2015 Staten Island Half Marathon - October 11, 2015
Goal was a sub 1:35:00, which would be a PR (Brooklyn half was 1:35:45). Felt pretty confident barring some kind of injury or bizarre x-factor. I've been feeling really strong lately. Fall weather has me pumped to run. I'd consulted the map and elevation chart and my plan was to go out with the 1:35 pacer and take off after the ridiculous looking hill at mile 9.
Staten Island, a borough that I'd driven through and whose ferry terminal I had used to return to Manhattan but whose soil I had actually never set foot on. ("It's amazing," said a friend who was in a similar situation until running the half last year, "It always seemed like this mystery world but they have a Duane Reade and a Subway and everything!"). Also: my apartment, the Times Square subway station, Southbound R, and the terminal on the Manhattan side.
Two GUs, one blueberry pecan KIND bar, phone, Metrocard, ATM card, 22 bucks, headband, chapstick, 4 band aids, keys, small Poland Spring water bottle, a pair of gloves cheap enough to throw away if I needed to, should I need them. Clothes & shoes, obviously, and my corporal husk.
Went to bed, after watching Chase Utley break Ruben Tejada's leg and the resulting debacle, at midnight. Five and a half hours of solid sleep till 6am. Woke up on time, showered, geared up, and went to the subway to get the R. Ate KIND bar and drank water. Rode the R to the ferry terminal without incident, went to the bathroom at the terminal without incident, but missed the 7:30 ferry due to the - workers... dockhands? - calling the boat at capacity. Caught the 7:45 and had a while to chill/get pumped. The sun shining in felt very warm and almost like it could burn. Docked and slowly made it to the stadium, where bag check and the path to the start line were. Ditched the hoodie and gloves at bag check. Crowds moved pretty slowly; not sure if this was an NYRR problem or infrastructure logistics problem, but we watched the 5K somehow start on time and the corrals for the half fill in a sort of orderly fashion. I was thrilled to see that the porta-potties in my corral had shockingly short lines. I found the 1:35 pacer and hung close.
Very crowded. Slow. Rolling hills, not unlike the Bronx 10-mile two weeks previous. Felt very free and easy at the beginning but was going pretty slow. The pacer was OK with going slow at the beginning, his plan was to break out and pick it up around mile 3, the start of the long flat section that led to the turnaround. This was working for a while. The start of the course is some rolling hills, with a very steep downhill around mile 3-1/2. Route has a very neighborhood-y, suburb feel. White houses and trees and Halloween decorations. A few spectators wore Halloween costumes, but almost no runners did. I saw lots of Mets gear, which was heartwarming. When I’d went to bed it was 4-2 Dodgers- I had vivid dreams of waking up and checking my phone to see that the Mets had rallied and won the game but they'd in reality lost 5-2. Had a brief conversation with a guy in a Harvey jersey around mile 2 about the game before leaving to weave through the crowd with my pacer. At mile 3ish I take my first GU. MILE 1: 7:45 - MILE 2: 7:13 - MILE 3: 7:16 - MILE 4: 7:06
When we hit mile 4 I called out "7:06" and some guy said "yeah only cause of the downhill". I could feel that the pacer was starting to make some in our group nervous and as a result I started leaning a bit forward of the group. I was striding pretty good here. This section of the race was on a highway along the coast, but maybe 200 yards inland, where there were decent, supportive crowds, more white houses, and more costumes. I saw a guy in a full on Mayor McCheese-head. He was walking against the route, waving at the runners like a politician. It was sunny but extremely comfortable. There were plenty of well stocked water stations. The throng of runners was respectful for the most part. Not too many problems getting past people here – the road was four lanes wide. This is the point of the Half where you’re almost halfway through, and the realization of the distance is starting to hit you. I was moving at a pretty good clip and eventually separated from the pace group somewhat. I knew it was flat until about mile 9, and felt I could keep striding out until then. As long as I was running free and easy, I'd have energy to hit the hill hard and not lose too much time. MILE 5: 7:07 - MILE 6: 7:05 - MILE 7: 7:09 - MILE 8: 7:06 - MILE 9: 7:03
There's a big water station in a narrow section of trail right before the hill, and a lot of people, at least more than expected, are straight out walking here (something my pacer warned me about), so the going is a little precarious as the runners bottleneck, but I'm able to make my way around without losing any real time. The hill, though, hits right away and hard, but I've got some in the bank here and make a little push. The hill sucks for sure but I make it over at a good pace. As soon as my breath catches me I take my second GU for the final push. From here it's downhill, back to the rolling hills, neighborhoods, and suburbs. Good crowds. Feeling very steady and strong. Checking my watch I realize I’ve got an outside shot at a sub 1:34 and I put that in my pocket, thinking I might have enough to make it up the last mile, mile and a half. As it turns out, I don't, but in the home stretch a guy in the crowd calls out "1200 meters! 1200 meters!" I remember doing progression 1200m repeats with my running group a few Mondays ago, trying to go a little quicker each 400. That I do have enough gas for. Despite a mad sprint of the last 200, I fall 9 seconds short of the goal I'd made for myself at mile 11, but hit the other two that I went in with. MILE 10 (hill): 7:30 - MILE 11: 7:02 - MILE 12: 7:01- MILE 13: 6:53
1:34:09, new half marathon PR
2 bagels, 2 cups of Gatorade, endless water, 1 large iced coffee, 2 scrambled eggs, approx. 6oz of smoked ham, approx. 8 slices of bread w/jam butter and Nuttela, 2 1/2 cups hot coffee and 1 20 minute nap while watching NFL Red Zone
Dash to the Finish 5K, October 31, my 9th of 9+1