NYC Half Marathon 2018

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.


Jerusalem Half Marathon 2018

For the second year in a row, I traveled to Jerusalem for a race while hurting. Last year, I dropped down from the 10K to the 5K in deference to my ankle, and it miraculously didn’t hurt at all during the race. This year, I didn’t see any point in dropping down because it hurts no matter what, so I decided to try a 6/:30 run/walk strategy to help offload some of the pounding. I tested it out last week to see whether it was even possible for me to reach my desired pace that way, and with some race day adrenaline, it looked like it might be.

Because for the first time ever, I actually had a time goal for the Jerusalem Half — and that had nothing to do with my plan to use it as an indicator for Boston. It was because in 2016, the course measured short on my watch, and I came tantalizingly close to running sub-1:40.

Then my knees got messed up beyond all reason. And it turned out to be a very windy day. Still, I was running the Jerusalem Half Marathon again, finally, so I could at least be grateful for that.  Or try to be, if I was awake enough.  Jet lag has been hitting me something fierce, and I gave up around 1:30 AM and took half an Ativan because I was getting so stressed out about the sleep deprivation.  Which bizarrely made me more anxious, not less, so I wound up with something like three hours of total sleep.

Side note: this is also the second consecutive year that I lugged along my wetsuit (and neoprene vest and swimsuit and hood and gloves) in the hope of diving in Tel Aviv.  I think I’m just going to give up on that ever happening, as it seems Mother Nature just likes to play with my emotions.  Sure, we can dive tomorrow!  And then, at 4 PM, oh, sorry, it doesn’t look like we’ll be able to go out tomorrow after all.  This happened two days in a row.  But, fine, whatever.

One thing about races in Jerusalem is that I can have my pre-race Holy bagel without needing to toast it first.  I mean, just look at this delicious chewy goodness!


Anyway, moving on.  The hotel I always stay in was sold out, so I wound up in a studio apartment that is equally conveniently located to the start, and possibly more conveniently located in terms of everything else, but I really miss having access to a pool.  I hate it when I can’t be active in some way every day.  (Although, I do have to say… I didn’t run here before race day, but my glutes were so sore from just walking around, and I did walk a lot.  These hills are no joke.)

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That weather … it was five or six degrees cooler, at least.  And windy.  So windy.  I figured I’d give it my best shot, and if it didn’t happen, it didn’t happen.  Can’t do much else about that, right?


within the first couple of miles, I think

I started near the 1:40 pacer, but I knew I wouldn’t be with him the whole time anyway if I was doing that run/walk thing.  In a way, it made it mentally easier, because at any given time, I would never have more than another six minutes to run.  But on the other hand, I don’t like breaking things up like that.  I wasn’t running the running portions so fast that I necessarily felt like I needed the rest, and putting on the brakes on a steep downhill hurts more than just running.  (I jogged slowly for those instead of walking.)


The funniest part was how people around me showered me with encouragement every time I walked.  I mean, it was sweet, I guess, but then they looked a little baffled once I started running again, because it wasn’t exactly like I was doing a death shuffle that warranted walking.  I’m doing this on purpose, okay?!


All that really stood out in my memory re: the half marathon course was that there was an unpleasant hill somewhere around mile 5, and a truly hideous monster around mile 12.  And, indeed, those were my two slowest miles.  The latter hill was even worse than I remembered.  That part did feel like a death march.  It didn’t help that I had realized after the first 10K or so that barring a massive leap in the last couple of miles, my watch was going to measure the course way long.  There was no way I was going to finish under 1:40 unless I ran the last mile and a half at mile pace (which would maybe give me a chance).  I can’t even do that in a mile race, because I suck at the mile.


As is to be expected of any truly cruel course, the race ends on an incline.  I had already missed my sub-1:40; and as predicted, the course was measuring long, even longer than I thought, and I saw that there was no way in hell I’d even get a course PR.  So I just didn’t bother with a finishing kick.  I did skip the last walking break because it seemed stupid when I was just a couple of minutes from the finish, but I was basically jogging at that point.

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La-de-da, and all that.


Yeah… my lap pace for that finishing stretch is generally 6:xx, if not 5:xx.  Not today!

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I thought I slowed down an awful lot after the first few miles, but in retrospect, I don’t think I did — it’s a pretty accurate reflection of the course topography.  And not only did my Garmin measure long so that my pace was faster than 2016, my GAP per Strava was much faster too.

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That’s only three seconds slower than my HM PR pace.  Which was on a flat course.  I think that’s supposed to mean I could PR a HM right now, but that is so not the case, it’s almost funny.


