Monday, March 27, 2017

New York City Half Marathon: Race Day

I can't believe the weekend of the United NYC Half marathon had finally arrived. I was excited because I knew I had a pretty good training cycle and I was NOT injured. I was a little nervous about the weather because it kept fluctuating all week. It's important to note that I had beautiful winter weather and had very few runs in temps less than 40 degrees.  The week of the NYC half, the East coast was hit by winter storm Stella. Well that sure changed things!


When I was getting ready for bed, I could see the snow starting to fall out my hotel window. By the time I was in bed, it had stopped and I wondered what it would be like in the morning. It was forecasting snow and rain around 7 and 8 am.


By the time I woke up, the temps said 34 degrees and "Real Feel" of 20!  What does that even feel like?  I thought about changing up my outfit again to something warmer but in the end I stuck with my gut and wore what I originally had planned.



-My cold gear tights (lightly fleece lined)

-Arm warmers (under my long sleeves)

-Long sleeve half zip tech shirt (not too thick)

-My Windbreaker

-Nike Therma fit sweatshirt as my throw away.(Not pictured)

-My cold gear hood and neck warmer

-Convertible gloves

- SmartWool Socks

Since there was no longer any sign of precipitation in the forecast, I left my visor behind. I did in fact bring a pack of hand warmers which I have never used before.

I was down in the lobby and on the race bus by 6:00 am.  I ended up sitting with a gal from Long Island that had done this race before many of times so we had a good chat and hung out with each other when we got to Central Park.

The bus dropped us off right outside race security in Central Park. Neither of us had bags to check so we were planning on going right through. It is important to note that my new friend (Charlotte), had the clear race gear bag with her but she was NOT planning on checking it. She just had snacks and extra gloves and what not and was just going to toss it right before the start. However, she was NOT allowed through security with that bag. She had to take all her things out and toss the bag before we went through. Yes, you do have to go through metal detectors and you will have to remove your phones and watches.


We had much time before we had to be in the corrals so we found the port o potties and walked around Central Park. 

 Central Park was amazingly beautiful when the sun was coming up. All I kept thinking was how lucky we were to be able to run in this amazing city!  It was soon time for my new friend, Charlotte to go to her corral, but I still had some time left so I did a few passes in the park to warm up.



 I have to tell you that people all around me looked like they were freezing but I was perfectly fine. I got my race day wardrobe just right. However, I did put my hand warmers inside my gloves. I was skeptical at first but then after a few minutes they really started to heat up.


While I was in Central Park, I met a new friend, Reggie. Reggie is a Good Citizen dog that was there for the race (he and several other dogs). I guess the dogs were there to comfort and relax runners. He even had his own NYC Half credentials around his neck. Reggie is  an 11 year old Yellow Lab just like Baylee and he looked REALLY good!  Reggie and his owner wished me the best of luck and then soon I was off into my corral.


Like I said, we started in Central Park but there was no huge starting line banner or arch or anything. I think it was just a box that said start. (I got this pic from the NYRR website but I don't even remember those signs being that big).

I had studied this map and knew what to expect as far as the course went. However, even though I knew it would be hilly, I did not know exactly where the hills would be. 

The first mile started off on an uphill. I felt like I was being conservative the first mile or so. I will tell you that it was very crowded and I found myself just keeping pace with the runners in front of me.  I felt I was running at a comfortable pace, but certainly not pushing it. I wanted to get around people but I always feel bad being that person that passes someone when the course is already so crowded so I just held back and tried to squeeze around when the course opened up a bit.  

The crowd support in Central Park is amazing. SO many people are out and SO many dogs are there. I think the official dog of NYC is a Goldendoodle. I saw so many of them(and yes, I was distracted by oohing and awwing over the dogs. At one point I saw a group of yellow Labradors rolling in the snow in Central Park. It was SOOO Cute!).

