Race number 26 was the Staten Island Half Marathon. This was the final half marathon in the Grand Prix. I missed Queens, but still ran 4 out of 5, so I completed the 2008 Grand Prix and have earned my patch.
Goals: to run between water stations and to run at marathon goal pace (somewhere between 2:15 and 2:20)
The day before the race, I wandered around the Lower East Side with my friends, Brady and Andrea and their daughter, Charlotte (who, for some reason, calls me Cacao). We went to Economy Candy, babycakes (a vegan bakery), and Doughnut Plant, where we had the most amazing doughnuts! We shared three: pumpkin spice, apple cinnamon, and blackout, and we each took home a Valrhona chocolate doughnut. I was supposed to save mine for my post-race treat, but I ate it before I went to bed. Probably not the best idea, but I couldn’t wait!
The MTA has screwed up my train-line again, so I had to take a bus, 3 trains and a ferry to the race. I missed my ferry by 15 minutes and had to wait 45 minutes for the next one. Luckily, I had worried about that in advance, so I was still on time for the last ferry that would get me to the race on time. I heard later that not everyone made that ferry and a lot of people started over 20 minutes late, after the start mat had been picked up. Fingers crossed that this won’t happen on Marathon Sunday!!
I was a little better at holding off the pace this time, but it was about 10 degrees warmer than I thought it would be. I trudged through the first four miles before needing to take an extra walk break. In the second mile, we passed some construction workers taking a break from construction on the train overpass. An old train was there and as I came up towards the area, the train sounded his horn for us. The construction workers didn’t even wave back. The rest of the spectators were much better! I was on the verge of crashing and burning in the fifth mile when I thought I recognized someone’s voice. I looked around and there was Roxy! She looked great – you’d never have known she had run the Hartford Marathon the day before! She gave me a hug and cheered me on my way. At this point, the lead runners were coming back towards us, so I applauded and cheered. I love when that happens! It’s much more inspiring to actually see them than to look at my watch and calculate when the winner is probably finishing. When I hit the long out and back I started looking for my friend, LK. He likes to start at the back of the race and pass runners, rather than start in his corral with other runners of similar pace. During half marathons, he usually passes me in the sixth or seventh mile. With the long turnaround, I was sure that I’d see him, but I didn’t. On the way back, I looked for Bonnie, but didn’t see her, either. She had run 7 miles before the race (her last long run before the marathon) and had started way at the back of the pack, so I think I had already made the 8th-mile hill turn before she got to that point. The first year that I ran this race, I chugged my way to the top, thinking I knew when the hill ended. This year, my 4th running of this half, I knew that the turn just leads to another uphill, so I took it easy and walked when I felt like it. The top of that hill takes us into the Naval base and under the bridge. Coming down that road, I knew I’d be seeing Roxy again soon, so I kept my eyes open for her. She was waiting right after a water station with her camera, so I had to start running again. I passed her and had to go back for another picture and I’m glad I did – hers is my favorite picture from the race! Thanks, Roxy!!
Just a few more miles to go and I was flagging. I heard some guys running together talking about their pace and wanted to keep up with them, but they passed me at a water station and I couldn’t catch them. I recognized another voice when I was in the 10th mile and it turned out to belong to one of the trainers from my gym. My plan was to get to the hill in the 12th mile, walk up that hill to the bridge, then run the rest of the way to the finish. As I came to the top of the hill, a car came along the road forcing the runners to the sides. I’m still a little nervous about cars, so I walked until the car had cleared the bridge. Not one of the cops did a thing to stop the car. I thought that’s why the cops were there, but maybe they were on some other assignment, somehow involving leaning up against walls and chatting to each other. I hit the 12-mile marker running and didn’t stop until I finished the race. I tried to keep the pace nice and steady and still managed to run it too fast again. I was just glad to be finished!
I stuck around the finish area looking for Bonnie, LK, Roxy and anyone else running the race and I ran into Fabian. We chatted a bit and took pictures, then I headed off to catch the ferry, but ran into Bonnie. She’d done a great job with her 20 miles, finishing just a few seconds faster per mile than she’d planned. I had to sprint to catch the ferry, but I made it, and turned into a tourist for the trip home. It’s a fantastic ride – everyone should take the Staten Island Ferry at least once!!
Official stats: my official time was 2:16:23, for an average pace of 10:24. My splits were 9:55, 10:23, 9:59, 10:03, 10:56, 10:18, 10:18, 11:27, 10:56, 10:02, 10:33, 11:15, 9:24 and :59 for the last tenth of a mile (sub 10:00 pace). I was 2879 out of 3632 total runners, putting me in the 21st percentile. It was 60°F with 65% humidity.
Consolation treats: I had my treats the day before, as you’ll see if you look in the second album of pictures, but I did stop at Taco Bell for a CrunchWrap to eat on the way home. I had a slushy British Dr Pepper at home and some chocolates from the LES wander.
Next up: Tower of Terror 13k (10/25), NYC Marathon (11/2)
Race pictures are available here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/7411850@N04/sets/72157607973044603/
Pictures from the Lower East Side wander are available here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/7411850@N04/sets/72157607969357344/