Last weekend I ran the NYC Half Marathon. It was my first race of the year and my first time running in the city. Getting to the city at the ungodly hour on a Sunday morning was annoying. I ate a really nice Pasta dinner the night before and woke up around 3 am on Sunday morning. I always used to eat a Panera Bread Bagel as my pre-race breakfast. This time I tried Scott Jurek’s famous Incan Quinoa Porridge. It was a lot easier to consume than the bagel. Drove to the Harrison Station and took the Path and then a Cab to Central Park. Just after getting off the cab I realized how cold it was. Met so many anxious runners like me as well as ton of experienced runners already warming up. Checked in my bag at the UPS truck and headed towards the start line. Chatted and laughed with few Irish runners who were all dressed in Green to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. We were sandwiched at the last corral and by the time I hit the start line it was 17 min into the race.
Started running comfortably without any pressure. My fellow runners at the running club had warned me about the hills inside the central park. My only goal was to run the 6 hilly miles of central park without breaking down. I had run this course few weeks before so I knew what to expect. I managed to finish the 6-mile loop in 55 minutes or so and headed into the 7th avenue towards Times Square. It was a fantastic feeling running on 7th Avenue without any cars or taxis. All I could see was hundreds of runners everywhere. I continued to hydrate every 3 miles or so and had two GU gels at mile 5 and 10. Finish time of my last three half marathons in 2012 were about 2 hr & 2 minutes. I wanted to break the 2-hour mark and ran last 3 miles really hard. Despite all the hoopla I couldn’t beat my earlier time. I ended with same old 2 hr 2 min 5 sec again. It was a slap on my face for avoiding speed work as part of my training. I calmly told myself that I would include speed work in future. Collected my finisher's medal, drank Scott Jurek's home made Anti inflammatory smoothie and headed towards home.
It was wonderful feeling running in the city and finishing few blocks away from where I work. Final 7 miles of the race were a real treat with flat course and excellent views of the city. And the whole event was organized very well. Hats off to all the cheerleaders, musicians and volunteers who made this a fabulous event. Hopefully I will run many more races in the city and one day perhaps get a guaranteed entry to run the NYC full marathon.
No time to rest now. Continuing my training for the NJ Full Marathon at Long Branch on May 5th. One step at a time!!