seconds per mile faster, too.

What a great start to my birthday week. Indeed! Please excuse me as I am  now going to have some ice cream.

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