NYC Half Marathon 2014

Distance : 13.1 miles
Finish : 1:35:52
Pace : 7:20

The night before the race, I was really nervous. I woke up every hour, not only because I was afraid I could not wake up early, but also because NYRR put me in the wave 1 corral 4, which was a pretty fast pace corral. Probably NYRR kept my pace time from 1 years ago.

Starting line to mile 6
There I was at the starting line at the East Drive of Central Park. It was freaking cold that morning, and the line to get there was ridiculous. In the corral starting area, I met my running buddy, Chris Scott, a fast runner from Run and Chug running club. When the line started to move, I said good luck to Scott.
I decided not to worry about my pace that day, I just wanted to enjoy my run and finish without getting a cardiac arrest from pushing too hard. One by one I started to pass runners, sometime I ran on the side to steal some trail-like running. On the first mile I saw the timing showed 10 minutes something, and I was shocked. “I can’t be that slow, I need to get myself together and move my arse.”, I said to myself.
So I did pick up some pace, passing more runners from the outside. Then we hit the switchback on the route and make a round about at the north-west corner of central park, then ran back into the central park area. I love every time in the race where I can see the pro or the elite runners, it gives me more energy. At the swithcback, I could see the pros and elites are probably almost a mile ahead of me and not getting any slower, their strokes looked like more floating than steps on the ground.
When I hit mile three, I saw the timing, and my calculation between these 2 miles, it gave me about 7.5 min pace. I just realized, when we passed the starting line, it was around +2 minutes from the original timing. It’s a habit that I don’t use tracking device when I do a race, I like to calculate it manually. It keep my brain busy and keep me in-check with my run.
When the race was started to head South, it became downhill with a few short uphills. I was very careful on the downhill, I didn’t want to bust my ITB or hamstrings, yet I wanted to keep my good pace.
Time went by pretty quick and suddenly I hit the 6 miles and got off from central park.

Mile 6 to 12
When I got off and started to hit the 7th Ave, I got too excited and started to run faster than I should. Probablly I was so get use to with running on the trail, when I saw spectators on the both sides of the 7th Ave, it was kind of surprising and energized me. Also, looking at an empty Time Square light up only for us, no crazy tourist hordes, it felt pretty surreal. Then, just before I turned right on the 42nd street, I reminded myself to keep my cool, I just passed the half point of the race and I had been running way faster than I should. Suddenly the cold wind came to me pretty strong, which helped me to slow down a bit. Actually the wind were beating us the whole way thru the finish line.
On the 42nd street, there was a pretty bad traffic on our left side. I feel bad that we caused that much traffic. I felt running should be a solution not causing a problem. After a few minutes, I got off to the west side highway north and make a u-turn to the south side. Many times I was forced to looked down by the strong wind and couldn’t pick up a faster pace.
Oh, at one point, there was a rocky soundtrack at one of the spectators area, some spectators and I did a shadow boxing when I ran by them. That was fun! I love NY crowds, they would always be there cheering us runners and would share every awful weather on the race day.
I think around mile 11, I looked at the official clock again, and I hit around 1 hour 10 minutes, I was what a heck, I was way to fast, way faster than my previous PR, Brooklyn Half (as I thought at that moment). And I slowed down my pace, gulped water from my bottle and enjoyed these last few miles.

The Last Mile
Just before we headed east, the route directed us into the Battery Park tunnel. It was so weird that my body refused to move faster, many runners passed me. Maybe just a habit when I run in the dark my body become more aware of my surrounding and tried to be too careful. After we got out and run a few minutes, I saw that we just passed the 13 miles mark. I picked up more pace and started to do my sprinting mode (as slow as sprinting could be) on my last 200 yards mark on the left turn.
And there I was at the finish line with medal hanging on my chest. I did not win but still they always give me medal.:-D

Post race
While I am waiting for Scott, I met with a fast elite runner from Nike Run NYC, Tony Cheung. This was his warming up race for his upcoming Boston marathon. It s always inspiring to meet a humble elite runner, it always makes want to be a better runner.

After I regrouped with Scott and the other Run and Chug runners, we started to head out to a bar and celebrate. Half of us made a half-marathon pr. I thought I did, but actually I miss remembered my Brooklyn half timing, which was actually 2 minutes faster. One of the runner Molly was injured and fractured on 3 different spots, but because she was running a charity for kids, she insisted to run this race and made pr too.
At the end it was a very good day. This monkey was happy.