04-04-2018

2018 NYC Half Marathon Recap

This is a few weeks late but better late than never!

I had such a great time running the NYC Half. It was my first time doing this race…not that it mattered because the course was brand new this year.

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I didn’t really have any time goals. I just wanted to finish 13.1 miles feeling good. I loosely figured I could do it in 2:30 but wasn’t chasing a certain time or anything.

So let’s dive right into the NYC Half Marathon recap!

Start

I was running this race with 2 of my running group friends. Thankfully one of them was in the corral with me. My parents drove us in (from NJ to Brooklyn), which meant getting up at 4:30 AM. I know a lot of people like to stay closer or at a hotel, but I just prefer to sleep in my own bed, and have my set routine. My mom and I got a hotel for the 2011 NYC Marathon and although it was nice being closer, I feel I do better just sleeping at my place and getting up earlier.

So we drove into Brooklyn and got there no problem. A lot of people were bummed that the new race started in Brooklyn…it is kind of a pain for people driving in from outside of Manhattan. But since it was so early we didn’t hit any traffic.

We got to the start area around 7 AM for our 8:30 AM start.

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Bag check and all that was pretty easy and quick. We got into our corral around 7:30 AM, and started warming up around 7:45 AM.

Oh yeah…it was cold! Around 25 degrees. So I wanted to make sure to do a good warm-up. My old running coach Marc, recommended warming up enough that you’re sweating before starting. He also told me to run in just a long sleeve and leggings…which I should have listened to lol. I ended up wearing a running vest because I was afraid I’d be cold.

So I did some drills and strides to warm up and actually felt fine temperature wise while waiting in the corral. My running partner had numb toes but wasn’t sure if it was because of the cold or being nervous (it was her first half marathon).

I loved that they had bathrooms right inside the corral. I pee a lot so it was convenient and I was able to go right up until we started. 

The start was 8:30 AM but we didn’t get started until about 8:45 AM. Even though there was wave 1 and wave 2, they had staggered starts within each wave as well.

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Time to go!

Miles 1-3

We crossed the start and I pretty much was warm right away. Mile 1 was pretty flat, but then you got to the Manhattan Bridge, which was one of the toughest portions for me…despite only being mile 2!

It was probably a half mile climb up the bridge? Maybe more? I just kept trucking along and telling myself to take it easy. We’re only in mile 2. Nice and easy. Control your breathing. We were trying to keep the 2:30 pacers in sight, but we already lost them on the bridge because of how many people there were. Oh well.

When you get off the bridge you turn right around a corner and are basically at mile 3. That’s where my family was for the first stop. It was so weird having my mom be a spectator vs. running with me! (She didn’t get into the lottery.) I had told my dad they could just do mile 6 or 7 and then finish, but he wanted to catch us at multiple spots…thanks dad!

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That’s my mom waiting for us. We’ve been using our Paraguayan flag for big races (like NYC Marathon) because it’s super easy to spot from far away. It’s always easier for the runners to see the spectators than spectators to see the runners.

For some reason I didn’t think to pass my family my vest when we passed them. I was getting hot and ended up taking it off like a minute after we passed them. I didn’t want to toss it so I looped it around my running belt. Should have listened to Coach Marc and not worn it!

Miles 4-7

I was not a fan of this portion of the race. Basically from 4.5-7 you’re running on FDR drive. I think NYRR thought this would be cool because of the views but I didn’t like it because 1) No spectators in this area 2) I don’t really care about views during a race so for my this portion was just long and monotonous and 3) It was really windy since we were by the water.

I just kept telling myself to get to mile 7. Plus, at the strategy session in the expo, they said mile 7-8 is where the race really begins. They said, “You want to get to mile 7 feeling like a caged animal.” I just kept repeating that to myself, though I was starting to get tired and doubting I’d be feeling like a caged animal lol.

At mile 7 we were in Manhattan, and my family was going to be around there. We found them right before Grand Central Station and I gave them my vest at that point. 

