Time for my monthly post! Haha. I hate to play the busy card, but it’s been a combo of busy and stepping away from everything for a bit. We had a week off between clinical sites at the end of August, so Eric and I headed to California to visit his friends who live about an hour east of LA, then spent a few days in San Diego (because it’s my dream life), then drove to Phoenix for a day just to go to a baseball game (checked Chase Field off the list!), and finally back to LA to spend another weekend with his friends. I started clinical for a couple days (much closer to home so I can CitiBike instead of drive, yessss!) before heading the Seattle for the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists Annual Meeting. Most of my class went, so that was awesome and the weather was probably the best Seattle weather you could ask for. Fly back on yet another red eye and then headed to clinical again. (That time change was rough, for sure.) Now we’re fully back in the swing of classes + clinical, so see you at the end of December when this semester is over!! 😉
But anyway, time flew by super fast as it seems to do these days. Last Friday, my preceptor asked what my weekends plans were, and I said, “Oh! I’m actually running a half marathon!” I knew that the Newport Liberty Half Marathon was on September 17th, but it definitely sneaked up on me. I’d been planning my running accordingly with some taper miles (can you really taper if you only run three days per week…?) but was honestly a little nervous about the distance because running has felt really hard lately. (See above statement about only running three days per week.)
I’ve been out of the race game for awhile, but I do remember that carb loading is delicious, so Eric and I headed out for some of our favorite pizza at Kesto in the West Village. We followed that with a beer at Blind Tiger because I’m all about just enjoying running these days. Drank plenty of water and I was good to go.
The start time for the half marathon was 8:30am, which I suppose is actually somewhat late for a race time. We left our apartment by 6:30am, picked up some coffee to go, and hopped at the subway. One would think that going to New Jersey, a mere five miles away, wouldn’t take much time at all…..but that would only be true if you happened to check the PATH schedule and time your subway ride accordingly. Unfortunately, I did not do that, so we sat and waited for a PATH train (the train from NYC to NJ) for about 30 minutes. Oops. Luckily we had left early enough to not panic too much, and other runners were obviously waiting for the same train, so I knew we had some time. Not a lot of time, but hopefully enough.
We made it to New Jersey at about 8:05 and hurried over to the race area. We tried to go pick up my bib, but no backpacks were allowed near the finish line, so Eric couldn’t come with. (This is probably the only thing I didn’t like about this race – I understand security, but it seems silly to not allow bags over to where bag check and t-shirt pick up are. If I was by myself, I would have had to check my bag, go pick up everything, then go get my bag to put stuff back in it.) So I made a mad dash to pick up my bib which took about four seconds, grabbed my t-shirt, then hopped in a super long port-o-potty line. The line was maybe 50-60 people long, but they had people directing traffic in the front of the line, and I actually got through the line in about five minutes. MAGIC.
I dropped my stuff off with Eric and headed over to the start corrals. My plan for the race was to take it somewhat easy, figuring I’d probably run around 1:50 (8:25 pace). I lined up around the 8:00 pace corral and immediately spotted Danielle and Amelia and chatted with them for a couple minutes. An old running friend, Eissa, then came up and said hello – she’s super fast and was running with a friend she’s training. Good to see some familiar faces in the crowd! The course promised great views of the Statue of Liberty while running through Liberty State Park. Overall, the course was about half urban running half park running, which was a great combo!
We did a quick mile as an out and back and I spotted Eric around mile 2. My watch was reading a pace that was all over the place, so I just went with the flow and kept pace at something comfortable. I wanted to start at around 8:30 miles and see how that went. While the temperature wasn’t that hot (in the 70’s), it was VERY humid – 80-90% humidity. I felt sweaty from the start and that’s never a good way to start a race! Even more reason to keep it easy and just try to enjoy the race since I wasn’t trained for anything close to a PR anyway. Running has felt pretty hard lately, so I wasn’t even sure what a pace of 8:30 would feel like. I missed the first mile marker but came through two miles in 16:46, so more or less on pace. We continued to run through the streets for a couple more miles – the streets were a little tough to run on in spots because of many potholes, but we had plenty of space on the road so you could get around them.
Miles three and four passed by in 8:27 and 8:16, works for me. I tried to take water or Gatorade at each water stop because of how humid it was – definitely needed it.
Around mile 4.5, we entered into Liberty State Park. The path gets narrow compared to what the road was – you could run three across if you wanted, but it was challenging to pass people. Even if I’m running the same pace as out in the open, I get way nervous on smaller paths because I feel like I’m being held back and therefore try to pass a bunch of people…….even if I’m not actually racing. Plenty of weaving around people was involved, but at least it was a good distraction! The park was pretty empty from a spectator perspective but was a great spot to run. I was excited to get to mile 6.5 because it would be halfway through the race and the Statue of Liberty should appear. Miles five and six were 8:14 and 8:13, so a little faster pace but still feeling good.
We turned onto the boardwalk area of the park and the views of the Statue of Liberty did not disappoint! She is giant when view from the park and it was really quiet lovely. You can also see Ellis Island and have a great view of southern Manhattan – views for daaaaaaays! (Or miles, as the case may be.) This was also when I noticed that the sun was coming out, and I hoped that it would disappear behind the fog again because I was pretty warm as it was.
