On Sunday, I finished another half-marathon! Even though I’ve done more than 25 at this point, it still astonishes me that this is something my body can do pretty much on the regular. I know this might not always be the case, so I’m going to cherish it while I can.
Before I get into this recap, I need to tell you two things:
1. I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the amazingly supportive comments on Saturday’s post. It definitely was a hard one to share, and as soon as I posted, I wondered if I’d done the right thing…but Katy told me that was just the sign of a good post.
2. Thank you to the Newport Half people for giving me a free bib to this race in exchange for writing about it. It’s the third time I’ve run this race!
First of all, getting there was a massive fail. I looked on Google Maps the night before to plan my trip, and it told me it would be approximately a 20-minute trip. PERFECT! I was aiming to be there around 7:45 to allow time for in-person registration and hopefully to get some mileage in first.
Fail #1: Around 7:05, I looked on Google Maps again, only to be told the next Path train wasn’t leaving till 7:45. NOPE. It suggested an Uber, and that it would be about $20-25, which sounded reasonable to me to get from Flatiron to Jersey City. Fine. $45 later… (turns out there’s a surcharge to go to NJ #themoreyouknow)
Fail #2: Somehow I put the complete wrong address into the app and get out about a mile away from the start at the Newport Path station instead of the Exchange Place one. Panic for a hot second that I won’t actually make it to the start in time; realize I have nearly 45 minutes still AND an opportunity to get in a little more mileage and run the mile to the start.
I register and then join the massive bathroom line (that actually moved incredibly quickly!) and see my buddy Jen! We’ve been trying (and failing) to get together for a long time, and she’d just left a sweet comment on my Facebook that morning, so I’m so happy to see her! I’d talked my coworker Liz into signing up, and somehow we never connected.
Around when the start gun went off, they played “Shut Up and Dance With Me.” It was my summer jam, and it made me happy. i suggested to Jen that we start together since neither of us had a goal. The first six-ish miles of the course took us through the streets of downtown Jersey City, which Jen remarked looked a lot like Park Slope.
We started off chatting, and as I looked down at my watch, we were never any slower than 8:40ish those first 4-6 miles. To be clear, this is a pace I can do — and which is slower than my half-marathon PR pace — but it’s still not my “easy” or long run pace that I’d intended to do this race at. Yet, weirdly my legs settled into this pace despite feeling like I was running through quicksand. In these first few miles, I really wanted to quit. Nothing felt easy or comfortable, and I had no idea how I’d keep up for a full 13.1 miles. I honestly contemplated quitting a few times, but I knew if I did that, I’d feel awful about myself and that my marathon training would basically be over. I decided to commit to the fact that the race might suck, but I’d get through it.
Around mile 4.5, we entered Liberty State Park, where we’d spend the next 5.5 miles. The only frustrating part of the course is where it narrows to get everyone into the park. After that, it’s a really pretty loop around the park, with great views of both the city and the Statue of Liberty. Once you get on to the river side of the course, it gets a little windy, which was difficult to run through.
Though my legs settled into some groove, it never felt great, and I was glad Jen was by my side for the entire race. She wasn’t feeling awesome either, and we really needed each other! I did something I’ve never done before — purposely walked through all water stops. At some points, I really just wanted to walk the entire course and it felt like this was a better compromise. Typically I have a hard time starting up again after I stop for a water stop, but Sunday, it was just what I needed.
With our early miles in the 8:30ish range, I knew that we would *probably* go sub-2 if things didn’t totally fall apart. I saw 10ish miles on my watch around 1:30 in and knew we had it. When I run a race “for fun,” as I’ve done with many halfs, I usually run somewhere between a 9 and 10-minute mile, so it’s still a big deal for me to run a half in less than 2 hours, even if my PR is way less than that!
Jen and I stayed together until at least 12.75. Then, I got a tiny little kick left in my system and decided to run hard for a few minutes just so I could be done…and definitely get under 2. Official results: 1:59:28. Fine, I’ll take it!
Tell me about a race where you surprised yourself!