On March 16, 2014 I finally ran the NYC Half!
This has been a race I have been trying to run for about 4 years, I actually got in to it in 2012, but ended up injured and had to pull out at the last minute. This year I got in via the lottery and I made sure I would make it to the race with good training and no time goals. Without the pressure of a time goal, I was able to completely enjoy this run, except for the cold, from start to finish.
My friend Crystal was nice enough to wake up at 5:00 am to drive me to the city and to wait for me to finish! I am so thankful that she took me because she was able to drop me off right at the entrance to the park, which meant I was able to spend the least amount of time out in the cold waiting for the start.
It took a good 25 minutes to get from the entrance to the corrals due to the metal detectors. I made it into the corral just as they were closing!
(As a Puma Ambassador I receive items from Puma to try out. They sent me this awesome jacket!! It was perfect for this race, it kept me warm throughout the entire race and I actually never got too hot where I had to take it off. The pants were Puma’s Performance Bodywear ACTV Long Tights. The tights had the perfect amount of compression and were super comfortable.)
It was cold, so cold my toes were numb. I officially started around 8am. I turned on my Bia and put it in my pocket, because I didn’t want to focus on my pace, I just wanted to enjoy the run.
Holy Hills! The first six miles were through Central Park and it was tough, do not underestimate the hills in this park. For me, battling the hills were the least of my challenges. Battling my own head is actually tougher. For some reason I am filled with self-doubt at the start of pretty much any half I have run.
Can I do this? Why did I do this? Will I finish? Will I have to walk? And on and on my mind races with self doubt. In the middle of this self doubt I was also facing treacherous hills and I kept repeating my hill mantra: “what goes up must com down”. Silly? Maybe. But it works.
We exited the park around 10K point and entered Times Square. At this point my mind settles, I know the worst is over and I am close to halfway done. The adrenaline is pumping with the excitement of Times Square, my favorite part of this race for sure!!! Mile 7, my favorite mile, comes fast. I love mile 7 because that is when I have passed the halfway point and I can start counting down, 6 miles to go!!! This is usually the point in the race when my confidence kicks in and I know I am going to finish! The only negative about Times Square was all the food trucks, the smell of all the different foods was nauseating. I loved the excitement, but not the odor.
After Times Square we turned onto the West Side Highway and I ate a couple of Maragarita Shot Bloks . This was my first time having them, I know this is bad to do during a race, but I didn’t want the gel they handed out. They were delicious!! I had two, which was enough to give me the energy I needed to power through the last 5 miles!
The West Side Highway was cold and windy, but running toward the Freedom Tower made it tolerable. I knew that once I reached the tower I would only be a couple of miles from the finish!! As a New Yorker, it is emotional every single time I pass by the Word Trade Center site, and seeing the new tower brings tears to my eyes.
The last part of the race was through the Battery Tunnel, this was my least favorite part. I hate driving through tunnels, I think of the movie DayLight with Sylvester Stallone where all those people were trapped in the tunnel, so running through a tunnel was not my idea of fun. It was dark, except when I took pictures and my flash lit up everyone’s reflective gear! I was happy to have only about a 1/2 mile left when I finally saw daylight and the Brooklyn Bridge!
800 meters, 400 meters and the finish! I am always overwhelmed with emotion and a sense of great accomplishment every single time I cross the finish line of a race, the half-marathon distance is my favorite thus far and dare I say that tears definitely come to my eyes.
I had no time goals for this race, but estimated I would finish between 2:15 and 2:30. I actually finished in 2:14:59!!! I am so happy I finally was able to run this race, but it is the last time I train for a race at this time of year due to the cold. It was freezing, I never took off my jacket hat or gloves during the race and I never warmed up. I think everyone should run this race at least once and once was enough for me!
Have you run the NYC Half?