The day was forecast to rain but considering that it rained all summer I decided right away not to get worked up about it. I hate biking in the rain but I can definitely run in the rain. I had a pasta dinner on Friday night and headed to bed early so I could try to get a full night of sleep. The nice thing about a running race is that it requires so much less preparation and so much less stuff then a triathlon. I barely had to think about gear - running clothes/shoes, sports beans and an iPod. Easy peasy!
My sister-in-law was staying with us for the weekend so she accompanied us to the race and she was a huge help with carrying our things, cheering for us and, most importantly, taking pictures!
We got up on Saturday morning at about 6:30am. I had a cup of coffee and a smoothie with a frozen banana and berries, 2 scoops of hemp protein powder and almond milk. After breakfast we jumped on the train and headed to Central Park. Here we are riding the Subway into Manhattan.
It looked very gross outside but it wasn't too bad. The official race temperature is listed as 67 degrees and 93% humidity. The day was cool but not cold and while it was very humid the rain held off all morning!
The timing "chips" were plastic disposable strips call d-tags. (This was great because at the end of the race it didn't get all backed up with people removing timing chips.) When I first saw them at packet pickup I had a physical reaction at the thought of putting another plastic strap around my ankle. Thank goodness it just attached to the laces!
It was time to get in line for the race. New York Road Runner races are really big so everyone is grouped by speed and assigned to a color/number category and then the runners get in their correct category. The race had over 4300 participants so it is very crowded at first!
I gave Sam a hug and headed to my race group. I find this picture hilarious because my face looks so serious. I look like I don't know when I will see him again! Maybe I was more nervous than I realized!
The race, Grete's Great Gallop, is named after Grete Waitz, the former Norwegian marathon runner who won nine New York City Marathons between 1978 and 1988. She made a speech to welcome the runners and then blew the horn for the official start. It was cool to see her when I ran by the start line. I wanted to give her a high-five but there was a traffic jam near her so I decided to settle with just seeing her and get going.
As I've mentioned before, the first few miles of my long runs always hurt. They make me rethink what I am doing out there and wonder why I choose this sport. I'm glad that I actually know this now so I can usually keep telling myself to hold on because it will get better soon. About two miles in my stomach was feeling a bit queasy but I tried to ignore it and just keep running.
It was around mile 4 that I hit the big hills on the North end of the park but I am happy to report that I was feeling really strong at this point. In all of my long runs I've always liked time between 45 minutes and an 1:30. I ate a few Luna Moons and washed them down with a cup of water at the next aid station. After mile 4 I heard a lot of commotion behind me and saw some guys on bikes - they were going the wrong way and yelling. I thought they were just being jerks but then I realized they were pacing the lead runner! I got lapped for the first time in mile 4 - this means the runner was on mile 10 (the winner of the men's race finished in 1:06:52). At mile 6 I was passed by the lead female runner (she finished in 1:14:52). It was pretty awesome to see the lead runners go by - they are SO fast! At mile 7 I ran right past the finish line and started on my second loop.
At mile 8 my nagging stomach issues seemed to be getting worse and I decided that I was going to need to stop and use the porta-potties. I remember seeing a few around mile 8 or 9. When they finally came into view I jumped off the road and was glad to see they were open so I wouldn't need to wait. I opened the door and quickly realized why it was unoccupied. I checked the second porta-potty and discovered the second was in worse condition then the first. I quickly decided my stomach was not feeling that bad and started running again. Luckily I started feeling better after that and didn't have any more problems.
If I could split this race in two parts I would say the first half was miles 1-12 and the last half was mile 13. It felt sooo long. Seriously. This was the extra mile that I had never run before and I could really feel it. I couldn't believe how long it seemed to take to finish this mile. I was hurting but I refused to stop. Finally I rounded the last corner and I could see the finish line. I pushed it up the last hill and through the finishers shoot.
Overall I am very happy with my finish. I ran the entire race and only walked a tiny bit through the aid stations and I kept my pace below an 11 minute/mile. Obviously there is a lot of room for improvement, but you have to start somewhere!
Finish Time: 2:20:48
Pace: 10:44 (minute/mile)
Overall Place: 3579 / 4316
Gender Place: 1586 / 2076
Age Group (F 25-29): 452 / 566
Sam finished before me (obviously) with a time of 1:45:20.
While Sam and his sister were waiting for me they saw a lot of interesting finishers. There was one guy who who juggled the entire way. He juggled and ran 13 miles and he did it around 2 hours and 15 minutes! They saw a lot of people "yack" when they crossed the finish line. Eliza also managed to snap a picture of this guy who the race announcer dubbed as an "Asian Santa Claus."
After I finished I drank 3 large cups of water and grabbed a plum. Plums were a great food for the end of the race and a nice alternative to bananas. I met up with Sam and Eliza and he helped me wipe all the sweat off my face before it was dripping into my eyes (that is love).
We walked over to the Norwegian Festival and post race festivities in search of waffles. Apparently only fast people get waffles because they were all out. I was a bit annoyed at this point and proceeded to tell someone they should ration the waffles because it is the slow people who really need them. They had plenty of bagels and lox left but that didn't sound good at all so we decided to skip the race food and find a diner. This was a much better choice and I had a delicious brunch with eggs, home fries and an English muffin. It completely hit the spot!
After brunch I went home, showered and crawled into bed. It had started to rain so I stayed in bed and read for awhile and then I took a wonderful nap. It was fabulous!
P.S. Here is a great movie with highlights from the race: