10:00: DH is fast asleep and snoring. Dear God, why can't I fall asleep???
10:30: Still awake and contemplating race pace. Do I dare to shoot for 1:55?
11:00: Desperate; counting sheep
12:00: Try meditation. Nope, that's no good
1:00: This is insane...I need at least 1 hour of sleep
Somewhere between 1:30 and 3:00: Finally drift off to sleep
3:00: F#%* the alarm!!!
(***Copyright: Cross Country Squared. Your post impressed me so much, I had to attempt a weak forgery of it... srry! Last time I checked, imitation was still the sincerest form of flattery).
I didn't notice when the horn went off, but it wasn't long before I found myself running...well, sort of. I shuffled along, my hair loose and bobbing behind me (thankfully, it didn't get in my eyes), and soon, picked up a little speed. And then, the hills happened. The first two fluid stations had a lot of water and gatorade, but the cups I picked up had less than half an ounce of fluid in them. After the second fluid station, I started grabbing 2 cups of water and gatorade each, splashing half the water all over my face and legs. The fluid helped, for a few 100 yards...and then the effect of the hills and the humidity took over.
DH and Glenn were supposed to wait for me at the start but they were swallowed by the crowd. I finally saw them at Mile 3...they had crossed the park, half-jogging, half walking. It sure does perk you up when you see familiar faces, yelling your name and waving to you among thousands of people. Here is a blur of me.
Then, it was mile after mile of fatigue, nausea and resisting the urge to rush into the arms of the paramedics.
When we exited Central Park and hit 7th Avenue, the nausea vanished and I finally felt the thrill of running in NYC. There was music, bands, cowbells, people singing, yelling, waving banners...it was wonderful. I remembered Ken as I drank in the cheering crowds and hoped he would be running this race next year.
My personal camera crew appeared again at Times Square. I waved at them ecstatically, and DH snapped a pic of my waving hand, just as I disappeared behind a passing runner (look closely behind the lady in the purple singlet).The fanfare continued along 42nd street and swept me up. It was the coolest thing, flying down Broadway, my dripping mane dancing behind me like the Lion King.
We turned onto the West Side Highway. As we headed downtown, the adrenaline petered out. I remember chanting "Run For Ken" over and over...whenever the impulse of rushing into the nearest ambulance or medical tent overcame me. It really helped. I remember feeling oh so happy that this was a half and not a full marathon! I also remember feeling grateful there were fluid/water stations at every mile. I was drenched with sweat and the water and gatorade I was splashing all over myself. I ran through a couple of misting stations and sprinklers, hoping to cool myself off more, but what I really needed were water cannons!
Mile 10 was the longest mile. People were slowing down all around me, and though we were not running in open, glaring sunlight, the humidity was taking its toll. I watched the clock at every mile and knew I was at a sub-9:00 pace, but I didn't care much beyond that. The D-tag was recording our time at 5K, 10K, 15K and 20K...and that was more than I wanted to know.
Around this point, I suddenly felt a wave of heat rush through my left knee. No pain, just a streak of heat. I slowed down to a walk, expecting the pain to follow...nothing. After 30 seconds, I jogged slowly, then picked up the pace again...nothing. That was mysterious.
At Mile 11, I made a weak attempt to accelerate...and failed. It was hard enough to maintain the pace. I read these words off a T-shirt, "Pain is inevitable; suffering is optional". I had to pass the guy wearing it and turn to look at the expression on his face...he was pouring buckets and struggling like me.
At Mile 12, I managed to smile as I sailed past the medical tent...I would not be needing them in this race. And I didn't notice any other casualties...we seemed to be doing pretty well.
Mile 13: One more mile to go....and a little 0.1 nubbin. The end was near. I managed to sprint the last 200m. I passed Glenn about 150 yards from the finish and yelled his name...he was scanning the crowd and didn't see me till I passed. DH screamed my name 5 seconds before I crossed the finish at 1:52:23.
I limped along with the other "finishers" in the enclosure as we were handed cold towels, pretzels, almonds, apples and finally our medals. DH and Glenn looked almost as exhausted as me. They had been through a marathon of sorts...they had dashed across Central Park, rushed to take the subway to 7th Avenue, a cab and a sprint to Timesquare and a cab and a final dash to catch me at the Battery Park finish. And every time, they had managed to get to the designated spot just a minute before I reached. Glenn had orchestrated the spectating, calculating the window of time within which they could catch me at each spot...and they had executed it perfectly. Hats off to my awesome cheering team!
An ocean of baggage at the finish
More pics to follow!
NYC Half Marathon - Sunday, May 16, 2009
Splits: 5K: 25:54; 10K: 52:19; 15K: 1:18:13; 20K: 1:44:30
D-Tag Time: 1:49:46 (No PR, but I'm not complaining)
Horn Time: 1:52:27
Overall Stats: 1984 / 10,172 overall
Gender Stats: 480 / 5136
Age group Stats: 74 / 744 (not too shabby, considering Paula and Deena are in my age group, ha!)