United NYC Half Race Recap

If you saw my post from last weekend, you know the short version of my United NYC Half race recap: My pacing sucked, the concrete sucked, I wanted to quit, but I somehow crossed the finish line at 1:53:52! Now for the rest of the story. 

My Pacing Sucked

The race started at 7:32 by my Garmin. Since I was in Wave 1, Corral E, the race clock was at almost 6 minutes when I crossed the starting line. I made a note to remember that number for when I passed future mile split clocks.

My plan for the race–to the extent I had one–was to hold an 8:15 pace until the big hill, climb the hill at a steady pace, roll through the rest of the hills at 8:30, pick up my pace after we exited the park, and hold on to an 8:15/8:30 pace as long as I could.


The course started downhill, and the first hills were easy. I don’t think I started out too fast, and my Garmin data backs that up.

Mile 2 was mostly downhill, so I’ll give gravity credit for that sub-8:00 mile.

Mile 3 was very flat with a few hairpin turns. I did my best to run tight corners, but got caught behind some slower runners.

At mile 4 we started to climb the big hill at the north end of the park. Since I’ve run the Central Park loop a few times, I knew what we were in for, and when we really were almost to the top.

The next two miles had a few more hills, but I felt like I was holding a good pace. I kept reminding myself that I had a long way to go, so I shouldn’t push myself yet. I also started to get warm, so I stuffed my gloves into my pockets and tucked my buff into my Fuel Belt.

Shortly after mile 6 we exited the park, and headed through the fast, fun stretch through Times Square.

There were tons of spectators, and thanks to the fantastic tracking app, my husband was able to film me as I ran by.

I felt like I was flying, but it didn’t feel hard–until the wind picked up just before mile 8.

The Concrete Sucked

My Garmin data tells the sad story of the West Side Highway. It wasn’t windy after we made the turn, but the concrete surface sucked the life out of my legs. I was surprised that my quads were complaining instead of my calves, and wondered if it was the flat elevation profile, the hard concrete, or poor pacing that was doing me in. 

Somewhere before mile 9 I remembered to use one of my Cliff Shot Block Chews–a decision I will regret for weeks to come. My stomach didn’t rebel, but I managed to break a crown chewing on it! Luckily I noticed the “plastic” in my mouth, fished it out, and held it for the rest of the race–still embedded in the gummy red chew–and then stashed it in my mostly empty water bottle.

I wish I could blame my pacing on that, but it was more of a welcome distraction than a detriment. Thank goodness it didn’t cause a toothache!  

I Wanted To Quit

I was using the World Trade Center as a beacon, knowing that once I got there I would only have about a mile to go. The problem with a flat, straight course, though, is that I could see it for miles

I pulled out all my running mantras to keep going. The one from The Hamilton Soundtrack (which I was listening to) was most fitting: 

I am not throwing away my shot! [at my goal] 

I also was inspired by one of my MRTT friends to 

Just hold on! [for x more miles/minutes]

Quitting definitely crossed my mind, but I knew I was in a much better place mentally and physically than I had been during the last race I really wanted to quit. I told myself that since I finished that one, I had no excuse for not finishing this one. Plus, even though my pace was dropping, my goal time was still within reach–if I could just hold on.

I Crossed The Finish Line At 1:53:32

After the 20K split we entered a long tunnel under Battery Park. I wasn’t sure how long it would last, but my legs enjoyed going downhill on a more forgiving asphalt surface. They did not enjoy the steep climb out of the tunnel, which nearly slowed my to walking, but soon after I reached the top, I saw the 400M sign and knew I had made it. 

Smiling heading into the tunnel.

I decided to start emptying the tank, thinking I still might be able to come close to my goal. I was huffing and puffing as I crossed the finish line, but I’m pretty sure I managed a smile–especially when I looked up and still saw 1:xx on the race clock! 

My Garmin tracked 13.45 miles at an 8:28 pace. Here are my official race stats:

I’ll have to research those “age-graded” numbers.

As much as I suffered through the last five miles, I already am thinking about how I could pace myself better next time. The question is, will there be a next time?


