Well, my day started about an hour before I’d planned for it to – some guys decided to get into a loud, drunken argument outside my window and woke me up about an hour before my alarm was set. (Yep. I actualy managed to sleep the night before a big race!) I stayed in bed in the dark until the alarm went off though, then got up, got dressed, had some oatmeal, gathered my things, and headed towards the subway. (Thankfully the guys had gone either into their buildings or elsewhere, so I didn’t have to worry about them.)
I didn’t see the train pulling out, but I must have just missed it as I had to wait for 20+ minutes for the next one. It was ok though as I’d built in that waiting time. Had to wait about 10 minutes for my second, which wasn’t bad. And then the other one that’s been a problem on NYRR race days was pulling into the station just as I was getting there for my transfer, so I ended up getting to the starting area WAY early. Wandered around, got to be the first to use a porta-potty, chatted with some other people, and finally was able to turn my bag in at my assigned UPS truck and head up to the corrals. Yay!
When they started collapsing them, I knew we were getting close to starting, so I dumped the zip-up hoodie I was wearing. I still had my arm warmers on because it was pretty chilly this morning before the sun came up. They did successfully get the female barbershop group lined up appropriately in front of the mics so the girl on the melody could be heard (at a race a few weeks ago where the same group sang, she was so far away from the mics you barely ever heard the melody, which was confusing!), and it was pretty. Weirdly, they didn’t do the national anthem before the wheelchairs started, and they (or one that I saw) came flying by during the singing. Kinda weird (the starting them pre-national anthem thing I mean…not the wheelchairs. They’re totally inspirational!!)
I was far enough back I didn’t hear the start horn, but slowly we started moving at a consistent pace. Soon, the starting line came into view and we were off.
My 5K pace was pretty close to what I’d done at Coogan’s 5K a couple of weeks ago, so I tried to consciously make myself slow down a little to conserve something for the end. I didn’t slow myself much as I ended up setting a new PR in the 10K distance with my split time there. All of this was in Central Park – we did a lap and a half before hitting 7th Avenue. Surprisingly I was fast enough I didn’t get any moment of running next to the elites, which was kind of a bummer, but I’m happy with my pace, so it’s a fair trade-off. Some of my running club teammates were running CP in reverse to cheer us on, which was great!
Running down 7th Avenue was completely cool. It took us right through Times Square, which was incredible!! The nice thing was that pretty much from the time we hit 7th, it was flat to downhill all the way. Whee! A running club teammate met me at the corner of 59th and 7th with a bag of pretzels and M&Ms, which was awesome! A block or so further down, another running club teammate popped out to snap a picture of me, so I obliged with a happy pose:
From Times Square, we headed towards the Hudson River and onto the Westside Highway to the finish – in the process, passing the 15K mark and setting another distance PR). I did do a little more walking at this point than I would have liked, but not as much as I did in my first half, so that’s progress. I did keep my pace up – though even at the 10K mark I wasn’t doing the math in my head nor really looking at the Garmin to see what my times were, so I wasn’t totally sure where I was beyond fast enough to not worry about the slow police grabbing me. At one point I did almost get taken out by a guy with a huge arm span who decided to fling his arms out and up without bothering to look and see if anyone was close by. I wasn’t what is normally considered overly close, but he was tall and had really long arms. He missed me, but not by much.
Before I knew it, I saw the 20K sign. At this point there were a couple of girls close by and one was evidently struggling, so her friend was trying to encourage her (“Come on! You’re so close! Just a couple of laps around the track…think of it like that!”) as she was bouncing along like she’d just jumped on the course (she was tagged, so she’d definitely run it). But I think all she was doing was annoying her. I know several of us within earshot were getting annoyed just by the grunts and other noises and a few shared eyerolls. LOL. THAT more than anything was incentive for me to push through to the end.
Saw the 800 meter sign, then the 400 meter sign…and then I could see the finish. My right hamstring was tight, but I was determined to push through and run over that mat. And I did!
Official time? 2:40:23!! A PR of 7:15 off my time at Disney!!
They shepherded us over towards the medals, checking our wrist bands which we had to show not only to go towards the medals but also to get them. Got my mylar blanket and posed for the finish line photo. It was really windy, so they had people stickering the mylar blankets around our necks, which with the wind blowing it out behind me made me feel like a superhero! Hee!
We had something resembling the NYC Marathon death march to baggage and then out through the festival area. I passed through, dropped off my raffle ticket, and headed in search of a cheeseburger.
All-in-all, I had an amazingly good time!! I would love to run this one again, but it may be a while since I’ll have to attempt the wildly crazy lottery again (at least for 2012), and I doubt I’ll get lucky enough to make it two years in a row. Still, it is a really fun race!