When my alarm went off at 5AM, I was already awake. I didn’t get the best night’s sleep. In fact, I am pretty sure I was up every. single. hour. It was time for the NYC Half-Marathon. Today was my second time running the streets of NYC. I ran in the inagural NYC Half Marathon presented by Nike waaaay back in 2006 while I was training for the Chicago Marathon. It was pretty much a lifetime ago. Before KJ. Before E&e. Before CrossFit. Before I really loved running. My time was 2:07.42. I was 23. I was 6 months out of chemo and cancer. It was a lifetime ago.
At 6AM, my dad drove me to meet my friends at the Forest Hills subway station. Not sure how many 30 year olds still have their dads drive them around, but for me, it is pretty much the norm. He drove, and I chugged water, and we chatted mostly about my girls, and how funny they are. He knew I had a big goal that morning; sub-2 hours. He dropped me off at the Dunkin Donuts in Forest Hills, and my dad said “Have a great race. I know you’ll do great.” And I knew he meant it. I was ready.
The CrossFit516 Crew (Astrid, Ed and I) hopped on the subway and got to the starting line in Central Park at just about 7:30AM. The walkways were PACKED, and the air had a nice chill to it.By nice, I mean absolutely frigid. I had throw-away sweatpants and an old Yale sweatshirt, but I was really dying for a pair of gloves. I started obsessively searching the ground for any discarded gloves (yes, I was willingly going to wear a stranger’s gloves), but I wasn’t having much luck. Gloves are probably one of the last things that people discard, especially when it is 30 degrees. The crowds were getting thicker, we were getting closer to the starting line, and I was fussing with my sweatshirt, my phone, my Nike+ app, and my headphones when I finally spotted them; gloves. Little fleece diamonds in the rough. I literally jumped for joy to get them, and the last thing I heard before I plugged in and started running was Ed telling me “those gloves are a sign!” Yup. A sign of great things.
Miles 1-3 were a total blur of awesomeness. Astrid and I were cruising and I literally felt like I was running on air. I don’t think I’ve ever felt that great for the first few miles of a run. They are usually my worse miles! The top of the park was sort of chaotic, with some zigging and zagging in a really crowded area. I think it was my least favorite part of the race. Miles 3-5 were the nice rolling hills of Harlem, and I charged up each hill like I meant BUSINESS. I really still felt like my legs just took over my whole body. Taking two days off from any running or CrossFit was definitely the right move.
We headed out of Central Park and down through Time’s Square, and I couldn’t help but smile (and tear up a little). I knew I would see my mom and my sister around mile 7, and I was getting sooooo close. If you ever get the chance to stand in the middle of 7th Avenue with no cars, no cabs, literally nothing around you; do it. I tried to remember to look UP as some of the best views are of the tallest buildings in NYC.
I turned right onto 42nd Street I spotted my mom and Marissa on the right side. I high-fived, and Marissa snapped some pics. What I wanted to say was, “HI! My pace is fast! I am doing it! I am going to break 2!” However, I am pretty sure I just whooped, and high-fived and went on my way. Any seconds lost were going to be added on to the end, and I had a PR to make! Seeing my mom and my sister made me run MUCH faster down 42nd Street.
The wind heading towards the West Side Highway was fierce. I don’t have my exact splits, but I think my slowest miles might have been 8 and 9. We were rewarded though, because miles 10-12 put the wind at our back, and I found my groove again on the nice, flat terrain of the West Side Highway. I had no idea as we passed mile 12 that we were going through a DARK TUNNEL for mile 13, but that was sort of awesome. We came out of the tunnel, ran 900 more meters up the FDR and crossed that finish line on South Street. I still didn’t know my exact time, though I knew I was coming in under 2. When I crossed, I was finally able to check my phone, and I saw that the NYC Half app had already posted my time.
1:54.43. A PR by 13 minutes.
Those black fleece gloves? I am keeping them forever.