In preparation for the Queens Half Marathon (and by preparation I mean ‘carb-o-loading’) Erika took me to her favorite Italian restaurant, Pisticci’s.
Upon arriving we were immediately greeted by a server who knew Erika. I was impressed. We were promptly seated and ordered our drinks, mine being a fancy beer and Erika opting for a fancy cocktail. The food was amazing. For my entree I had a goat cheese and red pepper stuffed ravioli, topped with a vodka sauce laced with shrimp. Perfection!
I’m not sure if any of you were out Friday night, but around 8:30PM all hell broke loose. The skies opened up and an intense thunderstorm ensued! It looked straight out of a movie and I blame the full moon.
I was once again impressed, when Erika insisted that we would have no problem getting a cab right across the street, and she was spot on. It was a great night and I was no doubt ready for the Queen’s Half the next morning.
At 5AM it was already 80 degrees.
The Queen’s Half Marathon (most Royal of races…) takes place in Corona Park Queens, which is an easy subway ride. I always love pre-race subway rides to the course because at every stop groups of runners get on. Its like a real-life Nike commercial or something.
At baggage we met Erika’s friend Jen and then headed to our corrals.
Up in the front, as the announcements were being made ( “Don’t try and PR as it’s brutally hot” and “Be careful”) I was in my head and getting amped up for the run.
As the gun went off I held onto the lead pack (which was thick as thieves) for the first mile before it thinned out and the speedsters took off.
The first 6 miles were an out and back course along College Point Blvd. At mile 2’s water station I passed my buddy Lam and yelled out to him! It was right around this point when I thought to myself “Holy cow, it’s freakin’ hot already and the sun isn’t even blazing yet!”
At mile 3 there was a factory or something spewing some sort of smoke and for a moment I felt like we were running a Sci-Fi race in the not so distant industrial future. Think Blade Runner meets Mad Max.
On the return trip I saw my friend Elizabeth (or Ms. Ritz) and we yelled hi! Soon after I saw Erika and we yelled to each other as well. This lifted my spirits and kept my head high.
It’s pretty safe to say that at every aid station (there were 13) I dumped 2 cups of water on my head. In fact, I may have only drank a total of 4 to the 26 that ended up on me. I was also running THROUGH the big puddles left behind from the night’s thunderstorms to help cool my feet, which were now on fire.
At mile 9 something happened where I felt awesome and kind of kicked it up a notch. It was 8AM now and the sun was high in the sky projecting its rays with no mercy.
I’m not going to lie. Pretty much from the start of the race to the finish I wanted to stop running and call it a day. Looking back, I have no idea what kept me going, but I actually sped up as the miles decreased.
At mile 11 we were heading back to the finish area and I was pretty excited. Looking at the clock times, I thought I had a chance at staying sub 1:30. Why I chose that number I don’t know, but it kept me motivated! It was here I passed a guy whose outfit looked strangely familiar. I turned and looked at him and it was the guy who I finished the Rev 3 Half Ironman neck-and-neck with in June! I said hi quickly and then kept on pushing forward.
Mile 12 we got to run around the giant globe sculpture which was kinda cool, aside from the pain we were all experiencing at this point that is.
The crowds got thick and as the finish came into view I picked up and finished fast, but no sprint. I was pretty excited to be done AND that there was a fire hose just past the finish.
My time was 1:28:39 which is my worst Half Marathon time, but I was still happy to have just finished a battle like that in such extreme conditions.
I made my way to a good vantage point to see Erika come through the finish chute. I was walking around barefoot which never felt better.
I saw Jen come through and then Erika a little later. Both gals looked great and finished strong!
After the race, we had a fun subway ride back to Manhattan as we ran into Sharon and Maria.
A few hours later we would regroup with Sharon to have some beers with her to celebrate her birthday AND the fact that she ran an extra 5.5 miles to top her run out at 30K! Nice work.
A lot of my running friends ran in this race (some of which I didn’t get a chance to see). I know runners get down on themselves if they don’t PR, but they should all be proud of themselves for finishing such a tough Half Marathon!