All those pre-race jitters were for nothing.
I KILLED that race!
But first, I carb-loaded with my mom.
And gnocchi–both at Puttanesca, thanks to a pop-up on Yelp telling me that Kristin had reviewed and liked it. My mom liked it, too! (Small victories here.) Gnocchi is something I don’t ordinarily get because it’s so doughy, but that sounded perfect for today.
I woke up at 5:15, rolled around and grumbled for a bit, and then finally got out of my warm bed and had my usual pre-race breakfast–a Luna bar and a banana. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
I had bought a running skirt (that cut, not that color!) in hopes of wearing it this morning, but it ended up being wayy too cold to wear it. Sigh. There will be other races… (like, the two coming up these next two weekends!)
I wore Lululemon cropped pants, a Lululemon tank top, a Nike base layer I bought after finishing my marathon and a sweatshirt that I tossed later. (And the Lululemon headband that I got free last year!) I hopped into a cab up to 99th and 5th at 6:15am and walked into the cold, dark park to try to meet up with Caitlin. After some miscommunication–mostly caused by my inability to process thoughts before 7am and coffee–we talked for a few minutes and wished each other luck. Seeing a familiar face before the race had me starting with a smile on my face knowing there was someone else out there that I knew doing the same crazy thing.
It was around 32 degrees when I started the race and probably a little colder as I waited in my corral, a little miserable with the weather for sucking so much on race day. The gun went off at 7:30 and, per most NYRR races, I crossed the start about 5-6 minutes later. Though I usually spend the first mile or so of a race wondering why I’m doing it, this race didn’t start that way. I was a little tight but so excited to race. NYRR places you in corrals paced on recent race times, and with my speedy November four-miler, I’d moved up to the pink corral, which is great, because it coordinates well with most of my clothing.
I tried to banish all bad memories of last week’s crappy run, while simultaneously being glad that I had cut it a bit short so I could taper. I thought of every single positive running mantra I could–You got this! Pain is weakness leaving the body! Trust the training! I took in the signs that the spectators were holding and just tried to enjoy the experience.
At mile 1.5, I took off my sweatshirt, and this ended up messing with my watch, which I didn’t realize for about half a mile, therefore throwing off the rest of my splits.
Before I knew it, I was somewhere between miles 3-4, and I saw Emily’s friend Kathleen, Erica and Jess. I was just at the point where the OMG-I’m-racing-feeling was turning into the “oh-shit-I’m-racing-and-there’s-10-more-miles-of-this feeling,” so it was great to see so many familiar faces. Soon after I saw them, I was facing some of the biggest hills in Central Park. I tried to breathe through them, not look at my watch obsessively and think of how much stronger I am than last year. Finally, thinking of this comment on Facebook from Emily put a smile on my face and got me over the hills.
Well, when you put it that way…
I tried to push a little harder than I have before for miles 1-6 but also leave plenty of energy for miles 7-13.1. I wouldn’t say I felt great, but I could do it, so I just hoped for the best. Miles 1-6 were a loop of the park, and 7-8 were repeats of miles 1-2 in the park. I knew that miles 7-8 were mostly downhill, so I picked up the pace a little bit more for these miles. I was trying to go by feel as much as possible and not obsess over the pace on my watch. I also ripped into a strawberry-banana Gu around mile 6. Not my favorite flavor, but it was all I had. I can’t do a whole Gu at once unless I’m really hurting, so I kind of nibbled on it from miles 6-9.
We exited the park at mile 8, and I was hoping to just fly down Seventh Ave like last year, but my body seemed to have other plans. I went from a 9:11ish pace to a 10:30 pace, even though I thought I was going faster. I got really mad at my watch and started running back around an 8:57 for a few minutes until I realized I should probably hold back a bit. I finally settled on a 9:04 pace and rocked that right until I saw my mom at 9th and 42nd, around mile 9.
(It’s a little blurry, but I think that might be Kara Goucher, or maybe just someone equally fast. My mom wanted to know why she was wearing “bikini bottoms.” Mom, when you’re a professional runner, you can basically wear whatever you want.)
Unfortunately, my mom didn’t get a picture of me because she didn’t see me until I was on top of her and then I wouldn’t stand still long enough to let her get a picture after I gave her a hug. I HAD A GOAL TO MEET.
I continued running west to the West Side Highway, and I couldn’t stop smiling once I got there. Finally, the last stretch of the race! Once I got to mile 10, I decided I’d turn things up another notch for miles 10-12 and just run with everything I had for 12-13.1. I knew I’d see Jess and Erica again, and I knew I’d see 94monkeys at some point. I tried to remember where they said they’d be, but I couldn’t remember and decided to just let it go. I’d see them when I’d see them. At this point, my watch said I was running hard, but I felt like I was running through quicksand. I started taking Gatorade at all the water stops at this point. Around mile 11, I saw Jaz, the coach of the boot camp for runners class that I did. She’s a sweet and funny–but still incredibly hardcore–woman, so I was really happy when I saw her cheering.
“THEODORA! YOU GOT THIS!” she yelled.
“I do,” I thought, and picked up the pace some more. I think if you could chart every time I saw someone I knew, you’d see that my pace spiked a bit. Around mile 12, I saw 94monkeys and then Jess and Erica again. I was sad for about 10 seconds that I wasn’t going to see anyone cheering but then I realized how lucky I was to have seen so many people cheering and I got on and finished my damn race, running my heart out for that last mile. When my watch messed up, I estimated I’d lost 5 minutes, so my goal on my watch was to finish under 1:55 to make for under-2:00. I ended up finishing by 1:56 on my watch and estimated that I’d probably PR-ed but not hit sub-2:00.
Sure enough, when I checked my results, I had run 2:01:42. Not sub-2:00, but pretty damn good and still my fastest half-marathon! (Read my race recaps for my other half recaps.)
Updated to add my race splits:
*The calories column got cut off. Believe me, you burn way more than 9-12 calories per mile. That’s more like 90-120 calories per mile.
I’m still not sure if I’m going to attempt to chase that sub-2:00 in the next few weeks or wait, but I’m happy with today’s results and still glowing over all the amazing support and cheering! Congrats to Tina, Caitlin, Ben, and everyone else who raced this weekend!
Tonight, I’m sleeping with this.