juno…the blizzard that wasn’t [nyc edition]

I’m pretty sure the entire country is well aware of the “blizzard” that was supposed to hit the Northeast last night and today.  I put the word “blizzard” in quotations to refer to the storm that actually hit NYC, as it was anything but a blizzard.  The more north and east portions of the Northeast certainly got hit harder, but NYC certainly went into panic mode.  For the first time in the history of the subway system, the entire system shut down on Monday night.  A ban was placed on road travel.  SNOW DAYS FOR EVERYONE.

Ah, snow days.  You would be so nice if I didn’t have a job that never shuts down.  (In other news, I have the best job security ever.  You keep being ridiculously unhealthy, America.)  Although I never really worried about getting to work (I’ve got two feet and I know how to use them!), I was worried about work being a disaster from people calling out due to not being able to get into work.  Luckily, a few nurses ended up sleeping at the hospital overnight, so we actually were quite well staffed.  Hooray.

But getting to work certainly made me nervous, and I woke up a few times last night to check and see how much snow we actually had.  Each time, I was never impressed.  I should have prefaced this entire post by saying that I grew up outside Chicago.  In order to get a snow day, it had to start snowing somewhere around 4am – and it better be snowing had.  Any earlier, and there was enough time to get the snowplows and salt trucks out, clearing the roads in time to school.  Any later, and it was too late to call off school.  I remember going to elementary school with snow over my head after a few good snowstorms.

I would like to take this time to note that had the snowstorm been as bad as they said it was going to be, I strongly considered wearing my New York City Marathon parka to walk to and from work.  It breaks the wind.  It’s impossible to miss.  I’d be warm and wouldn’t be hit by any cars.  I consider this a win-win situation.  (And yes, I still have my parka without any legitimate reason to use it so far…)

So.  Much.  Orange.

The walk to work wasn’t so bad.  My doorman reminded me that no buses or subways were running, and I reminded him that my boots were made for walking.  I heard that the parks were closed, but I figured no one would be patrolling them.  WRONG.  I got yelled at by a park guy with a snow blower when I tried to enter, even after saying I was a nurse trying to get to work.  Needing to reroute, I found one of the cross roads and walked down the street without another person in sight.

If I had to imagine what a zombie apocalypse would look like in NYC, it would be pretty close to what Tuesday morning was.  A few photographers were out with their tripods and fancy cameras, capturing pictures of an empty city.  Plenty of doormen were out with shovels and pails of salt.  Otherwise, people were walking.  In the street.  It was so quiet.  Sometimes a police car would go by, but New York City is certainly odd without the constant buzz of traffic.

nyc snow Lexington Ave.  With the assistance from plenty of filters.

Work went along as usual since the hospital doesn’t necessarily change its flow just because the weather is being weird.  Walking home was much less eventful than the morning commute – the park was open and many people were still out sledding.  One guy in Central Park asked me for a lighter (actually, his friend yelled, “Ask that white girl for a lighter!”), to which I wanted to say that 1) you’re not allowed to smoke in Central Park and 2) I’m a burn nurse, so no, I don’t have a lighter.

I’m looking forward to an easier commute tomorrow…may even one that involves a bus ride?

Did you get a snow day?  Are you snowed in up in Boston?  Did you run?  Are you sledding?  Did all the snow melt?  Or maybe you worked as well…?

And please tell me other people still have their marathon parkas stored away for a day like today…

2011 Manhattan Half Race Report

So an a total aside that I briefly mentioned in my last post, I ran the Manhattan Half Marathon on Saturday.  I signed up for it on a whim a few weeks ago when the website said that it was nearly capacity and to SIGN UP NOW.  I guess they took a hint from Boston and decided to post that to get people into a frenzy to register…wait, bad plan.  Moving on.

I ran a half marathon on Saturday.  Despite my fairly established marathoning career (I suppose six marathons means I know a thing or two, not sure beyond that), my half marathoning career is limited to a single half marathon ran just after my freshman year of college.  My high school cross country friend (hi Katie!) and I decided to run a half marathon, and when the time came, neither of us had really been training for it…oops?  We showed up and ran the whole thing together and finished in about 2:02.  It was fun and her sprinter legs beat me by a few seconds! 

