What a perfect weather day we had - and what a difference a week made - for the 2010 edition of the NYC Half Marathon. No rain, no cold, sunshine and temperatures in the 50s - a “no excuses” day to get out and run! Those conditions fueled a record turnout and finish of just under 11,500 runners. My 1:37:29 finish was a personal best for this race - and easily beat my 1:38:36 at the inaugural race in 2006. The result was even more surprising because I had a 1:40 target in mind - and didn’t push the pace until the last 5K (and the final mile was my fastest of the race).
But the day began with a few glitches. Emmy and I drove in, and had a hard time finding a place to park - finally getting one on 89th Street and 2nd Avenue. We had missed the pre-race group photo with the World Lung Foundation, and almost missed the baggage trucks! The UPS truck from Emmy’s corral closed just as she arrived - and wouldn’t take anymore bags. My corral’s truck immediately next, was taking it’s last few bags - mine included. Thankfully, the baggage handler let her put her bag inside of mine and then took the combined bag!
There was one more technical glitch I was confronted with in my corral. My brand new watch (which Pat had gotten me the day before to replace the one that died after so many years of race and training service) - began acting up! I couldn’t get the functions to work properly. Eventually, with the clock showing 3+ minutes of elapsed time, the gun went off and I started keeping splits with that extra time built-in. But even that wouldn’t last!
Almost the entire 10-15 minutes I spent in the corral was a blur - spent on trying to fix my watch - argh! As it turned it out, after a slow, slightly crowded first mile, I got into a groove of 7:35-7:40 miles. This lasted until we reached 5 miles, and with the Lasker Pool in sight, my watch died - or, I should say, completely zeroed out (erasing the splits and magically reset the time 4 hours ahead)! I was furious, but there wasn’t anything to be done. Amazingly, about 30 seconds later it starting working again - at least recording new splits.
According to memory, I reached 5 miles in roughly 38 minutes. The official split for 5K was 23:45, a 7:40 pace. My 10K split was 46:59, a 7:35 pace. My watch was once again recording splits, and I was dutifully logging them. But, I had pretty much decided to ignore the watch and key off the mile marker splits. With the new course we had more distance in the park - reaching the 8 mile split just before turning south and heading out onto Seventh Avenue for the run down to 42nd Street.
The next split, 15K, was along 42nd Street, and I reached in 1:10:18, a 7:34 pace. The new course added a short right turn at the West Side Highway. The extra loop (together with the extra park distance) accounted for moving the finish line north to Chambers Street. The 10 mile mark was just south of 42nd Street - and I remember reaching it in just under 1:16. At this point, with just 5k to go, I picked up the pace significantly.
From memory, my last 3 miles were roughly: 7:19, 7:10, and 7 05. I reached the 20K split in 1:33:21, a 7:32 pace and really pushed the last 7/10th of a mile to the finish. 1:37:29, a 7:27 pace, was my official finish (having yet again lost the 59 minutes worth of splits on my watch when I tried to store them). Emmy was just up ahead, having run a 1:35 - and taken second in her age group! I can’t remember a race where I ever had such problems with a watch - and may have been better off just running without it!
But by the time I reached the post-race festivities the watch problem was ancient history (although, Pat exchanged it for a new one later that afternoon). In stark contrast to the beautiful spring day, I skipped the cold refreshments and rehydrated with hot chocolate! And later still, I switched to a Heineken (thanks to Marty)! Post-race, aside from the World Lung Foundation running team, there were plenty of familiar faces in the crowd: Tom, Eric, Hugo, Greg, Maria, Sharon, and Liz - and new ones too, Robert, Helen, and Leo!
Next up: Raleigh, North Carolina, for the Umstead 100 Mile Endurance Run!