So I haven't been running that much lately, but I decided to do the Manhattan Half anyway. I figured I could count it as a long run, but of course there's always the drive to run it faster when you're in a race situation. Even though I knew I wasn't going to set a PR, I still ran it faster than I would have otherwise. (Something about running with 5,000 other lunatics braving the sub-freezing weather I guess!)
Well, it hurt. After a few miles in, I didn't really know how I was going to finish. By 8 or 9 miles I really wanted to stop and rest. The only reason I didn't stop was to exercise my mental
stamina. Again, I knew I wasn't going to set a PR. But forcing myself to go on was good discipline for future races, where I'm sure there will be times when I feel the desire to stop and rest.
As you'll see from my splits, I kept getting slower and slower. Perhaps I started a little too fast, and that was the problem. It didn't seem that way to me. I think I'm just out of shape from not having put in enough miles. I havn't run more than 10 miles since the marathon in November, and even 10 I haven't done since mid December. Not training definitely hurt my performance. (Just as training definitely helped it in November!)
Total: 1:45:29 (8:03 pace)
A couple of things to point out. Miles 2 and 8 are on the Harlem Hill. It's a huge hill, and most people have trouble with it. For some reason I'm able to stay strong on the hill. (My splits are fairly consistent compared with those before and after it.) I find that I pass a ton of people going up the hills. Unfortunately, I'm not able to pick up the speed on the downhill, and they all pass me back. I like the feeling of consistency, but I do think I should be able to take better advantage of the downhill.
Also, you can see that the slowdown is gradual, except for a few noticable bumps. Obviously mile 13 is because it was close to the finish and I was trying to get a 1:45:xx finish. Mile 7 is a different story.
At the start of the race, the race director introduced Meb Keflizighi
. (For my non-runner friends, he was the Silver medalist in the 2004 Olympic marathon.) I thought it was pretty cool that he was there, but it was even cooler when I passed him on the course. Ok, I didn't actually pass
him. He was running the opposite direction, but he was cheering on the runners, which was pretty awesome of him. When I saw him on the other side of the park I was ready. I stepped out of the lane for a second and yelled "High five, Meb!" He obliged with a smile, and I felt totally energized. I picked up my speed for the abovementioned mile 7 bump. (And then settled right back into my gradual decline...)
All in all, even though I'm still sore two days later, it was a good experience. I've become a benefactor this year, so I don't have to pay entrance fees to most races. That really helped because I wasn't well trained and I hadn't registered in advance. Knowing that it was free helped me decide to just sign up at the last second.
(For other New Yorkers out there, if you run enough races it's definitely worth it. The NYRR website says it's a good deal if you run 15 races a year. I think that's not updated for new prices. Regular membership is $40, and the benefactor price is $199, or $159 more. Regular races are $15, and so by 11 races you've made back $165. If you itemize your deductions, it's even better. $103 is tax deductible, giving you a tax savings of about $40, and so the cost is only about $159, or $119 more than a regular membership. By 8 races you've broken even already. And even if you don't end up saving money, there's some value to being able to sign up for races at the last second for no extra cost. I've been a NYRR member for years and never figured this out until now. That's why I'm passing on this information.)