Just 8 days removed from a 1:17:30 personal best at the Rock n Roll Washington DC 1/2 Marathon last week, I was able to bounce back quite quickly with some high intensity training. Or maybe it was all the chocolate milk I chugged. Either way, going into Sunday’s NYC Half Marathon, I was confident that I could better my result from Washington DC. After all, Harlem hill is much shorter than the Rock Creek Climb.
On race day, I woke up at 4am, out of the house at 4:30, picked up Karen, scooped up Derek, and carpooled into Manhattan. We landed in Chinatown a 5:30, hopped on the uptown 6 train to Central Park. Derek and I arrived at the UPS baggage trucks around 6:15, so we had plenty of time to chat with other running friends.
NYC Half Tip: When driving to the NYC Half, park your car in Chinatown so you can hit up some delicious Chinese cuisine post race!
By 7am, we we had passed the security gates into Central Park. We jumped into the corral at 7:15, with only 15 minutes before the start of the race.
After the instructions from NYRR’s Peter Ciaccia, we were off!
In the first mile, I was able to stay on Derek’s heels. The plan was to stay with him throughout the race, but even the best laid plans are still subject to outside variables…one of those variables, my legs. After descending down Harlem hill, I had lost Derek by a few seconds. In fact, I lost contact with the large pack. Where were my legs? My turnover felt consistent but the pack kept on creeping away.
After running through 5km in 17:48, I knew that it would be tough to keep the pace for the next 16km. Harlem Hill always seems longer on race day and after getting to the top of it, the legs were screaming. I put my head down and tried to extend my stride as I hit the rolling hills throughout the west side of the park. According to NYRR, I hit the 10km mark at 36 minutes flat.
After leaving Central Park, I found a couple of guys to tuck behind…but that did not last long by the time we got to the West Side Highway. For the next few miles, I tried my best to keep the rhythm going. It was hard. I was getting passed. My legs were shot. And my form was definitely starting to fade. The 3rd 4km split was an 18:11, which clocked me in at 54:11 for 15km. Another 5km in 18:39 got me to 20km at 1:12:50. At that point, I knew that a sub 1:17:30 was in the bank, but was sub 1:17?
Thank you Tom F. (Dashing Whippets RT) for taking this shot of me running down the West Side Highway.
So, it came down to how fast I could run 1.1km…4 minutes?
Well, 4 minutes and 1 second.
So after a tough 13 miles… from getting dropped in Central Park, running up Harlem Hill alone, trying again and again to regain my rhythm, I sprinted as fast I could down the finishers chute and crossed the tape in 1:16:54. A personal best (for now).
Thank you Central Park Track Club – New Balance! It was fun to see everyone on course!
This was certainly not the race I wanted to execute. Anytime I positive split the second half of a running race, when I should be kicking it into overdrive, is a disappointing and mentally challenging, uncontrolled part of the game. But like I said up above, even the best plans can change in an instant. This race has helped teach me how to adapt to factors that I can control and to roll with the ones that I cannot.
Thanks for reading!!
…for the next few weeks, I will be enjoying some more cycling (and a little less running), as I transition into multisport and triathlon season.
See you out there & Happy Easter!!!