Hellooooo!!! I know I’ve been MIA for a while, but hey sometimes life gets in the way! Couple that with the non-stop marathon training I’ve been doing this summer and it has surely been a doosey! I haven’t been racing that much other than completing NYRR’s 9+1 program which will guarantee me entry into the 2016 NYC Marathon, which I doubt I’ll be doing, but never say never! I’m in taper mode right now, so no more super weekend long runs, and basically I’m just maintaining until the big dance on November 1st.
This past Sunday I ran for the 2nd time in Staten Island. I remember last year after leaving I said I was never going back there again, and low and behold I was back there again! I remember last year as soon as I got out of the car I said out loud “what the heck is that smell!” I mean Staten Island (SI) was funky! This year however, I didn’t smell anything weird so SI redeemed itself in my book, and the race was already off to a good start. This year NYRR changed the course route. Last year it was an out and back, so the exact route we ran out, we turned around and ran the same way back. This year however that all changed.
Walking to our coral
The walk to the start was incredibly long. Race Central is in Richmond County Bank Ballpark which was home to the Staten Island Yankees. We exit the stadium underground and proceed up the stairs, and out to the corals. Now this race is massive, so there are people everywhere. I felt as though we walked at least a half a mile just to get to our coral.
I was feeling really good at the start of the race. My plan going in was to keep my pace in the 9’s. I didn’t have a set pace of high 9’s or low 9’s but to just stay under 10 the entire race. I accomplished that goal for the first 5 miles of the race. At mile 6 I stopped to get some gatorade, and take in some nutrition so my pace that mile was 10:09. When I look back and think on this I do the same thing every single race. Instead of picking up my pace in mile 5 so I do not loose precious time on my mile 6 nutrition, I always maintain the same pace. Some day soon I will master this and get my pacing right; practice makes perfect. Anywho, I took in my stingers and gatorade, and the course turned onto some type of weird brick walk way. As I’m running I think this is strange. It was not a comfortable run and all, and I hoped it would be over soon. It was, but it only got worse. We ended up running on the boardwalk. This was not a smooth boardwalk at all. It was rickety and almost unstable. I almost felt like at any moment it was going to collapse with the number of people that were running on it. I’ve never run on a boardwalk so this was something new to me. Miles 8-9 was absolute torture for me, and as much as I tried I just could not go any faster. I really began to get discouraged at that point, because I was making such good time and it just all almost came to a screeching halt. When we finally exited the boardwalk after 2 miles I was overjoyed! I didn’t care what else was on the horizon. As I round a mini hill, and come around a bend I encounter the biggest hill I’ve ever seen! I mean the thing was massive and this picture just does not do it justice. It was a great scenic route though running under the Verazzano Bridge. As I’m attempting to run up the hill I realize that I was losing the battle so I started to walk it. Everyone around me was walking so I thought what the heck! There was a guy running next to me and he was running so slow I patted him on the shoulder and said just walk it out man, you’ll get up this thing much faster. He laughed and said you’re right!
Once we made it up that hill we ran into Fort Wadsworth Park. I have to say it was a really beautiful route, and it made me forget about the massive hill I just climbed. By mile 10 I stopped for some gatorade and just tried to regroup so that I could finish strong. Once I was there I said you have 5k to go, finish strong. Mile 11 went well, mile 12 I stopped for more gatorade, and I don’t know what the heck happened during mile 13. All I know is that I ran the most difficult half marathon course I have ever ran, and I did it in the fastest time that I’ve ever ran 13.1. I was shocked and extremely pleased with the end result. I always say that yes running is physical, but it is an extreme mental game as well. I can tell myself to keep going and push through, and somehow I get it done. My ultimate goal now is to do a sub 2hr half marathon. I don’t care if it is 1:59:59, as long as I finish in under 2hrs. I know it won’t happen this year since I don’t have any more half’s planned (well just 1), but this is my 1 running goal that I am shooting for in 2016.
Why do we kiss and bite medals again?
