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?