Sunday, March 20, 2011

NYC Half - March 20, 2011

I ran the NYC Half today with little expectations for myself but was surprised by how much I enjoyed it! I picked up my bib and braclet yesterday from the expo and was expectinga bit more of an expo. There were small tables for each vender and some charity teams but midmorning there really wasn't anything going on.

I woke up this morning and left a few minutes later than planned to walk down to the start area. Most of my walk was in the dark but the sun looked so nice coming up as I entered central park at west 100th st. The baggage area was really well organized and it only took a few seconds to take off a few layers and check my bag.
One thing nyrr does really well is their signs. I was able to locate my corral and lineup with ease. While waiting for the start we were treated to some juggling by another runner. Random, I know.

I also really enjoyed the music selection throughout the day. At the start the music got us all pumped and there was even some dancing to keep warm in the 37 degree, 12 mph windy weather.

We were off in no time and despite the large field it didn't take us long to get across the starting line. I enjoyed running the central park loop clockwise as I almost always go the other way. Let me just say, this way felt so much easier! We ran down cat hill instead of the torture of up and the harlem hills even seemed less intense. It could also be that I was a bit chilly and it was windy at the top. I got up and over them as fast as possible so I could get out of the wind!


Leaving the park wasn't as exciting as I was expecting. There was no "Now you're on 7th ave" or "Times Square here we come" type cheering like you get as you cross into a new borough during the NYC Marathon. None the less, it was all down hill from here.

It was great to see the sights in Times Square without fighting the crowds! There wasn't anyone suddenly stopping in front of me and pointing at a billboard like is common when walking through the area. I also can't remember the last time I was actually in Times Square. I think it was last summer but I'm not sure.

On to 42nd St we went. Once you pass 8th ave there really isn't anything great to look at. Just some apartment buildings and the sight of the river in the distance.

They were giving out Carb Boom Energy Gels at the fluid station on this stretch. Every gel I've ever tried I have hated. Hated doesn't even cover it. They all make me gag but for some unknown reason I decided to give these a try. It's never a great idea to try something new during a race but I went for it anyway. I loved these! I had the apple cinnamon flavor and it was fantastic!! I must look into these more and find out where I can get them. I will definitely be using these during my upcoming Country Music Marathon.

Coming out onto the Westside Highway we ran up two blocks to 44th for the turn around and got a nice view of the Intrepid.

My legs started to get heavy around 39th street and I was thankful for a quick walking break as I took a Gatorade near 34th st. After that we were on the home stretch. I was ready to be done and luckily just over 2 miles to go.

Coming to the finish I realized I would come in about 4 minutes faster than I ran the Manhattan Half in January so I crossed the line with a smile on my face. The finish festival was seriously lacking but I think that was mostly due to the weather. People didn't stick around which actually worked out in my favor. I saw a very short line leading to the massage tent so I decided I deserved a quick massage. I've never done a post race massage and let me tell you, they are worth the wait! My legs have felt great all day. So good that I helped a friend move some furniture and paint her apartment.

I am thrilled with the day probably even more so because of my lack of training. The race was so well organized. I can't say enough about nyrr and the dedication of their staff and volunteers. The music was perfect. It carried me through when I needed a little extra push and doing the the YMCA is the only way to run/dance through Times Square. I discovered what is now my favorite gel and I felt really good for most of the race.

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