Tuesday, March 22, 2011

NYC Half Marathon (Race Recap)

Sunday, March 20
Half Marathon #25 (State #23)
Weather - Sunny, Windy, Very low 30s

As soon as we heard about the NYC half marathon, we knew we wanted to do it. However, like most of these races... it is a lottery system that determines whether you are in or out. We put in our registration in June and didn't find out until December that we were picked. Well. Actually, *I* was picked. L was NOT selected. Luckily, we had done our research before registering, and I was able to convince a woman at NYRR that we HAD to both go. She claimed she could not guarantee anything, but was kind enough to squeeze L's registration through. So... off to New York.

And what REALLY makes this race even more special? Race day falls on the anniversary of the very first half marathon we ever ran! 3/20/10 we were at the start line of Canyonlands Half Marathon in Moab, Utah. One year later, and we are set up to race our 25th half marathon??? Hard to fathom how far (and how crazy) we have come :D

Anyway... in typical B & L racing... there was going to be some logistical issues. If you haven't been to NYC lately, let me tell you that it is expensive. We didn't want to have to stay in the city more than one night. As much as we enjoy adventure and being out of town, we also don't like to leave the kids longer than we have to. Finding an affordable flight to La Guardia was a bit of a struggle. And we weren't able to find one direct. What THAT meant is yet another red eye. Blah. So our adventure begins at 1:00 am on Saturday...

I can't sleep on a plane. Neither can L. We can, however, sit there twitchy and uncomfortable until we arrive at our layover location, Detroit. We get there EARLY (before 6 am). We find the only (and most incompetent) Starbucks in the airport. After 30 minutes we are armed with coffee and hang out at the gate until our flight leaves. Flight to New York is fairly uneventful.

We land, on time, and have no trouble getting a cab to take us to the expo. Although we didn't discuss it until later, L and I both had minor bouts of nausea and we were both super relieved to arrive at the expo without vomiting. (I blame the lack of sleep. Being up for over 24 hours isn't good for anyone).

First NY cab ride!!
I imagined the expo to be huge and exciting. It was neither. We were in and out in less than 20 minutes. And then we had HOURS to kill until we could check in to our rooms.

We figure that a good way to kill time is to walk slow and to do some sightseeing...

Then we see the Empire State Building!!

We decide that's a MUST while we are in the city, and since we are already there, we head that way. Just GETTING to the top took longer than it did to look around once we are there. FYI, the "cheap" ride to the top takes you ONLY to the 86th floor. If you want to go all the way, it was something like another $20 a person. We decided that 86 floors was plenty high enough. Here are some pictures of the view. It was a nice day, but VERY windy that high up!

In the distance you can see the Statue of Liberty

We then continued walking, and soon we were headed into the heart of Manhattan! We didn't even go in, but I just HAD to take a picture anyway:

By the time we got to Times Square we were RAVENOUS. Planet Hollywood seemed like just as good a place to eat as any. They told us the wait was 5-15 minutes. 45 minutes later, we finally were seated. And had a ridiculously expensive side salad, but a super awesome turkey sandwich made up for it. YUM.

Times Square
It was a little chilly and windy out, and we killed time by going in stores. A lot of time was spent in the Swatch store. Man, I miss the 80s sometimes! We checked out the cheesy souvenir shops and wandered around until 3:00 when we headed over to our hotel. We were able to check in, and EXHAUSTED, we took a nap until it was time for dinner.

In case you hadn't noticed it about me and L, we are creatures of habit. So we were PSYCHED to find an Applebee's only a ten minute walk from our hotel. Score!! We of course ordered the same thing that we always do, but it was about three times as much money. Guess we were paying for the experience too :D

After dinner we decided to walk around a bit more:

We stopped at a small shop on the way back to the hotel where we got our beverages (I had to settle for a can of Coors Light). The plan was to go to bed as early as possible... However, I had been suffering from a nasty head cold for a few days, and I really wanted to take some Nyquil before bed. I had to wait until at least 9:30 (4 hours between cold medicine doses).

I normally don't sleep that great the night before the race. Probably a combination of NO sleep the night before and the cold medicine, and I slept pretty good. Except for waking up in the middle of the night with a nosebleed...

