43 days to go.
When I look at this countdown, it feels like forever ago that we started training for this race. It’s scary! I can’t believe we’re up to 18 mile long runs already – and what’s scarier is the two weeks I had to take off before this 18M race due to a (cause unknown) hip strain. But here we were, ready to go this past Saturday morning in Central Park, alongside 6000 other future (and former) marathoners.
I have always loved NYRR races – despite the long bathroom lines and the crowded Mile 1’s, their races are always full of so much energy. The Central Park starting lines and the traditional pre-race speech by Peter Ciaccia always gets me nervous and excited. This particular day was no different.
I was particularly nervous since this was a looping route – 3 loops around Central Park, which meant 3 times up Harlem Hills, 3 times up Cat Hill, and 3 times through the rolling hills of the lower park. BUT, my goal was to go in with an open mind and take the race as it went, running each mile as it passed. (See my previous training post for more on this new, positive racing outlook.)
Central Park isn’t unfamiliar terrain to me — I’ve done the MORE Fitness Women’s Half Marathon twice, among countless other NYRR races that loop through the park. Since this tune-up wasn’t exactly a race, I thought this might be a nice way to people watch in the park while moving around. Since I wouldn’t hit the same spot twice without about an hour break in between, my hope was that each loop would be different, with a different scene playing out while we ran.
We got to the start near 102nd street around 6:40 am, 20 minutes before the start, to get our bibs. The race counted towards our 9+1 goal to qualify for next year’s marathon, so we knew we couldn’t quit early with our bibs on! Then we found our pace group – somewhere around a 4:30 marathon time, slightly slower than we aim to run the actual race. We barely made it to our corral – we had about 30 seconds to spare – having underestimated the registration lines for the morning!
Then, we were off….