2013 Grete’s Gallop Recap

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.

10 comments on “2013 Grete’s Gallop Recap

  1. Jessica @ FromtgeKitchentotheRoad

    I would love to do a half as part of a longer training run. Having someone else hand me water rather than carry it myself sounds fantastic. I’m too cheap for the these days but maybe one day I’ll loosen the purse strings. Nice job sticking it out though. It’s tough to adjust the attitude during a sucky run.

  2. Christina

    Having run a training run in Central Park, those hills are no joke. And might actually prevent me from registering for anything else in CP, so I’m impressed by anyone running those races.

    You may have been bummed, but you got in a pretty decent long run!

  3. Ashley

    90% humidity? Holy hell. I run in the mountains, and everytime I go back home to the midwest and face humidity, I’d give ANYTHING to be back at elevation. No oxygen and all. Humidity is the WORST for runners.
    Tell me, why again did I sign up for a race in St Louis this month?

  4. Jen

    Ugh, the humidity was absolutely disgusting for the race. I was hoping to PR by at least a few seconds and ended up finishing 2 SECONDS slower than my other half in May where I was much less trained. Still an A for effort for getting up those hills, not walking and somehow not being dehydrated.

  5. Jenna (@urbanfitopia)

    I also liked the clockwise race! When the races are the other way, I feel like I’ll be run over by a biker because I won’t be able to see them coming!

    Love the attitude adjustment. I feel like I have those little conversations with myself at some point in a difficult run/race. It’s very easy for the little voices of doubt to escalate into huge monsters if they are not kept in check. Sounds like you had it all under control though. Keep ticking the miles by! 🙂

  6. Eve

    Thanks for posting all the recaps, Theodora. I ran my first half today (1:57:55!), and really enjoyed reading your race recaps before my own race to get a feeling for what I was in for. I didn’t fuel/hydrate properly and completely lost it emotionally around mile 11. At least I finished it! I also cannot believe you’ve done 22 half marathons….WOW. I’ll be thinking of you during your last few training weeks before NY…you’re going to kill it! Thanks again, Eve in San Diego

    1. Theodora Post author

      @Eve: I missed this comment originally – but thanks!!! Congrats on your first half and that is an amazing time for a first one!!

      1. Eve

        Thanks! I was set to be “one and done” with half marathons, but you know how it goes…:-). Congratulations on Sub-4 in the NYCM. That’s amazing! Hopefully you’ll make it out to SoCal for a race one day. We’d love to have you!


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