Anyway, another reason to make this race worth it was the fact that it started at 8AM on Coney Island....which meant a 5:45am wakeup! I met Sempre Libera, Pink Monkey, AB, and MH to catch our ride at 6:30am. As we approach the area for the start to find parking, we notice a guy right by a school getting ready to relieve himself. And let me say he wasn't even attempting to be discreet! He just went right in front of a cast of thousands (well the many cars waiting to turn anyway!). And well let's just say we call him "the pooper." Yeah. He belonged to a team but that team shall remain nameless to protect the innocent... An interesting start to the morning, no?
So the race. We got to the start with less than 2 minutes before the gun went off. I was fine with that since it was really cold and windy on the boardwalk. That was really the only time the cold bothered me. The plan for this race was 1:45:00 but honestly I just wanted to PR....but we all know how I do when I have a plan!
So miles 1,2,3 were on the boardwalk. My goal here was to stick to within my goal time pace..and not too much slower. If I was to obtain 1:45:00 it was essential to not lose too much time. Even in a half marathon, time becomes of the essence. Pink Monkey was my shadow for the race but I really ran my race. I knew what I needed to do and with my pacing...I knew I could do this. So the first mile I stuck with SL and AB...knowing that they would aim for 7:50-8min/mile to start. I figured that is all I needed to catapault my race and get me moving. Mission accomplished with a 7:55. Mile 2 and 3 (8:18, 8:15) were slower and somehow AB and SL were behind and passed me again...I still have no idea how that happened? Anyway, I was very happy to leave the boardwalk and get to the straightaway known as Ocean Parkway.
When I hit straightaways, if all is well, I can just hit that "cruise control." It's almost to the effect of feeling effortless. A much different feeling than that of the terrible 5k experience. Miles 4-9 (7:57,16:06 (2 miles), 7:57, 8:00, 8:02) are a blur for the most part. The miles just peeled off and it was around mile 5 or 6 when I thought..."hmm I don't feel bad and wow have I really run 6 already?" I just hit that runner's zone and had no thoughts...just run baby run! PM stuck with me and all I would say as the miles came about was "good"...to indicate "yep the pace is there." As we ascended the off ramp to Prospect Park, I just said "here we go...1:45 is ours."
And then there is Prospect Park (8:07 (water), 8:05,7:40,7:45,:44). It was only a month ago as a part of the speedy beagles we attained glory and fortunes of being #1! More importantly, I *knew* about the sneaky long hill that would come about. I think this played a huge role in how I raced that last 4.1. My plan was to continue the 8 pace until after the hill so I didn't die out. I also had not run over 10.5 miles since last October so I had no idea how this would play out. I was pretty pleased to see I managed only 5 seconds off for a real tough hill towards the end. At that point is when the "race" began. I still had a bundle of energy to expend and what the heck...I'm not leaving it out there! I just remember picking people and saying "OK time to pass the person in the "X" color" or "such and such team". It's a fun game:) As we hit the inside loop, I totally forgot about that sneaky 12th mile hill...and apparently a lot of people did! I definitely saw a couple walkers..which surprised me since I knew I was in the mid 1:40s group. I don't remember mile 13 but apparently I did hit my timer....but I do remember catching a glimpse of the finish line. At that point it was like "oh crap I still have energy to give!" I picked up my legs and hauled my way to the finish line realizing that 1:45 was so on the table. I cross the line and look at my watch (AND NYRR) and notice 1:45:01. I just had to chuckle...the pacemaster had struck again!
At the end of the race, PM was awarded my prize. A popcorn kernel. Now you may ask...??? Its our little game and now that kernel is a part of goodluck as it ran with PM and I for 13.1;-)
A few other thoughts from the race...
In Prospect Park, we passed a couple rather interesting people. One old dude just farted so loud in the mist of silence...heh. It was funny as you could tell everyone was in "finish the race mode" and then there's the fart heard round the world. The next oddity was the lady that breathed as though she was having an orgasm while running....oh boy. Oh and I got a lovely surprise upon coming home...a giant blood blister on my right big toe. Now I know why my foot hurt a little bit:-p
Upon the subway ride home, the next bit of weirdness as we were serenaded by the "Mexican (I think?)" dudes in Cowboy hats....now that was umm yeah.
So tonight it's time to kick back and bask in the glory of a 7 minute PR....ahh it's good to be back.