Race Day

Alarm goes off at 5:15. The race doesn't start until 7:30. We take about 30 minutes to get ready, and we needed to take a cab to the start line. Unsure of how traffic would be, etc., we always like to be a little early.

What better race to wear this outfit??
It takes us a few minutes to hail a cab. We are NOT professionals. I have only been in a cab a handful of times in my life. It's not as easy as it looks. The driver luckily knew where we needed to go. I had said "96th near Central Park" - which was apparently not good enough :D

We were dropped around 6:10, and we had some time to kill until we had to drop off our gear. It.Was.Cold.
We were wandering around outside Central Park, when we noticed that a medical center across the street was letting people wait inside. We hung out inside as long as possible - until 6:40. We had to drop our bags by 6:45. I did NOT want to give up my jacket and sweats. For the first time, I really really REALLY considered NOT dropping it off. It was insanely cold. I want to say the coldest I have ever been at the start of a race. And that is saying a lot since I've raced in Alaska! Stupid as it may be, we both shed our outer layers and headed to the corrals and bathrooms. There were at least a jillion port-o-potties, and it only took about ten minutes to get through the line. We just could NOT get over how cold and windy it was!! We were hoping that once everyone was huddled in the corrals it would get warmer, but it never really seemed to help! I was freezing from head to toe, and just wanted the race to start!!

From the starting corral
Waaaaay back in corral #10
Me & L
Minutes before the race is to start
Finally, the race starts. Only... we are WAY back. So it takes us about ten minutes to work our way to the starting line. Moving helps warm me up, a teeny tiny bit. My calves and shins feel frozen solid, like I am trying to move on a peg leg. We get to the starting line, and take off, trying to stay as far to the right as possible. Although it was crowded at the start, I didn't find it that annoying trying to keep/find a pace. It was a pretty narrow area, and part of the roadway was blocked off for normal pedestrian traffic.

The first half of the course was run through Central Park. It was REALLY pretty, and there were TONS of spectators. The first 5 miles was one big loop, and then the next 3 was a repeat of the beginning of the course.

The first few miles I was feeling really good. There seemed to be a lot of aid stations, the cooler temperatures that had been so annoying earlier felt good to run in. I had found a good pace. As is turning out to be typical in my racing, I started to feel like I needed to use the bathroom around mile 4. It wasn't that urgent and since there were lines for all the bathrooms at the aid stations, I figured I could hold it until we came full circle to where we started and I knew there were a lot of them.

Around mile 5.75 I saw some a bit further off course but with no line, so I headed that way. Not sure how off course it was, or how much time it took, but of course I felt better. We had been told that the first half of the course was harder and "hillier" and I was looking forward to getting out of the park and seeing some new scenery.

Central Park
Central Park
Just before mile 8, we exited the park and headed toward downtown NYC. We were running down 7th, and there were TONS of spectators. It was pretty exhilarating to run through this section of the course!

Approaching Times Square

Times Square
Just before mile 9, the course veered off 7th onto 42nd street. And that is when the wind REALLY seemed to pick up. It was cold, and the field had thinned a bit. I was on the left side and with no one to block me, I was freezing.

There was a weird U-turn on 8th, and then we headed down along the Hudson River toward Battery Park. It was pretty chilly running along the river too, but it was a clear and beautiful day.

My legs were still feeling pretty good, and I didn't feel  nearly as tired and out of shape as I have the last few races I've run. It helped that there were a lot of aid stations. Those quick walk breaks help a TON!

Aid Station around mile 11
We ran past Chelsea Piers, and then almost before I knew it, there was almost a mile to go. I was starting to feel fatigued, but I'd been chasing this girl for a few miles, and I just wanted to beat her across the line. I probably felt better in that last mile of the course than anywhere else.

Crossed the line, and felt GREAT!! So happy to be done!

