Friday, March 28, 2014

Bay Ridge Half-Marathon

On the first Saturday of October, we did something we'd wanted to do for a long time, run a half-marathon. My half-marathon aspirations started in college but I always found an excuse to put if off. We even registered and trained for one in March of 2013 but then I got the flu and got Scott sick as well. So needless to say, running a half-marathon together was long overdue. 

Scott and I have never considered ourselves runners by any means so I knew this would be a struggle. We'd been running and "training" quite a bit in August and September. Because of our schedules, we'd do our weekday runs separately and then our long Saturday runs together. Scott is much quicker than I am, so he would wait for me at certain spots along our trail. I'm convinced I'm the worst running buddy because A) I'm so slow and B) I can't talk while I run. Lammmmmeee. I basically put those headphones in, turn the music up, and take in my surroundings. Even still, our runs together were such a good time. I really looked forward to them each week. The weather was still beautiful and we got to see so much. Naturally, we'd eat a big brunch together afterward. There's no better start to your Saturday, I'm convinced. 

 Our training had been going well, but our race planning was pretty poor. I had found the Bay Ridge Half-Marathon on a race calendar and decided we should shoot for that one. But, like a champ, I didn't sit down to register us until the week of, and soon found out that because it was so late in the game we could only register on race day. We didn't get much sleep the night before and our cabbie got lost on the way to Bay Ridge. But we made it, registered, stretched out, and then anxiously waited. 
Here we are bright eyed and bushy tailed totally unaware about what is to come. 

Back to the poor planning on my part, I didn't do much homework about the actual course. All I knew is that it was very flat, which in my book was all that mattered. Bay Ridge is in the southwest part of Brooklyn where the Verrazano Bridge connects Staten Island to Brooklyn. That bridge has been the start of the New York Marathon for decades. Our course started on this riverwalk toward the bridge and never really left. We literally went from Point A to Point B and back on this riverwalk twice totaling 13.1 miles. We were glad it was flat but the course was so repetitive it was mentally exhausting. We were used to running in Central Park or on paths in the city where get to see so much. Honestly, I think that's what I love most about running: the opportunity to explore and see on foot. I soon realized the importance of choosing a good course to keep your mind off of pounding the pavement. 

Also, this was a smaller race, probably less than a thousand runners. They only had two porta potties at the start so we waited in line for almost a half hour to use them. I also ended up running to a public restroom in a nearby park to bypass the line - and barely made it to the starting line before the gun went off. The race even got started late because of this situation. Again, poor planning all around. 

Once we crossed the starting line together my nerves eased. Scott got ahead quite quickly and I kept a steady pace. The first eight miles I felt great. I only walked for about 10-20 seconds a few times while drinking water at five water stations. Looking back, that was a lot. I don't know if each break was necessary to hydrate but my legs sure liked the break, but it was harder to find my rhythm afterward. By mile ten, curse words were flying. By 11, One Direction was the only thing getting me through. My mile 12, my hip flexors were hurting like they've never hurt before. I kept thinking this can't be good for my body.

At mile 13, Scott snapped this picture long after he crossed the finish line and was cheering me on. At this point, I'm pretty sure my mind thought I was running, but in reality, I was power walking. My feet were dragging and I was done. 

It felt so rewarding to cross that finish line. I felt like I had overcome a huge mind over body obstacle. And it was even better having Scott to celebrate with at the end. What a moment! I was so thrilled that we got to do this together as a team. Overall, Scott finished at around 1:50 (with a bathroom break, hahaha, don't even get me started). And I finished in 2:13, much slower than I had hoped for. Oh well. At this point, we were thinking, "Can we say we PRed if this is our first and last half-marathon? If so, then we've officially peaked." 

Those medals were hard fought and well earned. 

We hung around the finish for a bit eating bagels and stretching out. I caught up with a girl that I ran beside during miles five to seven. We didn't talk during the race but just kept each other at a good pace. It was so neat to chat with her at the end and talk about how much we had helped one another. I LOVE the sense of community you feel at races. That alone makes me want to keep running. Friends, family, neighbors, and strangers come out to cheer you on and I find it all pretty inspiring. 

We walked to the subway and fell asleep on the train to Manhattan. After realizing it would be a two hour wait at Clinton Street Bakery, we made the quick decision to head to one of our favorites, The Dutch in SoHo, for brunch. Those honey butter biscuits were so well deserved. We waddled home and quickly crashed.  

I was pretty surprised that my soreness only lasted about two days. I didn't touch my running shoes for two weeks and used the excuse of running 13.1 miles to eat whatever I wanted for a days on end. I'm so glad I got to check this box off my bucket list. But I'm even more grateful for the memories I made along the way, mile by mile, just running outside in this city with my guy. I'll cherish those moments even more than crossing that finish line. 


1 comment

  1. Love this! So glad you did it and so glad you had a great time!


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