Thursday, 31 December 2015

Marathon Training in the Polar Vortex and the NYC Half

NYC Half Expo
At the NYC Half Expo.
I’m having a difficult time believing that it’s already the middle of March, but that’s what my calendar keeps telling me and I’m not going to argue with it. As of today, I’m less than 50 days away from the Lansing Marathon—a scary thought—and thus I ran the NYRR’s NYC Half as a “progress report” of sorts, to see how well my winter training (read: running outdoors out of sheer defiance of the Polar Vortex) is paying off.

A sidebar here on running in the high winds, heavy snow, and sub-zero temperatures that winter storm after winter storm has thrown at us in 2014—it has been incredibly difficult to stay motivated to layer up and step out into the arctic tundra that was NYC for the majority of January and February. I spent far more time on the treadmill than I would have liked to, and my knees have been reminding me of this fact every weekend when I force myself out of bed for 8:00am long runs with the group at JackRabbit on the Upper West Side. I will, however, say that, despite the bitter cold and fear of breaking an ankle on not-yet-salted black ice in Central Park, there’s no better feeling than coming home with another 15+ miles under your belt and the reward of a hot shower and hot breakfast followed by a nice, long nap.
Bib and finisher's medal.
Bib and finisher’s medal.
Back to the NYC Half—I was very fortunate to have been able to participate in this race, and I’m so glad I had the opportunity! When NYRR did the first drawing for the half back in January, I wasn’t one of the runners chosen in the lottery—a big disappointment, naturally—but thanks to some help from the city, the field size was able to increase and I had a second, successful, chance to get in. While I wish we could have had Saturday’s 50+ degree weather to run in today, I made due with somewhere between 28 and 31 degrees between the 7:30am start time of Wave 1 and my finish shortly after 9:00am (at least it was sunny, right?). While I was expecting a finish somewhere between 1:40:00 and 1:43:00, I was stunned/excited to the point of near hyperventilation when I passed the 1:40 pacer during the last mile of the race—meaning I was definitely going to set a new personal best time and cross off my goal half time of running sub-1:40 in 2014. My official results from NYRR show a net time of 1:39:51, averaging 7:38 per mile—and according to my Nike+ Sportwatch, I ran a 7 minute mile somewhere in there!
All told, I’m really proud of myself for sticking with training on the days when I would have rather stayed in bed with the dog, and I also owe a huge THANK YOU to my friends for not only being okay with my anti-social behavior on Saturday nights, but also for waking up far too early on a Sunday morning to meet me at the finish line for brunch (you guys are the very best). So, I’ll leave you with some photographic evidence of the day… happy running!
Post-race snap before the warm, dry clothes arrived.
Post-race snap before the warm, dry clothes arrived.