I really couldn’t have asked for today to go much better than it did, well except for maybe my run to be about a 90 seconds faster! Regardless, I’m still on such a high from this morning’s run, I’m surprised I’m not passed out on the couch already.
|Staying warm in my Stevens Ethnic Student Council Unity
sweatshirt from 2005 that will be donated
This morning started off a little rocky; I had a stomach ache and ended up running a little behind schedule. However, fortunately the stomach ache passed and we drove into the city so we got to 72nd Street in 15 minutes! I was able to meet up with some of teammates and then hurry into our corrals to wait about 50 minutes before our start. I officially crossed the start line at 7:50; 20 minutes after the elite runners started.
|I’m not in this picture, but running through this is just
It took me a little while to feel my toes, probably at least two miles into the race, but after that I felt great. At one point, I felt hunger pains, so I made sure to eat a couple of Jelly Belly Sports Beans every mile or two for the rest of the race. Central Park felt pretty amazing; I made sure I moved my arms through Cat and Harlem Hills and then I knew the rest of the park loop would be pretty easy in comparison. As soon as we left Central Park, around mile 6, I was completely thrown off by Seventh Avenue. We literally had the entire avenue closed off; the course widened so much more than the loop in the park. I was expecting to see Josh around 45th and 7th, but I didn’t see him and then after not seeing for the next couple of blocks, I felt disappointment. However, I was glad to see the Alzheimer’s Association cheering section between 42nd and 43rd Streets. As soon as I turned on 42nd Street heading west, there were groups of crowds and to run through all of that is surreal. It turns out Josh was closer to 42nd and 8th Avenue, but he never saw me either!
Heading south on West Side Highway was also pretty incredible. When I run, I am usually on the running path along the water and the only other times I’ve been on the West Side Highway without cars are during the MS Bike Rides. It did feel a little weird that I wasn’t moving as fast as I remembered being on a bike. However, at this point with about five miles to go, it was almost a straight shot south. In my mind, I knew I was on pace for a PR, but didn’t realize how close I was to the sub-2 hour mark. I guess I should really learn how to use this elapsed time feature on my watch! Physically, I did feel tired but I just kept plowing through and it wasn’t until I got home and studied my splits that I realized I ran a faster second half than first (it sure didn’t feel that way during the race).
|I’m in grey and purple with a shamrock hair tie attempting
the last 100 meter sprint
Thank goodness for my teammate, James who asked if he could run with me so that way I could pace him a little bit. James’s best half-marathon time was a 2:13 and he wanted to get within the 2:05-2:10 range. It actually worked out perfectly because every time I thought I lost James, he came from behind and not only did we push each other throughout the race, he pushed me the last 100 meters to run ahead. Because of his push, I sprinted the last part of the race, but we crossed the finish line within 10 seconds of each other. I beat my personal best by four minutes (final time of 2:01:26), but James beat his by 12 minutes! That is truly incredible!
After finishing the race, I was so happy to receive my medal, recovery bag of food and drinks, heat sheet, and meet up with Josh and the rest of my teammates. In my past couple of races, I finished saying that I would not want to run the course again, but this time I would love the opportunity to run the NYC Half again. It really makes a huge difference to run on your “home turf” and I really hope I did my grandma proud today because this one is really for you!