First off, thank you all so so much for all your well wishes, tweets, and everything else this weekend. It meant so much to me and brought a huge smile to my face on race morning. Thank you.
Short story of my NYC Half race? Not my best day but I finished and I smiled during the race. I followed my plan to run at a comfortable pace, and I felt strong running up the hills in Central Park.
I had a bit of problem with my hip early on in the race and then my knee at about the halfway point. From that point on, I didn’t try to push the pace and just focused on finishing (even though I really wanted to stop at Times Square). So that’s what I did.
Longer version of the NYC Half? Well, that’s a bit longer…
Taper Week Worries
So you know how I mentioned on Friday that I was having some aches and pains in my knee? It was a little more than that. After a confidence-building training cycle, my knee started mysteriously hurting during taper week. I would feel a funny clip or tweak in my knee when I walked (kind of feels like my meniscus getting caught).
Needless to say, I was freaking out. But after a short shake-out run on Saturday, everything felt OK and I just chalked it up to race day mental worries.
Race morning dawned bright and early. When I got out of bed, both my knee and foot felt great and I thought that my worries were behind me. My only concern that morning was staying warm before the start of the race. It was about 33 degrees and with the windchill, the temperatures were in the 20s.
I wore my race clothes, a throwaway long-sleeve t-shirt, a sweatshirt, wind pants, hat, gloves and wrapped myself in a fleece blanket. I’m so glad that I did because I was nice and toasty at the start.
There was quite a bottle neck leading to the corrals as we all had to go through metal detectors. Once I got to the corrals, things moved pretty quickly and before I knew it, it was time to start running.
The race started on East Drive and East 72nd Street and traveled north for 2 miles. Mile 3 took us out of the park to run along 110th Street to the western edge of the park. We then looped back along 110th Street to re-enter the park.
I warmed up within the first mile and got rid of some of my throwaway clothes. I tried to remember to hold back and not worry about weaving in and out between runners.
Mile 4 took us up the big, main hill in Central Park. I felt really good and comfortable running uphill. I remembered Jess’ advice that it should feel like someone is giving me a light push on the back. Getting up and over the hill was a confidence boost, although I kind of forgot that there were rolling hills along the rest of the west side of the park but I took each hill as they came.
Around mile 4 or 5, I started to feel my quad tighten up and then my hip flexor. Every time I brought my right leg up and forward, it would pinch. I kept telling myself that it would go away, that it would loosen up and go away.
At mile 6, we exited the park and, despite my hip, I felt good. The hardest part of the race was behind me, and I knew that I could keep the same pace or even pick it up during the last half.
Mile 7 led us from the park to Times Square. It was such a rush to run along 7th Avenue and through an empty Times Square. I knew that I wanted to run faster but didn’t. Somewhere along the way, my knee (the surgically repaired one) felt like it almost buckled. Damn it.
Once that happened, I started to lose the mental game. I started feeling my hip hurt more and I was disappointed that it wasn’t my day. I focused on finishing – on making it to the finish line because I knew that Ed and my kids would be waiting for me there.
I might have made some promises that I would go to physical therapy and consistently do all my exercises if I finished the race in one piece. But really? I wanted to stop, hop on the subway and go home.
After Times Square, we turned on 42nd Street and headed for the West Side Highway. Holy wind.
The last 5 miles of the race ran along the West Side Highway – flat, straight miles down to Battery Park. These miles fluctuated from “Oh this is great! I’m almost done!” to “OMG I’m not going to make it!” to “Enjoy this moment and how far you’ve come.” I focused on an even effort and just kept going. But man, those were mental miles.
FINALLY. The last mile. We ran through the Battery Tunnel, which was kind of freaky since it was so dark. We exited the tunnel, ran up the ramp, turned on Maiden Lane and then onto Water Street to the finish line.
Here’s the thing. I’m really proud of myself for training for, starting and finishing the race – my first half marathon in probably 10 years. That I continued to run even though I wanted to quit. That I enjoyed the race and smiled.
I’m disappointed that I didn’t run a stronger race and that my knee acted up. Actually, I’m really annoyed that my knee and hip acted up. I’m not trying to make excuses but I was hoping to have a better day.
But, I did have the best cheering squad on the course. Thankful that Ed and the boys were able to come out and cheer for me even in the freezing cold weather.
And thank you Jess for getting me here. I definitely wouldn’t have made it this far without you and your amazing coaching!
How was your weekend?
Read more about my training here:
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