The morning of the race was probably one of the most stressful thing that I had to endure before running for 13.1miles! I woke up 430am, showered, ate my planned meal of oatmeal with peanut butter and half a banana at 5am (3 hours before the race). Trying to coordinate 5 people to leave the house while not forgetting anything we ended up leaving 5-10min late around 6:15am to catch the bus. The bus didn’t come until 6:45 to take up to the train station, and the train didn’t come until 7:05! The train ride was 35min (didn’t get off until 7:40). Okay so 20min to get the race. No big deal, right? Well we got off at 72nd street and needed to get to 67th. However, I had to pee, there was no way I could start without emptying that bladder. up running to central park + while stopping to find a bathroom at a Starbucks pre race! All in all it was a mess. Race started at 8 and I don’t think I left that Starbucks bathroom until 8! There were about 5 other girls in front of me in line to use the restroom – all were running in the race as well but that only half calmed my nerves.
Once I got into the bathroom I took a deep breath and as soon as I was outside of that Starbucks I was running to that start line! Would you call that my warm up? I was able to stretch while waiting in line to the bathroom and then got a nice run in to the park. I entered around 67th street and could see the corrals were already moving forward. And fast! I was supposed to be in H, however my friend moved us to J so we could run with another runner. I quick hopped under the rope and called Angela. Somehow and I don’t know how but somebody must have been looking over me because out of the 7,000 people there I found her. I don’t want to say I was dependent on her to run the race, but I would have been a little lost if I had to start on my own. It took a lot of courage and strength and training for me to get to where I am now and she was one people that has helped me, mentally get there.
Mile 1: So the start of the race was amazing! Probably because I had no time to think, I just had to go. I was pretty scrambled, started mapmyrun late and still had to get my headphones, music, and eat my pre-race gus. But besides that I felt good, relaxed and ready to go, everything was happening…finally! The race was VERY crowded. I’m sure most halves that are confined to a small area like central park are like that but there was barely ever a time that I felt I wasn’t either trying to pass someone or worried about tripping on them. Oh side note:: I did actually trip and almost ALMOST came so close to falling on my face or at least my knees, which would not have felt good. Especially doing so not even at mile 1 yet. They had orange cones to the right of us, dividing the road and yep I tripped on one and everyone was gasping in horror or me falling. As was I on the inside. After that I had to really put myself together and focus on the race.
Mile 3: I had my first set of 2 gu chews right before the water station at the bottom of the Harlem Hill. The first time around this was nothing, I barely even noticed it. I was too focused on getting my gus in before the station and then wanting to get in a picture.
Mile 4-5: Consisted of a couple hills that always seem to accentuate the pain of the Harlem Hill. It wasn’t as bad though as I was feeling it the second time around. I was however feeling a little hot and could tell that I was wishing I was able to take the jacket off. After a few miles in it became bearable. I was feeling good and taking in the beautiful scenery and sunny weather!
Mile 6: Came along slowly but surely. All of a sudden I realized hey we just finished one lap! We only have one more! I had a gel a little before mile 6 (again right before the water station). At this point in Central Park we were around the start line and there were more fans along the race. So that kept be busy reading signs and looking for my family. They were supposed to be around mile 6, however, I never found them. Supposedly we passed them? Im not sure what happened. But they ended up crossing the park to try and catch us come by along mile 7.
Mile 8: I believe this was after we finally saw our friends and family on the side line cheering us on. My boyfriend got pictures of us spotting them and we were jumping up and down like hooligans! Haha. Mile 8 was at the top right of the park getting close to round 2 of the hill. I had my 2 gus right at the bottom of the hill pre water station. I had planned to only drink at the miles I was having a gu/gel, however, around mile 7 I was grabbing a cup to sip on other than just the ones I had planned on going to. Since they had water (2nd) and gatorade (1st) at the stations I started to grab a cup of gatorade, drink a few sips, ditch it and then grab a cup of water quick at the next table.
Mile 9: I have a better picture from the hill, this is from a video I took. But I wanted to post this one to show that there were quite a few people walking up the hill and not even that but walking in general throughout the race and stopping on the side. I’ve personally never ran in a race this long before so I don’t know what the usual is but I kept seeing that. The second time around on Harlem Hill I felt it a little. I actually felt more of it on the smaller hills directly after this one.
Mile 11: Still feeling good. Popped a gel with caffeine and some gatorade and water. Feeling a bit thirsty so I was grabbing more drinks at the stations. Quickly forgot about the pain in my calves and quads because my family was between mile 11 and 12 so I was on the hunt for them again.
At this point I was beginning to realize since we started in a slower heat, we were running at a slower pace but we began passing a lot of runners. When we ran together in Central park during training on our long runs we ran between 8-11min/mile depending on if it was a hill or not. I think if we were able to start in a faster heat like planned, our times may have been different. But you never know, maybe running with a slower heat paced us better throughout the race and got us to the finish in one peace.
I’m proud of my time and pace, I came in right around where I expected. Plus I actually ended up running the second half of the race at a faster pace, which is cool. So I’m happy. This oddly makes me want to do it again though and try to get even better now. Hah.
Post Race:: Was so disorganized! Just my thoughts. They had the water and Gatorade tables directly after the finish line, however, I grabbed two cups and still was thirsty out of mind. And there was no water or anything to be found and they wouldn’t let people go back to those tables. They had bagels, pretzels, and apples after the water tables. I grabbed a bagel that looked appetizing, however, I began feeling so dehydrated in that short period of finishing the race that the food they had was way to dry to eat. I had one 2 gus left over so I had those quick and then went on the hunt for some water. I ended up having to buy a bottle from one of the vending carts in central park! Note to self: bring my own full water bottles to drink after the race.
Let me just share with all of you my amazing man who supported me when I came to him with this crazy idea of running 13.1miles and then throughout the entire 3 months of training for it. I also stressed the importance of wanting or needing a donut after my race. But directly after that didn’t end up working out between getting lunch with the family, heading home, and then participating in my post-half marathon nap! But this guy went out while I was napping to find me not just a simple DD donut but a real pastry shoppe that sold donuts! And oh my they were amazing. Mine was the one with sprinkles. Duh.
I don’t want this blog to sound negative. Which I hope it doesn’t! I had an absolutely amazing time during my race and overall the whole day and experience was everything I had looked forward to. I think by pointing out the things that went wrong or were different is good because then I change and learn from it all in the future. Because who knows, maybe I’ll run another one of these at some point. Time is such an odd thing though, I have been waiting and anticipating this day for so long now. Never thinking I could actually run a half marathon. And now it’s all behind me. One of my favorite running bloggers Katie Ringley once said, “You plan for it. You pay for it, and just like that, in moments, it’s gone and the ONLY thing you have left are memories.”