it was 10 degrees when don and emmy got to my house. despite the cold - it would probably be warmer at the manhattan half in central park than the alternative, the boston build-up 15k at barlow mountain in ridgefield! even with that small consolation, i dreaded the prospect of two loops of the park in those frigid conditions. at the start, mary wittenberg contrasted the early days of the manhattan half in the dog days of late august. i may be in the minority here, but i'll take the hot humid days over the bone-chilling cold ones every time!
despite the whimpering about the cold weather, i've actually done better at the winter version. back in 2006, the first january edition of the manhattan half, i cranked out a 1:27:28 - much better than my summer best of 1:37:37, the preceding year. so i shouldn't complain too much about the cold weather. in the grand scheme of things, it's been good to me. this was my 8th manhattan half (and the one i've run the most often). but my favorite half is, and will always be, brooklyn.
on the walk over to the park we speculated on the turnout. none of us guessed 90% of the registered runners would finish! at baggage check i ran into my friend, michael (pptc). then, in our corral, i spotted emmy's friend (and competitor) sharon. she and emmy finished 1st and 2nd, respectively, separated by 13 seconds, in their age group. while emmy was primed to race, i didn't have a time goal in mind. i'd shoot for a 1:35 - but that turned out to be too ambitious.
the first couple of miles seemed promising, a nice string of 7:15, 7:16, and 7:05 (on the downhill headed into the harlem hills). emmy was in view up ahead, but after i slowed down on the climb she took off and that was the last i saw of her. on west drive i soon realized it wouldn't be an easy day because i couldn't rally back to the teens after that first climb! even more discouraging, i was passed by dozens of runners before the end of the first loop!
after the first 6 miles in 44:o2, i doubted there'd be a negative split for the second loop. still plenty of runners passing me, but i ran the second 6 in 45:10 - the slowest mile, 7:55, was on the second climb up the harlem hills. i sucked it up for the last mile, in 7:24, and finished in 1:37:43, a 7:27 pace. that was well off the 7:14 pace i needed to bring it in under 1:35. still, i was pretty happy to have just gotten it done.
the only interesting twist worth mentioning, i gulped down a cup of gatorade that turned out to be mostly ice - not once, but twice! shame on me for not paying attention to little details. the first time my mouth froze. but it must not of had too much of an impact because i did it again on the second loop. the second time i got a case of brain freeze - argh. other than that fluid business, the running itself was uneventful.
afterwards, changing into dry clothes, i got a nasty calf cramp - which probably reflected my state of dehydration. thankfully, that came after the race, or i'd have been in some serious trouble trying to get over it on the course! i also met an interesting guy, bob, and his friend, john. bob is raising money for charity (juvenile diabetes) by running 50 races this year to celebrate his 50th birthday. as we walked out of the park, we spotted nick, a fellow b.u.s. member, as he finished the race.
next up, a drop down in distance to the gridiron 4 miler this weekend.
here my splits:
here are my race photos.
here is emmy's race report.
here is michael's race report.