Monday, September 21, 2009

Sunday was my first planned race since May. NYRR does a series of Half-Marathons called the Grand Prix Series. There are a total of 5 half marathons, with one race in each boroughs. In May I completed the Brooklyn Half Marathon-with a PR of 2:11 and last Sunday was the Queens Half Marathon. My plan of attack was to keep a steady pace of 9:00 minute miles (totally doable) and finish in 1:59. Here is my story:

I woke up that morning at 4:30, just enough time to change into my running gear, grab my breakfast, coffee, and bag and head to the subway. Ahhhh, the MTA on a Sunday at 5am. Nothing like it. Why? Because it sucks. Trains barely run at that time-I paced around the station for a good 10 minutes. When there was still no sign of a train, I hopped out and hailed a cab to Grand Central to take the 7 to the very end- Flushing, Queens. NYRR would provide free shuttle buses to the start. So I thought no biggie. I waited at GC for 20 minutes with fellow runners. I figured if they were there at that time, then I wasn't running too, too late. I pop out of the subway at 6:30 am (total travel time so far: 1.5 hours) to a line that spanned around the entire block. The line barely moved for 20 minutes and at this time I realized there were about 3 buses that took the runners to the start. THREE. THREE!!!! 3!!!!!! What were they thinking? Even if I had arrived at the suggested 6:15 time (15 minutes prior) I would have still been in line and still missed the start of the race. FINALLY, at 7:10am, I got on a bus-what seemed like the longest bus ride in the world. At about 7:20, we reached the race course and the police would let the buses carrying the runners through. Notice I said buses. As in more than one. We were told we would need to walk to the start!! Wait, what? You want us to trek the 2 miles to the start when we are about to run 13.1 miles?????? Clearly, these people ARE NOT runners.
I angrily walked against all the runners, to the start to check my bag, grab my number and race chip, then to cross the start line to activate my chip. I think many people from my bus just jumped in the race where the bus let us off-at about mile 2.5. I could never do that, I would just feel terrible to the other runners and I would feel so guilty for cheating. Even though, the shuttle bus problem wasn't our fault, I could still never skip miles in a race. Anyway, back to me. I can say that I had the best first 7 miles of the race. My pace was steady at about a 8:50 minute mile, I sipped Gatorade at each station, I felt good. Then the effects of hill running kicked in. First with upper back muscle pain. Then my hips. Then my feet. I slowed to about a 10:00 mile for a mile, then I kept my pace right at 9:50.
I gooed at miles 5-7 (by taking a little goo at a time) then again from miles 10-11. Gooing slower allowed me to goo while in motion and to only add a tiny bit of fuel each time. When I take an entire goo, I feel like I tend to add bouts of sprints to the run because I suddenly feel so good, then I crash. This time I stayed level. Between miles 8-12, the race was particularly hard. I felt heavy and I had to go to the bathroom.
As soon as I spotted the park where the finish line was, I booked it. Sprinting all the way to the finish. I crossed the finish line at 2:09 (official) and I couldn't be happier!!!
After all the angry running and the 2 mile trek to the start, then the subway, bus debacle, I am completely satisfied. In 3 weeks, I have another Half, the Staten Island Half Marathon and this is the one I plan on conquering and beating that 2:00 hour mark.

My tail bone hurts today-ouchie.

Why do I crave ice?
I looked up the symptoms and it says something about being Iron deficient. I know that's not the case, because I'm not a vegetarian-I think I get plenty of iron in my diet. Plus, other symptoms are cold all the time and that is definitely not me.

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