I signed up for the Staten Island Half Marathon once I started running again. I had 6 weeks to go from zero miles to a marathon so this race fit right in. My friend Stephan was running it too and it would be his first Half Marathon. I knew we would be celebrating after.
I was worried on Thursday as my legs had not fully recovered from that Sunday’s Marathon. I even went out that morning with Abbe and took like 5 strides before going back inside. Luckily Friday was the magic day. My quads and calves were all healed and I executed a nice 4 miler.
The night before the race Abbe and I stayed in and rested. It had been a busy week AND we had to wake up at 5AM to catch the Staten Island Ferry. Ew.
We watched Ironman Kona LIVE and cheered on our peeps!
When I woke up at 5AM I was well rested and ready to go. A little Cafe Bustelo and a Clif Bar for fuel. I also need to thank Amy Freeze (our local meteorologist/runner) who was out covering the race. Watching her report she noted that even though it was 55 degrees, it was very windy out there and chilly. Had I not seen that I wouldn’t have brought my windbreaker and would have been frozen!
We popped a cab down the FDR to the Staten Island Ferry and met Stephan and Amanda. The place was jumpin, but nothing like NYC Marathon race day. We piled on the 7:30AM ferry and made our way to the new world. Unlike the rainy forecast from earlier in the week, we had a beautiful sunrise casting some amazing light on Lady L.
I slammed down a bottle of Gen UCANN while on the ferry.
Stephan and I parted with the gals who were on cheer patrol and made our way to the corrals. It was very windy and very chilly. I knew that once I got running I would warm up, but until then I was happy to have my windbreaker (the same one from the Connemarathon).
I was right up front within the first 20 people or so. I placed myself to the left as I wanted people to be able to pass me if I couldn’t kick my initial speed up. After a brief delay we were off.
We were running fast as hell and I was able to hang on like my old self. We wound our way east before turning and heading west toward the Verrazano Narrows Bridge. At mile 1 I eased up on the throttle as if I were a plane that just hit 10,000 feet after takeoff. People passed me, but I just smiled and kept a good rhythm.
I was running without a Garmin and just feeling it all. My knee felt great and my engines were good. The sun was shining and I started heating up. I pulled off the windbreaker and bunched it into a bundle the size of a baseball. It’s an awesome jacket.
The first 3 miles ticked off quickly. I have no idea what my pace was. Maybe 7:30’s? At mile 4 I was feeling great and my old competitive side popped in and I decided to fire it a up a bit. Why not?
Miles 5-7 I was steadily passing people and getting comfortable with being uncomfortable. I could feel my quads and calves starting to burn, but I kinda liked it. You go so long without having that familiar running pain you almost welcome it when you can run again.
At this one aid station I heard the ladies yell to the gal right behind me, “You’re 1st female!” “Um, no she isn’t.” I thought. Why would they misinform her like that? I felt it my duty to fix the situation. I slowed down a bit and as she came up along side I said, “You’re in 3rd, the number 2 is just 20-30 seconds up and wearing all black!” She thanked me and proceeded forward. My work was done here. She would go on to take 2nd in the race.
Before the turnaround we saw the leaders come through. 2 guys were way out in front. Cassidy, a local guy (who is a pretty stand up guy) ended up winning it in 1:07. Nice work!
On the way back there was a headwind. Me and a bunch of the local racers (Whippets, Harriers, and North Brooklyn) were working together in a tight flying V. It helped out so much. The minute you tried to leave the pack it was like a blast of air slowing you down. We could also see everyone trailing us. In the mix I saw Erin and my friend Jim, hey guys!
Miles 5-9 are also very uneventful as far as a course goes. Its just a boring open highway. The only saving grace was this DJ under an overpass blasting some tunes. As I happen to be going by he was playing Kiss, ‘Back in the New York Groove’ and it felt really appropriate and made me smile.
By now the miles WERE NOT ticking off quickly. I was getting hot and had to dump some water on my head at an aid station. I had switched on my ipod at this point to try and get me through the final painful miles.
One thing that kept me entertained was the soon to be 3rd place female. Out of nowhere she comes blasting past me in red Newtons, almost like dancing to whatever was on her headphones. She was pretty awesome. The two of us overtook the 3rd place female, hence she became 3rd, and pretty much leapfrogged the last few miles.
The course itself is actually quite hilly, and the last mile or so is a doozy of an uphill. Thank god you then get a flat break followed by a downhill to the Finish. I blazed down the hill and made a left to the end when I noticed this dude trying to sprint ahead of me! Not today buddy. I kicked it up a bit more and blasted ahead, coming in at 1:27:33!
Filtering into the finish line festival I noticed this awesome band playing Bruce Springsteen (so well in fact) that I thought it might have been him. I looked for Abbe and Amanda, but I couldn’t find them. I grabbed a slice of pizza and checked out the band. They were playing a great selection of cover songs and were really good.
After 30 minutes or so I went to watch for Stephan to finish. I found and congratulated him and then we were spotted by the gals.
Back to NYC! We hopped on the ferry and had celebratory beers procured by the gals! Thanks!
Once we were back on the other island we hit one of our favorite spots, Fraunces Tavern, for some food. We spent the rest of the day out with friends all over the city celebrating since Stephan rocked his first Half Marathon!