Those of you who have followed me for awhile know that I’ve been stuck at the 1:35 half for a few years now! It was my best time before baby J came along, and although my fitness was there to break it last year, the two half marathons I did fell apart (one from heat, and one from starting too fast and crashing!)
So breaking through that 1:35 barrier was extra sweet this weekend! Here’s the story:
I shared an Uber into NYC with my neighbor and got in a little later than I had planned- just as my bag check was closing. I quickly threw my extra sweatshirt in the bag and my bus ticket home and totally forgot to pull out my Garmin! I realized it and went back but it was too late.
So I would be running the race naked, a first for me, but I was up for the challenge. I found my wave and got in but realized I was with the 1:45 pacer. I couldn’t even see the 1:40 pacer, let alone the 1:35 group! I tried to weave ahead as much as I could before we started, although I hate doing that. I think I was in this corral because they have my time from the NYC marathon (3:43) which I ran for fun, and listed me as an 8:00/mile half average. There was not much I could do at this point.
When the race started, those first 2-3 miles flew by as I tried to pass slower runners and find the groups running my pace. I did a lot of weaving and in retrospect, probably too many surges trying to squeeze past people, but it kept me distracted.
Before I knew it, we were on the loop through Harlem before climbing up the Harlem hill. The extra little loop was super crowded, so again I felt stuck behind people and tried to keep my pace, but was doing a lot of surging and slowing, surging and slowing.
We came out of the loop and headed up Harlem hill, which is the toughest hill in the course. I was feeling it at the top but overall, I have to say the hills were not as bad as I expected. I was really happy to head down the other side of that one knowing that there were only a few more rolling hills to go. My 5k split was 22:07.
From the mile one clock at 14ish to the mile two clock at 21ish, I knew I was running somewhere in the low 7s and that it had been an extra 6-7 minutes before my chip time began. That was helpful as I continued on to have a general idea of how I was doing by the clocks.
After a few more small rolling hills through miles four and five, we soon began heading out of Central park. The 10k split was 44:16, so approximately 7:08 pace again, although I’d love to know how what distance my watch would have had with all the weaving in that first half!
I struggled a bit to find my rhythm as we headed down through Manhattan. It was flat and the perfect opportunity to pick up the pace but I hit some self doubt. Was I already going too fast or could I pick up the pace and hold it for another 6 miles? 15k: 1:06:40
Right after the 15k split, I decided I was feeling good. I started to pick it up and knew I could handle 4 more miles. I wish I had my splits because I know the last 4 were my fastest miles of the day! I felt really strong.
In the final two miles, I picket it up a little more. I focused on a visualization trick I remember reading… choose someone ahead of you and pretend to throw a giant rubberband around them and pretend that rubberband is pulling you in to catch them. I probably did this 6 or 7 times in a row, passing people in that final stretch. It was a great distraction and helped me keep pushing!
I still had no idea what my time would be as we came through the final tunnel and down the last 400m. I was hoping for sub- 1:35 but that’s what I thought at my last half, too! As I got close and saw 1:40, I knew I would pr (with the extra 6-7 minute start time!)
Final: 1:33:31, a two minute pr!
I am so happy with this race!! I was doubting that it would be a pr race during some sections in Central Park, and again as we started down through Manhattan. But everything came together!
I’m excited to continue to chip away at the half… I know I have more to give, especially if I can avoid all the weaving I did in the beginning. Looking forward to what else 2017 has in store!
Congrats to everyone who raced this weekend!! There were so many new prs and great races!