Overall I really enjoyed this race. I read many comments about people complaining about the hills, and all I can say is suck it up. You knew you were running Staten Island, and you knew it was hilly, so just be happy that you were able to complete 13.1 on such a hard course. New Yorkers run in Central Park so we are use to running hills. Complaining about this course was unnecessary. I liked the race, but an hour plus to get there, and 3hrs to get off SI and home is enough for me to say this is the last time I’ll be doing it.
My next big race is the NYC Marathon on November 1st. Be sure to follow me on my social media platforms as I’ll be vlogging, and periscoping from the expo, and other events I’ll be attending marathon weekend.
This past Sunday I ran the half marathon (13.1 miles) at the Long Island Marathon. When I woke up I checked the weather and it was a bit on the cooler side, but would warm up later, so I grabbed a sweater just in case I was a little cold in the morning. I ended up not using the sweater at all since it warmed up pretty quickly.
This race is close to home so getting there is a breeze, but the parking situation is a mess! The race starts in one place and ends in another which is a logistical nightmare for a runner. I parked my car in Eisenhower park because that was where the finish line was, but this meant that I had to trek like a mile and a half to the start. Additionally I had to get to the park super early (6:45am) just to make sure I was able to get in since there were road closures starting at 7am. The race didn’t start until 8am so it was a bit of a waiting game. I’m happy that I at least got to wait in my car so that I wasn’t freezing my buns off! Oftentimes we have to stand around in the cold waiting for a race to start and trust me it is not fun at all!
After making it to the start with my coffee in hand I was able to snap a few pics. Of course my obligatory deuces up photo….can’t leave home without it! You can see the mob of people behind me, and trust me that is a very small snap shot of the number of people out there…it was really a huge race!
With my buddy Deb. No she is not frowning, but we were facing directly into the sun. Not sure how I kept a straight face with this one. How do you like our RUNtheSol tanks?? Cute huh! Check out http://RUNtheSol.com for more details.
Me and Deb
Wanda, Me, & Deb
So once the race started I was feeling really good. I know I wanted to keep my pace in the 9’s so that I could maintain it throughout the whole race. My goal was sub 2:30 which is probably more like a 10 minute pace, but I wanted the extra wiggle room just in case I conked out in the end (which I did), so in the 9’s I went. I was chugging along and even had a running buddy the first 10k. I didn’t stop at any of the water stops because I don’t usually need any until mile 6 so I stuck with that plan. Once I got to mile 6 I was a little under 60 mins…I believe 58 minutes, so I knew it was time to take in some fuel. This was my mistake. I stopped at the mile 6 for water and to take my honey stinger energy chews. I sipped, popped 6 stingers all while walking. Now don’t get me wrong, there is absolutely nothing wrong with walking the water stops. Sometimes it can give you that bit of rest you need to keep going, but in my instance it really slowed me down tremendously. I felt like I lost all of my momentum after that first small walk…and by small I mean like 20-30 seconds. After that I could not get my pace below 10. I was constantly hovering around 10:30, sometimes lower. No matter how much I tried to move faster my legs just would not cooperate. Sometimes when I though I was moving faster I would look down at my watch and be at an 11 pace! I really though I was in the twilight zone because it just made absolutely no sense! I just could not fully control my body.
There was one part of the race where we were running on the Wantagh Parkway, and it was like zombies running on the highway. It was eerily quiet except for the patter of runners feet. At that point I wish I had some music to listen too!! This was also the never ending hill climb. Somewhere between mile 9 and 10 I was just thinking to myself will this hill ever end. It was the longest gradual incline I think I’ve ever ran! As you can see after mile 6 my per minute mile really increased. I’ll have to work on that for my next half in 10 days.
I blew my sub 2:30 time out of the water with a time of 2:15 which I was really happy about. I was looking at my watch often those last few miles because I knew I was slowing down, but I knew I was still making pretty good time. Once I crossed the finish line I just thought to my self wow, you did much better than expected!
There were a few freebies at this race. You can see my gratis #LoveSnapple shades below. They had a booth at the finishline and were giving away canvas goody bags with t-shirts, glasses, and stickers.
There was also a beer pit. There was tons of free beer. Why someone would want to drink beer at 10:30 in the morning I have no idea, but more power to you! I think the registration fee was worth it in the free beer alone!