This entry was posted in Fitness, Race Recaps and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

60 Responses to United NYC Half Race Recap

  1. I can’t believe you broke your crown! Ouch that must have hurt. You still look pretty darn happy in that running photo. Congrats on another great race

  2. Wow, that is pretty crazy that your fuel broke a crown! Im glad it didnt cause you pain! Great job and congrats! Its great to reflect and figure out how to improve in the next race.
    Lisa @ Mile by Mile recently posted…5 Things Friday: Random UpdatesMy Profile

  3. Marcia says:

    It never occurred to me eating a Shotblock would be a crown risk. And in a race of all times. What a bummer. Concrete, pacing and tooth issues aside, I still think you ran a strong race. Congrats!
    Marcia recently posted…Loving/Not Loving: Spring Break EditionMy Profile

  4. Now you know why I don’t do chews or starbursts or anything! I’ve broken a crown more than once on those chewy things! I’m amazed that didn’t throw you off during the race.

    That photo is fantastic–I would have bought it too!
    Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home recently posted…Changes in Latitude, Changes in AttitudeMy Profile

  5. HoHo Runs says:

    I don’t think your pacing sucked at all because it got you across that finish line with a fantastic time. (I’ll give you the concrete though — ugh!). You are definitely smiling heading into that tunnel. I think that tells us there will be another! Thanks for linking, Coco!

  6. I loved reading this from your point of view. I was picturing the race course as I read this and I took of my gloves and buff at the same place you did. Funnily enough my pacing through central park was better than on the flat surface of the West side. I guess I contribute that to just being tired at that point.
    Congrats on reaching your goal. Your time is awesome even though you didn’t like your pacing.

  7. Kimberly G says:

    OMG to breaking your crown!! That is definitely a race day experience you will never forget!

    Great job on pushing through on the later half of the race!
    Kimberly G recently posted…Airbnb Brooklyn Half Marathon Training Recap – Week 4My Profile

  8. Cannot believe you broke your crown! I didn’t even think about the concrete of West Side Hwy – ugh!

    You ran a great race! Congrats πŸ™‚
    Michelle @ Running with Attitude recently posted…RtR Training Week 3My Profile

  9. Laura says:

    Congrats on an awesome time! I had sore quads for a few days too and thought it was from pushing the pace on the downhill but I didn’t think about all that concrete… so true. Glad your legs bounced back quickly!
    Laura recently posted…Recovery week + Meal PlanningMy Profile

  10. I still can’t believe the story about your crown. So much kudos for still running (and running fast!) after that. I’m going to guess that yes, there will be a next time… πŸ™‚

  11. Shathiso says:

    What a strong race – everything really worked against you from the beginning and you broke a crown! But you got through with sheer determination, you thought about quitting but didn’t, and yes I think there will most definitely be another one. What an adventure, what a result!
    Shathiso recently posted…Diacore 10k Training Recap: Weeks 1 – 2My Profile

  12. Carla says:

    I will channel you this Sunday. I am just crazy enough to think I won’t want to quit unless I have a big ass blister or my knees start hurting?
    But I know I will hit that wall – – and I will channel you.

    I will text you if I can keep my phone from dying πŸ™‚
    Carla recently posted…Tips for your first marathon?My Profile

  13. You PR’d with a broken crown? Damn, you’re tough, lady! Congrats!

    My pacing was all over the place for my half! Definitely not the plan! But I like flat races. My most recent PRs were both set on flat races.

    The next few won’t be flat, but a couple are net downhill.

    The last 5 miles are always hard!
    Judy @ Chocolaterunsjudy recently posted…Half #15, State #13: 3/20-26 Weekly WrapMy Profile

  14. Darlene says:

    You pace exactly like I do but I’m not as fast.

    Ouch – a broken crown (ouch was for the cost not the pain LOL)

    Love that photo.

    I hope to run that race someday.
    Darlene recently posted…Running Update: 3.20.17-3.26.17My Profile

  15. Congratulations! Racing on pavement can definitely be hard on the body – my knees aren’t a fan! I’m sure the crowds really made pacing a challenge but you did fantastic!

    Sorry about your tooth! THAT is why I no longer use Clif Shot Bloks…I’ve had some close calls with my bridge – they are awful to use in the cold. Hope you’re able to get your crown fixed!

  16. RenΓ©e says:

    OMGosh had you run this one before or was it the first time? Seriously, well done for going until the end, even though you wanted to quit!! Pretty amazing that you still got a PR at the end! and bizarre that you broke a crown along the way!

