My 2nd Half Marathon was not as daunting as the first, but it was a doozy!
Since moving to Manhattan, I have not had the ‘luxury’ – if you will – of a CHEAP gym. Back in Brooklyn, good ole’ Dolphins was always an option. At less than $200 A YEAR, you really can’t make too many excuses not to go run on those cold, icy days. But here it’s a whole different ball game. I believe on discount, it’s about $60 per month plus an exorbitant starting up fee. Needless to say, I am not a member of said-expensive-gym, and therefore there have been more than a handful of skipped runs due to weather and lack of masochistic tendencies.
But then I had this Manhattan Half coming up at the end of January. I signed up for it last year too but bad weather declared it a “fun” run and everyone got credit for it whether they ran it or not so I skipped it, taking the credit and going to taiko practice without being a useless lump. Anyway, this year I was determined to run it because A. Living close to the park, there is no excuse, B. It was on a Sunday thus no taiko practice afterwards, and C. I needed to run! The prep plan went swimmingly, I ate my pasta, drank a lot of water, had some fresh baked cookies a la Fernando, and went to bed early. I woke up antsy and with energy. I drank my mate, grabbed a 5-Hour Energy and a GU, and we took the subway to the start line since
Fernando’s leg is still bust and hey, I wasn’t too keen on running 2 extra miles prior to the 13.1.
At the start, I did a short 4-5 minute warm up. I was wearing my new awesome (and a tad expensive for someone as cheap as me) running jacket so I wasn’t too cold. My hands and face were frozen but I was ok. I couldn’t wait to get going. I squeezed into the front of my corral just before they “closed” it and made late runners go to the back. There were a lot of ‘late’ runners, probably because the advice on NYRR’s Facebook page was to “wait till the last minute to get into the corral” to avoid getting frostbit. @_@ The race marshals even tried to shoo away Fernando for taking pics.
FINALLY the race began! It was the slowest start I have ever experienced. It was so packed, I was still walking by the time I actually got to the Start Line. Due to this low speed start, I think I started my GPS at an accurate time. The first bit down the south end of the park was somewhere I’d be unfortunate enough to have to experience 3X but little did I think about that at the time. The first time round, I was just trying not to be a totally obnoxious racer and stay somewhat in the race lane. But it was very difficult.
Finally getting towards Panther Hill, I got some space. Somewhere on the east side, I saw the Mile 1 marker…8:XX. I checked my GPS and somewhere in my stubborn head I knew that I should just rely on the watch, but I got all paranoid seeing such a slow 1st mile time that I did try to pick it up a bit. (Spoiler – this was no negative split day!) Anyway, the first loop was pretty uneventful except for someone blasting farts for a good bit – I’d describe who I think it was, but I won’t because you can never be sure and I wouldn’t want to accuse the wrong person. But I think I know who you are. I got a bit warm so I was planning to throw my expensive jacket to Fernando when I saw him between Mile 5 and 6. I strategized in my head how I’d take off my GPS watch first to prepare, then the jacket. Low and behold, no one thinks well when running long distances at a fast pace. I totally forgot my nano was on my armband on top of the jacket so when I saw Fernando, I ripped the jacket off and off came my music! Fernando hadn’t seen me in advance either so even though we made eye contact, I ended up tossing the expensive jacket on a rail up ahead of him and desperately attempted to get my nano back on the armband, all the while praying that the race didn’t just cost me $$$ (the amount of the jacket).
I went around the south end for the second time, and at the traverse, who was standing there cheering and holding an expensive jacket? FERNANDO!!! I was thrilled and I could run the rest of the race with the cheer in my head and the piece of mind that I didn’t give the pricey jacket to a Central Park bum (if I was rich, I wouldn’t give a sh!t. But I ain’t.)
Panther Hill was definitely less pleasant this time around. And I kept losing pacers. I’d stick with someone and they’d suddenly surge off or I’d suddenly pass them. I really didn’t have a good grasp on how I was doing. I kept checking my GPS watch and thinking I was fine, but then seeing the mile markers which convinced me I would not be beating my Disney Princess half marathon record. I hit that northwest hill and I was tired. I had been counting down all the major hills after that but every little incline seemed strenuous. The third time on the south end, I was ready for this race to be OVER. I thought I’d be rejuvenated when I saw the “finisher’s lane” (versus the passing lane for the people completing their first loop) but I didn’t really feel any burst of happy energy. Every little incline was a massive mountain. I was just like “OK BE DONE ALREADY!” Finally I reached the traverse and turned in. I was so tired! But then I heard “GO JANE!!!!!” (Fernando) I mustered all I had left and ran my little heart out, weaving through and around people who seemed to be just as delirious and zigzagging around. And I finally reached the Finish Line!
Smashing into a girl who did a dead stop at the finish, I staggered forth and got my bagel, gatorade slushy (it was that cold), and the silver foil thingy they give you to keep warm. I found a lonely area and waited for Fernando to come find me. He was so happy for me, seeing my time come in, he said I definitely PR’ed. I was so happy yet so cranky. I was cold and freakin’ tired. Back home via subway, I took a very long shower and waited for the results to come in. BLAW – it was a PR! 1:39:40! Pace 7’37″!!! YEEESSSSSS. Crankiness, be gone! Turned out my GPS was one second off the official time, I should have believed in it! But if I did, then maybe I wouldn’t have made it this pace…
So, despite not following my training plan to the T, getting a sort of cold and cough, and being a bit wimpy for not wanting to run in the cold dark that is 6am, I did good! And I got a new excuse to sleep in for a few days afterwards to reward myself…which turned into a week and then some more…well, I’m back at it again! Got another half in March to smoke!