Race number 25 was Grete’s Gallop Half Marathon. This race is part of Norway Day and honors the greatest New York City marathoner of all time: Grete Waitz, who has won it an incredible 9 times!!
Goals: to run between water stations and to run at marathon goal pace (somewhere between 2:10 and 2:15)
I had to stay home from work on Friday because of a migraine, but woke up feeling okay. I was a little concerned during the race about the effort causing a relapse, but, thankfully, that didn’t happen. I got to the Park a little early and wandered around the festival area, before dropping my bag and heading off for my 3-mile warm-up. My legs were feeling fatigued, but I got through it and they weren’t sore when I finished. I drank some water, then headed back to line up in my corral. I kept my eyes peeled for Roxy and Lou, but didn’t see them. I did run into Paul in my corral. We chatted a bit, but he was planning to run over a minute per mile faster than I was, so he took off when we hit the chip mats at the start.
We started on the east side of the Park heading south to run the loop clockwise. I think this is the most difficult direction to run, but this is the course where I set my half marathon PR, so maybe my legs like hills more than I do. I ran the first mile too fast, even though I felt like I was holding back. I tried to slow it down some, but after a couple of miles, I didn’t need to try anymore. My legs were so tired! I was struggling my way through. I took several walk breaks per mile. The hills broke me. Well, not the downhills. My legs loved the downhills. But I had to walk almost every uphill and not a few of the flats! After my first loop, I added two more goals: finish in under 2:20 on the official clock or just finish in under 2:20. I tracked my splits throughout the race and couldn’t believe that I was still hitting my goal pace (on average). It ended up being a half marathon of sprint intervals. I didn’t get my act together until the last mile. I told myself that I wasn’t going to walk at all in the last mile and that turned out to be my fastest mile. And I had to sprint to the finish to break 2:15, but break it I did (by 2 seconds, but it only takes 1).
I’m worried about how difficult it was to run just a half marathon at my marathon goal pace. I don’t know if it’s because I only ran a 5k last weekend, rather than a real long run, or because I walked nearly a marathon over the 2 days at Walt Disney World, or because I’m still recuperating from the surgery. I’m trying to think positively: this is my fastest half since the surgery, I hit my goal pace, my fastest mile was the last mile and I was able to “sprint” to the finish. I’ve decided to push my legs and only taper for 2 weeks. I think my legs perform better when they’re worked. They seem to forget how to run if I take any sort of a break at all. If anyone has any ideas or suggestions, I’m happy to hear them. I’m at a loss and guessing, at this point.
Official stats: my official time was 2:14:58, for an average pace of 10:18. My splits were 9:31, 10:14, 9:43, 10:36, 10:31, 10:30, 10:07, 11:17, 10:18, 10:55, 10:43, 10:20, 9:18 and :59 for the last tenth of a mile (sub 10:00 pace). I was 3197 out of 3871 total runners, putting me in the 17th percentile. It was 49°F with 71% humidity.
Celebratory treats: I had a chocolate tasting scheduled for later that afternoon and some of the chocolate was really delicious, but it triggered the migraine and I ended up sleeping most of the rest of the weekend. I didn’t eat chocolate again until Monday.
Next up: Staten Island Half Marathon (10/12), Tower of Terror 13k (10/25), NYC Marathon (11/2)
Race pictures are available here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/7411850@N04/sets/72157607867166309/.
Pictures from the chocolate tasting are available here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/7411850@N04/sets/72157607860248670/.