Race number 5 (3rd 2010 marathon-qualifying race and 2nd Grand Prix Half Marathon) was the Bronx Half Marathon. The course is an odd cloverleaf shape. The first loop goes out to the Moshulu Parkway from the Jerome Reservoir and back (about 6 miles). We turn just before we would cross the finish line from the wrong direction, looping around to the Grand Concourse, on which we run a 4-mile out-and-back, returning to the loop around the Moshulu Parkway, then back to the reservoir for the finish.
Goals: This was my 3rd half marathon in as many weekends and part of a 15-mile training run, so I set soft goals for this one. I wanted to run between water stations, as usual, and hoped to finish in under 2:20 (my Manhattan Half time).
I got there early and went into the school to get warm. I ran into some colleagues and we chatted a bit, before I dropped off my bag and headed out to run my 2-mile add-on. I got back to the start, but didn’t have time to get the hat I’d forgotten to put on for the warm-up. We started just about on time and I tried to maintain an easy pace. I got through the first half without any extra walk breaks and began to hope that I might get through the second half without any, as well. This is my least favorite of the five Grand Prix half marathons, but it’s the Grand Concourse (miles 7-11) which are the worst part (not to mention the dead rat I’ve seen every time I’ve run this race). Despite the fact that there are occasionally interesting buildings to look at, the Concourse is just a drag! You have to watch nearly every footstep, because of potholes and irregularities in paving, not to mention waves in the pavement that, if you’re not careful, cause you to run with one foot in a trough and the other on a crest. And it was on the Concourse that I realized that my shoes were dead and that I wasn’t going to beat my Surf City time, though I’d been hanging on in hopes of doing just that. I started taking small walk breaks at the mile markers, but my legs were toast. Finally, I was running down the small hill from the Concourse to the Moshulu Parkwayj, with just over 2 miles to go. And there it was! Actually, it was so squashed that I can’t be sure it was a rat and not a squirrel, but, in any event, the road kill rodent had appeared, disturbingly close to the water station. For some reason, this energized me and I managed to keep running between water stations and not take any extra breaks for the rest of the race. In the last half-mile, I came up on someone walking and as I caught up to him, I told him we were almost there and could make. He started running and whenever he seemed to be slowing down, I tried to encourage him and stayed with him to keep him running. Unfortunately, he caught a second wind and was then pushing me to keep up with him. I hadn’t planned a sprint finish, but that’s what it felt like!
Official stats: my official time was 2:16:41 for a 10:26 pace overall. My splits were 9:56, 9:35, 10:23, 11:00, 10:07, 10:30, 10:03, 10:39, 9:59, 11:01: 21:38 (average of 10:49), 10:53, and 1:02 for the last tenth of a mile. I was 3034 out of 3668 total runners, putting me in the 17th percentile. It was 56F with 64% humidity and 7 mph winds.
Celebratory treats: Sweet Revenge cupcakes, Bespoke chocolates, and a slushy Dr Pepper
Pictures are available at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/7411850@N04/sets/72157613529744284/