All of Central park is rolling hills but the largest hill was around mile 4. It's not just one big hill, but one that keeps going and curving, and  going again.  It was tough, but I tackled those hills like a champ and didn't have to walk at all. After that the spectators and course officials will tell you the hills are over. They are not. Well, maybe no more "hills" but all of Central Park is definitely on an incline (or at least where we ran).  

At this point I had taken my Nike Therma Fit Jacket off and tied it around my waist. It was a nice jacket and I wanted to hang on to it as long as I could. I still had my hand warmers in too, although I didn't really need them but I kind of wanted to see how long they would last. 

We exited Central park shortly after the 10K mark and right before then I tossed my hand warmers and my Jacket.  I actually tossed my jacket to some spectators instead of throwing it in a pile of snow along the road. It was a nice jacket and I hope someone else can get some use out of it. 

We were now entering Times Square! This is now where things could spread out a bit more because we had the entire road. I honestly don't even remember a lot about this part as it went so fast. 

(I like to "chunk" my mileage in my mind and mentally this was a great race to do that with. The first half is in Central Park and as soon as you leave the park and enter Times Square you know you're half way there!). The second part of the race is so much easier than the first. It's a mix of flat and a little down hill (until the very end).

We then turned towards the water and down the West side.  During this half of the race, there are bands playing and cheerleaders out. Again, there is just as much crowd support during these miles as there was in the park. We passed the ferry terminal and I thought it would be windy as we ran along the water but it wasn't (although I did read some other 2017 race recaps and those runners did mention that it was pretty windy. Perhaps the wind died down by the time I got there, IDK). We actually weren't as close to the water as I thought we would be. I never felt that I was too cold nor did I feel overdressed. I probably would have pulled my arm sleeves off but my watch was on so tight and I couldn't get them down. 

I hadn't been looking at my watch but I did slow down for a water stop at mile 9 and when I did, I saw the 2:15 pacer pass me.  It surprised the heck out of me that I was in front of the 2:15 pacer that entire time. By mile 10 I could tell I was starting to slow down but I gave my self a pep talk and said you can NOT have this be your slowest mile. Let's pick it up. So I tried. I knew I wasn't that far behind the pacer.

The last mile goes through the battery tunnel, which is about a half mile or so. Inside the tunnel was probably the windiest part of the race but by that time it felt so good.  The tunnel ends with an incline (of course) and then it's a dash around the corner to the finish. 


I always like to sprint on in to the finish line but today I had this couple blocking me. I thought about just staying behind again, but I thought NO. I want to run in, so I saw a small space between them and squeezed right into the finish. 
You can see me "squeezing" through while trying to stop my Garmin!

My Garmin had calculated the course long, so I didn't know what my "official" time was.  My friend Heather was sending me encouraging texts so I figured she was tracking me. I had to ask her what my official time was. When she said 2:21, I have to say I was pretty excited.  It's not a PR but it is worth being excited about because I am now showing progress. My first half since my injury was Wine n Dine and I got my time to 2:25, and now this half is 2:21. It gives me hope that it is really possible that I can get my half marathon time down to where it once was before all the IT band trouble started.  I think this race gave me confidence again.

On the results page it did say net time of 2:21 and AG time of 2:18. I wonder what AG time is? I am assuming it means Age Group time. Does that mean the average time for people in my age group was 2:18?  


Once I crossed the finish line, I had to walk quite a ways to get the goody bag with food and Gatorade in it. I didn't bring my own water bottle so I was SO thirsty!  Scott said he would meet me at the finish line but I didn't know how close he would actually be able to get and I had to walk so far down the finish line chute that I didn't even know where I was anymore. I called him to tell him that I would just meet him at the hotel since I knew it was only a short walk (a perk of staying at the Millenium Hilton). Turns out, we were in the same area so we got to walk back to the hotel together. 



There was a beverage ticket on my bib and I heard there may have been a massage tent but I really don't know about any post race festivities because by that time I had forgotten about any of that stuff and just wanted to see Scott and tell him about my race.  For me, this was a great race and I couldn't help but smile all the way back to our hotel!

