There are races you run for time, races you run for training, for practice, or just the experience, and then there are those races where the conditions are so tough that you run just to say you had the courage to start…
The alarm sounded at , and I turn, instinctively hit snooze and roll over to the cooler side of the pillow.
When it sounded again ten minutes later, I turned it off, sat up in bed and wondered why this eerie feeling felt so oddly familiar. Ah yes, but of course, we were in the exact same situation two weeks ago, when I bailed on my 5-mile race because it was 27F with a wind chill of 17F (You can check this post to refresh your memory). Well now, we were faced with the prospect of running a half-marathon in 16F with wind chill in the single digits. Needless to say, I was not a happy camper and had a million and one reasons for why I ought to go back to sleep (I’m not a freezing cold-weather runner, I had to work on my Grand Rounds presentation for tomorrow, I didn’t hydrate well yesterday, I didn’t sleep well during the night, yada, yada, yada) But then I remembered the phone conversation I had with my coaching protégé F.L. late last night when she told me she just finished her first ultramarathon in five and half hours, and I knew I had to get over my fear of the cold weather and prove to myself that I’m a better runner and a bit tougher than I give myself credit for. Besides, I knew I was prepared for this race, having gone outlet shopping for cold-weather gear a week ago and had 15 miles in them a day later. So I bundled up the best way I knew how, ate a yogurt and a banana, and left the apartment.
Outside, the weather was as cold and brisk as I had expected. Because the start of the race was located in the southwest corner of
I found my answer once I got over to the baggage area and saw the large crowd of runners who were already there, pinning their numbers, stretching on park benches, jogging around to warm up, chatting with neighbors about upcoming races and race strategies, everyone doing runner things that I can and do fully comprehend. And then I understood why I’m here…why the freezing weather and the negative self-doubts could not turn me away…I’m here because this is where I belong. I belong here because I’m a runner, nothing more and nothing less. So even though others will call me crazy (heck, I’d say I’m crazy!) I’m most comfortable running around
Once I got to my assigned corral, and the race started, the wind died down and everything progressed pretty smoothly. I ran pretty conservatively right from the start, knowing that I wasn’t running for a PR or a stellar time this go-around. Just starting and hopefully finishing was victory enough for me. However, this is not to say that the race was easy…not by any stretch of the imagination. Believe you me, by the second time you have to climb Cat Hill and Harlem Hill, you just want to shoot yourself in the foot if it means you don’t have to go up any further.
Perhaps, a look at my pacing for the race will give you all an idea of how it went for me…The important thing is that I came, I started, I finished, reached all my goals and took home a course P.R. All-in-all, it was a pretty awesome race experience for me.
Mile 1 – 6:31 [Avg HR- 144; Max HR- 159] Around Southern Tip.
Finishing Time – 1:29:06
Average Pace – 6:48; Age Graded % - 66.5
Overall Place – 231/4506 (5.1%)
Age Place – 51
Flyers Place – 3
*Course PR (Previous: 1:30:49)
*Fastest Half Marathon in Manhattan (Previous: 1:30:49)
*Coldest Race Ever Started & Completed (Previous: 31F)
*Coldest Half Marathon Ever (Previous: None Below Freezing)