Sunday, October 9, 2011

NYCM Training: A Half-Marathon PR!

Big week, friends. I had some great runs, enjoyed the beautiful fall (and the weekend's summer) weather, turned 27 (eek!), AND PR'ed in the half marathon by more than seven minutes! It was a great week! And here's how it turned out:

  • Monday: walking
  • Tuesday: 5 mile run
  • Wednesday: 5 mile run
  • Thursday: birthday 5 mile run!
  • Friday: rest
  • Saturday: walking/shopping/carbo loading
  • Sunday: Staten Island Half Marathon!
Total mileage: 28 miles! 

First, the birthday was excellent! It involved a beautiful morning run around the reservoir (no photo I'm afraid, but it was absolutely perfect out), presents that I opened as soon as my run was done (I'm already 100 pages into "A Race Like No Other" and I don't think I'll be putting it down anytime soon),
free Starbucks, surprise cookies that Eloise sent me from Insomnia Cookies in the middle of the day,
margaritas and friends at MxCo,
It's true, sometimes I don't wear running clothes!
and cake!
Wishing for a sub-2 hour half marathon...
It was a really great birthday!

I took Friday and Saturday pretty easy (aside from walking up a storm on Saturday, going from shop to shop with a friend who was visiting from DC) and didn't go out at all. I slept 11 hours on Friday night and Saturday I was in bed before midnight with a 5:30am wake-up call for today. 

I wanted to get on the 6:30am ferry so I wouldn't have to deal with the madness of the 7:30 ferry to Staten Island, and also so I could pick up my bib since I was lazy and didn't pick it up yesterday (too busy shopping, what can I say?). I met up with Johnny who I met through the NYCM Facebook group that Theodora started, and also saw Dave who I met at the NYC Flyers 20 mile run last week. 

I hadn't really heard much about this race, so a few people who had run it before offered some "wisdom" about the course. Example: It's pretty flat! Ummm, this is incredibly incorrect and false. It's hilly! Very hilly! I'd been warned of a few hills in there, but I wasn't quite as prepared for the hills as I thought that I was.

For breakfast, I had my usual half-bagel with peanut butter, but I just don't think it was enough for me this morning. I didn't feel as strong as I'd have liked, and ended up taking a gel pretty early on in the race (mile 6). I ended up drinking a lot more Gatorade than I usually drink during a race this distance because a) I felt I needed more calories, and b) it was HOT so I was sweating even more than usual...attractive, I know.

It was a beautiful day for a PR though, and PR I did! My three half-marathon times before were 2:06:38, 2:06:11, and 2:06:10. I was DETERMINED to break two hours this time, which would mean a 9:09 average. The race started out fine -- my legs felt pretty good and I got into a nice groove, I think. I walked through every aid station and picked up the pace again once I finished my drink. 

For me, the tough parts were the hills (I slowed down a lot, and didn't really try to push it) and some mental demons that tried to get me to turn this into a training run instead of a PR. I fought them pretty well though, and near the end when I realized that I WOULD be able to PR, I pushed it and worked my ass off up the hills, down the hills, and to the finish line, to an official time of 1:58:59!!! 
View of Manhattan from Staten Island - beautiful day!
One thing I need to work on (aside from pushing out those discouraging thoughts) is tangents -- according to my Garmin, I went 13.24 miles...which is a full 0.14 mi more than I needed to run, which means I ran a lot more than I should have. If I'd just run 13.1 mi, that time would have been at least a minute and a half faster than my finish time! So yeah, I mean, trust me, I'm incredibly pumped about my time and could not be more thrilled about breaking two hours! But it wouldn't be a race without having a learning experience and finding something that I can improve on for next time, right? Right!

Here's the map and splits:
ARGH TANGENTS. I must learn to run the tangents. Anyone have any tips for this? I tried to be aware of it for part of the race, and for a little bit I was doing OK with it, but clearly I got lazy and just ran... Ah well. A PR is a PR, and I'm damn proud of this one!

I celebrated the half marathon with the five S's: stretching, shower, sleep, and Shake Shack. I have a tradition of having a burger after every half marathon, and this one was no different! I've been mostly vegetarian since April, but it's more because I like the way it makes me feel and I like that it makes me more creative in the kitchen. It's also cheaper! But I just had to have a burger and fries was necessary after losing all that sweat in the race!

Today really made the marathon seem REAL. Yes, it's been on my mind since last year when I was running those nine races with NYRR, working toward automatic entry for the race, but I'd been kind of worried that I'd re-injured my leg (seems that I haven't since I ran pain-free!) so I was wondering if I'd have to defer to next year. But um, nope, seems that in four short weeks I'll be back in Staten Island, and I thought of that today as I saw the Verrazano Bridge looming in the distance. I'll be on that upper deck, with my orange bib, preparing to run the biggest marathon in the world with 45,000 other people. 

And I simply cannot wait to be a part of it.

1 comment:

  1. HAPPY (late) BIRTHDAY!

    Can't wait for you to be here in a month! We'll have to go for a run... although, my running speed might be like your walking speed. Uh-oh. xx