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%)

Thoughts

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!

Hood to Coast Movie Review

image

Last night was a fabulous day in runner nerd (aka runnerd) land, as the Hood to Coast movie was playing all across the country.  For those of you not in the know, Hood to Coast is one of the more well known relays, where people are on a team (usually 10-12 people, depending on the relay) and take turns running (hence the “relay” idea) a distance that various, but usually ends up around 200 miles.  Hood to Coast is twelve person teams covering 197 miles, and it is a huuuuuge event with over 1,000 teams running.  That’s a crazy amount of runners! 

I think I forgot to mention that I’m doing the Reach the Beach Relay in Massachusetts at the end of May with a bunch of fabulous NYC runners.  As a relay team bonding event (with no running involved), we met up for appetizers (emphasis on the fried pickles) and then headed over to the movie together.  I’ve admittedly never attempted to go to the movies with fifteen-ish people…we took up over half a row!  That’s kind cool.  The whole runner movie idea reminded me of watching the Spirit of the Marathon in the theater right before the 2007 Chicago Marathon (of death!).  It was a little different because most people at Spirit of the Marathon were getting ready to run two days later, but it was fun to see some people wearing Reach the Beach shirts to the movie.

In a nutshell:  The movie was fantastic!  I thought it was really interesting and actually made me laugh and made some others cry.  They followed five different teams:  a group of masters runners who have been doing Reach the Beach for over 20 years, a team who randomly signed up for it having no idea what it actually involved, a team honoring their family member/friend who had a heart attack at age thirty and died, a team of older women, one of who had a heart attack during Reach the Beach the year before, and a team of elite runners (who they hardly mentioned).  Seeing the race from so many different perspectives was awesome and really helped make the movie.  Plus, it got me soooooo excited to run the relay in May!  I’m a geek and may have been smiling for 90% of the movie.

Highlights of the movie:

  • The beautiful course.  If anyone ever needs anyone to be on their team for this one, sign me up and I’ll find a way to be there!
  • The non-runner who said that running a hard leg in the middle of the night was absolutely awesome.  I can’t wait for some late night runs during the relay!
  • Seeing what running means to different people.  Some relay members have been running their entire lives while others were doing it to honor family members.  Running means something different to me than it does to you, and I love hearing about those differences.
  • Runners are nuts.  I LOVE IT.
  • One of the non-runners ate a Gu on camera and had the exact same reaction I always have…”This is disgusting.”  Then I usually vomit it back up.  (Okay, it’s not really vomit since I never swallow.  But Gu and I are not friends.)
  • I need to start incorporating power arches into my running lifestyle.  Look it up/watch the movie.
  • Running will always be a part of my life…people may slow down as they age, but they’re still runners.  I just hope the heart attacks stay away.

 

It was sooooo good!  I definitely recommend it if you’re a runner or if you want to give someone a glimpse into our crazy minds.  :)   I always thought a relay would be a great time with fun people, but now I know it’s going to be awesome!  Not sure if the movie is going to be released on DVD or reshown in theaters, but check it out if you can!

Have you ever run one of these long distance relays?  Did you get a chance to check out the movie last night?  My longest relay ever was the distance medley relay in high school…I ran the mile.  :)

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