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March 21, 2011

NYC Half-Marathon Race Recap

I had one goal for this race: break 2 hours. I finished my first half-marathon less than a year ago in 2:01:45. I ran my second half in 2:00:53 so I knew that a sub-2 hour half was definitely within reach.  I followed a training plan called "Break 2:00 or Bust" out of Runner's World and "break 2 or bust" was definitely the mentality I went into this race with.


But let's start at the beginning, shall we?

Pre-Race: I had plans to stay at my friend Erin's (who was running the race with me) friend Nayeli's house since she lives pretty close to the starting line and graciously offered to let us stay there. As soon as we got to her apartment, her and her boyfriend started cheering waving around the signs they had made for us! I had only met Nayeli once briefly so I was really excited about this! After a yummy carbo-loading session, we headed to bed.

 Pre-race with the signs Nayeli made for us!

Race Day: The alarm went off at 5:30 and I jumped out of bed to start getting ready. I had my traditional pre-race breakfast of Quaker Instant Oatmeal and a glass of OJ. Erin and I hopped in a cab across the park and made our way through bag check and the porter potties before lining up. It was cold. 31 degrees at the start? Ouch! It didn't help that we were waiting in the corral for about 45 minutes! Seriously, when I finally crossed the starting line, 16 minutes had passed since the race started!

So the race started in Central Park and I started pretty slow for two reasons: one, I was freezing and two, I knew that the North hills would come up around Mile 4 and I wanted to save my energy. The first four miles went by so fast! It took me about a mile to warm up and get into my pace and then I felt pretty good. I tackled the hills without any problems. Even though I hadn't done any hill training this cycle, I spent every single Sunday of my marathon training cycle in Central Park doing those hills over and over, so I knew exactly what was in store.

Just before the last hill, I saw Nayeli and friends cheering and took a GU before tackling New York's own Heartbreak Hill and coming back to the start at Mile 6. Between 6 and 7, I ducked away for a quick potty break and hopped back onto the course.


Feeling good crossing the 10k! That's me in the purple jacket!

I knew we weren't doing a second full loop but I wasn't too sure where the breakaway point was and those last 2 miles in Central Park seemed endless! Central Park is beautiful but the entire 8 miles that we were in Central Park, the pack of runners never thinned out! I was bumping elbows, stepping on heels, getting my heels stepped on the entire time I was in the park! I was getting frustrated pretty quickly! But that all changed at Mile 8 when we made a left out of Central Park into Times Square. Let me tell you something. You have never seen Times Square until you are running through it with nothing in site but spectators, other runners and the famous jumbo-trons glittering above you. It was amazing. The crowd finally thinned out at this point and I felt like I had so much room! I was just running, taking it all in...the Broadway marquees, the jumbo-trons, the signs, the bands, the spectators, all of it...it was incredible!

The turn into Times Square!

I'm on the left under the Bank of America sign! (again in the purple!)

We took 7th Ave from 59th Street all the way down to 42nd which we took down to the West Side Highway. That stretch from 7th to 12th Avenue was cold and windy! But, just as I hit the 15k mark, my amazing mom jumped out and surprised me...just like she did at the Heartbreak Hill Half last year. I had no idea she was coming and this definitely gave me a boost! When we finally turned down the West Side Highway out of the wind and hit Mile 10, I looked at my Garmin started thinking that I was cutting it really close to a sub-2 so I started hauling. The West Side Highway is concrete, not asphalt and concrete is not easy to run on. My knee started hurting and I was definitely pushing it. The effects of powering up the North Hills of Central Park were starting to hit me. I took another GU and kept going. In retrospect, I don't think that last GU ever really hit me.

 Hauling it!

At Mile 11, I just wanted to be done. I was searching in the distance for the finish line and wasn't even paying attention to the scenery around me. Mile 12 brought more spectators out but they were all cold and none of them were cheering. A girl ran past me and yelled 'Hey! Cheer for us! We need encouragement!' but they didn't listen. A lot of people were passing me at this point, but I was locked into a speed and didn't have it in me to go faster. I wasn't racing anyone at this point but myself. I knew that I was within reach of my goal but I knew I was fading fast. Just before Mile 13, I found the last drops of energy in me to sprint. And boy, did I sprint. I ran my heart out. I don't think I have ever sprinted like that before. I started passing people left and right and I felt like I was flying. I heard someone say, "Wow, she's really moving." I don't even know if they were talking about me but I'll pretend they did because I was moving. I flew past the 800, 400 and 200 meter markers and finally, I stepped over the mat and crossed the finish line in 1:58:15.

