My NYC Half Marathon Race Recap is here! If you haven’t run this race, be sure to add it to your bucket list!
Welcome to another great Wild Workout Wednesday Link Up where Annmarie from The Fit Foodie Mama, Angelena Marie from Angelena Marie: Happy, Healthy & Balanced, Michelle at Fruition Fitness and I bring you workout ideas, motivation, inspiration and recipes to try. Join us each week by reading along, linking up and grab the button to proudly display on your blog/in your posts!
I mentioned on Friday I was able to run the NYC Half last minute. I was pretty excited to run this race since it was my first race ever back in 2012. Not even the predicted cold and snow was going to keep me from the starting line.
My race prep started the night before. I laid out flat Nicole and headed to bed early.
Flat Nicole is ready to tackle the #UnitedNYCHalf! #13point1, here I come! * * * #halfmarathon #flatrunner #instarunner #runner #werunsocial #run #runchat #runnuc #runnersofig #sweatpink #girlsgonesporty #fitfluential #fitfam #bgbcommunity #nyrr #sparkmyfitness #hokaoneone #procompression #fueledbyprobar
I debated my wake up time over and over. I wanted to give myself enough time to get to Central Park, pee and get to my corral before it closed at 7:30am, but I also didn’t want to have too much time standing around in the cold. I’ve run a bazillion NYRR races before and know they are on top of it, so I figured I’d have plenty of time to get to my corral if I got to the park at 7:00am.
I settled on a 5:45am wake up call. That would give me plenty of time to get dressed, make my pre-race oatmeal, take a pre-race selfie and catch the 6:28 subway into the Manhattan.
Of course… the subway was late (#Ctrainproblems) – only by about 5 minutes or so, but since I had put myself in such a time crunch, I was nervous. I was then made more nervous when I saw the line for security at the park. There were metal detectors, something I’ve never seen at a NYRR race. I suppose it makes sense due to the fact that this is a high-profile half marathon – but I hadn’t allocated time for that during my wake up call debate. The security line wasn’t THAT bad (especially compared to the Philadelphia Marathon security line from hell), but at that point I only had 25 minutes to get to my corral before it closed.
Twenty minutes later, I was through security and had to literally run to my corral (not ideal considering I was about to run 13.1 miles). Buuuuut at least it kept my mind off the cold!
I wanted to pee, but the line at the porta-potties was horrendous. I decided to skip the pee-break and just deal with it later, but when I got up to the very front of the porta-potty section, the lines had dispersed (probably because all the other Wave 2 runners were rushing to their corrals like me). It was 7:28.
I popped into a porta-potty, popped out and sprinted to my corral. I ended up making it in at about 7:31. PHEW! They hadn’t closed the corral yet. I shed my throwaway layer, got my watch set, and started thinking about my race strategy. I probably should have given this some thought ahead of time, but when you get into a race last minute, all planning is kind of out the window.
Endurance-wise, I knew I’d be a.ok to run 13.1, but I’ve been pretty lax about my speed training lately. I made myself an aggressive training plan for the Syracuse Half (which is in a week and half!), but after a few tough training runs, I decided to just train for enjoyment rather than pace. That led to skipping some short runs and not really doing any speed training. I was diligent about getting in my long runs, but I knew I’d lost speed. So standing in my corral, I decided to just run and enjoy racing in my great city. I also decided to snag water at every other water station.
Once that decision was made, all that was left was crossing the starting line!
The first mile was all about warming up my toes and finding my zone. I probably did a little too much weaving, but I always get a little over eager at the start. I found my own bubble of space and hit a steady pace around mile 2, but right after I thought I was in a good place, we headed out of Central Park and down toward Columbus Circle. This was a change in the course from when I ran this race in 2012, and I can’t say I’m a fan. The course really narrowed here, and I found myself weaving again to try to find a good place. Bah!
We headed back into the park around mile 3, at which point it was time to tackle Harlem Hill. I just kept telling myself that once this hill was over, the toughest part of the race would be behind me. I kept my pace and passed quite a few people – feeling good!
There were a few more little hills throughout the rest of Central Park, but nothing terrible. I just kept reminding myself that the second half of the course is almost completely flat. I took some PROBAR Bolt energy chews at mile 5 (around the 45 minute mark) and was almost out of the park!
Mile 6 came and went, and before I knew it, I was leaving Central Park and running toward Times Square.
As a New Yorker, I usually avoid Times Square like the plague. It’s crowded and loud and just makes me anxious, but running through it without all the cars and tourists was absolutely magical. It’s like Times Square was there just for me (and… well.. 20,000 other runners). It’s really pretty awesome that they shut down Times Square for this race.
A mile later, we were turning toward the West Side Highway.
I LOVE this part of the course. You have the city to your left and the water to your right. The crowd support is excellent and you know it’s pretty much a straight shot to the finish.
Mile 8 was actually tough for me. When my watch buzzed, I realized I was running a 9:30 pace. I’d been keeping up a 9 minute pace for the entire race until that point, and even though I told myself I was running this race for fun, the competitor in me wanted to pick up the pace. At that point, the race became me vs. the 2-hour mark. I knew I wasn’t going to PR, but to not get a sub-2 after all the sub-2’s I’ve had would be disappointing.
I tried to pick up the pace.
I hoped the chews I’d have at the 10-mile mark would give me the boost I needed. When I hit 10 miles, I was at 1:31 and change. Ok, Nicole, you just need to run at a 9 minute pace, and you’ll finish under 2 hours.
I was in a bit of daze between miles 11 and 12. I just wanted to go a bit faster. I was pushing it, and yet I was still just over a 9 minute pace. What the heck?
I hit the 12-mile marker and headed into the Battery Park Tunnel. It was time to kick it into high gear.
When I saw that there were 400 meters left, I glanced down at my watch. 1:58. This was going to be close. I sprinted to the finish line, but that didn’t cut it. My final time was 2:00:15.
I was disappointed. I knew I wasn’t going to PR, but I was expecting to be 6 minutes and 35 seconds off my PR. My average pace for this race was 9:11. My PR pace is 8:41.
As I collected my medal and heat sheet, I tried to put everything into perspective. I felt great this whole race. I didn’t get any aches or side stitches. I didn’t hit a wall. I felt strong.
I knew I wasn’t going to PR. I knew I’d lost speed. Know I know how much.
If I’m honest with myself, I’ve been lazy with my training. I’ve been lacking the motivation to push myself. Maybe this is the kick I need to get back at it and train for speed again.
Overall, I’m incredibly happy I was able to run this race. I love the course and I felt great throughout. I didn’t experience any soreness after, which means I’m not out of shape – I’ve just lost a bit of speed. Now I have a new goal to work toward.
After this race, I’m not expecting a PR at Syracuse in a week and half, but I have two months to get my butt in gear for the Brooklyn Half.
So thank you, Manhattan, for motivating me. I’ll enjoy Syracuse and Brooklyn, I see you, and I’m coming in fast!
Before we get to the link up, I want to offer a big CONGRATS to some of my running buddies who also ran this half on Sunday. Some had great races and PRs, some had a tough go but still finished strong. Regardless, they all busted their butts and crossed that finish line – so big congrats to Kim, Nellie, Ashley, Katie, Gregg, and Safari!
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Who else raced last weekend?
Has the competitor in you ever taken over?
Ever dealt with a loss of speed?