Dave’s NYC Half Marathon Recap + A Giveaway
Hola! Atlas and I are having a whirlwind trip to Florida so Dave is popping in again today and sharing his NYC Half Marathon recap with you. He’s being very open about his love for bubble baths and his obsession with wearing the perfect race day outfit. 😉 Be sure to show Mr. CnC some love and happy reading, friends!
This year, I had the privilege of being selected in the NYC Half lottery. Many of NYC’s runs are managed by the New York Road Runners (NYRR). Due to the large interest in their races, many of them have to be capped. The population of NYC is close to 9 million [a fact that you may not care about], so you can imagine how many runners live in the city. This year, as you know, Ashley and I both put our names in the hat. You have to pay $11 to enter and if you’re selected, an automatic withdraw of $117 is deducted from our account. You can’t sign up without connecting a bank account or credit card to your profile. You can also get an automatic entry into some of these big races by running 5 or 6 of their “selected” races. It’s the same process for the marathon. You also have to be a member of NYRR ($40) so they get their money, either way.
When I realized I was selected for the race, the onset of mixed emotions began. I was sad, happy, mad, confused, happy, concerned and then hungry. So I decided to get an ice cream cookie to think about what was about to happen. It was then that I realized I had some daddy weight to lose, so I did what every runner in training would do; I got another ice cream cookie and started putting together my training plan. For more details about my training plan, click HERE.
The Build-up to Race Day
On the week of the race, I ran 3 miles on Monday, 1 mile on Wednesday (wet cold rain) and 3 miles on Thursday to make up for the previous day. On Tuesday and Friday I did 6 miles on the bike and did a good strength plan (one has to look good in a singlet). I have an amazing personal chef – she planned out the healthiest options for the week. This included, grilled chicken, lots of fruits and veggies, salads, pasta and a couple of ice cream cookie sandwiches followed by many kisses. Everything you need to run your best!
I attended the expo, which I was a little disappointed with, as the Rock-n-Roll Savannah ½ was in a warehouse and they filled it with various vendors. The NYC Half Expo only had about 15 – 20 vendors, but enough to make me happy. Oakley was there and noticed my exceptionally rare Half Wire Sunglasses and that was enough to put a smile on my face for the rest of the day. We also got some good pictures.
On the evening prior, I got a warm [lavender] bubble bath to keep my muscles warm and stretched. I woke up at 5 am and got dressed for the run. Many important decisions were made at this time: Do I wear red or white arm warmers? Do I wear the red/orange logo or the blue/purple? How do these tights make me look? What shirt will I wear over everything and donate during the race? After all that was decided, I drank a Starbucks cold coffee drink and started to jog the stairs. I jogged down the stairs, went outside and checked the weather. It was 19 with cold 18 mph winds. I said no thanks, so I ran back upstairs and back down again. This helped me get a good sweat going and allowed my body to start waking up. After that, I got out The Stick and started working my hamstrings, lower legs and even my neck. During this time, I charged my phone as it was at 67% from the night before and you know what will happen if the music dies!!!
I started to then pack my accessories for the day:
- Oakley half-wire sunglasses
- (2) Vanilla GU energy gels
- Garmin 620 watch
- One blue rubber band for good luck
- Saucony hat and gloves
- Skullcandy headphones
- Bose I-phone armband
- 2 pieces of wild strawberry trident layer gum
I then found my way out of the building. I hailed a cab at 5:45 am and got one block and realized that I left my phone on the charger. Immediately, I told the driver to go back to my apt. I ran upstairs to get my phone as it patiently waited for me. He then drove me to the start of the race.
The runners in the first corral had one entrance while everyone else had a different entrance. Along Central Park South, there were around 20 UPS trucks to drop off your baggage for claim after the race. No spectators were allowed into the park at that time. All runners had their bibs checked prior to entry of the park. Then, you were ushered down the park road for about ¾ of a mile until you met a the mosh-pit of runners. You had to wait to be scanned like you were flying at an airport. They even gave you baskets for your metal objects into the machine. By far, this was a first for me, but after Boston, they obviously can’t take any chances.
After you were scanned, it was up to you to find your corral start. My bib was 6077, which meant I should have around 6,000 people that finish in front of me. My predicted time was 1:40, which had to be pre-selected and proved from a previous race upon submission. I found a bank of restrooms and helped release any nervous energy I had left in my body. Overall, the initial set up was well organized, considering that 21,000 people were running.