Even though Central Park was hilly, I was prepared and it didn't bother me. In fact, looking back over my Garmin, I believe I did better the first half of the race than I did the second half which is odd for this race because most people end with negative splits.  I will say though (even though I love Disney races), the NYC Half race course is probably my favorite so far!  In the beginning of this endeavour, I proclaimed the NYC Half a once and done race. But I've learned to never say never because this is one race that I would happily run again. I just don't know if the stars would all align again for as great of a  training cycle (weather wise and injury frees) and perfect race day conditions.


I'll end this post by sharing a pic of my favorite race sign from race day. My parents made the sign and even put together that puzzle. It says Meranda, you started in a little town and finished in the Big Apple. Congratulations on the NY 1/2.  Love Mom, Dad, Baylee & Belle.

Thanks for reading! -M

Linking up with TOTR.

51 comments:

  1. Congrats on running a strong race! You're making a great post injury comeback and I have no doubt that you'll continue to see progress. Keep it up!

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  2. What a great recap! I felt like I was running it with you. I've never run in NYC--this would be a race I'd like to do.

    I love that sign your parents made for you!

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    1. I hope you get to run it. You would do awesome!

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  3. That was a fun recap to read! I'd love to run a race in NY sometime. Cute photo of you stopping your watch towards the finish.

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  4. Thanks for the recap. I definitely plan to run this race. I am running the Shape half on April 30 but it is only in Central Park and two loops of those Hills...yikes!

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    1. That. shape half sounds fun! I can't wait to hear about it!

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  5. What an amazing race and great way to experience New York running! Congrats on the solid time too!

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  6. Yay, it sounds like you had a great race and were dressed perfectly for the weather! Thanks for sharing all the details. This is one I'm considering for the future, and it's good to know about the travel provider option.

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    1. Yes, the travel provider is a great option for first timers!

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  7. Love everything about this post! Train smart & you'll definitely get back there . . . maybe even surpass it, I'll bet!

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  8. Awww congrats! I'm so happy this went so well for you. NYC is an amazing place to run and race. Love that you found Reggie and noticed all the dogs. I'd be the same way.

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  9. I'm glad you could finish the training and race injury free. It's such a blessing to have such a great race cycle.

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    1. I'm so glad the winter weather was very mild and allowed me to get all my runs in!

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  10. Congrats on finishing the marathon and your progression, too! I wouldn't have known what to wear, but you nailed it. Great recap!

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    1. I was so worried about what to wear but it definitely all turned out well!

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  11. Congratulations!! This sounds like a great race! Did you get warm at all while running? it sounds like it was hot! I remember the hand warmers from my job in college! They last a few hours, then they just slowly lose the heat.

    I am so proud of you for sprinting to the finish, even with the couple blocking you! This was your race too, and I'm glad you didn't let them stand on your way!

    That picture of you with the dog!! Love it!! I greet dogs before I greet humans, so that would have been me too!

    Congratulations again! You are awesome!!
    HOw many people were in the race? Did you see anybody that you knew? Did you get hungry waiting for the race to star?

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    1. I was actually surprised at how warm those hand warmers were and how long they lasted. They were still hot when I tossed them.
      YES! This was the first time I was actually hungry before a race started. I ended up eating a full GU Right before the start.

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    2. Oh, I think there was around 20,000 Runners

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  12. Great recap, I felt like I was there watching you! Plus you got some great race pictures - you look so happy in them! Love that they had comfort dogs out there, and especially one who reminded you of your sweet Baylee! Congratulations on having such a wonderful race!

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  13. I love all the dogs! I'd be distracted by the dogs too. I was at a sporting game Saturday and there was a 15-week old golden retriever puppy. She was a great distraction.

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    1. Oh I can see where she/he would be a distraction!

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  14. That's such a sweet sign. Congratulations on your half! I'm starting to think I need to add this race to my bucket list, it must have been so fun to have all the spectators and the dogs out playing!

    Glad to see that you're continuing to progress since your injury. I've never seen an AG time either, hmmm...

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    1. It was a great race. I hope you do put it on your list!

