Another weekend, another half marathon.
I ran this race last year (when it was called the Go Hard or Go Home Half Marathon), and I was satisfied with my time then. Of course, that was before I realized that A. 2018 would be a year of such stunning mediocrity, and B. I’ve been running similar times since 2016. I will concede that it felt a lot harder back then, but it doesn’t do me much good to not have it feel super hard if I can’t run any faster.
The notion of multiple loops of Prospect Park is not one I relish, especially when it includes climbing Zoo Hill four times. But I needed a half marathon, and this was all that was available to me, so I decided that since it wasn’t like I’d be racing it, it should be fine.
Thank goodness the frigid temperatures departed in time for the race. I would run in any condition, because I don’t DNS for weather, but it’s far more pleasant to be able to feel my extremities.
Same color as the magic shoes. But not the magic shoes. Honestly, I’m kind of afraid to wear those now, because I don’t want to kill the magic, and that’s all I know how to do these days. I’m poisonous.
I ran to the start, which was a bit short of two miles away, because that was the most practical option. (It also meant I’d end up with nearly 17 miles for the day, which made sense last year since I was running a spring marathon, but since I wasn’t good enough for Boston 2019, makes no sense this year. Oh well.) My legs felt dead. Joy. I had wanted to attempt to run a 7:15 pace on my watch, because it was 7:25 at the Fred Lebow Half and 7:20 at the Icebreaker Half, but that idea was ground to dust pretty fast.
The shirt is the same as last year (as in, still has the “old” race name). It’s one of those soft cotton shirts that fits really well, and I kind of love it, so I took a blue one since I already have a red one from last year.
It’s kind of weird to run in such temperatures. I almost feel like I’m both too hot and too cold.
We started out running down the hill on Center Drive toward East Drive, then making the turn to climb up Zoo Hill. I started at the front, two women passed me within the first two minutes, and I decided I was not going to chase them because I just felt slow and fat and sloggy and it didn’t seem worth the trouble. (Good thing, too — both of them ran more than two minutes faster than my PR. Given how I can’t even touch that…)
We cut through Center Drive once to run one shorter northern loop before running three full loops, each of which do include a nice sloping downhill from the west side of Center Drive to the lake. But other than that, it felt like I was climbing perpetual mountains. You’d never know that I run in this park all the time, and should know how to do it to some degree. I seem to have lost any aptitude for hills I may have had. Which doesn’t bode very well for Jerusalem.
Patty snapped this photo at some point. It makes me cringe — my arm carriage is too high, and my posterior pelvic tilt is ridiculous. I look like I’m plodding. Which, come to think of it, is remarkably what I felt like I was doing.
Around the halfway point, I calculated that so long as I kept my pace at 7:30 from there on, I should be able to at least beat last year’s time. Which isn’t always a huge deal, but today it was. Oh, it was. And of course the uphills stole far more time than the downhill allowed me to recoup.
Last year, my watch measured 13.11 miles. I doubted I’d be that close again, and I was right. Not by a huge amount — just .05 mile — but it still meant that I had to book it when I finally saw the finish line clock.
13.16 miles in 1:37:21, 7:24/mi (vs. last year’s 13.11 miles in 1:37:27, 7:26/mi).
The splits are kind of ugly. They’re not any less erratic than last week, when I was doing intervals.
I really should have booked it just a tiny bit more, because my official finish time was 1:37:18, 7:26/mi. Six seconds faster than last year, but one second slower than last week. ONE. SECOND. Same placement, though… 20/153 OA, 3/59 F, and 2/14 F30-39. (Competition was rather sparse. The next female came in at 1:44.)
See the medal Michael is holding, with the green ribbon? I got one of those initially, but I traded it for the red/white/blue one, because I already have a green one from last year. I don’t love it when medals and race swag don’t have the year on them so that they can be used annually.
Notice that my bib number is not particularly aesthetically pleasing. What sadness.
The actual sadness is that the end of 2018 does not seem to have brought an end to my mediocrity. It still doesn’t matter whether I try to run fast or if I don’t: the results are always the same. How I expect to break 1:40 in Jerusalem is a mystery.
I almost feel like I should quit racing, since it’s just making me feel like shit about myself. Except that there are so very many reasons why I feel like shit about myself anyway, I hardly think removing this one would make much of a difference.