My first half!
On Sunday April 15 I had ythe distinct honor pf participating in the MORE womens half marathon in Central Park. This is the longest distance I have ever run, and I never thought I would be able to participate in a race of this distance but I did it!
There were some nerves the day before. I triedto stay busy and did regular chores but also laid out my entire outfit, a change of clothes for afterwards, charged up my cell phone and loaded it with lots of music; had my energy alternatives ready; and even made my prerace oatmeal and coffee so all I would have to do wa warm it up in the am.
The plan was to wake at 4:30; leave by 5:30 to take the 30 minute drive into the city to find parking. That would give me time to sleep, stretch, pee, whatever before the 7 am meetup for photos with my running group.
Well, I absolutely could NOT sleep the night before. The temperature during the day shot up to the mid 70’s (usual seasonal temp is mid 50’s) and it was due to be 80 on race day. This meant that it was an unseasonalbly warm night- I probably got about 3 hours of sleep. I woke at 5 and it took me almost an hour to get ready, but we made the drive in with plenty of time and found great parking one block away from the park on the Westside near the finish.
I walked to baggage and within a few moments met the others from my running group that had arrived. All told, I think we had over 50 women who participated in this half. It was so wonderful to feel the energy of everyones excitement, and lots of people took pictures and wished each other luck.
I had been (over?) hydrating a lot the week prior and actually drank some water that morning –a first for me – and so I actually had to pee before this race. TWICE. Unheard of for me but sooooo glad I went- the second time I really had to go!
Once the race started (in my corral I would say I actually strted the start line about 10 minutes after the official start o fthe race) I got into a measured pace fairly quickly. There are two significant hills in Central Park (and about a dozen smaller ones) so I wanted to pace myself for them- esp[ecially the biggie, Harlem Hill, which we hit twice the first time being about 1.5 miles into the race. I am proud to say all my hill repeats paid off BIGTIME! I managed to jog each hill without too much difficulty while I could count on one hand the number of other women saw jogging up the second lap of Harlem Hill.
The weather threatened rain- they wer saying 60% and it did drizzle the night before, but it was just warm and after awhile the sun did come out to make things warmer; plus a little humid.I was sweating like a dog but that is hardly unuisual for me.
In the first mile I had a sore foot and tight calves. Those issues worked themselves out largely by mile 2. Afterwards I was doing soooooooo well, I really felt great the first half of the race. I almost – not quite but almost- forgot to take my energy replacement (Clif shot choclate- holla!) but sucked that down along with some Gatorade probably around mile 7 or so.
It wasn’t until mile 10 or 11 that I suddenly felt like just sitting down. Not stopping, or walking, but sitting down, watching TV with a cold soda in my hand. Like, RIGHT NOW. I tried slowing down, and I think that did me good for a mile; and at the next water station walked the length of the station. But just like that I felt out of gas. It sucked. I searched inside of me for something to help me get going again – and I would start- and stop. Start- and stop. Start- and stop.
This crap went on until about mile 12.5 when I realized how close it really really was- I started again and actually finished with a decent pace. Overall however, I wasn’t too far of of what I thought I could do. The walking breaks too over towards the end. OK so I am somewhat disappointed as I have done better pace times on my long runs that I do alone and those are at TWO MINUTES SLOWER than race pace- somehow I wasn’t able to pull that faster pace off .