Saturday, April 3, 2010

Half Marathon: Ready, Set, Go!

Today I ran my first race in a year and a half. It was the 13.1 NYC half marathon (I know that's redundant, but that's the race's name!).

I don't know when I will stop getting excited/nervous about a race. That time hasn't arrived yet and I've literally been dreaming about this race for the last two weeks. I worried about being ready - well trained, right gear, know where to go, fueled up and well rested. I wondered if friends were going to surprise me by coming out to cheer and I was anxious that I would be so sore afterward that I wouldn't be able to meet a friend for lunch.

Yesterday, in preparation, I readied my ride - my bicycle, which has been in winter storage and needed its tires inflated. Then, I set out my clothes, my iPod and shoes. I picked up my bib and D-tag and attached both as soon as I got home. I checked the course map to see where to park my bike and how long it would take to get there. And then I went to bed and stared at the back of my eyelids as I tried to sleep.

I kept fretting over the details, despite knowing I was as ready as I could be. It was during this wakeful time that I decided to add gloves to my  running outfit (sometimes there's a good side to insomnia). After a couple hours of wakefulness, I just had to reassure myself that, no matter what, I would finish and that it would be ok. Around 2:30 a.m., I rolled over onto my cat Emma, who responded by biting me, and fell asleep for a few hours.

Temp: 55-60, sunny
Terrain: Basically flat
Distance: 13.1 miles
What I Wore: Sunscreen (spf 70); Nike running hat; Nike ACG sleeveless dri-fit top; Nike shorts,  socks and wrist band; Asics gloves from the ING NYC marathon (not pictured); and my favorite Brooks running shoes. I started the race wearing an old sweatshirt that I didn't mind leaving behind when I got too hot around mile 2.
Did It Work: Yes! I probably didn't need the sweatshirt after the warm up bike ride, but I would have started the race unnecessarily cold and might not have done as well. Everything else was perfect and, thanks to liberal application of Body Glide, no chafing!
Wrap Up: Final time: 2:00:09 - 5 minutes ahead of my goal thanks to trying to motivate another runner at the end (funny how cheering on someone else actually helps push one's self, too). This is 1 of 2 half marathons that I plan to do this year. The second is in Toronto with my oldest friends and the boyfriend. I'm hoping to take another 5 minutes off my time, but, as always, my primary goals will be:
  • Finish
  • Don't get hurt
Until I recover enough for another run, happy trails! Oh, and if you're interested, here's the course map.