April has been a crazy race month for me. There was no time to rest after the Syracuse Half as I was diving straight into Scotland Run 10K, the Run for the Parks 4-Miler, and finally the MORE/FITNESS/SHAPE Women’s Half-Marathon.
I’ve never run so many races in one month, but I loved it! Plus, now I’m officially halfway through my 9+1 goal! Woot!
Alrighty – time to get to recapping the MORE/FITNESS/SHAPE Half!
Let’s start with the night before. I slept terribly. No matter how many races I run, I’m always worried that I’m going to sleep through my alarm and miss the race. I don’t know why. I’ve never slept through my alarm, but I always think I’m going to and end up waking up every hour to check the clock. This race was no different. In fact, it was worse. I had a dream that Will and I were driving to Pennsylvania the morning of the race (why we were schlepping to Pennsylvania in the wee hours of the morning when I had a race in NYC at 8am I do not know). I had set an alarm for when I’d have to hop out of the car and run down the highway back to NY for the race, because, you know, why not run across an entire state before running a half marathon? In my dream, I slept through the alarm and was sad that I’d never make it back to NY on time for the start of the race. That, of course, prompted me to wake up to check the clock. It was only 3am. Silly, Nicole, go back to sleep!
Eventually, 6am came, my alarm rang, and I didn’t sleep through it. I woke up and went through what has become my April weekend routine: get up, put on race gear, make prerace oats to-go, take the subway to Central Park.
The subway was a bit delayed (stupid C train), but I got to the park at 7:30. I headed to bag drop-off, and found my friend Lindsey in the crowd. Hi, Lindsey!
Then I made the I-don’t-really-have-to-go-but-know-I-should porta potty trip before heading to the corrals, where I found Maria. Hi, Maria!
Moments later, we were off!
Like any race, the first mile/mile-and-a-half, was a big congested, but soon enough I found my space and my grove. I was feeling great, and when my Garmin buzzed at the 1 miler marker, I looked down to see [INSERT TIME], and thought hmmmm I could get another PR if I keep this up!
The first few miles were wonderful. All the trees had blossomed and it was just a picture-perfect day. I started looking around at all the women around me and felt so inspired. This is an all women’s race, and something about that makes it special. There were tutus and bright colors and women cheering on other women. It was just so upbeat and empowering!
Mile 3.5 was the first big challenge: Harlem Hill. This hill is no joke. It’s about a half mile of steepness. All the volunteers along the hill were great, though, cheering us on and telling us we were almost at the top (I appreciated their lies haha). It was nice to know that once we reached the top of the hill, the hardest part of the course was over. Until, of course, we had to conquer it again on the second lap.
A few miles later and I was started the second loop of the course. Let me tell you, I noticed a lot of smaller hills that I did NOT notice the first time around. My legs were starting to feel it a bit, but I was determined to keep up my hopeful PR pace.
The second time up Harlem Hill was rough. My left hip was crying a little bit, but I just kept telling myself that this was it – the absolute hardest part of the course. It was almost over and then it was only 3 miles to the finish.
Mile 11 was the hardest for me. I swear that sucker was 5 miles long (obviously, it was only 1 mile long). I just kept waiting for the 12-mile marker and it just wouldn’t come. I kept my spirits up by high-fiving every little kid that reached out on the sidelines. Thanks for the energy, kiddos!
Finally, I was turning the corner to the last mile leg of the race and then the finish line was in sight. I was going to PR, and I was going to PR big time! Huff puff. Huff puff! I crossed that finish line in 1:53:40 – shaving 3 minutes and 3 seconds off my Syracuse Half time. Bazinga!
I got my medal and my heat sheet. I didn’t really need a heat sheet because it was so nice out, but I wanted one because I had just PRed and wanted to feel like a princess in a cloak.
Then I headed to the post race festival where I listened to the cool band, got some orange juice, ate my FlyJoy bar, stretched, and took a ridiculous amount of selfies.
Overall, I really loved this race, and not just because I PRed. The course was beautiful yet challenging. The day was beautiful. The energy of the volunteers and all the women running was spectacular. This may become a yearly must-do for me.
Now I have a bit of a break until my next race – a 10k at the end of May. While I’ll miss the weekly energy that races bring, I’m looking forward to relaxing a bit and being able to sleep in on the weekends. Plus, I can enjoy a few weeks without a race-day alarm haunting my dreams.
Do you sleep well the night before a race?
Prettiest course you’ve ever run – go!
What’s on your Spring race agenda?
This post is linked up with Wild Workout Wednesdays.