Saturday, March 17, 2012

NYCHalf '11, recap

 taken from my TNT fund-raiser page. My, how far we've come!

Seeing that I can move my body at a semi-normal rate, I will recap. Earlier this week, I was pretty sure at any moment my right leg was going to detach itself.

It was just another Sunday morning. Except this one, I woke up at 4AM and got myself to the TNT meeting place by 6AM (Did anyone else see the super moon? That was insane!). And it was freezing. I was really glad I decided to wear capris, but the short sleeved shirt wasn’t really working. I had a throw away shirt on (there were garbage cans along the start where people would pick them up and donate all the clothes to a shelter) but it was not enough.

This is me and all my favorites in the corrals before the start. 

Within the hour before the start, I peed 4 times. Seriously. Even as we were moving forward in the corrals (which is what they call the area the runners wait in before the race) I saw another set of Port-a-Pottys and I jumped out to go again. I’m blaming this on nerves and the extra hydrating I did because I didn’t want to need water as bad as I did during our practice runs (which hydrating before is a good plan, I found out almost too late). Luckily once we started going, I didn’t stop again until I got to the finish line.

The coaches told us to run the race in 3 parts, so that’s how I’m going to explain this.

Part 1: Your head.
Don’t go out too fast. I listened to that part, but after the first mile of going an entire 2 minutes slower than I wanted, I concentrated on making up that time. It took us 15 minutes from the time the race officially started to cross the start line.

I don’t remember seeing anyone at the beginning of the race, but once we got down to the 7th Ave entrance of the park, there was a huge crowd of people. More than I’ve ever experienced running in a race. It was a really awesome start. I don’t know if I regret putting my name on my shirt or not, but I felt I had to thank everyone who cheered for me personally. This did not help my focus, but it was fun.

Even though this part of the races included all the hills, I still picked up my pace. I smiled and told Harlem Hill hello. I saw Coach Barb at the end of the hills and that helped pick me up again. The Central Park stretch of the race was not as crowded with spectators. I was ready to get out of the park. It was boring and mundane as I’ve been running it for the past 4 months. It was getting frustrating at parts because I was ready to run through Time Square!

Part 2: Your legs.
This part you were supposed to run how your legs were feeling. I didn’t really care how they were feeling, I was going to finish in under 3 hours whether they liked it or not, so I kept going. Amazingly, I kept gaining back the time I lost in the beginning. Every 5k, I kept getting faster.

As I was just about to exit the park, I saw my family friends from CT. It was my first sighting of people I knew and it was awesome! I was going to stop and give them hugs, but 1. This was mile 7 and I was pretty gross and 2. I was still really concerned about my time. So there I went. Running down the middle of 7th Ave. You know in movies when you see the streets of New York vacant? It was like that, but for real. I made sure to run in the middle to get the full effect. I know I should have taken more time to notice things, but I was in full focus mode. This was the only time I pulled my camera out.

Once I got down to 42nd, I spotted Anna Banana!! I was so happy to see her! I had missed her the past couple of practices and we had much to catch up on, but she reminded me I was running a race and I continued on. This is the pic she captured as I got to her.
I was so excited (even if I look like I want to die in the pic).

A few blocks up, I ran into Coach Erin who ran with me for a bit. I was still nervous about time but she reminded me I made it out of the park without anyone trying to put me in a van (most races have a time limit and if you fall behind the time limit, they will make you get in a van so they can drive you to the finish.) so I was golden. Even though she told me this, I still didn’t believe her and continued to push forward.

Part 3: Your heart.
Ok, so remember how I told you, when training for a half you only run up to 10 miles? Well, this was it. I had to trust my training to get me the last 3 miles. This was about the point where I was ready to die. I kept telling myself “it’s just a 5K, that’s all you have left! You’ve run 2 5Ks in 2 days. This is cake.” Yes, I was lying to myself because, seriously guys, I don’t think I’ve ever felt closer to death. My feet were hurting and every step reminded me I had a hip flexor and it was VERY angry with me. I would scream out loud every time I would start running again.

I had to keep reminding myself to keep moving forward. It didn’t matter how fast I was going anymore. Time didn’t matter at this point. I had sped up enough, I felt it was ok to stop beating myself up about going faster and concentrate on just moving. I had to keep reminding myself that the first time I ran 6 miles it was tough; this was the same thing.

When I reached 800 meters to the finish line, I just stayed running. I knew if I stopped, I wouldn’t be able to start again. At this point, I ran into Coach Rachel and Coach Xavie. They chatted with me for a second (which I really needed). They told me I looked good (which I’m sure was an out right lie, but I took it.) and let me run in on my own.

It took me a second to realize it was over. I kept running until I saw a group of people hanging out and that’s when I realized that someone in this group of people was going to put a medal around my neck. I had finished a half marathon.

That thought still hasn’t set in yet.

From this point on, it was a blur. I remember walking for a very long time to get to the TNT tent to check out and let them know I hadn’t died. Then I headed to the pub where all my friends were meeting. I was really glad Mr. John, Mrs. Jeannine and Becca were there because I was on another planet as far as directions and doing anything was concerned.

The after party was tons of fun. It was so nice having friends and family there. We talked about the race and had a fabulous time. I had my first beer (or two) in months. After brunch, we headed home where I had a much needed shower and rest.

"The miracle isn't that I finished, the miracle is that I had the courage to start"

The end. . . for now :-) 


  1. Great recap!! Best of luck for tomorrow :) I hope its not too cold as I am only running in a shorts and a singlet.

  2. Aww... I loved that! I actually got goose bumps on my legs when you crossed the finish line.

    It also had me thinking about my first half - Princess - and how those last 3.1 miles were horrible!! I swear Lesley was dragging me from mile 11 to the finish line.

    Yay! You did it - and then you did it again and again and again!

  3. I loved your story of the Nychalf11. I will be running the Nychalf13 in a couple weeks and I enjoyed reading your review. Thank you for your help.

    1. Congrats! You'll love it. The course is a lot better. I also have a recap from 2012 with the new course.

      Have a great race!