For some inexplicable reason, the Jerusalem Marathon was a week earlier than usual this year — which meant that it did not take place on the same weekend as the NYC Half. I haven’t done the latter race since 2015, when it was my “victory lap” after Tel Aviv. That time, I qualified by doing 4/6; I can no longer do that, since Brooklyn and Queens are now both on Saturdays, and one of the remaining four is the NYC Half, which I can’t get into without doing 4/6, and… this is what we call a classic catch-22.
Of course I entered the lottery. Of course I didn’t get in. So I just resigned myself to being disgruntled about never getting to do this, which was doubly upsetting since this year brought a new course that starts in Brooklyn! Which is as close as I’ll ever get to being able to do any NYRR race in my home borough, because apparently the sky would fall if one ever happened on a Sunday.
To cut a long story short: I registered for this the day before the Jerusalem Half, AKA, ten days prior to race day. (Thank you, Linda!)
Before I got rejected via the lottery, I had planned to run Jerusalem as an indicator for Boston, and NYC just for the experience. Obviously, thanks to my body’s ability to fall apart with startling regularity, I did not get to race Jerusalem the way I wanted to, and I wouldn’t be able to do that on this course either. That wasn’t so bad, I guess, because the old NYC Half course was fast and friendly… this one, not so much.
And my knees still hurt. And my ever-cranky post tib tendon has been throwing quite the temper tantrum. And my hip decided to start bugging me for no good reason whatsoever, which meant I had a very anxiety-ridden week fretting over a possible FNSF. I do not like this body.
This is me being thrilled to bits that I was able to just roll out of bed and walk to the start. And slightly less thrilled about how damn cold it was. I bought that jacket on Amazon for less than ten bucks; when I buy throwaway layers, I deliberately try to get things I don’t actually like so that I won’t feel sorry parting with them. But I was very, very sorry indeed to shed this layer, because it was so. so. cold.
So I dropped it in one of the Goodwill bins, and fished out a zip-up hoodie instead because I knew it would probably be cold and windy on the bridge, and I’d rather run in that than a down jacket with a furry hood.
You see how crazy the GPS went in Midtown? Yeah. It was a downhill start — this course is the type where you don’t necessarily bank time, but you just know the back half will probably be slower. I hit the first mile in just over seven minutes, which did seem a bit fast, but since I had no particular time goal in mind, I didn’t really care if I ran a huge positive split.
And then my watch said I ran the second mile in 6:30. That really didn’t seem right. It seemed to get back on track over the bridge, but by the time we got into Manhattan, I was about a quarter mile ahead. I dropped the hoodie near an aid station and decided not to worry about my pace too much… I wasn’t running for time, after all, so it’s not like it mattered. Anyway, I was a little distracted with focusing on my hip, which did not, and still does not, feel right, though I guess it’s probably not broken, because I would know about it by now if it was.
I did try to pay attention to the course, which isn’t something I usually do, but I really should make an effort to do it more often, because it can be really pleasant. Of course, that’s a lot easier when you aren’t devoting all of your energy to actually racing.
When I hit the 10K marker, I noted that I’d run pretty evenly until then, and calculated that if I maintained that pace, I’d be able to finish under 1:40. And then all GPS hell broke loose, and I had to rely solely on the course mile markers, because I proceeded to set all sorts of world records.
This is annoying since I had to delete the records from my watch to get rid of this preposterous nonsense. The only one that really bothers me is losing my record from the Go Hard or Go Home Half, but whatever.
When I looked at the course profile before the race, I thought that I’d struggle most with the last 5K — I’m not good on Central Park’s hills in general, never mind as the finish of a half marathon. But apparently, I had a harder time with the stretch from the FDR Drive and up Seventh Ave. to the park. (Not if you ask my watch, though. I flew there.)
I did see Henrik and Shan cheering when I ran through Times Square!
This was around mile 9, but my watch thought I had already run 11 miles. If only!
Once we actually got into Central Park, my GPS sorted itself out. So, yeah, I was two miles ahead, but the pace seemed commensurate with reality now. And it looked like if I kept it faster than 7:30, I’d be able to finish under 1:40. Which wasn’t a particular goal of mine for this race (would have appreciated it in Jerusalem, though), but if I was so close, I figured I should at least give it my best shot.
It feels like it’s been forever since I ran in Central Park. And because we came in from an entrance that meant we started running in a different spot from the standard four-mile course, I was really confused about where Cat Hill was, and didn’t figure it out until I actually saw the cat statue at the top. But Cat Hill isn’t my true nemesis… that would be the Three Sisters.
Those hurt. I seriously didn’t think I could do it, but I kept reminding myself that I once ran a half marathon PR solely in Central Park at a faster pace than 7:30, so I can do it. I mean, I wasn’t injured seven different ways to Sunday then, but, semantics.
By the time I reached the “800 meters to go” sign, I was pretty sure I had it. Couldn’t let up, though, because if I missed by a couple of seconds, I’d be very, very annoyed with myself, so I picked a woman in a bright pink top ahead of me and decided I had to beat her. And I did.
Doesn’t everyone run two miles extra in running a half marathon at their 5K PR pace? No? Just me? Okay, then! (It really wasn’t just me. A lot of people had their GPS go way screwy.)
FWIW. Which is, basically… nothing.
Officially, 1:39:16, 7:35/mi. 2299/21945 OA, 457/11070 F, and 111/2142 F30-34.
I’m not upset with my finish time; that wouldn’t make any sense, since I didn’t really have a specific time goal, and I’m glad that I was at least able to come in under 1:40. It’s just discouraging to me that I can’t do better because I hurt so much. I can’t really push myself to a true race effort level when I’m already in pain before I’ve even started. (We’re not even going to get into the condition I’m in after the fact.)
If this is my eternal status quo, I don’t see how I’m ever going to be able to run a PR again.