~ Where the Party Meets the Pavement ~
Or much more accurately, where my feet met the pavement over and over again. Yesterday was the Inaugural running of the 13.1 race series. 13.1 Marathon® is the Inaugural series of themed half marathons serving some of America’s top running communities with a stand-alone half marathon for locals to embrace and visitors to experience. It was held in Flushing Meadow Park and being that I have never run there, or in Queens ever I was really excited and looking forward to this race.
The day dawned bright and early for me and I was really happy at the gorgeous weather to to come. Met up with Scott and we were on our way to Flushing Meadow Park.
Flushing Meadow Park is 1255 acres of athletic fields, landscaped meadows, lakes, fountains, playgrounds, museums and a zoo. Just to give you an idea of how vast the park really is. It is also home to Citi Field where the NY Mets play baseball, The USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, the Unisphere, a monumental stainless steel globe, standing 140 feet high, which was presented to the 1964 World’s Fair by United States Steel. Today, it is Queens’ most recognizable symbol as the centerpiece for the park and it’s surrounding area is the park’s most popular meeting place. Also, where the race ended.
Upon arrival to the park we saw lots of folks coming off the 7 train and excitedly going to get their tee shirts and bibs for the race. I was unusually calm. I didn’t really think too much about the race leading up to it. Just sort of quietly looked forward to it and that was that. I had no plan, really. Just wanted to have fun and get the job done. It was great to randomly see some good friends before the start of the race and we all high fived each other and wished good luck. And then the gun went off.
I will try to remember how I felt during each mile of the race. So, miles 1 and 2 concerned me because my left ankle started hurting almost immediately. This was odd to me because on Thursday I had a great run over the Brooklyn Bridge with zero ankle pain. What gives? Then my left calf started feeling all sorts of tightness. I thought to myself, this can’t be good. I am hardly into this race and I am tight and hurting.
Mile 1 9.59 ~ Mile 2 10.21
Thankfully, by mile 3 everything loosened up and my calf and ankle started feeling better. Oh also miles 1 and 2 were very congested and I was dodging in and out. Perhaps, that had something to do with the pain and tightness? Mile 3 I settled into a groove and also noticed the heat. It was extremely warm and sunny, but in a good way. I was not wearing a hat and so my hair was really floppy and started dripping sweat into my eyes. I had to constantly swipe the hair away from the eyes.
Mile 3 10.42 Mile 4 10.42 (talk about consistent)
I decided that when I hit 5 miles I would take my first GU. My mistake was I took the wrong one first. I had one with caffeine and one without. I took the Espresso Love first with the caffeine. Of course I had to stop to do this and I am guessing this took a good 2 minutes of my fumbling to open the GU then getting it into my mouth and making sure I drank enough water to get it digested properly. The water stops and gatorade stops were wonderful. Fully stocked with ice cold liquids. There were wonderful volunteers actually handing us the cups. I ran another mile to mile 6 and decided to take a 1 minute walk break. I think it helped.
Mile 5 10.30 Mile 6 12.34 (had the GU and there was a big hill here as well)
At this point I was feeling a bit fatigued. Not sure why but I am guessing the heat. I was not out of breath just tired. Miles 7 and 8 weren’t too bad. I do remember at mile 8 passing a guy who was holding his sneakers in his hands and walking or should I say limping along in his socks. But, the most remarkable thing is that he was CRYING. I stopped to ask him if he was ok. TWICE, I asked him and not only did he not answer me, he didn’t even look at me. Just kept limping and crying loudly. I felt really badly for him, but what could I have done at that point? I also took my 2nd GU at some point here. The 2nd GU was decaffeinated or is it uncaffeinated which was my mistake. I should have saved the caffeine GU for last.
Mile 7 10.39 Mile 8 12.41 (2nd GU)
Miles 9 and 10 were cool because I spoke to a woman from San Francisco. She was nice enough to ask me how I was doing and then told me that she lives and trains in San Fran so this was easy for her. I ran with her a bit and then she got too fast for me. I also remember hitting mile 9 and announcing it to whomever was near me.
Mile 9 11.11 Mile 10 11.34
Now, I knew in my mind all I had left was a 5k. Easy peasy. Not really but I played the mind game to get me through these last miles. I didn’t notice that much about my surroundings but I do remember running near the highway and under overpasses and over overpasses and running through the grassy areas due to flooding on the main roads. That was actually pretty neat. I think. I was so excited that I made it this far. And I was running mostly alone the whole time.
Mile 11 11.43 (walked 1 minute) Mile 12 12.03 (waked perhaps 1.30)
Now I knew I was going to finish. Just had 1.1 miles to go. So easy. So hard. At some point I saw Jenna and her dad, Eissa and Scott and they all called my name and screamed at me to keep going and finish strong and your almost there!!!! Got a high five from Scott and I just kept on pushing and pushing until I crossed that finish line.
Mile 13 10.57 Mile 0.29 3.01
Official Time: 1.28.40 11.11 min/mile
I loved this race. I had fun. No injuries. I spend a lot of time icing my ankle and calf area when I got home yesterday. I think that really helped to bring down the inflammation in my ankle. I do feel a little concerned as to why after 14 years, its giving me a bit of grief but I will go easy when I need to and ice it every day.
I don’t know what I did right or wrong in this race, but I do feel good that I finished 16 minutes faster than last year’s NYC Half Marathon.
I feel really good today. I had a great 15 mile bike ride and an easy 2 mile recovery run. Both felt good and easy with no pain at all.
I have 2 more half marathons on my race calendar that I will talk about more as it comes closer. Right now I need to concentrate on getting some speed back into my legs. I will be attending (HOPEFULLY) my first speed workout in a long time on Wednesday night. I will also be running pretty hard, not necessarily long. But not sure yet of my schedule.
There is a 4 mile race that I most likely will be doing next Sunday so that will be a good test of my endurance and speed.
I am a dreamer, but I will deny it until the day I die. :O)