Okay. Here we go. Staten Island Half Marathon.
On April 5th, I shoved half a bagel into my mouth, drank a bunch of coffee, packed up my bag, and got into a zipcar. Chris had left to pick up the car while I was getting ready, which was awesome and saved us a lot of time. I really like to leave way in advance for a race just in case there’s traffic, or we get lost, or whatever. And by “way in advance” I mean giving myself an extra 30 minutes or so. The drive was really nice, I casually hydrated on the way there, and we crossed an attractive bridge. Upon arriving at the race I was amazed at how few people were there. Turns out, it was a pretty small race. About 105 people or something, WHICH I LOVED. I went to a table, picked up my bib and bag of goods, and then we had about 40 minutes or so until the race started.
It was a lot windier than I had expected, and the race was on the water, so we spent the majority of the time before the race inside the car with the heat on. When it came time to do some sort of warm up I ran for like, maybe 1/2 mile. I went into the race viewing it as a “training run”. I figured it would be ridiculous to set a high goal with my training being 3 weeks short of completion. My outfit was: Oiselle flyte shorts (my new go to racing shorts for sure, I felt like I didn’t even have shorts on), a Reebok compression sports bra, a Nike dri-fit running tank top, and Oiselle arm warmers.
The course was three out and backs. It was going to be two originally, I believe, but that was supposed to be along the boardwalk. And because the boardwalk hadn’t been repaired since Hurricane Sandy (which the race was a benefit for) we ran on pavement along/underneath it. All of the time I’ve been racing I have always thought I would HATE an out and back repeat course. Or repeat loop course. Basically any repetitive course running. But the last two races I’ve run were just that, and I have put in two long runs solely on a track, so I think I was actually very wrong about that. I like these kinds of courses, a lot.
This was the first race where I ran with a watch. My reason for this was: In using this as a training run I can closely monitor myself, especially in the beginning when I typically haul ass. It’s a pretty basic watch, it doesn’t do split times or anything so I was doing a lot of math while running. The first few miles went by at about 7:25 pace. I thought about trying to pull back but just went with it. Eventually after things thinned out, I realized I was the fourth woman. The longer we ran the more things thinned out and with the out and backs we kept passing by one another. As the women in front of me went by I yelled encouraging things. I did this to a lot of other people as well, but there was something cool, like some sort of solidarity in being in the top five women. The race was sort of a blur, I was kind of in a zone. Not like, the great zone of the best race ever, but I felt good. I grabbed a few cups of water here and there, battled the wind, and pretty much just tried to keep my pace.
In the last 3 miles or so I could feel myself dying off a bit. My legs were getting really tired and the wind was just smashing against me. Nobody was directly in front of me so it was full on wind assault. When I was getting close to mile 11 I thought I could somehow pull off a sub 1:40 time. I thought, “WHAT”. The entire race I made sure to not push myself too hard. The last half marathon I ran I pushed so hard at the finish I puked several times. I wasn’t about to let that happen again, especially considering I hadn’t even gotten myself to the point of training where I thought that was a good idea. I don’t know, maybe I was a little too cautious. I’ve never really run a race as a training run before, so this was all new to me. My goals were basically: don’t puke or almost shit pants at finish. I reached these goals. I also reached the goal of a sub 1:45 half, finishing the race in 1:41:05. The :05 slays me. Had I risked the puking I could’ve gone sub 1:40 but it’s cool. I’m actually really, really happy with my time. Insanely happy. And it gives me a lot of hope for the races I’ll be running later this year. Because I ran a way faster time than I had anticipated I sort of panicked and thought I should take a bit of a break. I’ll be starting a hybrid marathon and ultra training plan soon, so the past two weeks have been 17 + 20 mile weeks with me not making myself run when I don’t feel like it.
In conclusion, this race ruled. I love small races. Everyone was super supportive, the organizers (Trimara Sports) were great, and it was a benefit for Hurricane Sandy. I’m not sure if it will be happening again next year, but if it does, I would highly recommend it.