If you saw my post from last weekend, you know the happy ending to my United NYC Half race recap, but I’m still working on the full story. Since this was my first destination race, I thought you might like to see how we spent the day before in New York City.
It was part race preparation, part playing tourist, and part trying not to overdo it before the big day.
United NYC Half Expo
My husband and I caught an early train into New York City, and headed right from Penn Station to the expo. While it was a long walk with our bags, it felt good to stretch our legs after 3+ hours on the train.
The expo was busy, but not too crowded. I quickly got my bib and race shirt–thank goodness they encouraged us to try them on because I think they ran small. I resisted most of the race gear, but couldn’t resist these cute socks and headband.
I also picked up a pacing bracelet, which I never looked at during the race!
Exploring New York City
After I had my fill of the expo, we checked into our hotel, and then went to lunch at The Plaza Food Hall (a fancy food court in the basement of The Plaza hotel). From there, we decided to figure out the subway and scope out the finish area since neither of us had ever been to Wall Street before. It was fun to see them setting up the finish line and good to understand the last few blocks of the race–and the long walk I would have to exit the runner’s area!
After we figured out a good meet-up spot, I decided we should find the Chobani Cafe in Soho. I’ve been wanting to check it out ever since they opened, but never had time to venture out during my business trips. Since it was mid-afternoon, I went for the first thing on the menu with chocolate, their Pistachio + Dark Chocolate Sweet Creation.
Plain yogurt drizzled with clover honey, topped with dark chocolate,
crushed pistachios, orange segments, and mint.
All of the flavors complemented each other so well–it was amazing!
The weather had turned drizzly, so we caught the subway back to our hotel, changed clothes, and did a bit of window shopping along Fifth Avenue before we headed out for an early dinner–back at The Plaza Food Hall. I opted for a quinoa bowl at the Tartinery. It had everything I love–quinoa, edamame, avocado, kale, toasted almond slivers, and a perfectly poached egg.
Plus, they had a nice IPA on the menu!
After that, we called it a night. I laid out all my gear, rolled out a few tight spots on a lacrosse ball, and triple checked my 5:00 am alarm before tucking in for a good night’s sleep.
United NYC Half Race Morning
My alarm did go off at 5:00, and I deliberately hit the snooze button. I planned to head out at 6:00 (when the Starbucks next to the hotel opened!) so I knew I had plenty of time to get ready. One advantage of a destination race is that by the time race day dawns all the planning and deciding has been done!
My husband did not get up to see me off,
so I had to take a pre-race selfie in the hotel mirror.
I might have been the first customer at the Starbucks, but the coffee was ready. I sipped my grande dark roast and ate a few of my peanut butter crackers, but then decided to head to the start area at Central Park a few blocks away. The Wave 1 corrals opened at 6:30, right about when I got there. Since I was pretty early, there was no line for the security screening, but I can see why it could get backed up since we had to remove our Garmins and take out our phones to go through the magnetometers.
I walked through the park past a looooong bank of porta-pottys to my corral. The sky was starting to lighten, and I could tell is was going to be a beautiful day.
One of the last packing decisions I made was to bring an old wool coat to wear and donate at the start line. It was so nice not to be freezing before the race! They had blue donation bins in every corral, and I was able to keep my coat on until 2 minutes before the start!
I didn’t do a running warm-up, but I did some of the dynamic warm-up exercises from the Quick Strength for Runners book while I took in the atmosphere. Most people were in a good mood and grateful for the clear weather.
The race was being broadcast by the local ABC television station, which was great for my Mom watching on-line at home, but annoying when the announcer told us we would start as soon as the broadcasters were ready–which was 7:32 by my Garmin.
Is that too much of a cliffhanger? Not enough?
Have you been to a Chobani Cafe?