Miles 8-10

At mile 8 you’re on 7th Avenue going up Times Square. We had a few of our other running group friends cheering us on there too. I got an energy boost after seeing them, which was needed on the incline heading into Central Park. Because of this energy boost, I was feeling good and even sped up a bit…I was like wow I might actually be able to speed up for the finishing miles! LOL nope.

You enter Central Park around mile 9 and for some reason my energy just totally died back down there. The rolling hills leading to Cat Hill had me tired, so I let my running partner go ahead because I wanted to stop and put some music on. I knew I’d need it to finish strong.

I made the climb up Cat Hill, and my family was right at the top thankfully! I threw them my fuel belt and they cheered me on. I wanted to look strong for them but after 1-2 min after passing them I stopped to take my first walk break. 

I was beat. I gave myself a pep talk and said only 3 miles left. Come on!!!

Miles 10-13.1

I turned up my music and chugged along. I’d try to pick someone ahead of me to catch, or if someone passed me I’d try to stay with them. At this point in the race it’s just mind games to stop telling yourself that you’re tired. 

You turn left through the park, and get to the west side. This is where the “3 sisters” come in. 3 rolling hills. I was familiar with this loop because of all the NYRR races in Central Park. So I knew what to expect. I took a few more walk breaks here after cresting hills, and then would try to speed up on the down hills. 

Check out the elevation at the end in Central Park!!!

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Run The World by Beyonce came on and I was like Ok, I got this!!

The last mile or so is pretty flat or downhill which is amazing. I started feeling good again. I think because I was so tired and not thinking, my brain was thinking of the NYRR 4 mile race loops. So in my mind, the finish was farther than it was. All of a sudden, I saw a sign that said 800 meters to go and I think I actually said out loud, “Wait what? Only a half mile to go?” I was so pumped.

I told myself it’s 2 laps on the track, I can do that easily. I tried to speed up but my legs were pretty done. 

I saw my family with 200 meters to go and was really trying to push. Those 200 meters were never ending!! I was trying to sprint…and then I crossed the finish line! As I crossed, I noticed both photographers were looking at their camera…so I didn’t get a finish line photo which is a bummer. But whatever, I ran 13.1 miles!

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Finish

I finished in about 2:33 I think? Maybe 2:34. I was totally fine with that time, and it was around what I thought I’d run anyway. I got my medal and found my friend. We both felt great!

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 It’s funny because this is my slowest half marathon to date, yet probably the best one I’ve ran. I finished feeling great…not tired, puking, with stiff legs, etc. I felt good throughout the race with no fueling or hydration issues. I was definitely feeling that runner’s high after!

It’s funny – despite it being 25 degrees, I still had salt all over my face from sweat. I’m a heavy sweater, and what’s really helped me is GenUCAN’s hydration packets.

Anyway, we took our finisher pics and headed to bag check. Similar to NYC Marathon, you have a long walk out of Central Park to meet your people. We stopped to stretch and roll for a bit (I had my handy Addaday roller) then started walking out. Our meetup for the marathon is always the West Side YMCA, so we went there for this race too since it was close to the finish.

We met the whole group there and took some pics. It was so nice to have family and friends there supporting us. Seeing them on the course really helped! I returned the favor by watching a few of them run the Philly LOVE Run Half Marathon the following weekend. 

Here are some post-race pics:

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Overall, it was a great day!! 

Final thoughts:

  • I liked the course minus the portions on FDR drive. I never ran the old course, but feel like I would have been bored with the majority of the miles being on the West Side Highway. I think this course is better.
  • Maybe winter/cold races are for me? It was cold but I felt great!
  • Kinesio taping really helps my shin issues.
  • The elevation at the end of the race was killer but feels that much better when you conquer it.
  • Now it’s time to focus on 5k races and getting a new PR :)

Have you ran the NYC Half Marathon before? Did you do it this year? Thoughts on the new course?

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