Hellooooo!!! I know I’ve been MIA for a while, but hey sometimes life gets in the way! Couple that with the non-stop marathon training I’ve been doing this summer and it has surely been a doosey! I haven’t been racing that much other than completing NYRR’s 9+1 program which will guarantee me entry into the 2016 NYC Marathon, which I doubt I’ll be doing, but never say never! I’m in taper mode right now, so no more super weekend long runs, and basically I’m just maintaining until the big dance on November 1st.
This past Sunday I ran for the 2nd time in Staten Island. I remember last year after leaving I said I was never going back there again, and low and behold I was back there again! I remember last year as soon as I got out of the car I said out loud “what the heck is that smell!” I mean Staten Island (SI) was funky! This year however, I didn’t smell anything weird so SI redeemed itself in my book, and the race was already off to a good start. This year NYRR changed the course route. Last year it was an out and back, so the exact route we ran out, we turned around and ran the same way back. This year however that all changed.
The walk to the start was incredibly long. Race Central is in Richmond County Bank Ballpark which was home to the Staten Island Yankees. We exit the stadium underground and proceed up the stairs, and out to the corals. Now this race is massive, so there are people everywhere. I felt as though we walked at least a half a mile just to get to our coral.
I was feeling really good at the start of the race. My plan going in was to keep my pace in the 9’s. I didn’t have a set pace of high 9’s or low 9’s but to just stay under 10 the entire race. I accomplished that goal for the first 5 miles of the race. At mile 6 I stopped to get some gatorade, and take in some nutrition so my pace that mile was 10:09. When I look back and think on this I do the same thing every single race. Instead of picking up my pace in mile 5 so I do not loose precious time on my mile 6 nutrition, I always maintain the same pace. Some day soon I will master this and get my pacing right; practice makes perfect. Anywho, I took in my stingers and gatorade, and the course turned onto some type of weird brick walk way. As I’m running I think this is strange. It was not a comfortable run and all, and I hoped it would be over soon. It was, but it only got worse. We ended up running on the boardwalk. This was not a smooth boardwalk at all. It was rickety and almost unstable. I almost felt like at any moment it was going to collapse with the number of people that were running on it. I’ve never run on a boardwalk so this was something new to me. Miles 8-9 was absolute torture for me, and as much as I tried I just could not go any faster. I really began to get discouraged at that point, because I was making such good time and it just all almost came to a screeching halt. When we finally exited the boardwalk after 2 miles I was overjoyed! I didn’t care what else was on the horizon. As I round a mini hill, and come around a bend I encounter the biggest hill I’ve ever seen! I mean the thing was massive and this picture just does not do it justice. It was a great scenic route though running under the Verazzano Bridge. As I’m attempting to run up the hill I realize that I was losing the battle so I started to walk it. Everyone around me was walking so I thought what the heck! There was a guy running next to me and he was running so slow I patted him on the shoulder and said just walk it out man, you’ll get up this thing much faster. He laughed and said you’re right!
Once we made it up that hill we ran into Fort Wadsworth Park. I have to say it was a really beautiful route, and it made me forget about the massive hill I just climbed. By mile 10 I stopped for some gatorade and just tried to regroup so that I could finish strong. Once I was there I said you have 5k to go, finish strong. Mile 11 went well, mile 12 I stopped for more gatorade, and I don’t know what the heck happened during mile 13. All I know is that I ran the most difficult half marathon course I have ever ran, and I did it in the fastest time that I’ve ever ran 13.1. I was shocked and extremely pleased with the end result. I always say that yes running is physical, but it is an extreme mental game as well. I can tell myself to keep going and push through, and somehow I get it done. My ultimate goal now is to do a sub 2hr half marathon. I don’t care if it is 1:59:59, as long as I finish in under 2hrs. I know it won’t happen this year since I don’t have any more half’s planned (well just 1), but this is my 1 running goal that I am shooting for in 2016.
Overall I really enjoyed this race. I read many comments about people complaining about the hills, and all I can say is suck it up. You knew you were running Staten Island, and you knew it was hilly, so just be happy that you were able to complete 13.1 on such a hard course. New Yorkers run in Central Park so we are use to running hills. Complaining about this course was unnecessary. I liked the race, but an hour plus to get there, and 3hrs to get off SI and home is enough for me to say this is the last time I’ll be doing it.
My next big race is the NYC Marathon on November 1st. Be sure to follow me on my social media platforms as I’ll be vlogging, and periscoping from the expo, and other events I’ll be attending marathon weekend.