I ran the NYC Half Marathon this morning. All week I was a little nervous about the weather--it's been incredibly hot, stuffy, and humid in New York, and although I knew the race started early (7 am) I was still worried about the race conditions. But it turned out to be a beautiful morning for running. A little hot, sure, but overall just gorgeous.
My realistic goal was to beat last year's time of 10 minute 23 second miles, and my outside goal was to average under 10-minute miles. The results have just been posted, and I averaged 9 minute 31 second miles! Almost a whole minute better than last year. This despite getting most of my carbs this weekend via beer.
Rose and I started the race together as we did last year, but lost each other after the first mile. I felt pretty good in the Park, familiar territory.
Early on I run behind a guy in a bright blue Speedo, knee-high red and white socks, bright blue running shoes, and nothing else. "Full Moon Rising" and "nakedauthor.com" were written on his back in big black letters. He was holding a copy of his book. I see him all throughout the race and at the finish line. Pretty memorable publicity campaign. Also ran behind a tall man in a turban with a T-shirt stating "Proud to be Sikh." Two girls with bunny ears. "Good job, bunnies!" a woman cheered.
After one lap around, maybe mile 6 or 7, all of a sudden I look down to my right and see this big dog (I think a rottweiler) rotting trotting happily next to me. He's going at my exact same pace, and so we run together for a few minutes. He's slobbering everywhere, but I'm so delighted and charmed that I don't mind. But after a few minutes he gallops ahead. I don't know who his owner was. After he left, the guy next to me looks over and says, "That was the coolest thing ever!" and I agree.
The moment we exit the Park on 7th Avenue, heading down toward Times Square, is one of my favorite things about this race. Crowds are cheering, and it reminds me of running the marathon. Makes me want to run it again. Towards 42nd Street there's a double-decker bus with a band playing Greenday's "When I come around" and I can't help but sing along. After the race, Rose tells me that as she passed, they were singing "Eye of the Tiger."
Last year, I remember having trouble on 42nd Street heading towards the West Side Highway, but this year I'm feeling good and keeping up my pace. It's not until after mile 10 that I start to struggle a little. I realize that I hadn't run more than 10 miles since the marathon in November, about 9 months ago. But then again, I know that I've done it before, so I keep going. At this point, I know I'm going to make my goal, so even though I drop my pace down to 10-minute miles, I'm happy.
At 200 meters to go, I pick up the pace, and with the finish line in sight, I start sprinting. Reminder to self for last year--start sprinting sooner. I still had some gas to spare at the end.
Rose and I celebrated the race with a few friends this afternoon with bagels and mimosas on the terrace. Fantastically beautiful day, clear blue sky, nice breeze to cool things off, 6 different kinds of cream cheese.
I just woke up from a short nap. Luxuriating in a free evening to relax.
This was another full weekend. Caught up on Entourage and Flight of the Conchords (I love those shows!) on demand. Housewarming party in Soho Friday night with some of the Randoms. Spent yesterday afternoon/evening in Astoria saying goodbye to some good friends who will be moving away to Australia soon. So sad. But we had a nice time at the Bohemian Beer Garden. Played with baby Ali who liked to wander the grounds, making new friends. Two friends from Boston who moved away from NYC a few months ago came down for the goodbye party and stayed with me. Please, nobody else move away! I can't take it! But that's NY for you, I suppose. Such a transitory city. I should get used to it.