So, back to Grete’s.
As I said, I signed up on a total whim. I could say I’d run another half? Most of my running buddies were out town running other races, so I’d only have to do 7 alone. Okay, fine.
The second I looked at the course map on Sunday morning to see exactly where the start was, I started getting the “uh, why am I doing this?”-itis. Two laps of the park. Awesome.
But then I saw how excited my buddy Emily for her second half, and the excitement was contagious. I also saw Jess before and she told me not to worry if I couldn’t keep marathon pace during the race, given the OH 90 PERCENT HUMIDITY.
I was several corrals ahead of Emily, but since I wasn’t planning on racing it, and she was SO EXCITED, I jumped back into her corral and started off with her and a few of her Team in Training friends.
My original plan from Jess had been: 5 miles “easy” (quotes because that is always relative), 10 miles marathon goal pace, 5 miles “easy.” Since I ran 3 before, I planned on taking the first 2 of the race easy, then trying hard for the last 11, and then doing the last 4 easy. Because, duh, I wasn’t going to then run the last mile easy.
The race went clockwise, which I actually really liked. The Harlem Hill Workout of Death Loop Jess has made me do is in the clockwise direction, so I was happy to know what was coming.
I ran the first mile in 8:59. This was supposed to be an “easy” mile, and I was shooting for 8:58s for the race pace miles, so I thought this race would be a lot of fun. I consciously slowed down for my next mile, and ran a 9:27, which is just what I was shooting for.
That is the last mile I ran exactly what I was shooting for. The humidity freaking killed me. I felt like I was running through quicksand for the next 11 miles.
I questioned why I signed up for the race. I knew it was two loops of Central Park. I knew that there wasn’t much enjoyable about that, other than finishing. I wondered why I’d thought just the day before it was such a good idea to sign up.
I know attitude is everything while running, so I tried to keep a positive attitude. Around mile 4, I thought “9 miles to go? Seriously?”
And then I did a little attitude adjustment.
I was out there because I chose to be. Because I can run 13.1 miles. When I first started running, I was always surprised at large races. Really? There are this many people who can run XX miles? And I’m one of them?
Running through this crappy humidity and hills would make me stronger come November 3. I’d get my mileage done.
My pace didn’t magically drop, and the hills didn’t flatten out, and the humidity didn’t go away, but I enjoyed the rest of the race more.
I was definitely bummed it wasn’t a nice, easy ride like the Philly Half, and it was frustrating not hitting the pace I was supposed to, but I tried to remind myself that the conditions were awful, and I still put race pace effort in. Once I realized I wasn’t making it anywhere near race pace, I could have given up like I did in Dallas when it was a gazillion degrees.
Instead, I chose to keep up race pace effort, even if the times on my watch didn’t reflect that, despite wanting to bag the race every time I passed the 102nd Street Transverse, where the tough part of my hill workouts end.
I ended up finishing in 2:03:51. Nowhere near a PR, pretty far off from race pace. But another half under my belt, and with 3 before and 4 after, a total of 20 for the day, which was more important to me.
Half #22 in the books. Oh, and TONS of chafing to show for it with that 90% humidity. Ouch.