So my Garmin says I ran 13.37 miles in 1:42:37, 7:40/mi.  And then come the official results…

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Yeah, see, when I took that screenshot, I was third in my category (women 20-34, I think, for whatever reason).  I have since been dropped down to fourth.  Which I don’t understand at all, because the first two women in my AG were 1-2 OA females, which should mean they’re not eligible for AG awards.  Anyway.  Officially, I ran 13.1 miles in 1:42:35, 7:50/mi.  At present, I supposedly placed 308/4209 OA, 12/1099 F, and 4/254 F20-34.  I hope that last one changes.  Because they still owe me my award from last year, which I am obviously never going to see, so I should get one this year instead!


As for using this as a predictor for Boston… a flat-out McMillan equivalent is 3:35 and change.  Which obviously won’t do.  Once I’m a little less jet-lagged, I have to do elevation profile comparisons to see what it actually equates to, but I didn’t really get to run this as an indicator the way I wanted, so I’m not sure it tells me anything.

Except that I think, if I had to, I could 6/:30 Boston at this pace.  Which would at least get me a PR.  Not ideal, but then, nothing ever is.  Such as the way my knee is currently killing me.  And that’s the good one!  Apparently, they’ve switched places.  The left one, which I first injured in 2014, hurts a little when I run and pretty much goes back to normal after that.  The right one, from which the December cortisone has evidently worn off, hurts like a bitch while I run and then even more afterwards.

But I still managed to limp a couple of miles for my post-Israeli-race ice cream.  Because tradition.


PPTC Cherry Tree 10 Miler & Relay 2018

It took three registrations culminating in two DNS and one weather-related cancellation, but I finally got to run this race!

Which is not to say it was all fun and games, because it hurt.  I registered on Sunday night; online registration closed on Monday night.  Monday morning, my knee(s) went insane.  If something hurts enough for me to not get out of bed in the morning for some sort of workout… it’s bad.

Given that I have three and a half years of experience in dealing with this (in my left knee, at least), I managed to get it to calm down after a couple of days.  On Thursday, I ran my NYRR Virtual for the Kids 5Krace” (apparently I can only do NYRR virtual races now; I’m so glad I paid for a membership), and it felt okay.  So I decided to give the race a shot.

Except that I ran that virtual race on a track, which is flat; Prospect Park is not flat.  And remember how the Go Hard or Go Home Half destroyed my knees?  This course is basically the same.  Minus half a loop.

My one and only goal here was to run it.  I didn’t care about my pace at all.  But we know how that always works out … I end up running faster than I intend to run unless I’m with someone and focus on that instead.  I was going to run with Michael, but he couldn’t make it at the last minute, so I was on my own.

Then I started to think that maybe it would hurt less to run faster, because a higher turnover is usually better when it comes to this kind of thing.  Who knows?

Jimmy was running the relay, so he was spectating the start.  This was when my knee(s) still felt okay.

It had snowed the previous night, and they did a good job of clearing the main road, plus it was warm enough for everything to start melting.  Which meant that we were being bombarded by little blobs of snow falling off the trees.  And on the first loop, there was a dicey patch at the top of the hill.  It wasn’t long after that my knee(s) started to bark.

Second time up the hill — I guess, because it’s not crowded enough to be the first loop, and I took my gloves off about halfway through the race, which would be not long after this photo was taken.  I do not look thrilled.  I imagine I looked even less thrilled when I turned my wrist to look at my watch a couple of minutes later and a snowball plopped off a tree onto my sleeve right next to my watch.  At least it missed!

But when I spotted Elise a couple of miles later, I looked very happy indeed.

Because in a laugh or cry situation, you laugh.  I have a lot of practice in running with this knee being angry (“it’s fine to run as long as you can stand the pain,” the doctor said… in 2014), and I can do it without really altering my gait, but it hurts, dammit.  And it’s hard to run very fast when you hurt.  So I was glad that I didn’t have any particular time goal.

That actually looks pretty normal for the course.  The GAP on Strava shows that the splits are pretty even, so… yay?

Garmin says 1:18:33 for 10.08 miles, 7:47/mi.  I mean, it’s nice that I can run that pace even if I’m in pain, but it would be even nicer to not be in pain.

Officially, 10 miles in 1:18:29, 7:51/mi; 185/734 OA, 43/356 F, 22/143 F30-39.  And my laps were basically all the same pace, so I was consistent if nothing else!  Actually, part of the reason I didn’t care about my pace was because I looked up previous years’ results and saw that I couldn’t place anyway, not unless I really worked for it, and I absolutely didn’t want to do that.  Turns out that I actually could have placed third in my AG… but I am really not that upset that I didn’t.


