Tuesday, April 9, 2013

NYC Half Marathon 2013 - Race Report and Review

I know.  I am such a slacker on blog posting.  Here I said I was going to start blogging again and I disappear for weeks!  LOL.

It is just so busy at work, and outside of work I have training and a house and friends and stuff I would rather be doing...

So there's that :O)

I am hoping to actually start typing this (its 12:31MST on April 8) and be finished with it by COB tomorrow....

We'll see...

So this post is supposed to be about the NYC Half Marathon I just did a few weeks back right?  OK, let's see if I can write this all down from memory after a longer period of time than I would have anticipated...

First off though the one thing I want to say about the NYC Half Marathon is that I LOVED LOVED LOVED LOVED LOVED it.  I will repeatedly put myself in for the lottery for this race year after year.  If I could do one race and one race only it would be this one.  I loved the route, I love NYC, I love Manhattan, I loved everything about this race....

Except for:
The Expo

Which is why there is only the one photo of me after picking up my things.

Outside the Expo
It wasn't horrible...but it wasn't great either.  Not that I really care about it being great persay, but a) it was difficult to find where it was; the AWESOME app for the race had the directions and what-not, but it was still difficult to manuever and the entrance wasn't where it was said to be.

Then it was indeed small.  A handful of vendors which is fine...less tempation to buy stuff I don't need, however the space where this was all set up was TINY, and manueving the few vendors to get from bib pick up to shirt pick up was confusing and annoying.

I couldn't wait to get out of there.  :O)

Hotel lobby before walking to Central Park for the corrals

Seeing as how the race didn't start until 7:30, and we were so close to the Start, it was nice to just 'be' on race morning.  I got up, met Jaime downstairs in the lobby to go get coffee at the bodega next door (SBux was NOT open at 5:30 like the chick told us the night before; FAIL!), then went back upstairs to get ready.

Note that the day prior, it snowed, turned extremely windy, cold and then was sleeting.  We were worried about the road conditions, but when we walked outside that morning to get the coffee, all was well.

I mean, yeah it was cold, around 28deg, but everything else seemed fine.

Jaime runs for RunWell and had to be at a certain spot within CP at a specific time, so we headed out around 6:15 to walk the just over a mile to 72nd Street for the entrance into CP and where we entered for our corral.

I had a bib for a corral much farther up to the Start than Jaime, but seeing as how we were going to run this thing together, I obviously started in her area as opposed to mine.

Let me say it was DAMN cold standing there for an hour, plus the walking etc.  The race started at 7:30, but because of where we were, it took us exactly 30 min to cross the Start line.  30 minutes on the dot.  We were never so glad to begin running!!!  It seriously took the first 5 miles for me to be able to actually feel my feet and I never quite got feeling in my legs; I kept reaching for my shorts because I thought they were riding up, but they weren't.

My legs were numb and I just couldn't feel the fabric at all.

Central Park Pre-Race...hadn't lost the throwaway pants yet!  SO COLD!

The first 6+ miles of the NYC Half Marathon is done in Central Park.  And while Central Park is hilly, I didn't seem to really notice it much (nor did I in the brief moments you run in it during the NYC (full) marathon.)  I noticed the downhills more if that makes any sense :O)   However I will tell you that I was misinformed somewhere that the worst hill is in the first mile.

THIS is false.  False.  False.  False.
Once we finished mile 1 I even said to Jaime, well if thats the worst of it...but then you pass the 5K marker....THAT my friends is where you will encounter the worst hill.  I believe its called Cat Hill and let me tell you it definitely can take the wind out of your sails if you aren't prepared properly.  Definitely do hill training for this race!   I know I was thankful I had, plus I had the whole altitude difference thing working in my favor.
Once you make it past that one, seriously, the rest of the hills in CP really didn't mean much to me, but again, do hill training or you won't think like me...  :O)
Once you exit out of the park finally, you are on 7th Avenue and 58th and you are going to run straight up 7th all the way to 42nd (which is where you will make a turn and run through the magnificient Times Square!!
Also once you are out of Central Park, the rest of the way is pretty much either flat, barely uphill, and downhill.  Easy peasy lemon squeezy breezy!!  Well until the last 400m or so once you exit out of the Battery Park Tunnel that is :O)
Coming up 7th Street from Central Park (this was 7th and 53rd where we knew our peeps would be waiting)

Heading towards the Hudson River on 42nd Avenue; running through Times Square)  VERY, VERY strong headwind here as we neared West Side Highway (which runs along the Hudson towards the Financial District)
As we were running up 42nd towards the West Side Highway, which runs along the River, the closer we got the stronger the headwinds became.  We were very worried about what we might face in the last 4 miles (which run along the river towards Chelsea Pier, Wall Street/Financial District, the 9/11 Memorial site and the Statue of Liberty...all of which you will either see and/or pass along the way.

It truly is a wonderful course in that respect as well.  Its just a damn fun race to be a part of!!!

But theeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeen....you reach the tunnel...Now I didn't even know anything about a tunnel to be honest, but it was like any other tunnel really.  Its about 3m long and is the longest continuous vehicular tunnel in the United States.  We definitely lost Garmin signal almost immediately it seemed, but somewhere in there I remember seeing the 800m to go sign!!!

However it was upon exiting the tunnel where things were not what I would have liked!!  Its a straight uphill right off the bat and man just when you think you got this one made, you don't.  It kinda reminded me of that little uphill there at the end of the Chicago Marathon, only this one was a bit longer and steeper than that.

Battery Park Tunnel (connects Brooklyn to Manhatten and runs under the river)

Runners exiting the tunnel (Photo Credit: Towers to Tunnel)
Then once you top the hill FIIIIIIIIIIINALLY, you make a little turn, then another little turn and the Finish Line is there.  Lots of screaming people and it was just awesome!

Finish line photo from the peeps

Sea of heat blankets.  SO happy they had these!!

Once you are done, the usual filter through for your goody bag (which was AWESOME by the way!  A nice backpack with race logo/name filled with more than what I got when I finished the 2008 full NYC Marathon..)  Nice touch on the backpack NYRR!!!!

We immediately heard our peeps yelling (they had somehow got through all the people and were able to see us cross the Finish Line!!!), so we met them, got my warm clothes from the bag my sister was hauling around for me then went to the Finishers tent as I wanted a Finishers shirt.  Note that you do have to buy any official Finisher type of gear, and take cash!  Its much faster to get in and out if you have cash!!!

Another hint is that plan to go somewhere and eat before heading to the Subway....we heard how nightmarish it was so we went into a diner, all 8 of us and had ourselves a nice long breakfast with lots and lots of hot coffee!!!!

We were probably in there about 1.5 hours and by the time we got to the Subway, it was clear sailing!!!

Again I cannot say enough about how much I absolutely loved loved loved this race and the experience!!!

I will be putting in for the lottery again as soon as it opens!  Maybe NYRR can spot me an entry next year for my gloooooooooooooowing review of this race and all the efforts of NYRR!!!!

What say you NYRR?!?!?!?!?  :O)

Oh and to note that I did indeed meet my finish deadline for posting this!!  Tuesday, April 9th, 12:39PM MST!!!


Karen Seal said...

Oh my goodness! Sounds like an incredible race!! Great recap! We just visited NY for the first time this past Fall and I loved hearing the landmarks of this race...I now know where most of them are! lol

Mel said...

love the report. Glad you had a good time :-)

Maybe when I get better, we can do a race again together

Xaarlin said...

I think you sold me on this race! I pretty much gave up hope for an NYRR event post marathon snafu last year. You and Jamie had a blast! Cant wait to see ya in a few months for Chicago! :)