Last weekend was the last NYRR's borough half marathon in Staten Island - the one I needed to complete the 4/5 borough races to qualify for the NYC Half Marathon in 2012. My plan was to take it use it as a bit of a time trial for marathon pacing.
I spent the night at my friend Dahlia's place since we had to be on a 7:30 am ferry to make the race start at 8:30. Initially I thought she was being a little neurotic by leaving her place at 6:45 am, but it turns out, the ferry terminal was jammed packed when we got there. We found our friends Abbey and Nicole (and Nicole's sister-in-law and her friend, too) and luckily, we all made it on.
|Nicole and I on our way to the race|
I had planned to run the race on my own - but two minutes into the race, I found Dahlia on the course, and we ended up sticking together the rest of the way. I was working on another 40+ mile week so my legs were
|At the least the race provided amazing views of Manhattan|
And...I'm definitely IN for next year's NYC Half, so that is pretty exciting, too!
I was a little nervous about losing a recovery day the next week since the long run was on a Sunday instead of my usual Saturday slot, but thanks to a minor miracle, my legs actually loosened up over the course of the week. Good thing too, because I had my final long run on Saturday via the ING Hartford Marathon Relay.
The Hartford Marathon was the goal race for most of those in my summer training group, so I wanted to at least be a part of the event. This year the marathon offered a relay split into 5 legs, and runners were allowed to do consecutive legs. I signed up for the first 4 legs (about 20.4 miles) and my coach's husband took the last leg. I figured it was a good opportunity to have a "dress rehearsal" for my marathon.
I spent most of the week freaking out about the weather, but thankfully it was for no reason - race day turned out to be gorgeous. Low 50s at the start, low 60s to finish. Some wind, but not hot. And "not hot" were the key words I was looking for.
After last week's scramble to the start, I made sure to arrive with plenty of time to spare. Although this was just a training run, it was hard to not get caught up the race day buzz.
I spotted the pace groups lining up, and was tempted to join them, but at the end I decided not to, since I won't be using one in New York.
|Pace groups gearing up for the run|
|One day I will be this speedy. I hope.|
And then chose a more realistic group. After all, it was just a training run!
|It is a training run after all!|
The first mile or so was pretty crowded since we were mixed in with the half marathoners, but once we peeled them off a the split, we had much more breathing room. I had to stop pretty early on for a bathroom break, but from then on out, it was pretty smooth sailing.
The early miles flew by, and I found my groove. Even though I ran the half two years ago, which at the time shared much of the same course with the marathoners, I still was a bit unfamiliar with my surroundings. I recognized a few landmarks here and there - mainly the big amphitheater where my boyfriend and I have seen a number of concerts and some of the riverfront parks - but I'll be honest, I kind of had no idea where I was.
We eventually ended up in the neighborhoods of East Hartford and South Windsor, and then before I knew it, I hit the half marathon mark. I heard a volunteer remark "now this is where the race really begins" and I began to mentally prepare myself for some big struggles.
Except they never came. I mean sure, I was tired, and my body was hurting - but I was running for 3.5 hours, that's practically a given. And, yes it was a bit mentally draining toward the end (are we there yet?!) but it was nothing I couldn't handle. And sure, I was pretty happy to cross the relay point at around mile 20 and change - but if I honestly think if I had to keep going, I think I could of, and I don't think the wheels would of come off - at least not completely anyways.
|The dirty deets.|
|Hey, how often do you get a medal AND a tech shirt for a training run?!|
But this year? I say bring it New York...I'm ready for you!