As mentioned, my bib read 6077, so this meant that I was about ½ a mile from the start of the race. Yes, ½ a mile from the start. The race started with the pro wheelers (arm cyclists) and then they introduced each of the 12+ professional runners who were running. That’s the life, no number; they print your name on the bib. One day, I will create a bib that just has my name so I can feel better about myself. The entire public announcements were made (wireless throughout the park, I may add) and the national anthem was played. Everyone was ready to go – let’s rephrase that, everyone was freezing their spandex off and couldn’t wait to run. I found myself stuck between as many runners as possible to resist the wind that was surrounding us. Then, the gun went off, BANG…the emotions got hyped, the music turned on, and 8 minutes later, I reached the start of the race and started my Garmin.
The course started on E 72nd and included an almost complete lap of the park. The hills of the North Woods were within the first 25 minutes of the race, so it separated the weak quickly. It then was led down 7th Ave through Times Square then it turned right and went to the Hudson River. Battling the wind along the Hudson, you continued throughout the Financial District, under a tunnel at Battery Park and finished on Wall Street. For the course map, click here.
I started well and maintained my composure. Most amateurs start the race too quickly and considering that I’ve done that before in my short 3 race career, I knew that was going to be tough. I battled the hills well with a good mix of songs and the energy on 7th Ave through Times Square was unmatched from any race or event that I’ve participated in. Large screens on buildings were video casting the race, but in the ‘moment’ I wasn’t able to find myself. At that time, I was running in the high 6s with high euphoric feelings. I then turned to the dreaded Westside Highway (along the Hudson River). The wind alternated between being in your face, to the majority of your side, to even a small stint behind you. That was the toughest 5 mile stretch I’ve ever faced. I had to gather my mental strength and focus on the music, the road (for potholes) and my pace. I was discouraged that during this moment, my pace dropped a few seconds every mile. I was holding 7:10 and it gradually decreased until 7:25 by mile 5. The energy was sparse during this trek, as the highway is difficult to get to. When I saw the new Freedom Tower, I knew I was getting close. The race finished by going through a tunnel at Battery Park that was approxmitely ½ a mile long. It was poorly lit and with sunglasses on, I could barely see any runners around me. This was mile 12, so we all were running about as fast as our legs would allow. After you left the tunnel, there was a hill (“really”) <- and other words were mumbled, before I saw the best sign of the course: 800m. I gave my last kick, past the 400m sign and a quick turn to see the finish. I had lost some composure on the last mile, so I didn’t have the last kick that I had hoped for. I kept my head down and finished strong.
After I finished, I stopped my Garmin. The time matched the watch, but didn’t seem right. I was immediate given an amazing medal and package for recovery. I got my picture taken and checked my phone and got a couple texts from my wife, who was (by miracle) at the finish. I was then ushered to walk 10+ blocks to a secure finish location. Those that had checked bags were able to pick up along the way. This walk of fame or shame for some was completely secure from any communication from any spectators. There was a 10 foot fence with the race logos on it that prohibited anyone from seeing you. After 10 blocks, I found my wife and baby boy in the freezing cold in a coffee shop and we reconvened and found the local train home. The look from the commuters when 500+ got onto our train, wrapped in emergency blankets from the race and the smell of ‘success’ was priceless. Oh, how I love New York!
|Andrews||David||M32||6077||WSY||New York||NY||USA||2714||2123||522||1:41:05||0:24:21||0:47:58||1:11:41||1:35:56||07:43||1:41:04||3052||58.60 %||Photo|
So many of you are waiting with anticipation, thinking “will this book ever end?” Wait a minute, I have yet to tell you how I finished. Well, I was hoping that when I got to this part of the post, I would announce that I got my goal time of 1:39, but that wasn’t the case. I finished 1:41:05 with a pace of 7:43. While that’s a new PR for me (previous 1:42), I’m not really happy. The new Garmin said I ran 13.9 miles and a pace of 7:16. Runners rely on technology to keep track of their pace and distance so they can push their bodies to the limit. Unfortunately, the technology was off, allowing me to be deceived and not run my best. But you only compete with yourself and I didn’t come through when I needed it.
Overall, this was an amazing race. Never have I been exposed to a race of this size, organization and beautiful course (yes, concrete can be beautiful). I would highly recommend this race to anyone, if you’re interested. I’m hoping my beautiful wife gets in next year and I can go support her get a new PR!
On a sweeter note, Momofuku now makes a “Hangover Cronut” … I saw this on the Seamless delivery chart this week. Even if I’m not hungover, I want this!
The Give Away
Lastly, I swindled the NYC Half Expo staff to give me an extra participant tech shirt. Don’t ask how I got it. But, I want to give it away. It’s a unisex, size youth XL. I think this equates to an Adult Small. If you want it, make sure you comment and reference your favorite running signs. If you’ve never run a race before, google “race signs, marathon signs, or creative road race signs” and let me know which is your favorite. The best one will be given this one-of-a-kind tech shirt!
Run for Smiles