I’m glad I finally got to run Cherry Tree, though.  I really don’t think I’d be in a lesser degree of pain right now if I hadn’t, because the bike hurts too, and I’m not about to sit around and vegetate forever.  I did manage to run three miles home afterward, so it’s definitely not as bad as it could be.

The problem is that Jerusalem is in a couple of weeks, and I was going to use that as my indicator for Boston.  Jerusalem is very, very hilly.

Oh dear.

Go Hard or Go Home Half Marathon 2018

Since I missed the Gridiron 4M race last year, my PR streak there was broken, and I didn’t feel like I had to run it.  Given my indecisiveness, thus ensued several weeks of fretting over whether to register for that race, or for the Go Hard or Go Home Half Marathon in Prospect Park.

In the end, my recent penchant for last-minute registration made the decision for me: the Gridiron 4M was sold out by the Thursday prior to race day, which is when I registered for the half marathon.

Having just gotten (finally) my Descent Mk1, I took a little impromptu dive trip to the Dominican Republic last week.  It is much, much warmer there than it is in New York.  Combine the swift climate changes with the germ tube that is an airplane and by Friday morning, I felt the beginnings of a cold.  All the Zicam in the world did not help my poor sore throat, so I was a bit concerned about breathing in the nasty weather.  It wasn’t actually that cold — it just felt worse than it was because it was so damp and ugly.  (In the end, my throat felt okay during the race.  Later that night… not so much.)

The new watch decided to have trouble picking up a signal when I finally left the house, so I just gave up and ran a quarter mile using the internal accelerometer before GPS kicked in.  1.65 miles later (or whatever), I got to the start, picked up my bib and T-shirt, and then twiddled my thumbs for a bit because even with all my dallying, there was still time to kill.  I found Chris there, too — I hadn’t realized he was doing it.  (But then, why would I… I didn’t know I was doing it until a couple of days earlier.)

I really didn’t have a specific time goal in mind — I figured I’d probably end up in the low 1:40s, since that seems to be what happens when I am left to my own devices (see: the Boca Half), but I floated the idea of running what will be my marathon pace in Boston before realizing I had absolutely no idea what that was.  Then the Trimara race guys decided for me that I’d be winning an award, so I had to ensure that I finished in at least the top six.  No pressure, or anything.

The course was a bit of a doozy.  Essentially, it was the Prospect Park 10K… plus another two loops.  For those of you who are counting at home, that means we got to climb up Zoo Hill four times.

Oh boy.  It is to my advantage that this is my home park and I know how to run it, but let me tell you… it is not fun.

I started out a little fast, which I expected, since it was downhill.  The woman whom I pointed out to Chris as one who would beat me took off (spoiler: she placed third overall, so yeah, she beat me), and a few minutes later, another woman passed me.  We hadn’t yet reached the hill, and I wasn’t going to start fighting for anything just yet — I was still in the top six, after all, wasn’t I?  But it looked like I needed to keep my pace around 7:30 to stay positioned where I was, so I decided that would be my goal.

Center Drive on the first short loop

We completed the short northern loop, and then when I was approaching the hill for the second time, another woman passed me.  Which is a bit concerning, but okay, not the end of the world.  Though once the hill was behind me and I was passed by someone else (I wasn’t sure it was a woman, it’s hard to tell from behind, so I just decided to assume it was)… well, this is getting a little close for comfort.  We played chicken for a couple of miles, and then we reached the hill again.  I let them go ahead of me, because multiple seasons of Al Goldstein races have taught me that this is the wise thing to do.

And I was right.  I passed both of them after that, and never saw them again during the race.

Doing multiple loops of the same course is a bit mind-numbing.  And my poor beleaguered knees did not appreciate the hills one single bit; they were screaming for mercy, but they often do that, so I chose to ignore them.  What I did like was that I got to see lots of people I knew running in the opposite direction — a perk of racing on your home turf.  That last loop, though… I was pretty much done.  The fourth time up the hill was the only time my pace fell into 7:40s.  Maybe that wouldn’t have happened if I had been actively chasing someone down!

I was so, so, so glad to make the turn into Center Drive toward the finish line.  Well, I would have been even more glad if that didn’t involve yet another uphill, because this was the reverse of the lovely descent on which we started.  That kind of hurt.

Finish Line!

But I managed to cross the finish line as the third place female, which was nice.  It wasn’t even close — first place was seventeen minutes ahead of me, second place was eight minutes ahead of me… and then the next few women clustered in pretty close behind me.

