So do you know? Did you hear? The Queens Half Marathon is almost here! Yeah, it's this weekend, on Saturday. But if you're not running it or from the local area, then you probably don't know about it. Just FYI, it is one in a series of half marathons taking place in the city every year - one in every borough. For 2010, I've done Manhattan (in January) and Brooklyn (in May). It so happened that I had pacing responsibilities for each of those two previous races, but will be running on my own pretty much this time in Queens. Another tidbit that will make this race somewhat interesting is that they've changed the venue from McNeil Park in Whitestone (which was a logistical nightmare for all to get to) to Flushing Meadows Park and College Point Boulevard in Flushing. Unfortunately, to accommodate this change, the date for the race was shifted as well, from early fall (late September) to mid-summer (this weekend). As one of a dying breed of runners who live and run in Queens, I applaud the shift in venue (since it took me an hour to get to the start last year living less than 4 miles away!) although I wonder if NYRR really could have picked a more appropriate date for a half marathon than mid-July. Nevertheless, I'm so excited to be running this race! Not only does the course run right underneath my balcony, but it also highlights some of the best areas in Flushing Meadows Park, where I train and run every day. I'm so happy that a couple thousand of my NYC running friends will be coming out early on Saturday morning to run in MY hood and MY park with ME. It's all going to feel like one gigantic running group (or a big circus) with me as one of the ringleaders.
As for my own desires and aspirations for this race, I really don't know what kind of time I should expect myself to run! On the one hand, I know it's summer, it's likely to be hot, and given my propensity to blow up in the middle of halves in temps over 80 degrees, I should not be racing this race at all. On the other hand, I know I'm more acclimated to running in warmer temperatures now than I've ever been (thanks to throwing myself out there everyday for workouts in spite of the weather). My higher mileage marathon training has also been going well and I desperately want to use this race as a litmus test to assess my fitness. According to indications from workouts, I think I am due for an adjustment in training paces. However, I won't know if I decide to take it easy and not push myself in this race. Then there's the whole issue of running well here and "defending my own turf". This is MY house now so I really have no excuse for not bringing my 'A' game out to play. Given the seasonal heat wave, I probably will not come close to a PR on Saturday, but then again, I don't have to lay an egg out their either.
So if the weather is tolerable (close to 80F/70% humidity) on race day, here's what I'm thinking in terms of race goals:
C - Sub 1:27:00
B - Sub 1:26:30
B+ - Sub 1:26:00
A- - Sub 1:25:30
A - Sub 1:25:00
A+ - Sub 1:24:30
A++ - PR (Sub 1:24:15)
Dream - Sub 1:24:00
Feel free to predict my time. As a bit of background, I've already ran sub 1:25 three times in the past 12 months, including my PR of 1:24:15 in the Philly Half. I also did a 1:24:59 in my last half in NYC 13.1 after running off the course and losing about a minute of total time back n April. Therefore, I'm sure I'm capable of running sub-1:25 in ideal conditions. The only caveat of course is that Saturday will not be ideal conditions. Rumor has it that Saturday will be the hottest day of week (all lies, I say!) so running the same time as I did in April will likely not be possible. As a compromise, I think I'll just shoot for sub-1:25:30 as a conservative goal for race day. Victory will be mine at the finish line if I can get close to 1:25:30 and NOT end up in the medical tent in the middle or post race. That will be enough for me.
If you're running this race, take it easy and good luck! I'll be running in my red Saucony race gear and Kinvaras so look for me and say hi! Otherwise, come back Saturday afternoon/night and read my race report. I'm sure it will be riveting (unless you think I'm as pathetic and narcistic as these guys do...).
P.S. I'm thinking of sending out a courtesy memo to all my neighbors with this song on a postcard. I'm sure they'll all be so enthused.
You better watch out,
You better not cry
Better not pout
I'm telling you why
The Half-Marathon is coming to town!