Needless to say, much is to be learned about the half marathon.  Or shorter races in general.  I have a tendency to only run in marathons sooo I had no idea what to expect out of a half marathon.  My main goal was to see how running 7:16s for an extended time would feel, as my new goal marathon time is 3:10.  I’m admittedly becoming more and more nervous about announcing that to the world, as that’s fast!  I would have preferred dropping to 7:00 for a little more confidence, but who knows.  Certainly not me.  So goal pace was 7:00-7:10 in 14 degrees weather. 

Oh yeah, did I mention it was cold?  Because it was.  Friday night was spent fending off thoughts of “we’re going to freeze to death!” on twitter, with people debating how many layers to wear.  Being from Chicago, the cold doesn’t totally freak me out, so I went with a pair of tights on the bottom and two long sleeve shirts and a tshirt on top.  I’ve run in sub-zero, 14 degrees has nothing on me.

I got my butt out of bed on Saturday morning and told myself I was nuts before heading on over to Central Park.  Since I only live about a mile away, I slogged (slogged = slow jog) over, in part to warm up the legs and in part to keep myself warm.  Being my first NYRR race longer than a mile (I did the First Ave Mile in the fall), I wasn’t totally sure what to expect, but I found bag check without a problem and unwillingly took off my sweatshirt and second pair of pants.  Found the bathroom, then headed over to the corrals.

I saw the sign for the red bibs (second corral woo woo) and jumped in to find my favorite NYC packer fan who greeted me with “Bears suck!” while wearing a Hawaiian shirt.  Love it.  I realized a little too late that I had jumped in the back of the red corral, but my attempts to move up failed sooo I just held my place.  After a quick Star Spangled Banner (thank you for not drawing that out, I love the country, but it was cold!), we were off!  What had I gotten myself into??

Loop 1:  Miles 1-6
Mile Splits:  7:08, 6:59, 6:42, 7:00, 6:59, 6:43

I was attempting to go fast from the start, especially since the race started with a little downhill, but I ended up weaving a bit and going around a lot of people, so it wasn’t the smartest start ever.  However, I finally got into a spot of my own and could hold pace for a little bit.  It was hard to tell how fast I was running since people were all around, but I didn’t feel like I was moving too fast and for lack of any poetic wording, it felt good.  I’ve run in Central Park plenty of times (understatement of the year), so I knew the course and knew where the hills and downhills are, so I tried to use that to my advantage.  (I’m sure everyone else was just as familiar…)  Miles four and five were back in the hills in Harlem, which I knew would be tough, but I powered through them on the first loop just telling myself to keep pace with the other runners.  Not too shabby.  I knew Erica and Baker would be by 72nd St during mile six, so that was a bit motivator.  My face was a bit frozen by the time I got to them, and I can only imagine what it sounded like when I screamed and waved at them.  Yay for crazy friends who come out in freezing weather!  Erica snapped this lovely butt shot:

Totally chicking that guy.

As I came back through the starting area, the announcer said something like, “And these runners are coming through at about 7:00 pace!”  Why not.  Onto lap two!

Lap 2, Part A:  Miles 7-9
Mile Splits:  7:02, 7:01, 6:48

Onto lap two, where I’d seen everything before and settling and keeping pace was the same of the game.  I still didn’t feel like I was pushing and I knew that I just need to keep a move on.  Garmin got a bit wacky on me so I couldn’t tell my pace all the time (I really need to learn to run by feel, gah), so I just moved on my way and apparently was doing fine with pace.  I had friend cheering just before mile 7 (non-runner, you’re crazy!), which was on the uphill on the lower east part of the park, so a good spot for motivation.  Also a good spot for this picture:

IMG_1837 Awesome running form.

Let’s zoom in on that beauty.

image I don’t look like death, so I’m assuming I was having a good time.