Just crossed the line - ahead is the Financial District

Official Time - 2:05:14
Overall - 5952/10201
Gender - 2485/5440
Division - 546/1640
5K Split - 28:34
10K Split - 59:50
15K Split - 1:29:28
20K Split - 1:59:03
Official Pace - 9:34
Garmin  Time - 2:05:16
Garmin Distance - 13.32 miles
Garmin Pace - 9:24
Mile 1 - 9:08
Mile 2 - 8:38
Mile 3 - 9:10
Mile 4 - 9:30
Mile 5 - 9:09
Mile 6 - 10:35 (bathroom)
Mile 7 - 9:45
Mile 8 - 9:02
Mile 9 - 9:23
Mile 10 - 9:49
Mile 11 - 9:32
Mile 12 - 9:22
Mile 13 - 9:10
Mile 13.1 - 8:06

Like in most races, they were announcing people as they crossed the finish line. I had only walked a few steps when I heard the name "Hugh Jackman" and I hung back hoping I could see him. Security pulled him off before I saw him, but I ran 38 seconds faster than he did... take THAT, Wolverine :D

Then came the struggle of finding L. In a race this big, with this many spectators, it's a little scary trying to find her. Luckily she is like a girl scout and "hugs a tree" as close to the finish as possible. We were both freezing and headed to bag drop to get our stuff. I was so cold I could barely put my jacket and sweats on!
Closer view of Statue of Liberty

View from Battery Park

Finishing area
We saw a Starbucks and immediately got in line. 40 minutes later we were enjoying our Cocoa Cappuccinos. We had to be out of the hotel at noon so we didn't have too much time. I did want to see Ground Zero before we left though.

Nothing was marked, but we think part of the above construction is where the World Trade Center was. It was pretty eerie being there. Due to all the construction, it took us quite a while to get a cab again. We finally caught one and got back to the hotel with enough time to shower and check out ONLY 8 minutes late!  We had a few hours to kill until we needed to head to the airport. You know what that means... POST RACE FOOD!!

We never really did warm up after the race. We were carrying all our luggage around, and doing more shopping, and after a few hours we decided to just head to the airport.

The only real problem at La Guardia?  No place to get a burger... there was one sports bar and they only had Veggie burgers??? Seemed Un-American to me. We settled for a salad to hold us over until  we got to Chicago. As in most of our travels, the very end of the journey ended up being the drama. Our super late flight (we were supposed to land after 11 pm) was delayed almost 2 hours. Due to "maintenance" our flight didn't land until after 1:00 am in Denver.


So... NYC was a great experience. So fun, and I am so happy we got into that one.

Half #25... COMPLETE!


  1. Okay - I feel like I have read almost all of your race reports. I must have been following your blog long before I started following other people's. And I think this might be my favorite so far - even better than Hawaii!

    Running in Central Park is on my bucket list - and you just did it! I haven't even been to New York, so I was completely absorbed in this one. It looks like you really got to see a ton of stuff in that short time.

    And a huge congratulations for being Hugh Jackman! That's awesome. And way cooler than hearing you beat Jarrod from Subway or one of the Chilean miners or something. Too bad you couldn't see him. Bummer. :(

    I should have come as your cheerleader - not for any selfish reasons at all. Nope, not me. Never. ;)

  2. I had so much fun on Sunday running, so I am glad you did as well!! Now I need to get off my butt and write my report!

  3. Great race report and pictures. I felt like I was there with you. But, since it was so cold, glad I wasn't really!
    Yep, take that Wolverine!

  4. great race and what a fun adventure!

  5. I SO want to run in NYC someday! Ground zero looks so different from when I last saw it (which was probably only a year or 2 after it happened).

    Great job!

  6. So awesome that you beat Wolverine! Race medal is sweet, too. Congrats!

  7. I have yet to step foot in the state of new york, so your pictures were amazing to me. After reading this though, I think I'll have to push New York race to a more spring or summer appropriate month- was chilly just reading this. Glad you had fun

  8. I SO LOVE LOVE LOVE that city! I did NYC half a few years ago (when it was in August and the heat/humidity were HORRIBLE) and loved getting to run through Central Park & Times Square. SO glad you were both able to do this race.

  9. Great photos, great outfits! :) I was at the same Applebee's (Times Square, right?) when I was in NY. Funny! :) Great pre race food! :)

  10. Sounds like a great race through the heart of Manhattan! Great recap!

  11. great job, keep it up. I love NYC, what a great place to run

  12. I am so inspired by your accomplishments and your goals! Go to way girl!!!!!!!!! I am from NYC too and I just started running!

    Kisses from NY!

  13. Great recap. I ran this race too and had a great time! I wish I wasn't FREEZING at the end of the race, because I had planned on exploring in the financial district.

    Love your pictures of the race!


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