Yesterday was a beautiful day for a race in New York City. The weather was perfect, I couldn’t have hoped for a better morning.
I woke up bright eyed and bushy tailed at 6:15 am on Sunday morning. I felt so spoiled because I got to sleep in so late. It was nice to roll out of bed, head on over to Central Park and get in my corral in 45 minutes! Anything is better than waking up at 3:15 am, like I did for Disney!
When I got to the start line, I immediately made my way to find the Birthday Girl – Dori! Yesterday she rocked the NYC Half on her birthday!
Aileen was an awesome friend and she agreed to be my sport photographer for the race. She got some awesome pictures of the first runners!
Now THOSE are some fast runners!
I finally made it to the Start line with the mass group of people and I was ready to get my run on. I had some technical difficulties at the start. When the corrals started to move I realized my Garmin didn’t have satellite location yet. I knew if I crossed that start line before my Garmin was ready, I would be off to a rocky start not knowing my pace in the crowds or my time. I pulled over to the side and let my Garmin find its location, but in the process I ended up letting a whole other corral (and maybe more!) pass me.
Running around Central Park is awesome for your friends and family members watching you because you get to see them multiple times.
I first got to see Aileen around mile 1, right off the bat. I threw her the long sleeve I was wearing to keep me warm in the morning. Seeing my support team (all one of her!) within the first mile was the nice little boost I needed to keep me moving forward to try to beat out the crowds.
I was all smiles at mile 1 – pretty pumped to be running in the city! Obviously I am still rocking the hand waving!
Running in the park was fun, but not easy. The roads aren’t the widest and for the first half of the race there are lots of people running around you. Too many people running around you.
It’s pretty much like herding cattle.
The NYRR Volunteers were trying to keep the racers on one side of the road, while trying to keep a recreation lane open for people not in the race. I thought this was sort of out of control. There were so many people running, I think they should have regulated the recreation runners/bikers/what not to the Central Park paths off the road. It was only for 3 hours max, I don’t think that would be a big deal, right?
Like most of my other races, miles 1-3 is a continuous fight to get out of the crowds of people. Aileen caught me coming up strong on Mile 3, still with so many people around me!
I was still all smiles at this point, feeling good at mile 3! Only 10 more to go! Another picture with my hands up!
I love these two pictures! Aileen got some awesome action shots!
After seeing Aileen at this point I was headed towards the hilly area of Central Park. If you haven’t run there before there is one big hill that comes up and spits you out, but then you find yourself at the bottom of an even bigger hill that has two tight curves.
These hills were from mile 4 – 5 1/2(ish) and they were as fun as hills can be during a race. I remember them well from last year and I am always surprised at how random they are in Central Park. They come out of nowhere! But I do appreciate that they were a nice challenge.
The hills always separate the runners from the non-runners, don’t you agree? The worst is when you are barreling up a hill and then someone stops to walk right in front of you. That’s a man down situation.
After killing the hills the race takes you through right where you started in the corrals. Between miles 6-7 you pass by where you waited in the morning.
Then I got to see Aileen again! She was waiting for me around mile 7, right before I was able to exit the park!
PS – Check out the “recreation lane”! Does that make sense to anyone? We paid all this money to run this race and they can only shut down half the road for thousands of people? So weird!
And then I was off, headed for Time’s Square…
After seeing Aileen around mile 7 there was still another mile or so that we had to repeat before we were out of Central Park. Still crowded!
I took some pretty pictures to entertain myself.
Then before I knew it, we were exiting the park and hitting the city.
This is when the crowds get a little better. I must admit that running through Central Park during the race is lonely. There aren’t that many people out cheering you on. It’s awesome you get to see your friends and family a few times (like I got to see Aileen 3) but the rest of the time there isn’t much to look at.
Running from Central Park through Times Square is another story completely. I love this part of the race because there is so much going on and so many people out to watch.
The energy from the city and the spectators made this part of the race fly by, which is always awesome, because between mile 8-10 it starts to hurt a little. I love running through Times Square, but it is over so fast! It only lasted about a mile and a half, and I wish more of the race was through more of the city.
After making my way through Times Square the race route takes you out to West Side Highway.
This part of the race is my arch nemesis.
I hate the last 3 miles of a Half Marathon with the fire of a thousand suns. Is that dramatic enough for you? They are always the worst mentally and physically for me. As I have said before, 10 miles are my happy place.
Like Central Park, the West Side Highway is kind of dead in terms of spectators and race entertainment, and for me personally, this is when I need that the most. At this point, the last 3 miles, I start to do crazy math in my head to see what I need to do to finish at a certain time. Like I said before, I wasn’t trying to finish at a certain time, I only wanted to beat my previous NYC Half time from last year.
While I was struggling the last few miles, Aileen was taking some amazing race pictures. She snapped the below picture of this guy running towards the finish with a bouquet of flowers and a Tiffany’s bag! We like to think he was proposing to his girlfriend at the end! So cute right! What else could he be doing with that stuff?!
Do you see the difference in space and amount of people from the earlier pictures in the race? Crazy right?
After a painful last two miles or so I ended up seriously surprising myself and crossing the finish line 2 whole minutes faster than my previous PRs at the Disney Princess and Philadelphia Half Marathons.
A NEW PR:
It has always been a little tiny secret goal of mine to get a sub 1:50 Half Marathon time. I honestly didn’t think I could go any faster than Disney/Philly. I didn’t think it was possible, but apparently it is! I was on cloud 9 as I crossed that finish line and checked my Garmin!
I want to give a shout out to Aileen for coming to support me at the race. Fiancé and fiancé’s family were supposed to come but he and his mom were randomly sick at the same time, and my other friend was going to come watch and cheer, but she had to cancel last minute. So I went from a cheering team of 5 to 1, but I am so grateful Aileen was there for me. She’s my original running buddy, so I can’t think of anyone else I would rather have there with me at the race. She’s the best friend and sports photographer ever!
At the finish line I also got to catch up with Dori and fiancé’s sister, (my future sister in law!) Kate! Both did awesome during their first Half Marathons! Congrats ladies!
What do you do after running 13.1 miles in NYC? Brunch of course! Kate, Aileen and I were in search of mimosas and bloody mary’s to celebrate our race! We hit up Hi-Life on West Side to satisfy our food and drink cravings post-run!
Cheers to another great race in NYC!
After ordering food and drink I checked out my newest medal. I can’t wait to add this to the race board.
One side of the medal says:
The other side, which is hard to read in this picture, says:
Through the Heart of the City
I like this medal better than last years, what do you think?
Back to brunch – we enjoyed some bread for the table, complete with raspberry butter…can we say, YUM!? It was delish!
Not much is better after a killer race than spinach and cheese omelet and some potatoes. It was the perfect post race meal!
And then we got some beer! It was such a beautiful day out in the city and we were so pumped about our run, we wanted to continue the celebration!
It was a great end to a lovely weekend in NYC! I had so much fun and got to hang out with so many awesome people! I can’t wait to go back and visit soon!