I set my self up to succeed. No matter what the outcome I would get a new course PR, because this was a new course, but I was nervous. The night before the United Airlines NYC Half was a jittery one. Would I be able to wake up at 4am? Would I hit traffic on the way there? Would the parking garage be open? Would I fail?
At 4 am my alarm sang, while it is titled “seaside” I wonder if the Apple sound team has actually be to the shore, because this sounds more of an mediocre circus the shore. Even with the thoughts of elephants and clowns I hit snooze by mistake. 15 minutes later the terrifying sound of air raid alarms shot me out of bed, thank you Apple sound team clearly you know something about scaring people out of bed.
Even with the heat on in my house I knew it was cold out, 25 degrees to be precise, I pulled on Nike tights with a short sleeve shirt, long sleeve tee, and a Nike sphere top, but most importantly I grabbed my old snowboarding jacket as my throw away.
Fast forward an hour and 20 minutes: I woke up, made it to the parking garage, all that was left to do was run. The new course had us lined up in Prospect Park, entering off of Flatbush Ave. Security was a breeze and a quick walk to my corral (H) where I was the first person to unwrap the toilet paper and use the porta potta. Today would be a good day. In the hour and a half before the race started it because clear that no matter what this would be a new course PR! However, my existing half PR was on the old United Half course, so if I PRed at this course it would be even sweeter. I tried to forget about this while standing cold in my corral by judging the sneakers of the people who walked by. Nike Pegasus 32. Altra Escalate. Why are you wearing trail shoes? How many people are going to have the Nike Breaking 2 shoe!?! Really shape ups!?!?! They still make them!!?!?!
As 7:30 rolled around and the sun started to peak out from the horizon the temperature went from 28 to a balmy 39. As I reluctantly took off my sweatpants and took my arms out of my jacket, keeping it draped around me. After the professionals started, the heard started moving, slowly, reluctantly, still trying to get feeling back in our legs. At 7:49 the grandest of adventures started for me, without me being able to feel my toes. Or legs. Or hips. The entire bottom half of my body was completely numb. My toes in my sneakers felt like big blocks, I could not tell what they were doing, but they wanted to go fast, they wanted to get warmed up.
Mile 1 flew by, it took 7 minutes to get to the Barclays Center, that might have even been quicker than taking the subway. I felt good, I think. My toes were still numb, I was switching my hand warmer from one glove to the other to keep feeling in my fingers, but most importantly I was wondering where the hills were, this felt incredibly easy.
And then I saw it. I had no idea what the name of this behemoth was (Manhattan Bridge), but it looked horrible. As we approached the bridge I started getting feeling back in my body, but instead of feeling the horrible pain of hills, I felt ready to surge. The bridge ended up being my slowest mile (8:44), but not for lack of effort. IT WAS SO DAMN CROWDED I COULD NOT RUN MY RACE. Even after the crest when you would think people would speed up, apparently that was still not the case. I even witnessed a fall because of how crowded this bridge is. I do hope going forward this is something that gets changed. (My 5k split coming off the bridge was 24:54)
After the bridge and in the bottom of Manhattan I cant tell you much, it went by so quickly. At mile 6 I went to chuck a Huma Gel and looked to the shadows on my left to see if anyone was behind me. I saw this beautiful stride next to me and kind of moved over to let them pass me. After no one passed I turned around and no one was super close behind me. This beautiful stride with all the grace of Jordan Hasay, was me. I realized I actually PRed my 10k after the race and this confidence and smoothness was probably why.
Life was good until we reached Central Park. The small hill into the park got me, and all the ones after were super hard. I was dreading cat hill. I took Run Gum, but it was so cold and crumbly that it was rock hard and ended up eating it instead of chewing it. I could feel my pace dropping. The 7:45’s that I was pushing through Manhattan so smoothly were quickly becoming mid 8’s. It wasn’t until after cat hill when we were traversing central park that I realized there was no Harlem Hill. IT WAS THE BEST SURPRISE EVER! I realized there was a mile left and my energy came back to me! In retrospect it could have been the Gun Gum that I was currently digesting, but I’ll take the credit.
The final 3 sisters hills zapped my legs and body again. my pace slowed, but when I saw the 800 meters sign and I was reborn! I kept telling myself, push this out or I’ll have to swim 800 meters in the pool!!! (I hate swimming). The 800 quickly turned to 400 and the 400 to the finish line! I still hadn’t looked at my watch, when I crossed the line I hit pause and looked down. Immediately I smiled I missed my goal by 15 seconds, but I PRed by 3 minutes.
After the mile (it wasn’t really a mile I was just lazy) walk out of the park, I decided to go to an Osielle meet up… that was about a mile walk. The entire way there, other than thinking about how cold I was I was thinking how proud I was of myself. I finally entered a training cycle where I could see progress. I felt good, I could probably have gone faster if I looked at my times, but I didn’t want to.
This is the start. I can see progress and now I want more. I can not wait for more workouts, more sprinting. I want to get faster, I want to progress. I can not wait. Bring it.