up until race morning, i really wasn't sure i'd be able to complete the new york city half marathon. i was so happy to round out the 20 member world lung foundation team, that i didn't stop to worry about the mileage i planned to run the day before. even as i picked up my race packet on friday, only a couple of hours before the drive up to wakefield, ma, for the 24 hour around the lake ultra, it still hadn't sunk in. but on saturday afternoon, after covering 60 miles in 17 and a half hours, as i hobbled down my driveway and dragged myself up the two porch steps - i suddenly had doubts!
the prospect of finishing seemed even more remote when i woke up at 4:30 to the sound of rain splattering against my window. not only did the rain linger until emmy arrived at 5:20 for the drive in (she would run the last 5 miles, from central park to battery, with me) but we were treated to some seriously menacing bolts of lightening driving down the hutch! but by the time we parked on lexington avenue the rain had stopped, and things didn't look as gloomy. in fact, by the time i met up with my wlf teammates at 88th and 5th, i was positively upbeat!
yvette handed us each and orange short sleeve tech shirt with "i'm running to save a child from asthma" on the front and the wlf logo on the back. given the 70 degrees and 90% humidity, it was a bit much under the circumstances - a singlet would have been too much! but the point was to raise awareness, so i had no problem wearing it. no sooner than i had it on, that i discovered the batteries in my camera needed to be changed! this really dampened my mood - aside from having put in what i thought were fresh batteries before i left the house, now i wouldn't be able to take any pictures!
but i asked emmy if she had extras, and she said she'd have fresh batteries when i met up with her exiting central park. i managed a couple of shots with the week batteries, then headed over to the baggage truck to drop off my stuff. then i made my way over to my corral. i was even happier to learn that my 976 was in the first corral (numerical instead of color coded)! i ran into a bunch of my former wtc teammates there. still, was it's been a while since i ran a 1:30 half, so i could have lined up a few corrals back.
i managed two more pictures before the batteries officially died! then after a few brief remarks, we were off! luckily, the first mile is an easy downhill - it would be my fastest mile of the morning in 7:54. my plan was to simply run until i couldn't, then walk it in if i had to. actually, i wanted to run the 7 miles in central park, then take my time heading down to the battery so i could snap a few photos along the way. just past the 5k mark i spotted the wlf team cheering us on - that was a morale boost! all together, i acquitted myself well in central park. while i walked a portion of the harlem hills, i still managed a 54:26 at the 10k split!
here are my central park splits:
half-way thru mile 7 the runners exit central park onto seventh avenue. it was disappointing not to hear "welcome to the jungle" - the musical highlight of my 2006 race. but seeing emmy and greg there more than made up for it. in fact, emmy had fresh batteries! i was back in the picture-taking business and i had a pacer! for me, running down seventh avenue and across 42nd street is what makes this event unique.
the next three miles were a blur of urban landscape, dotted by photo ops...
on the west side highway, with only 5k left to go, i asked emmy if she could run it in at a 9 minute pace. she said go ahead, bring it in under 2 (hours). so i pushed the pace, and did a series three progressive fast miles:
i just managed to squeeze in under 2 hours - ego can be such a powerful motivator - haha. after crossing the finish, nyrr handed out cold, wet towels - great idea! i collected my bag and then we slowly made our way into battery park to reunite with the wlf team. another great post-race treat was the jambo juice. but was it my imagination, or were there no bagels? even so, i was more than happy with my apple and pretzels.
next year, rumor has it, this race will be move to the late spring! either way, i'll be back (sorry arnold)!
check out the race photos.
check out the wlf team photos.
check out emmy's race report.
check out pam's race report.