As recently as 2 years ago, I would have never even imagined running a half marathon, let alone a half marathon in another state. By some chance of luck, I was chosen in the lottery for this year’s NYC half marathon. I wish I had that kind of luck with the megamillions jackpot! Out of the 9,500 that were chosen through the lottery, I believe only 2,000 of them were chosen out of state. I felt incredibly fortunate to be chosen for this race, so I wanted it to be a great experience. By looking at the course online, it is pretty safe to say that I would thoroughly enjoy the scenery and sights of the city running through Central Park, Times Square, and along the Hudson River. I was somewhat worried because 2 weeks before the race I had a minor issue with my right calf. I was concerned that the hills of Central Park would be the death of my dreams of finishing, but I couldn’t sit and worry about that. Whatever happens, happens.
Race morning I woke up at around 5:30AM. All of my clothes were laid out in usual race day fashion. It was the first time I was not nervous about a race. I think I was just so happy to be in New York about to run through the streets and I wasn’t at all concerned about the race part of it.
I got to Central Park probably at about 6:30am. The one thing I didn’t like about this race is that I did not know anyone at the race. I know some people in the running community in Chicago seem to know people everywhere. Now I am still new to the running community so maybe I will eventually branch out to more people in different places.
I got to the start line at 7am and basically waited for a half hour in the cold. It was probably close to the upper 30s when I got to my corral (13). I just stood there thinking about the race and half way eavesdrop other people’s conversations – new friendships created, old friends reunited, first timers chatting nervously. Next thing I knew, the race started and we were walking to the start line.
Central Park: Miles 1-8
Rolling hills. That’s all I ever heard about Central Park. Now I ran it just the one time last year when Jaz and I visited. And I remember it being a little hilly, but not this much. Since I kind of “like” a little incline here and there, I figured, why not? Let’s power up the hills and take advantage of the downhills. It was very smooth and enjoyable. Whenever I was feeling any bit tired, I would just look around and take in the scenery. My first 10K was 1:10, the fastest I have ever done in any race.
Times Square: Miles 8-10
Just running towards Times Square was just an amazing experience. It was the easiest 2 miles I have ever run in my life. It was like I was floating. I slowed down a little bit just so I can take it all in. Ever since I was chosen to do this race I made sure I would try to take a look at the views. So so amazing! I saw Jaz, my mom, Jessica, and their mom just as I turned at 43rd street towards Hudson River. And then…it finally happened…
Hudson River: Miles 10-13.1
The wall! The adrenaline had worn off, the sights of Times Square were behind me, and the rolling hills of Central Park had taken its toll on my legs. Through the 11th mile I had to walk 3 times. It got very difficult very fast. It felt like I was running through molasses. I decided to take out my phone and record a little video and thank the people who were there for me, and to think about how far I have come in the past couple of years. It took my mind off of the pain in my legs, and decided it was time for a little music. I tried to not listen to music the whole time as I usually do, but I decided i needed it this time. Finally got into my groove, although it was kind of slow. I was all ready to finish this race and then with about a 1/2 mile left I see a guy really struggling to finish. Going back to my thought that I did not know anyone, I figure I’d let one person remember me. I trotted over to him and tried to run him in. It looked like he was having IT band issues. With every step I was pushing him telling him it was not that far. It looked like it was helping him, his stride was looking better and he looked stronger. Unfortunately as quickly as he improved it looked like the issue came right back and I started to get in front of him. There was less than 1/4 mile left so I decided to finish it off on my own. I gave him one last vote of confidence and took off.
2:34:56 – a 12 minute PR!
I have icy hair!
I cut together a video of some of the shots from the race. Hope you enjoy!
Can it be Thursday night already? We leave then to head to New York for the NYC Half Marathon and more importantly, Jaz’s 30th Birthday! We’re going up there to meet up with Jaz’s sister, Jessica as well as Jaz’s parents who are flying in from San Francisco. My mom is going to be flying in with us on Thursday night as well. This will be the first time my mom has come with me and Jaz on a trip together. We wanted to take my mom because I know she is just itching to go out and travel a little more. I’ve been wanting to take her to see the world more since she never got the chance when my dad passed away. I thought New York would be the perfect opportunity to enjoy a vacation with her favorite son! Plus, she had never seen me race before. I am pretty excited about that aspect of the trip. Out of the people that will be there with us, only Jessica and my mom have not seen me run a race before. And what a perfect opportunity than in the streets of New York! I am hoping to see them somehow in Times Square and then again at the end. I am hoping Jess can navigate them through the subways of NY to get to those spots.
Other than the race we are planning to catch a show (maybe Memphis), the women will do plenty of shopping, and of course we will be chowing down on a good amount of NY eats! My cousin got us some suites in the Affinia Manhattan. If it is anything like the Affinia in Chicago I will be happy. Jaz and I stayed there last year when I ran my first Shamrock Shuffle and loved it there!
If you have any suggestions on what spots to hit in NY let me know!