Race number 3 (2nd 2009 marathon-qualifying race and 1st Grand Prix Half Marathon) was the Manhattan Half Marathon. We ran 2 counter-clockwise loops of Central Park, plus another mile or so to make up the half marathon distance.
Goals: to run between the water stations, to set a course PR, and to see if I could run at 9:40 pace (2:06:38) for the entire run (I ran a 15k at 9:40 pace last weekend and wondered if I could stretch that to a half marathon). *Spoiler Alert* – I only managed one of my goals.
Sue gave me a ride downtown so I could be sure to make it there by 8 am. NYRR, in its infinite lack of wisdom, decided that all bags had to be dropped off by 8 am, for an 8:30 am start in sub-freezing weather, a quarter of a mile away from the start. In addition, there weren’t enough port-a-potties and the lines were curving back around on themselves. I was in line for over a half hour, missing the start before I even made it to the front of the line! I had told everyone that I was going to be at the 9-minute-mile marker at the start and I never made it. I’m sorry I missed you all!! As I was trying to get to the start line, some of the NYRR staff tried to make me go to the back of the line to join the race. I ignored them and ran through to the start and managed to join the 11-minute-milers. In another clever move, they’ve scheduled the second of the Grand Prix races for February 10th, giving us just 2 weeks between half marathons, so I wanted to take it a bit easy so I could participate – the Bronx half course is probably the worst of the 5 and takes a lot of energy.
Anyway, I had hoped to run each loop in under an hour and managed it for the first loop. The lead runner passed me just as I was getting to the 6th mile marker and had a comfortable lead over the second place runner (he retained that lead, winning by just under 4 minutes!!). The second loop did me in and I ended up walking quite a bit after the 8th mile. My first walk break was in the 9th mile and I still ended up with a 9:42 split, so I’m considering attempting Galloway’s walk/run method for the Bronx Half. I just read about someone completing a 3:30 marathon using the Galloway method, so it doesn’t necessarily have to slow me down and if it helps me hurt less, it’s all good! I also think that the shoes I was wearing (Asics 2110) are just not good for me for long distances. It’s back to Nikes for me! By the time I hit Cat Hill, I was all for preserving energy and walked most of the way up, making a deal with myself. If I took that walk break, then I had to run the entire distance from the end of my last water station walk break to the finish and I had to make it a good one. So I gave it all I had when I hit the 12-mile marker. As I was passing the 13-mile marker, I saw my friend, Paul, and called his name twice, but I don’t think he heard me.
As I was waiting in line to get my picture taken, I saw Roxy already getting hers taken and I called to her. We hung out, got our picture taken together, then picked up our bags and waited for Mark. I was so glad to see her, because I’d missed them at the last race and at the start of this one. We found Mark, got our pictures taken together again, then walked over to the subway together.
Official stats: my official time was 2:09:24 for a 9:52 pace and a course PR. My splits were 9:26, 10:20, 9:18, 9:43, 9:59, 10:00, 9:30, 10:22, 9:43, 9:50: 10:43, 10:44, 8:48, and 1:06 for the last tenth of a mile (I fumbled a little at the finish, so that’s probably not quite right). I was 3652 out of 4989 total runners, putting me in the 27th percentile (up 5% from last year and up 17% from my first attempt at this race). It was 30°F with 75% humidity and 6 mph winds.
Consolation treats: I had a slushy Dr Pepper, a Chipwich, and some Hotel Chocolat Chocolate Buttons with delicious Italian hot chocolate.
Pictures are available at http://www.flickr.com/photos/7411850@N04/sets/72157603805054614/. There are some pretty cool pictures from the recent sailing of the Queen Elizabeth 2, the Queen Mary 2, and the Queen Victoria 2 in my flickr account, too, if you're interested.
P.S. There’s a chance I may have to give up the longer distances. My latest test results show that my lung capacity has diminished over the past year and, if it doesn’t improve with my new inhaler, I’m going to run the races I’ve already signed up for, but, otherwise, focus more on the shorter distances (maybe up to 10 miles).