WARNING: This recap will be pretty boring. I didn’t really take a lot of pictures and by a lot I mean, I only took 1…because my stupid phone has a habit of telling me my memory is full EVEN WHEN IT ISN’T! So, this will be pretty wordy.
I’m going to be honest. I was not feeling this race. The hassle of going to Central Park, the hassle of running in Central Park. The exhaustion from having done Goofy (a half and a full marathon) and Glass Slipper Challenge (10k and a half marathon…plus a 5K the day before for good measure) all within 2 months of this race had me feeling drained. It was cold and dismal out and well, yeah, I just didn’t want to do it.
BUT, I had entered the lottery for this race. And actually got into this race. Since I never “win” anything, I couldn’t NOT do it. So, i headed off to Central Park for the start of this race. I had absolutely no goals in my mind other than survival. I didn’t do a bag check because bag check closed about 30 minutes to an hour before I had to be there before the corrals closed. I opted for extra sleep.
There were 3 waves, all with I want to say approximately 10 corrals each. I, of course was in the 3rd wave (yay for later sleep time). I was in talking with people in my corral to kill time until it started. We were all discussing races, run strategies, etc. When I told them I was going to run/walk because it makes me faster, I got some judgmental looks. Whatever…I would have my revenge later!
We inched closer and closer to the start line and I’d say about 50-100m before the start line people started running, including all the “friends” I had made in the corral. I kinda looked at them like, “ok, you want start you go right ahead, I’m not trying to run more than I have to” which also worked out well because I was able to see Karla announcing runners at the start! And totally geeking out over seeing her, I proceeded to yell and jump up and down. Yup, I’m a dork.
Central Park sucks. OK, that’s not entirely true. But, when 90% of the races you do are in Central Park, Central Park sucks. Plus, this time of year, nothing was blooming so it was kind of depressing on top of the HILLS OF DOOM! I started off the first 2 miles way too fast (for me). I skipped a couple of walk intervals because they came on a downhill and I wanted to take advantage of that. After about 2.5 miles you briefly leave the park to run down and back on 110th street. When you come back in, one of the HILLS OF DOOM happen. I had another 3 miles to do in this park, my legs have been through a lot, and so I just said F it…I’m walking this sucker. And I did. I know that was the wrong attitude to have, but honestly, I didn’t care. Another day, another time, I can motivate myself. I saw a pace group run my me and the pace leader was saying all sorts of motivational things, but I just wasn’t feeling it. That HILL OF DOOM was just not worth the cost of the rest of this race. So I walked it. I walked the WHOLE HILL OF DOOM. And then I walked the other HILL OF DOOM. And I’m ok with that. Sometimes, you just gotta walk.
My one and only picture from the race…BUT I LOVED THIS SIGN
Clearly not on a HILL OF DOOM. I think I was smiling because I could see the exit from the park! *photo by marathonfoto
FINALLY it’s time to leave the park. I was so glad to be out of there!
OK, another confession…running down 7th Avenue, into Times Square was kind of freaking cool. That right there made the race worth it. There was tons of people and crowd support! It was almost like you were in a parade or something. Basically, this stretch makes you feel like a big freaking deal and that’s something to enjoy.
Look at me, I’m the King of New York! *photo by marathonfoto
You get about a mile on 7th Avenue, all of which you’re singing “King of New York” from Newsies because that’s how you feel. After that, you head west on 42nd Street until you hit water.
I feel it important to mention the Germans at this point. There was a large group of Germans running together and they were pretty much my motivation to keep going. I saw them in Central Park. They were all different speeds…the faster ones would stop and take pictures and then catch up while the slower runners kept on trucking. Keeping them in my sights became my goal for the race.
Under normal circumstances, this stretch of the West Side Highway would be great. Beautiful scenery…yes, even with New Jersey being on the other side. You get to run by naval ships and other cool things. The downside: the wind. This stretch was so cold! So I tried to focus on the entertainment of the Germans.
Around mile 10. one of the judgmental people from the corral spotted me when I was on a walk break and started walking with me (I thought you didn’t walk). She had said something along the lines of “we started together (which we kinda didn’t) so let’s finish together” I always prefer running with someone to no one, so I said sure. We ran together, then it came time for my next walk interval and she said she was going to keep running. OK. (See, for the record, she left me first…again). So I took my walk break, then caught up to her again on my run break. Then she walked with me again. Walk break over, she sent me ahead saying she wasn’t ready to start running again. So I kept running. I never saw her again the rest of the race. She never caught up with me. Considering her “predicted finish time” on her bib was listed as 15 minutes faster than mine, I took added pleasure that my method (she judged) made me faster than her. I’m kind of a bitch, I know, but I told you, I wasn’t feeling this race.
About mile 11.5 we head into the World Trade Center, which was/is a bit overwhelming for me. But it’s motivating. It keeps you going.
Mile 12, we’re now in my part of town…office wise. Somewhere around here I also lost the Germans. They were behind me somewhere and again, never saw them pass me. This is also where you enter a tunnel where you feel like death. It’s dark and no air circulation. So, it’s great in that it’s not freezing, but then you’re dying from heat. And it’s a pretty long tunnel, which also makes it a pretty boring stretch.
Finally you exit and run along FDR Drive, almost up to South Street Seaport, but not quite. You turn, make another turn and you see the finish line…which I don’t have a picture of.
The finish line is on Wall Street and Water Street. After you finish, you walk for what feels like another mile until you get out of the race tunnel. No seriously, I was let out near my office which is some blocks away. What I did enjoy/appreciate at the finish is that they had clear bags filled with a water bottle, a gatorade bottle and snacks for us. I LOVED that they had it in a bag. Makes life so much easier to carry the stuff. Also great? The volunteers handing out the blankets. Besides them there handing out blankets, they saw me struggling to get my blanket on with the wind and my goody bag in hand and so they helped put it on me AND they were all equipped with tape so the blanket would stay on without holding it! That was also great. Take note people!
The subway is right there by the finish, which is convenient…I was almost tempted to go to CrossFit right there and use their foam roller but I was too cold and really wishing I had checked a bag so I had something warm to put on.
I don’t know if this race is worth the price tag. Obviously weather is out of their control, but I think that if it was sunny and/or less windy, it definitely would have been a more enjoyable race. Central Park still sucks but running down 7th Avenue is pretty cool. Right now, I’m registered for other borough races that will guarantee me entry to next year’s race…so we’ll see how that goes.