A new training post on a Monday morning. If that doesn’t brighten your day, I don’t know what will!! 😉
Thank you to everyone who has donated so far – I really appreciate it – but I still have a long way to go. Please don’t forget to visit my fundraising page (http://pages.teamintraining.org/nyc/nyctri15/Meredith). Every little bit helps the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society get one step closer to finding a cure for cancer, and also helps provide patients and families with much needed treatment and support.
The last month has been full of training… some swimming, some biking, some running. Oh my! March 15th was the New York City Half Marathon – known as one of the most prestigious half marathons in the country. Who knows though. I haven’t run all the half marathons in the country (or anything even close to that) so I’m no expert on the topic. I can say, however, that it was one of the coolest ones I’ve been a part of! And it was the first half marathon of 2015 so that’s always exciting.
I’d had a cold for the last few days leading up to the race, so this half started out strangely similar to my first half of 2014 – except this time I resisted the urge to chug DayQuil before I left the apartment. Live and learn, right? I’ll only (hopefully) make that mistake once.
It was almost 45 degrees when I arrived to the starting line at around 7:30 in the morning, which was like a heat wave from the frigid cold and rain from the previous few days. Somehow my expected pace got messed up and I was slated to begin in Wave 1, Corral 1 – right alongside the elite athletes who were predicted to run around a 6-min mile. Yeah right. I know I am competitive and always up for a challenge, but no thank you – not today, New York Road Runners! Instead I tried to sneak into the first corral of the second wave but was told it was closed and ended up in the Wave 2, Corral 2. Not bad. We were off in no time and I was running with people who were much more on my level – which was good because I would have probably tried to keep up with the super fast people and totally exhausted myself by mile 2.
The race began in Central Park in the 72nd street transverse and we ran counterclockwise, first tackling the Cat Hill before going to the east side. I loved getting that hill done right at the beginning and I was so amped up and full of adrenaline that I barely even realized I was running on an incline. I waved to Boyfriend’s bro-in-law and nephew around 101st street and kept chugging along.
Central Park is not known for being a flat course, and I was beginning to notice the hills; after having trained all winter on a treadmill those hills (and the cooler air) took some getting used to! We exited the park at the northernmost part and went in a loop before re-entering just before the Harlem Hill – the worst part of the park! The part that really lets you know what you are made of. The part that could make or break the rest of the race. (That might be overly dramatic.) It seemed much longer than it had the last time I ran it and I wondered how NYRR managed to add what seemed like an extra half a mile of hill to Central Park without making the local news. Sneaky bastards. Once the hill was over (which turns out was its usual length. My bad. 😉 ) I knew that it was relatively smooth sailing from then on and there were no more major hills.
We exited the park at mile 6 at the south side and it was the coolest feeling ever. Times Square was in front of us – colorful, flashy, iconic Times Square – and both sides of the street were full of cheering fans with signs, cowbells, everything. Some of the better signs said things like “If a half marathon was easy it would be called ‘your mom’.” (no offense, Ma, but I laughed at that one), “Less Walken” (with a picture of Christopher Walken) “More cowbell”, and the usual “Run now, wine later”. The race was live-streamed and televised, and the media was out, along with huge TV screens so we could see ourselves, which was very cool. Some people stopped to take pictures of themselves on the big screens, but I knew taking out my phone and snapping a pic would mess with my time. Stupid competitive streak. (But I did love seeing myself on tv.)
Here I am totally loving every second and taking it all in:
We turned onto 42nd Street and headed west to the Westside Highway and I got cold from the wind off of the water. I had my gloves on and was happy that I didn’t take my jacket off earlier when it ws a little warmer in the park. Once we turned on to the Westside Highway, it was pretty much a straight shot down to the end. I had read that once we saw the Freedom Tower we would know we were practically done, so I when I saw it a wave of calm spread through me – until I realized that whoever said that was wrong and I still had about 4.5 miles to go. (Although I guess in the grand scheme of half marathons, 4.5 miles left is almost over, right?) We continued down, through the Battery Park Tunnel (where I got a little claustrophobic for some reason and sped up just so I could be back outside), and down through the seaport. One more turn and I would cross the finish line!
People always tell me to enjoy the moment when I cross the finish line and not worry about my exact time, and I usually think to myself something along the lines of “Yeah, I know. I love that moment – I’m totally into it.” But I guess this is proof that I am all about stopping my Garmin. Damn it, photographic evidence! (This also may be the exact moment I realized I missed running a personal record by about 37 seconds.)
It really was a great race and a pretty awesome way to officially begin training season. Check out my bling!
I have the More Women’s Half Marathon coming up on Sunday, and there have been some pretty great bikes and swims thrown in – including the first outdoor bike adventure of the year and some swims in the Carribean, near some waterfalls, and an essentially private lap pool in the middle of paradise (which I didn’t take advantage of nearly as much as I should have)!
Not a bad way to train, huh?