Yes I love my headbands….my collection is getting OOC!
Sunday I completed my 5th of 9 races to get guaranteed entry into the 2015 NYC Marathon, and it surely was a doosey! I’m probably not the first New Yorker to never have ventured to Staten Island because lets face it, if you don’t know someone who lives there, or like minor league baseball there really is no reason to go there is it?? Staten Islanders please clue me in. So my first time to Staten Island was definitely a memorable one, and I don’t know that it is exactly a good memory. Fall in New York, the weather can be hit or miss. 2 weeks ago at the Bronx 10 mile it was hot and we were sweating bullets, and Sunday it was chilly and I barely broke a sweat. Granted when I got going the weather was perfect, but waiting around for the race to start I was freezing my britches off.
The race started right outside Richmond County Bank Ball Park, home of the Staten Island Yankees. From my understanding (and I have very little of baseball) this is a minor league team, and little brother to the Yankees that play in the Bronx. The stadium was beautiful and sits right on the water so the views were great. If you squint you can see a view of the site of the new World Trade Center behind me. We got to Staten Island pretty early like 6:30 a.m. because the main road in would be closed for the race, and we wanted to find a good parking spot which we were lucky enough to find a block from the stadium. There were 9,537 finishers in this race, and 4,472 of them were women, so you can imagine the line for the bathroom. We got there right on time because about 15 minutes later the line was 30+ people long. Sometimes arriving early has its advantages!
Fast forward to the race start at 8:30am. I’d say the first couple miles were pretty flat and I was very comfortable. But after that came the hills. And I mean hills and hills! This was an out and back course, so if you went down a hill on the way out, you had to climb that hill on the way back. You can get an idea of the hill action in this pic. These hills were really non-stop. Some small, some very large. Somewhere between mile 9-11 there was a monster hill, and as I am slowly trekking up it my left ankle starts to get a twinge, and I’m thinking hmmmm this is a pain I’ve never felt before, so I walked up the remainder of that hill to see if I would feel better which I did thank goodness. The first half of the race I felt pretty good. I’d even say up to mile 9 I was feeling awesome, and then I hit the wall. Runners know what that wall is. Having run a maximum of 10 miles to date, and clocking very little mileage for the past two weeks, I expected that wall to come sooner or later. Thank goodness it came later because I definitely would not have made it through if it came any sooner. At mile 8 you can see my time increased, that was because at this water station there was powerade gels. I don’t eat these, but I grabbed a few to try later. I was trying to squeeze those suckers into my belt, and it took longer than planned so that mile was slow. Mile 9 I picked it back up, but by mile 10 there was the wall. My body was just telling me to stop. My thighs were burning, the bottom of my feet were aching, I still felt that twinge in my ankle, but surprising my knee that I had ITB Syndrome on was ok. At this point I started walking. I am so happy that my buddy Tarnia was with me the entire race, and I screwed up her time (sorry Tarnia), but she really pulled me through those last 3 miles. She calls me her rabbit because she use to follow me around the track, but now she is my rabbit. So thankful to her. BGR LI is truly a sisterhood, and we take that no women left behind moto seriously! Those last 3 miles were super hard, and slow, but I made it through thankfully! The race ended inside the stadium which was nice. As soon as I crossed the finishline I made a beeline to the medical tent to get some ice for my knee and ankle. I was a little sore the next 36hrs, but I am feeling much better today. I think the ice and an Epsom salt bath afterwards really helped.
Some pics from the day:
Stole this from Dawn, her pre-race selfie’s rockThe whole BGR LI crewMe post race with my medal on the fieldA close up of the medal…I think it rocks
I think the Staten Island Half will probably be a one and done for me. The traffic to get out was horrendous and it took us 2.5hrs to get home. Coupled with the hills it is going to be really hard to get me back to that boro!
I have a much needed race break this weekend, so I’ll probably spend the next week and a half in the pool and rest my feet. This double race weekend really wore me out. I have learned my lesson to not only check my calendar the day of a race to see if I am free, but to check the day before and after as well. No more jam packed race weekends for me!!! Happy Tuesday!