Date: February 14; 10:00 am
Distance: 13.1 mi / 21.2 km
Place: Beach 116th street, Rockaway Beach, Queens, NY
Weather: 19 F
Offical time / pace: 2:11 / 10:01min/mi
As some may know, I made a New Year’s resolution to run a half marathon every month during 2020. We have half marathon 2 out of 12 now completed. Yay me. I’m proud of myself for finishing because boy this was a cold one.
One can clearly see that this was a super small marathon, which had a different type of vibe compared to the regular races that I run with the New York Road Runners. Also, it was very low key; the runners met at a bar, headed over to the boardwalk, and the organizer (after explaining the prizes) was like AND, GO!
Getting there was a complete sh*t show. A subway ride that’s supposed to take about 1.5 hrs ended up being a little over 2 hours.
- I almost missed the start.
- I had to pee for the last 40 minutes of the subway ride. I’m so lucky that there are restrooms in the subway station in the Rockaways.
Internal Race Goals:
- Run 2 miles of fartleks
- Run at least one mile at a sub 9:45 min/mi pace
Miles 1 – 4
The beginning of the race:
A mile into the race:
For this portion of the half, I was more or less trying to get my sh*t together. Since I arrived at the bar after all the folks were escorted to the start, I had to stop for a little bit to get my music going, put things in the correct pockets (I’m very particular which pockets hold which things), and have a quick stretch session.
During the third mile, I felt a weird burning sensation in my right hand. This has happened once before while running an outdoor track workout in 18 F weather. It was kind of concerning because this happened only in my right hand. I actually feared that I would not be able to finish the race because of this. I was not wearing gloves the first time this happened a couple of weeks ago. For this half, I wore TWO pairs of gloves and an athletic sweatshirt with sleeves covering my hands. I rubbed my fingers together like I was trying to get some money, and that seemed to work.Phew
Yay. I would not get a DNF . . . at least for this reason. But . . . yeah, I need to figure out what’s going on with the circulation in my right hand.
Miles 5 – 8
Since the course was two loops around a section of the boardwalk and my hand issue was behind me, I really got into my groove. I managed to do my two-mile fartleks during this portion of the race and started to catch up to and overtake some folks.
Miles 9 – 13.1
Maybe I was getting tired or maybe I was hungry, but I slowed up during Miles 8 and 9. Not really sure what happened. Perhaps, I was saving myself for the final push or maybe I was distracted by taking pictures or getting the right music going. At least during Mile 10, I managed to push hard and ran that mile in 9’30”. I have it in me to run faster; I just have to push myself (and maybe do more speed work). At mile 11, I really wanted to catch up to one more person because I think she was running and walking. During this point, I noticed that someone was passing me (more on this below) so I wanted to give myself one last push to stay with him. Well . . . that did not happen until mile 13 with a 9’21” mile. Although I did not catch the two people (I finished about 10 seconds behind them), I was glad that I was able to make myself push twice in the last third of a half marathon.
All in all, I had a nice race experience. And, I finished this one about 8 minutes faster than the Fred Lebow Half in January. The improvement was not super exciting for me because the Fred Lebow Half is a bit hilly, and this half marathon was very flat.
There was a little post-race celebration. Registration included a small brunch and a free drink at Rogers Irish Tavern.
I ended hanging out at the bar for about 2 hours drinking and chatting with some other finishers and folks who live on the Rockaways.
Ok, I do not mean to sound like a hater, but I’m going to hate a little bit.
Although I cannot prove this, I think a couple of people cut the course. Since the course was two loops B116th street -> B120th street -> B57 street -> B120th, you could see other runners to and from B120th and B57th.
Ok, there were several people who were far behind me after the first loop, and I know they did not pass me during the second loop. Could someone explain how these few folks arrived at bar WITH medals before I did? It’s not like this race really had course marshalls. There were trash cans at B120th and B57 streets, which indicated where we had to turn. I take that back because there was someone at B57th street for the first loop, but he was not there during my second loop. Ok, I don’t mind if folks cut the course. I was a bit annoyed because there wasn’t much food left at the bar when I arrived to the post-race brunch. Y’all know that I’m serious about my feedings. The brunch was self serve so the faster runners (or the course cutters) had first dibs. Eh, such is life . . . I guess.
After signing up for this race, I was a bit annoyed because there was not much information about the race itself, e.g. the course, the fluid stations (if any), or what the brunch actually included. Now that I have experienced my first Rockapulco-organized race and know what to expect, I would definitely run another one. The organizers have several races during the year, and the end of summer half (8/29/2020) looks kind of interesting. Plus, I could go swimming at the beach after the half . . . or drink at the bar. Wait? Running a half marathon in NYC, adjacent to a beach, with NO shade, in late August might literally be hell on Earth.
At least the trip back home was not super intense. I guess it was not super intense because I did not have to be anywhere at a specific time. I even took my first trip on the NYC ferry back to Manhattan and met up with a friend to have a couple of drinks.
I was “primed” (my way of saying buzzed or semi-drunk) and wanted to keep the “celebration’ going.
Whiskey flights with chocolate. My kind of “dinner”.
Planned March half marathon:
Lantern Run NYC, NY, NY