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  15. Ahhh - you look so happy in your race pics!!!
    Of course you'd find a yellow lab before the race - PUPPY POWER given to you - even from a old baby like that one;)
    I cant even imagine running through time Square or Central Park... or going through a medal detector. #crazytimes
    Great job! & adorable poster from your squad. So sweet!!

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    1. I can honestly say I was happy the entire race, even during the hills!

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  16. Oh my goodness- that sign from your parents! Congrats on the race! How weird the net time and Ag time is off by so much. I'd say the 2:18 is your finish time then girl. EVEN BETTER! You're coming back strong :)

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    1. This is the first time I've seen that AG time. Not sure what that means.

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  17. Awwwww I am so glad you enjoyed the race so much and had a fun time! Scott is not husband of the year for getting you such an awesome present, right!? I bet it was so fun to see the yellow labs in the park. That is just perfect for you. I didn't realize you would get to run through Times Square! I am not curious as to where you ran in Central Park. I agree, it is hillier. Hillier than my hood! Congrats, Meranda!

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    1. I told him that besides Baylee, this was the best gift! He also got me the running tights, shoes, headband, and NYC shoe charm. He is always so proud of the gifts that I get so much use out of!

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  18. Just like you I absolutely would have gotten a picture with Reggie! :) I love dogs. Congrats on a great race and recap. I love all your city pictures - so cool! Someday, maybe I'll get to new york - but huge crowds of people make me anxious!

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    1. There were so many dogs spectating along this course!

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  19. Sounds like a great race! You ran strong and did great! So glad you had a good training cycle and no injuries. That sign is great!

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  20. Great job on a strong race.
    I, like you, would have been checking out all the pups too.
    I chuckled at the Golden Doodle comment

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    1. There were SO many. One lady was carrying her full grown golden doodle across the park. She was trying to get him across quickly while the runners were out.

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  21. WOW!!!! Congrats on a great race!It sounds like everything went as perfect as it could have. I'd love to do this race ;-) I love the sign your parents made!

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    1. Thanks Kim! It may be my favorite race to date"

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  22. This sounds like a great race! Congrats on an injury free one! :) I love the therapy dogs at the beginning as well as hand warmers...those are life savers for sure! I think it's so cool you got to run through Central Park and Times Square! I LOVE the poster from your parents, and they included Baylee! SO sweet!

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    1. Thanks Karen. I really enjoyed the race and am glad my family shows so much support.

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  23. WHOOHOO! congrats on a fun race. Your parent's sign is adorable. <3

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  24. Congrats!!! You did great, and so awesome you're seeing signs of improvement! It sounds like a really great race. I love NYC so think I'd love it too. PS: my dog is also a Canine Good Citizen! It's a certification from AKC.

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  25. Yay! So glad you chose the right clothes and had a great race. I experienced a strong headwind right BEFORE we turned onto the highway, but not on the highway. Maybe I'll meet you there next time. ;-)

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  26. Love this! Oh NYC headwind, I remember it well!

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  27. I love it! great recap! I absolutely LOVE NYC and would love to do this half or even the full one day. Last year I ran the Brooklyn RnR half so I'm getting closer ;) (I live in the Netherlands and can only do one US race a year, if that... this year the hubs got into Chicago, so that's priority). I am really happy for you that you had a good race time AND you are seeing progress. I so know how that feels, to come back from injury/overtraining/whatever and finally start to see results. I am hoping that with this year "off" so much racing that next year I will seem some improvements (or a bit more improvement in any case).

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  28. Reading your recap brought back memories of when I ran in 2013. I loved that race! Your parents' sign was the best. Great job!

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Fairytales and Fitness is a personal blog authored and edited by us, Meranda and Lacey. The thoughts expressed here represent only our own and are not meant to be taken as professional advice. Please note that our thoughts and opinions change from time to time. We consider this a necessary consequence of having an open mind in an ever changing society. Any thoughts and opinions expressed within our out-of-date posts may not be the same, nor even similar, to those we may express today.