I get a lot of mixed opinions when I tell someone I enjoy running half marathons or running in general. I enjoy the open roads and air. I enjoy that little time to myself to reflect and think of things. I enjoy the sun shining down (sometimes it isn’t but that is okay!). Experiencing the elements is so important. I enjoy testing my limits whether it be a new course, faster time, or greater distance.
I would say I only began running about 4-5 years ago. Before that if you told me I would be running what will be my 6th half marathon in about 2 weeks I would have laughed in your face. When I was in high school and even lower grades I dreaded…and I mean DREADED doing that mile run. I think I would always get about 15-16 minute mile with a run walk combo (mostly walking).
This year I got out almost every single day so far for a walk, run, or bike ride. The only days that I didn’t were when snow was falling or the streets weren’t plowed yet. I never before have done this and I did this year because I signed up for many races. I don’t know what elements will be experienced and I need to experience them before race day. This year I have logged just about 325 miles and just over 75 miles for the month. With 10 days left in the month I hope to get in at least 40-50 more.
This past weekend I headed into the city to run my 5th half marathon. This one was located in Central Park. This was for the More/Shape Half Marathon. The last half I did in Central Park was in December and it was my slowest to date with a finish of 2:24. My only goal going into this one was to beat that time even if by a minute. Coming from Long Island there are not many hills and 99.9% of the ground I run on is flat land. I am not going to lie, in December, I struggled with the half and walked some of it.
The night/day before I always set out my attire so that I don’t have to start searching around for things since it takes me a little bit of time to get dressed and ready to go for race day.
I got to meet up with one of my TIU Long Island girls before the race to say hi. She did give me a hill tip to count 1,2,3 as you are going to keep yourself moving. I did use this little tip and it worked. I pushed myself over those hills and back to the flatter land. There were NYRR volunteers (I believe) on the side lines cheering us on. Mostly there to make sure we “stay in the lines” but some were rooting. One guy said “You just conquered HARLEM HILL! It’s all downhill now!” This one stuck with me because the northern part of Central Park is the roughest at least for me.
Some would yell out how much further to go which also helps when you are close to the end. Seeing the beautiful views of Central Park also really helped this run go a bit faster. I get to see parts of the park I wouldn’t normally see. Like I said I did not have very high expectations for this race as I originally intended to use it for training purposes because of the hills but I actually killed the hills. I kept my eyes on my Garmin watch at every 1/4 mile (when it would beep) or every 1/2. I took a photo of the clock at every mile marker.
I stopped twice to refill my water bottles while continuing to move. I took this run one step, one mile, one lap at a time. Not only did I beat my last Central Park time but I killed it! I nearly had an overall PR but missed by 2 minutes. I was not at all disappointed with my time and if I would have PR’d for a half in Central Park I probably would have started to cry.
Thank you to my cousin for once again meeting me at the finish line! He is one of my big supporters 🙂
My final finish time was 2:07. I crossed that finish line with a smile. I was expecting a 2:15 finish. I wore my medal with pride! The following day I happily wore my t-shirt they gave us because I was still so happy with what I had just accomplished.
In a week and a half my goal is to PR. To get under 2:05. To maybe even get under 2 hours! If I can get one minute less I will be happy. I won’t aim too high but will want to surprise myself.
Never let anyone get in the way of you reaching your goals. Anything is possible if you give it a try. Sometimes you might just surprise yourself so keep on keepin on!