Race Report: NYC United Half Marathon

Date: March 17, 2019; 8:00 am

Distance: 13.1 mi

Place: Prospect Park, Brooklyn, NY

Weather: 34 F; 46% Humidity  

Finishers: 24,666 total (12,312 men / 12,354 women) 

Official time / pace:  2:11:18 / 10:01 min/mi 

You get the race that you train for. 

Going into this race, I really had no true expectations or goals aside from finishing. Although I did not run as well as I wanted to (due to lack of training on my part), I am glad that I went through with it. The night before the race, I was on the verge of not doing the race

For this entry, I guess that I could break this up in a few parts. 

Pre-race

NYC Half Marathon Outfit

Although I was assigned to Wave 1, I knew that I was not in Wave 1 shape. Plus, I did not want to have to arrive to Prospect Park by 6:25 am to check my bag. Then, it hit me. Do I really need or want to check a bag?  If I did not check a bag, then I could run in any wave, thus setting back my start time from 7:30 am to 8:40 am. Aka, I could wake up later.

NYc, MTA

My plan was to leave the apt. at 6:00 am so I could run in the second wave. Yeah, that did not go so well. The idea was to take the A train to Metrotech and the F train from Metrotech to Prospect Park. First, the A train, which does make any stops from 125th street to 59th street and runs express, was running local from 125th street. Second, the F train was severely delayed so I had to take another A train future into Brooklyn, then take the G train (really, the G?) to Prospect Park. By the time I walked the mile or so from the subway to the security checkpoint, I knew that I would not make Wave 2. That said, I was not too bothered since I was kind of easy breezy with my start plans. At this point, I really wished that I had prepared a sandwich or something because I was kind of hungry before starting. 

Miles 1 – 4:

Prospect Park, Grand Army Plaza
Grand Army Plaza

The first third of the half-marathon gave us a bit of a tour of Prospect Park and took us through the streets of Brooklyn. During these miles, I started off pretty slow because I did not want to risk injuring anything or running out of steam during the first part of the race. Late January was the last time that I ran anything over 8 miles. Plus, I was concerned that the first three to five miles were going to be pretty hilly. I probably could/should have pushed myself harder, but I did not want to risk the end of the race. Looking back at my experience, I am glad that I did not push myself any harder during this part because I probably would not have finished the run. 

There were not really too many crowds out during this part of the race, which was kind of weird, but we did spend some time in the less popular sections (to me) of Prospect Park. 

Miles 4 – 8:

Manhattan Bridge
Manhattan Bridge. Probably the least popular of the bridges that span the East River.

This part of the half-marathon took us through downtown Brooklyn and into Manhattan. Crossing the Manhattan Bridge was one of the things that I looked forward to . . . and feared. I was surprised that I did not struggle too much with the Manhattan Bridge. I do not know why, but I thought that we were going to be running on the pedestrian and bike paths, which have very steep inclines. However, we ran across the upper level of the bridge, which had a gradual increase in steepness. I thought that I would have to walk the incline of the bridge so I was quite happy that I managed to run the entire bridge. 

Arriving in Manhattan was so lackluster. There were hardly any crowds. Then again, I am comparing the experience of crossing a bridge into Manhattan from my NYC Marathon experience. In the NYC Marathon, you can hear the crowd’s cheers on Manhattan’s 1st Avenue roaring from the Queensboro Bridge. In last weekend’s half, you barely heard a peep. There was someone with a loudspeaker telling us that we had seven miles left.  I guess something is better than nothing. 

This portion of the race took us through Chinatown and along FDR Drive, which was also pretty quiet. Also, the beginning part of FDR Drive was very sticky; it reminded me of a nasty movie theater. It was like a glue truck had dumped glue along a 1 – 1.5 mile stretch of the route. 

Miles 8 – 12

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This portion of the half marathon took us through some great and iconic NYC sites: the UN, the Chrysler Building, Grand Central, Bryant Park, Times Square, Carnegie Hall, and Central Park. 

The first part of the segment was kind of nostalgic because we ran past NYU School of Medicine, which is where I completed my graduate studies. We actually past my old apartment building and old laboratory. 

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So many memories of boozing and cruising around Murray Hill. I mean, concentrating on my studies in immunology and molecular oncology. 

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On our way to Times Square

Again, I was expecting more folks along the course. 

Grand Central, NYC
Grand Central

It was during this part of the half that I was becoming quite fatigued and a bit over the race. One cool aspect of the NYC Marathon is there were large crowds (maybe not in the Bronx) that power you through the race. For the NYC Half, you kind of had to power yourself through it. The large majority of this chunk of the race is pretty flat so that made life a little more simple, which took my mind off of my fatigue. I pretty much cranked up my tunes and kept saying “one foot in front of another.”

Times Square
I’m running through freakin’ Times Square!!!

I started to overheat a bit and, at mile 11, had to walk a little. I think taking a bunch of selfies, pictures, and videos in and near Times Square kind of drained my mojo. The sad part is many of the Times Square pictures did not come out right so pretty much a bunch of time wasted. 

Miles 12 – 13.1

Absolute disaster. I totally forgot about the little hills sprinkled in Central Park. These hills are not super steep or difficult to climb, but my legs were pretty much done at this point. Around mile 10, I started to feel soreness in both of my quads, which was general pain from not running for the past 45 or so days. My bad. To get back into the groove and to finish strong, I tried to fartlek between light posts in Central Park, but after three or four fartleks, I had to walk again. I think this is the first time that I ever had to walk during the last mile of any race. But hey, I should be happy that I made to mile 12 without too much of a struggle. 

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Although it was not my best half-marathon (and surprisingly not my worst), I still had somewhat of a blast. Well, a blast until the last mile. That last mile was a true killer. Since I did not do bag check, I could not take a picture with my medal and a cigarette.

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The woman taking the picture was supposed to get a shot with the medal FACING the camera.

 Post Race:

I was so lucky because the finish is pretty close to the bus line that more or less drops me off in front of my apt. Although the bus takes longer than the subway, I do not think that I could have walked up and down a bunch of stairs for the 2 or 3 train. Once I arrived to Harlem, I treated myself to a splendid, yet simple, brunch at Harlem Shake. I even got myself a nice mimosa. Once the cashier found out that I ran a half-marathon, she really hooked me up the champagne portion of the mimosa. BTW, the grits with turkey sausage are AMAZING.

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Since it was St. Patrick’s Day, I managed to fit in a few more drinks with the BF husband. Actually, I would have had a few more drinks even if it was not St. Patrick’s Day.

Whiskey, Irish Carbombs (the husband never had one before), and Pisco Sours

Irish
A milk mustache from the Irish Carbombs.

I hope everyone had a great running weekend or a great chilling weekend. 

11 comments

  1. Good race! And a good time considering not running too much lately. 👍🏻
    Too bad they didn’t play up the st party’s day aspect and have more parties along the route. Green beer stations etc. that may have spiced things up!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Kos I would’ve taken your spot if you weren’t ready! I missed running the NYC half this year after 3 consecutive years. I ended up running in Atlanta instead. Was it cold as sh*t waiting in Brooklyn?

    Liked by 1 person

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