Back to my actual running.  I conquered Cat Hill (woo woo!) and the rest of the east side.  No worries, moving along.  Feeling fine.  Annnnnd then we hit Loop 2, Part B:

Loop 2, Part B:  Miles 10-11
Mile Splits:  7:15, 8:04

I’ll make this quick because the running part certainly wasn’t.  The hills in Harlem got me this time.  I was at the bottom of it and was having trouble motivating myself to get up it with any sort of speed.  That being said, many others were following suit so it wasn’t too terrible, but ohhhhhh that was not fun.  I suppose I know what I need to work on.  I ran into Megan, a runner friend who I helped pace during a 60k in November, at the bottom of the hill and just couldn’t keep up.  She was also about ten-fifteen seconds ahead of me for about five miles earlier in the race, but I couldn’t get up there.  Next time I need to find her at the start!

Loop 2, Part C:  Miles 12-13.1
Mile Splits:  7:15, 7:09, 1:39 (6:49 pace, assuming this part was 0.24 miles…go garmin)

I finally got back into gear on a downhill after I realized that I only had two miles left to go!  Hurry up, Susan!  I spotted Erica and Baker again at 72nd St for a nice pick-me-up and hurried on my way.  I always enter the park at 72nd St (on the east side), so finishing off with the lower loop was mentally easier because it’s always how my loops end.  Plus, there’s a nice downhill portion on the west side sooo you can’t beat that.  I gave up on looking at my garmin and just kept pushing myself to get to the finish…those earlier miles were catching up to me and I could feel it in my legs.  Somewhere on the east side some guy ran by me and said, “Let’s go!”  So we did.  Passed crazy non-runner buddy around mile 12.7-ish who snapped this photo of concentration:

IMG_1841 To the finish!

image I never said I’m an attractive runner.  Here we go!

Made the turn onto the 72nd St Transverse and into the finish!  My garmin read 1:33:55, which was about as close as you can get to my later posted official time of 1:33:54.  Well, that’s a bit of a PR over my last half marathon.  :)

Official Results

13.1 miles in 1:33:54, avg pace of 7:10
Overall Place:  361/4359  (Top 8.2%)
Female Place:  31/1688  (Top 1.8%)
Age Group Place:  17/522  (Top 3.2%)


Yikes!  I can run fast!  I never felt like this pace was too fast (okay, minus the hills on my 8:04 mile where I just dragged long), but I was happy with my ability to come back and run a good pace at the end.  I certainly didn’t have another 13.1 miles at the pace in me, but perhaps if I drop the sub-seven miles I’d be able to be better at pacing throughout a longer race.  This definitely gave me a lot more confidence in my ability to run faster over a longer period of time, especially with no tapering or race specific training.  I’ll take it.

Random thought #1:  SO COLD.  We’re all insane.

Random thought #2:  I know two people who ran times similar enough to me that we should have run together.  Megan, as I mentioned above, and Eissa.  Next time I need some better plan to run with these ladies!

Random thought #3:  Just because someone looks like Josh doesn’t mean it is Josh.  I yelled, “Josh!” three times to the same guy…who apparently wasn’t Josh.  But he was nice enough to wave back at me.

Random thought #4:  Perhaps I should do more shorter races, who knows how fast I can run?

Random thought #5:  MARATHON IN TWO MONTHS AHHH.

Post Run Brunch

After the half, a bunch of us crazy enough to run headed to brunch at Elsewhere, organized by Erika.  It’s pretty new and quite delicious!  The atmosphere was delightful as we sat in a room with a real tree that actually dropped leaves on us throughout our meal.  My quiche was super tasty, as were the potatoes, although I will mention that hot coffee hit the spot after such a chilly race.  I had a great time catching up with runners and discussing snot rockets while refueling.  If you’re looking for a brunch spot, you should definitely check it out!

Look at those sweaty, well-fueled runners!

Post Manhattan Half Brunch

  Mushroom, leek, and fontina cheese quiche, for the win!

Ah brunch, you are glorious.

That’s a half marathon wrap!  Thanks for reading, and double thanks to those wackos who ran and cheered!

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