Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Nike Half 2:03:36 (I think)

Wow, I am really behind on blogs, mostly because I went home for a few days and ditched all tasks, including some running. For the five days I was home I think I ran a grand total of 14 miles, which might be a little generous. I did get some swimming in, not that I am a strong swimmer, nor was I doing it for exercise. It's freakin' hot in Florida, and even running in the a.m. is no protection from all things sticky and sweaty, so I jumped in the pool after most runs. I did get some great iPod time in since I ran alone. You're never really alone with the iPod though. My friends Missy Elliot, Justin Timberlake, Gnarls Barkely, Mike Doughty, etc. kept me more than entertained. I rejoiced in the vacant streets of New Tampa by lipsynching along to The Killers, as well as the above mentioned, dreams of rock stardom coursing through my brains. Fantasizing about celebrity is great on a longish run as, I can only speak for myself, I become infused with this crazy energy and the run is more like a dance than feet simply hitting pavement in the same repetitive motion.

Enough about my rock star dreams, though, even at 36, I refuse to give up. Back to the real news, the NIKE HALF, which happened on Sunday, August 5. Okay, issues upfront with this race: there was no guaranteed entry; there wasn't even a "first come first served". It was done by lottery this year and, thankfully, I got in. Alison, on the other hand, did not get in. Fortunately, the lovely Marianna won Alison a place at one of the Nike raffles. Still, the system set up by the NYRR was, in my opinion, completely unfair. My other issue is with NYRR and their communication skills which are seriously flawed. The only people who had guaranteed entry into the Half were those who'd run all the half marathons last year! What? No one knew this! Not that I would have completed that task -- I tried this year and gave up after the crazy 20 degrees half in the park -- but, it would've been nice to know what the options were ahead of time. And, NYRR, you should have a little bit more respect for your members than that. I've been paying dues, paying for races, supporting you for five years now -- the least you could do is tell me about your ridiculous rules well before the fact so I have a chance to decide what I want to do about it. Maybe I won't like the rules, but at least I know about them.

Back to the race. Unlike last year, where it started out humid and overcast, which then turned into torrential rain at mile seven, it was sunny, clear, and warm, with little humidity. Also unlike last year where I had a stomach ache, I felt great. Alison and I took a cab to the start, and through sheer luck, found Ciara about 20 minutes after we got there. We all ran the first seven miles together, which is the loop in Central Park; once out of the park Ciara and I hit the water station, and suddenly Alison was no longer with us. Pushing on and feeling great, I took in 7th Avenue lined with cheering fans and cover bands. I used that energy to journey on at a slightly faster clip. It's not often that I actually feel like going faster; it usually involves some serious convincing of my legs get out of their safety pace, but that day they were totally cooperative and ready to go. By mile nine I could see Ciara struggling a bit with a cramp. I asked if she was okay, and she said she was. I told her I was taking off and we parted; I found out later that she was never too far behind me, maybe four blocks at the most.

Off I went without my women, with three and a half miles left to go I felt like I could run faster. By mile 11 I was ready to be done. By mile 12 I had had so much Gatorade and water I felt like I was carrying a small pool with me. This is something that happens without fail. I feel great throughout a race until close to the end when I get a little cocky because "there are only three miles left, what's three miles?" totally forgetting about the 10 I just ran. So, by the time I crossed the finish line I was done. (Oh, and I forgot to mention that on my training schedule I was to add another 5 miles to make the 18 mile quota for that day.) With that said, I did manage to PR, and even though I did not hit my goal of 2:00, I did knock off two minutes from my time last year. I'll have another chance on September 23, the Queens Half, which I plan to do in 2:00 flat.

After the race, I didn't do the whole five, but I did add another three. We met Andy and Amanda for brunch at Florent, so I ran up to Christopher Street from Battery Park, then hopped on the train one stop, and ran to the restaurant. I got in 16 miles instead of 18. That's okay, I ran faster at the race, so I'll forgive myself the two miles.

Have brunch at Florent.