 One proud, happy girl!

Let me tell you, all of those Mile Repeats and Tempo Runs that I've utterly despised and hated definitely paid off because I never would have been able to finish this race the way I did if I hadn't done them.

Erin finished in just over 2:05 and we celebrated at the finish line with our medals and space blankets (I freaking LOVE space blankets) and then went out to brunch.
 

It felt so good to finally achieve this goal. Knowing that I was racing no one but myself was an incredible feeling in an amazing race! I have been so blessed to have never had a bad race day. Every race I have run has been a new PR and has been a better experience than the last and even though I am walking down stairs at a snails' pace and am crazy sore today, I can't wait to start pounding the pavement (not the concrete) again to get ready for the Cherry Blossom in less than 2 weeks.

Thanks for all the support this training cycle!
You guys have been awesome!
1:58:15! NEW PR BABY! WOO!!!!!

All race photos courtesy Brightroom, Inc. 

27 comments:

  1. Yay, congrats! Happy for you. :)

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  2. congrats! great recap and nice hauling! :)

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  3. Congrats!! It's great to hear you reached your goal! Good luck at the next race.

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  4. That's awesome! Loved reading your recap! Great job on setting your PR!!!

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  5. hey girl! i am a new follower! i love to run and have just started getting into races this past year. i look forward to hearing about your runs via blogging!

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  6. Congratulations Christy!!!! That's so amazing that you reached your goal time. I have so much respect for runners like you :) by the way, what's a GU?? lol

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  7. wowwww you are awesome! Congrats on the PR! You look so happy in the pics too. Sounds like a great race :)

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  8. Congrats! Sounds like you had a great race and a good time (pun intended!)
    :)
    Great job!

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  9. Heck YEAH girlfriend! It would be so awesome to run another half with you... if you were willing to get a Personal Worst, you could try to help me edge closer to the 2 hour mark. ;-)

    You worked SO hard for that time, and I'm SUPER proud of you!!!!

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  10. Awesome job on your PR Lady!!!! WooHoo :)

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  11. YEAH! Congrats on your awesome time! My heart was beating pretty hard while I was reading this post - seriously, you are so inspiring and I canNOT wait for the day that I run my first half-marathon! I love that you had friends there to encourage you throughout the run and that your Mom even surprised you - what an awesome support system you have!

    Congratulations again on setting a new PR. You are my running hero! :)

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  12. CONGRATS! - you make me want to train for a half marathon SO bad - I just need to find a running group here or something since it's unsafe to run outside on you own :/

    Great time - you should be so pround of yourself!

    xoxo
    Jenna

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  13. Congratulations!! That's awesome!

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  14. That shot of Times Square is epic! How cool to run that!!! Way to go girl, you totally killed it out there, I am so proud of you!!! Can't wait to give you a congratulatory hug soon! :)

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  15. Go you! This is so wonderful. It give me some definite motivation!

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  16. i'm so proud of you!!! congrats again. i love the race pics. you look like a super strong running rock star (which you obviously are...I'm just glad they were able to capture it on camera)

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  17. Congrats! Those are some great pictures and sounds like it was a good race! You ran awesome and definately deserved that sub-2!

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  18. congrats on such an awesome race & PR!!!!! you look STRONG in those pics!

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  19. Congratulations!! A sub 2 hour PR on a hilly NYC course - AMAZING :)

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  20. Congrats!! I LOVED this race!

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  21. That is awesome! Congrats! I teared up that your mom showed up again- what amazing support you have.

    so when is the next race?

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  22. congrats on the PR!! breaking that 2hr barrier is huge.

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  23. Congrats on the race! Looks like you had a great time (literally and figuratively).

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  24. Congrats on the PR!!! I keep saying I need to run the NYC half so hopefully next year :)

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  25. Amazing job! It's my dream to go sub-2 one of these days - you rocked it!!

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  26. You should be one proud happy girl. Way to go on running a new PR!

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