  17. Chaitali says:

    Great job! I’ve used that Hamilton song to push through on tough runs too πŸ™‚ Though boo to the crown issue. I never though about that with the chews but ugh, I hope it can be fixed without too much pain.
    Chaitali recently posted…Back to running!My Profile

  18. Gina says:

    Wow! Courtney, it really sounds like you had a great race despite the cranky concrete! You had a fantastic finish time! Way to go! Just curious… what was your goal?
    Gina recently posted…Grandma’s Marathon – Week 7My Profile

  19. Lesley says:

    My dad broke a crown on gummie bears during the Disney marathon a few years ago. They either need to make chews less chewy, or crowns more durable! I hope replacing it isn’t too painful.

  20. Karen Bayne says:

    You did a great job! Hills make it hard to hold a certain pace continually, you have to not be hard on yourself! and concrete is very hard to run on. You picked it up and ran a great last mile, when it counted πŸ™‚
    Congrats on a great race!

  21. Rachel says:

    OMG! You broke a crown?! That’s one of my biggest fears hahaha.

    Awesome race. You crushed it. You should absolutely be proud of this.
    Rachel recently posted…Southwestern Vegetarian FajitasMy Profile

  22. Jessica S says:

    I can’t believe you broke a crown and had the presence of mind to hang onto it! Great race with all of those hills (and distractions!)!

  23. wow! even though you were disappointed with some things I think you ran a GREAT race–you broke a crown and KEPT RUNNING!!! one tough lady as I think I would have just taken it a sign the running gods were not in my favor that day,lol!
    anyways, I hope your legs are feeling better from the race. Concrete and no elevation change can be a doozy on the quads!

  24. Well, I think you kicked some serious booty on this! I’ve done races where the finish line stretch is long and flat…..and it’s almost more painful than a curvy or hilly stretch because it’s hard to gauge your progress when the scenery never changes. Do you think the crown,fuel fail was from the cold weather and the chew being more “chewy” as a result?

  25. Elle says:

    The SHOTBLOKS I have had have always been soft like gummies. Think I will through out the rest of the ones I have on hand. So sorry about your tooth!

  26. Amazing job finishing when it was such a tough race – so sorry about your crown.

  27. Ouch, breaking a crown sounds horrible especially during a race!
    Anna @ Pipers Run recently posted…Not The Week I Expected Wrap UpMy Profile

  28. Smitha says:

    Dang … sorry about the crown πŸ™
    I think you ran really gutsy!!
    Smitha recently posted…Weekly Training Recap – Of Nerds and BikesMy Profile

  29. Jenn says:

    OMG your crown! I would have lost my mind! I’m so glad it didn’t end in a toothache, but what a huge mental hurdle to have to overcome!

    I hate that this race didn’t go better for you. I always dream of running a race in NYC, but this scares me!
    Jenn recently posted…weekly wrap: 3.19 – 3.25 + publix savannah women’s half marathon training week 7My Profile

  30. 1:53:32 is a fantastic time for a race that you weren’t so thrilled with, especially with a broken crown! Congrats! I hope its repair goes smoothly, both for you and your wallet.
    Debbie @ Deb Runs recently posted…Race Linkup: March 2017 EditionMy Profile

  31. You broke your crown with your fuel?!? Who would have ever thought to worry about that being a race injury?!? Regardless of that and your pacing, your ran a strong race. I certainly hope that there will be another half marathon in your future!
    Kathryn @ Dancing to Running recently posted…Loudoun Half Marathon Training Log – Week 2My Profile

  32. Love the photo! Congrats on a great race- you are one speedy lady! I knew there was a reason I don’t use those chews- YIKES!
    Mary Beth Jackson recently posted…New Orleans bound- Weekly WrapMy Profile

  33. Angela @marathonsandmotivation.com says:

    Wow! Good thing you saved the crown…I hope they can fix it and put it back on!! It sounds like a tough race, but you pulled through…GREAT JOB and PACE!!! Congratulations!!

  34. steena says:

    Congrats! Yes, there will be a next time. Come do an all women’s race in Madison in June! It’s THE BEST. πŸ™‚
    You’re so hard on yourself, you put up great splits, dug deep, and finished strong! I’m glad your spouse got the video, cool to see you in action!

  35. My mile 2 was ~7 minutes (after a 7:54 1st mile). Gravity for sure. That’s a tough course to pace well but I hope you’ll give it another go. Seems to me like you did really well! #justsaying!
    Erica @ Erica Finds recently posted…Grab a Cup for our April Coffee Date!My Profile

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge