What was your worst race? Why was it your worst race? Was it the wind? Hitting your body so hard you felt like you were blowing backwards with every step. Was it the rain? Piercing your face like a thousand needles pricking your skin one after the other. How about knee pain? So intense that it felt like someone took a butchers knife and was slowly moving the blade back and forth. My experience at the Staten Island Half Marathon? All of the above and more.
Retrospectively I am more than pleased, after all, I qualified for the New York City Marathon 2017 with this race! I ran a total of 9 New York Road Runners Races and volunteered at one to guarantee my entry- and after three years of losing the lottery, I couldn’t wish for more. But the Staten Island half won’t be one I forget any time soon.
At the same time that Hurricane Mathew was tearing apart North Carolina, a band of the hurricane mixed with a storm in the northeast and was tearing apart our morale at the starting line. It was cold, low 50’s, and the rain made it miserable. The first 6.5 miles were not that bad. The wind was at our back, had an average pace going on, it was decent. But as soon as we turned around I swear I lost 10 steps by being blown backwards in the wind. The Manhattan skyline was barely visible through the rain drops, that’s only if you dared to look up. It felt like the raindrops were made of shards of glass, and each time they hit your face it was piercing.
The weather affected everyone, but my body decided to treat me different than everyone else’s. My knee decided that it did not feel like running and cramped up several times, down hill was worse than up, and it plagued me the worst after climbing 109 feet under the beautiful Verrazano Bridge. I was also lucky enough to be plagued with runner trots, something that I only had the Broad Street run in the spring. Unlike Broad Street bathrooms were far and few between and I contemplated going in my pants for a rough mile and a half. Luckily I went before we had any disasters.
What else could go wrong. The stadium which served as the finish line was in sight, the end of the pain and torture was in sight… Or so I hoped. We finished on the field of the Staten Island Yankees… In theory and if this was a warm sunny fall day this would have been amazing. Manhattan in the background, crossing at home plate, a stadium of people watching – in real life it did not play out like that. The grass was slippery, the mud sank into my shoes, at one point my shoes and the mud became one.
BUT IM DONE. Nine races, one volunteer, I AM RUNNING THE 2017 NEW YORK CITY MARATHON. The Staten Island Half started where the marathon will start, the end of one journey, really is the beginning of another.