Sunday I completed my 5th of 9 races to get guaranteed entry into the 2015 NYC Marathon, and it surely was a doosey! I’m probably not the first New Yorker to never have ventured to Staten Island because lets face it, if you don’t know someone who lives there, or like minor league baseball there really is no reason to go there is it?? Staten Islanders please clue me in. So my first time to Staten Island was definitely a memorable one, and I don’t know that it is exactly a good memory. Fall in New York, the weather can be hit or miss. 2 weeks ago at the Bronx 10 mile it was hot and we were sweating bullets, and Sunday it was chilly and I barely broke a sweat. Granted when I got going the weather was perfect, but waiting around for the race to start I was freezing my britches off.
The race started right outside Richmond County Bank Ball Park, home of the Staten Island Yankees. From my understanding (and I have very little of baseball) this is a minor league team, and little brother to the Yankees that play in the Bronx. The stadium was beautiful and sits right on the water so the views were great. If you squint you can see a view of the site of the new World Trade Center behind me. We got to Staten Island pretty early like 6:30 a.m. because the main road in would be closed for the race, and we wanted to find a good parking spot which we were lucky enough to find a block from the stadium. There were 9,537 finishers in this race, and 4,472 of them were women, so you can imagine the line for the bathroom. We got there right on time because about 15 minutes later the line was 30+ people long. Sometimes arriving early has its advantages!
Fast forward to the race start at 8:30am. I’d say the first couple miles were pretty flat and I was very comfortable. But after that came the hills. And I mean hills and hills! This was an out and back course, so if you went down a hill on the way out, you had to climb that hill on the way back. You can get an idea of the hill action in this pic. These hills were really non-stop. Some small, some very large. Somewhere between mile 9-11 there was a monster hill, and as I am slowly trekking up it my left ankle starts to get a twinge, and I’m thinking hmmmm this is a pain I’ve never felt before, so I walked up the remainder of that hill to see if I would feel better which I did thank goodness. The first half of the race I felt pretty good. I’d even say up to mile 9 I was feeling awesome, and then I hit the wall. Runners know what that wall is. Having run a maximum of 10 miles to date, and clocking very little mileage for the past two weeks, I expected that wall to come sooner or later. Thank goodness it came later because I definitely would not have made it through if it came any sooner. At mile 8 you can see my time increased, that was because at this water station there was powerade gels. I don’t eat these, but I grabbed a few to try later. I was trying to squeeze those suckers into my belt, and it took longer than planned so that mile was slow. Mile 9 I picked it back up, but by mile 10 there was the wall. My body was just telling me to stop. My thighs were burning, the bottom of my feet were aching, I still felt that twinge in my ankle, but surprising my knee that I had ITB Syndrome on was ok. At this point I started walking. I am so happy that my buddy Tarnia was with me the entire race, and I screwed up her time (sorry Tarnia), but she really pulled me through those last 3 miles. She calls me her rabbit because she use to follow me around the track, but now she is my rabbit. So thankful to her. BGR LI is truly a sisterhood, and we take that no women left behind moto seriously! Those last 3 miles were super hard, and slow, but I made it through thankfully! The race ended inside the stadium which was nice. As soon as I crossed the finishline I made a beeline to the medical tent to get some ice for my knee and ankle. I was a little sore the next 36hrs, but I am feeling much better today. I think the ice and an Epsom salt bath afterwards really helped.
Some pics from the day:
I think the Staten Island Half will probably be a one and done for me. The traffic to get out was horrendous and it took us 2.5hrs to get home. Coupled with the hills it is going to be really hard to get me back to that boro!
I have a much needed race break this weekend, so I’ll probably spend the next week and a half in the pool and rest my feet. This double race weekend really wore me out. I have learned my lesson to not only check my calendar the day of a race to see if I am free, but to check the day before and after as well. No more jam packed race weekends for me!!! Happy Tuesday!