Garmin recorded 13.11 in 1:37:27, 7:26/mi, which is odd because it was lagging far behind the mile markers for a while there!  I’m glad it caught up, though, so now my new watch has a “fastest half” record.  Because that is so important, and all.

Officially, 13.1 miles in 1:37:24, 7:26/mi.  21/160, 3/77 F, and I would have been first in my AG anyway, even if both of those women had passed me.  (This is a little funny to me because I ran 1:42:52 at the Boca Half, and 1:42:51 in Tel Aviv in 2015; and I ran 1:37:25 at the MORE Half in 2016.  Both of those were PRs at the time.  I am obviously very easily amused.)

Chris won an AG award too, so we did a nice job of representing PPTC in PP!

And then the homeward plod began.  Along with a freezing rain.  That was super fun!

You know what’s also fun?  Feeling like I’ve been run over by many trucks.  I think I’m allergic to this part of the world, or something.

Harry’s Handicap 2018

It’s been two years since I’ve been able to run Harry’s Handicap, and longer still since I’ve been able to run it at a degree of effort that would make me feel like I could call it a race (coming back from a calcaneal stress fracture in 2016, running on a bum ankle in 2015).  Thanks to a nice bout of torticollis to close out 2017, I didn’t get to do that this year either; but I was able to run it, so I’m not going to complain.

Even though it was insanely cold outside.  With real feel temperatures in the negative double digits.  Hand warmers inside my mittens, two pairs of socks, a base layer, a fleece-lined hoodie, a long-sleeved PPTC shirt, and a jacket, plus a hat with a built-in face mask, and sunglasses because it was really bright out…

Yeah, I kind of overdid it.  And my nose did need to be covered, but it couldn’t be, because then the sunglasses fogged up and I couldn’t see a damn thing.

2.3 miles later, I arrived at KoC and bumped into Andy, who told me Jimmy had my bib (check out the old-school Harry’s bib, which we sadly had to return)…

…and then he gave me his car keys because I had arrived so early and my handicap didn’t go off until 10:36.  (What?)  So I sat in there for a while, which at least got me out of the wind — I was overdressed for running, not for standing around!  As was evidenced by how cold I felt during the three minutes that elapsed between my arrival at the “start line” and my handicap at 10:36.

Whereupon I discovered that this handicap consisted of … me.

Jimmy and Sam are complaining that I got to start ahead of them.  But considering that I couldn’t move my neck two days ago, I changed my handicap to give myself an extra minute, which I thought wouldn’t be enough.  It’s a good thing I don’t really think of this as something I ought to run at all-out race effort, because it’s really hard to do that when the starting gun is Eric saying, “Okay, you can go,” after which I just head off on my own.

In the freezing cold.

The first half-mile wasn’t too bad, because it’s downhill, but there were some dicey-looking spots where the ground appeared a bit slick for my liking; it was hard to tell the difference between snowy/icy patches and blacktop stained with salt, so I was trying to be conscious of that.  And then I decided I absolutely did not care about my pace at all, and stopped looking at my watch altogether.

I did catch up to some people from earlier handicaps, but it’s not like I way underestimated myself and dominated the field.  My neck felt a lot better than it did over the weekend, so that was good; I don’t want to think about what would have happened had it felt like it did on Friday.  I probably would have had to stay home.

And then, just before the finish line, we had a little repeat of 2016, when Michael sneaked up behind me and I felt compelled to pass him back.  Except this time I was the one doing the sneaking.

I didn’t get a PR because of this like I did two years ago, but I ran a course PR anyway.

3.36 miles in 24:25.  The loop is actually 3.35 miles.  So 7:18/mi pace, I guess.

Except that for some reason, on the official results, it says 24:41.  I have no idea how this huge discrepancy happened, but I don’t have the energy to investigate it and find out why, so… whatever.  (It’s pretty close to what I predicted prior to changing it… only seven seconds off.  The weird number is because I was giving myself a finish time that would net me a one-second course PR.)  Ninth across the finish line, 13/44 if sorted by actual finish time.

And it was so cold that the phone in my jacket pocket, absent my body heat, went from 89% to 57% battery power during the race; and when I tried opening the camera to take a photo, it promptly went down to 10%.  Nice.

This also counted as my NYRR Virtual Resolution Run.  I’m doing only that one because it’s free unless you’re doing it to gain entry into next year’s Brooklyn Half, and I am not about to pay $120 to gain entry into a race that we all know will be on a Saturday again and I won’t be able to run it.  Not that I’m bitter, or anything.

Coney Island Polar Bear Plunge 2018

A few weeks ago, when it was still unseasonably warm, I brilliantly decided that I was going to do the Polar Bear Plunge.

