yesterday i ran the NYRR Fred Lebow Manhattan half marathon. i don’t know why i’d signed up for this race- I think after the New York marathon I immediately wanted something to ‘look forward to’. in recent weeks i have mostly dreaded this race. the course loops through central park 2.5 times. with all of it’s unforgiving hills…over and over…
this elevation chart doesn’t even do it justice. the course felt entirely uphill.
January in NY is also unpredictable, in fact, this race was snowed out last year. however, we lucked out- yesterday was in the low 50’s and overcast. so I sent my friend that i had suckered into running with me a text, to let her know it was a shorts kind of day.
my first ever race was the Phili RnR half marathon, 2014. Why i chose an out of state race, and a challenging distance…i don’t know. I guess because i’m insane and it takes pushing myself to tears to feel proud of myself.
my first half was a MESS. my ‘training’ had been my neighborhood runs, which were usually around 4 miles. My longest run had been 7 miles, and I often went a full week without running. in fact, i had signed up for the race so far in advance, that by the time the race was approaching, i was dealing with so much life *crap, that i was barely running at all.
(* dating an asshole)
Long story short, i struggled hard, and i completed the course in 2:35 i think. i remember thinking i would finish around 2 hours. woof. but i was proud. so proud! even my asshole boyfriend was proud. not like, proud enough to actually come to phili for the race, but proud enough to meet me at the bus when i got home and take me to dinner. what an asshole.
anyway. following that, i signed up to run the United Airlines Manhattan Half Marathon. this time, i barely trained at all. i was too busy with more *life stuff; which included, but was not limited to the same shitty boyfriend donating the complete $1300 that i was raising for Team for Kids, and then screaming in my face at an ATM and demanding i pay him back. so. yeah. things got in the way of my training. again, i figured i would run this is about 2 hours. but, that race also went poorly, 2:31. I blamed the hills in Central Park (even though the second half of the course is entirely flat), had a few margaritas, and talked non stop about getting better at running.
i immediately signed up for a smaller, local half (the brooklyn greenway half marathon) and decided i would train like crazy. at this point, i was running races nearly every weekend to fulfill the NYRR 9+1 marathon option (cuz, you know, if you don’t train, you should totally try and run a marathon). i had become obsessed with running. i would read every race recap i could find on the new york marathon and cry, moved with the triumphs of total strangers. i was running 4 mile races, and 10k’s, my times, not improving, but i was really running them to complete them. however. when it came to half marathons, i still had these massive goal times. i couldn’t run a 10k in under an hour, but was sure i could run a half in 2? the brooklyn greenway half went better, in that i managed to run the whole thing, but i came in at 2:19. to be fair, my training had been derailed by finally moving out and breaking up with said shitty ex.
if you read my blog, you know that pretty much eat, sleep and breathe training, marathon running, and fitness now. The past year i’ve stopped drinking, have gained so much endurance, and my entire life is completely different. get rid of a sociopathic boyfriend…gain PR’s!
my most recent half was the Brooklyn half, which i ran in 2:03. it felt…effortless. easy? it felt like a long training run i would take on a sunday. i wasn’t tired afterwords. i was ready to actually race a half afterwords, not just complete one.
so the fred Lebow half yesterday. once again, i did what i always do, and set a time goal that wasn’t feasible for me on this course. i wanted to run it in 1:45, based on all the tempo runs, and long runs i’ve been doing in prep for the Marseille marathon, this felt well within my capabilities. but hills really slow me down. and i REALLY need to get my hill training game on. after the first 4 miles, my legs were so spent from working a sub 8 pace on the inclines…that they were sore. sore! and with 10 more miles to go.
apart from the pacing, I also just wasn’t in a good head space. it was a heavy weekend. friday i was really shaken up by the inauguration, and felt a sort of suffocating depression that i wasn’t prepared for. on saturday, i went to the NYC women’s march, and it was incredible. But also really emotionally taxing. so when i woke up on sunday…i just felt wiped.
my friend jen and i met up, got coffees, and headed up to the park. on the way i ran into a teammate from NBR, who apparently went on to run the thing in 1:37, so he did alright!
there is NO way to show up to a race with the right amount of time. it’s either standing around getting cold, or rushing. we were rushing. and by the time we dropped off my bag at bag check, and got in line for the porta potty, we were cutting it pretty close!
in fact- we were cutting it so close that the gun was about to go off. we gave up on the toilet and hurried to our corral.
and then i was off. bladder full. head with 1:45 on my mind.
and i just wasn’t feeling it.
i wasn’t present.
i wasn’t in every mile. i was thinking about my pace too much. i was thinking about the course map, and trying to remember where the hills were. i was REALLY overthinking. and i wasn’t enjoying myself.
around mile 6, the 8:23mm pacer caught up to me. we had a tug of war for half a mile and then he dodged past me. so i knew i wasn’t hitting 1:45. i actually considered walking off the course so i wouldn’t fail at my goal time- now that’s stupid.
i gave up some seconds per mile, i wasn’t feeling it. i knew i could have pushed harder at the final 5k, but i didn’t feel anything. i didn’t feel any passion. i tried repeating some mantra’s in my head. i tried reminding myself of how good it would feel just to sub 1:50.
i crossed the finish- 1:51
i got my medal.
i called my mom. i explained that i finally broke 2 hours.
then i sat and felt nothing. i hadn’t hit 1:45, and i could have. i didn’t want it enough, and i didn’t push myself enough. i threw the towel in at mile 7. and i guess that’s why i’m not proud. and i should be. looking at my NYRR race pace history is astounding. but the progress feels slow. and I’m impatient.
next race is the Marseille Marathon. 8 weeks! I need to remember that keeping my mind fit is just as important as my legs. without the right mental game, i’m screwed.
also. i run shitty tangents!