Mile 7 included a little loop type thing, and I spotted Danielle and Amelia then Eissa and her running buddy. Got a little wave from Eissa and it was time to get to the finish. It was somewhere around here that I realized that I’d probably go under 1:50 and I was pretty excited about that. My running definitely wasn’t feeling easy, but it wasn’t hard and I felt good about that. I decided I wanted to run the whole way (truth be told I usually end up walking at the end of most races…) and hopefully go under 1:50 if I was able to hold pace.
Starting around mile 8, more people were out cheering, which was really nice. (Whoever Liz is – you had quite the crew!) We ran past a canal type situation with lots of boats, so that was fun to check out the names on the boats. I kept telling myself to get to mile 10 and then it would just be a 5k to go. Miles 7-10: 8:08, 8:18, 8:01, 8:10. Picking up the pace a little bit!
Around mile 10, we exited the park and headed back to the roads. I was picking up the pace enough to pass people, and some guy said, “Way to be strong!” as I passed him which I thought was nice. I wasn’t sure where Eric would be (we didn’t plan too well, oops), but he yelled my name around mile 11-ish and I was happy to see him! And to only have a couple miles to go. I was still feeling really strong and thought about picking up the pace, but I have done NO speed work in over a year and haven’t exactly done a ton of mileage, so that made me nervous. I slowly dialed down the pace as I got closer and closer to the finish. The course was mostly along the water with some turns along the boardwalk-ish area, but at least it kept it interesting.
Eric spotted me again right around mile 12.8 and got pictures of me making faces you only make at the end of a race (see above). I wasn’t exactly sure how the end of the course was, but I was really ready to find the finish. The course didn’t have a mile 13 marker (or I missed it), but suddenly we turned a corner and there was the finish! I sprinted and almost cried and then it was over! Miles 11-13.1: 8:03, 8:01, 8:42 (avg pace 7:49).
1:47:26 was the official time, avg pace of 8:12!
I got my medal then headed over to pick up some food – a Gatorade, a bagel (which I never ate, oops), and I think that was it, ha. Eric had the backpack so he could come over to the finisher area (….still not a fan of that), so I walked back out to the course area and met him there. We snapped a picture then headed back to the PATH. Got home, showered, headed out for football, a buffalo chicken wrap (mmmm!), and a beer. Then I studied because #srnalife.
1:47:26, avg pace of 8:12
Overall Place: 427/2514 – Top 17%
Female Place: 84/1091 – Top 7.6%
I ran a half marathon!! And no hip pain!! I really wanted to run a half marathon before the year mark of my hip surgery. My surgery was on August 26th, and between school and not having the best choice of summer half marathons, that didn’t really work out. The Newport Liberty Half Marathon worked out perfect for me – close to home, good course, good timing (and a free entry for being a blogger, thanks!!). The course was also super flat and had great views, so I highly recommend it if you’re looking for a tune up run for a fall marathon or want a half half to chase that PR. (The field also isn’t that big, so you have room to run your pace.)
I feel like I finally hit a groove with my post-surgery running in May. May was also when I started clinicals and basically all my time goes to that. I barely have time to go to clinical, come home to eat/shower, prepare for my clinical day, and maybe do a little other school work. Definitely no running is involved, so I take what I can get on the weekends and on Mondays when I have class. (And therefore don’t wake up at 5am to be somewhere by 6am…) Running has taken a backseat for sure, but I’m happy I’ve been able to get in enough miles to run a half marathon and feel totally comfortable doing it. Of course I’d much rather be chasing a PR, but that’s not in the cards for now. Luckily running evolves with you, and I’m just happy to be safely recovered from surgery and running without thinking about my hips! I felt strong the entire way – even though 8:12 used to be a pace I wouldn’t think twice about holding for miles upon miles, that’s where I am right now. I wouldn’t say the pace felt easy, but it didn’t feel that difficult, so two thumbs up for that.
I also hope this gives a little hope to anyone out there dealing with labral tears – I was in pain for over a year before I had surgery, then surgery lead to a long recovery. Sometimes I think I was silly to willingly have surgery just to run again. (Especially seeing what I see in the OR now!!) But it was so worth it and I’d recommend it without second thought. (Also – is now when I stop referencing my hip surgery? Stop hash tagging everything with “labral tear” and “hip arthroscopy?” Someone tell me the etiquette on this…)
I will say that I’m secretly played with a 1:47:26 half marathon time because doubling that would put me at 3:34:52 which may or may not be a qualifying time for Boston. I mean, it probably wouldn’t get me a spot at Boston, and I know that doubling your half marathon time is a grossly inaccurate way of estimating a marathon time, but you know. A girl’s gotta dream. I have my eyes on Boston 2019 which means I would need a qualifier before September 2018. (I graduate in August, so all you fellow SRNAs out there can just laugh at me, it’s fine.)
Thank you to the Newport Liberty Half Marathon for a free bib and for putting on such a great race!