It is common knowledge that I am a big fat baby about the cold.  I cannot handle cold.  This is the person who wears a 7mm wetsuit in the Caribbean.  In August.  And the same person who was so cold in said 7mm in Key Largo last February that she added a 3mm shorty over it, and was still cold.

And then it suddenly became stupidly, unseasonably cold.  Except that I had mentally prepared myself to do this dumb thing this year, and I just wanted to get it over with, so I decided to make my peace with dying of a heart attack brought on by the shock of the freezing cold water.  (Actually, it was above freezing; because it had been so warm until a couple of weeks ago, the water wasn’t as cold as it’s been in some prior years.  It was a balmy 37°.  Warmer than the air temperature!)

I wore my Garmin so that I could see my HR spike, but it actually didn’t really get all that high.

I ran to the water, then got stuck in the little logjam, and then ran in.  But I’m getting ahead of myself here, and that’s ruining the pictorial, so backing up…

Andy was my designated driver/sherpa/photographer, AKA jack of all trades, because he excels at all three roles!  (I cannot say thank you enough for that.)  We got there with not much time to spare, since Harry’s Handicap was the same morning, and I got in the registration line while he went back to the car to get the bags.

I got my wristband, which told me that I was plunging at 1:05 PM, so I had less than ten minutes to take off my warm layers and get ready to freeze!  At least I got to do that inside.  In the bathrooms that I’m pretty sure are unheated (or not heated well at all), but at least it wasn’t outside in the cold wind.

And here we go!  I repurposed an old swimsuit (that I really ought to have thrown out already since I never wear it anymore because it’s lost so much elasticity) into a PPTC suit.  I just decided to do this last night, and the only white tape I could find that would stick at all was the protective cover roll from when I tried McConnell taping on my knee… and to which I am apparently allergic.  So this was as good a use for it as any.  I do wish I’d positioned the letters a bit higher, though.

And then I realized it was already 1:05, and I needed to go.

So I did.  I’m not sure I even realized how cold it was at that point… until I got to the little logjam before the water.  Lots of body heat all around, but I prefer movement.

We probably only stood there for about thirty seconds, but it felt like a lot longer!  I can see the goosebumps on my arm.

Then we ran along the wet sand, which reminded me of how very much I hate wet sand, but I didn’t really get a chance to focus on that, because then we were in the water.

It was cold, obviously.  But I was expecting something so shockingly frigid that it would take my breath away, and that… didn’t happen.  There was kind of a mess of people in the water turning every which way, and I had no idea where I was supposed to go, so I just waded in about waist deep and crouched down to splash some water onto my upper body and called it good.

And then when I got out of the water, I realized that Andy and I had neglected to specify where we would find each other afterwards, so I ran three-quarters of the way up the beach to the boardwalk before I heard him calling behind me.  That was brutal.  The water itself didn’t feel like needles; the cold wind on my wet skin did.

So the towel was very welcome.  Even though my fingers froze.  Which made it really hard to change back into clothes because things like buttons, snaps and zippers require some degree of manual dexterity.  Never mind that the bathroom was a mob scene!  But I eventually managed.

I did do it.  I still can’t believe that, because the idea of me doing a polar bear plunge is so hilariously preposterous — hence why I am basically laughing in all of these pictures, and I’m cold just looking at them now.

But I kind of loved it.

2017: Good Riddance

It’s been a while since I did an annual running recap, since I obviously skipped it last year.  And I really don’t feel like this year has much to say for itself, either.  There were some PRs, sure:

Mile: 6:11 -> 6:00
5K: 21:04 -> 20:30 -> 20:24
3.35 miles: 24:49
4 miles: 28:16 -> 28:04
5 miles: 34:55 -> 34:46
10K: 44:58 -> 44:45
15K: 1:13:12
10 miles: 1:13:41 -> 1:12:41
Half marathon: 1:34:56
Marathon: 3:29:40

But there were far, far more injuries.  Just about the only positive thing I can say for 2017 is that so far, it hasn’t include any stress fractures, which would make it the first calendar year since 2014 to carry that distinction.

But, you know.  There are still three days left.  And I live every second in terror of breaking, so…

I’m not even going to bother setting goals for 2018.  There is no point in someone like me doing that, since it just leads to disappointment (and it’s already not looking great, with my knee feeling like it does).  So while I would like to do some specific things, they’re just going to stay in the back of my mind and if they happen, they happen; if they don’t, they don’t.  I’m too old and tired to get all worked up about these things anymore.

The one thing that I absolutely, categorically need to do next year is run Boston.  Because if I break and have to DNS that, I will shatter into a million devastating little pieces and then have to qualify all over again.