The circumstances preceding this half-marathon were less than ideal for running.
I was up late dancing at a wedding. I drank a little wine and cinnamon-sugar rimmed pumpkin beer. I did eat carbs…probably way too many. My head hit the pillow hard around 1AM.
Did I mention I had an 8:30AM start time, and we were on Shelter Island, an island OFF of Long Island? To those of you who aren’t familiar with the area…Eastern Long Island is FAR. Shelter Island is FREAKIN’ FURTHER. (Basically I took a lot of ferries on three various islands this weekend). Again, ideal for fun times, not ideal for half-marathon-running.
So, Brendan and I woke up at about 5:15AM. That’s about 4.25 hours of sleep, for those of you who don’t feel like doing the math. (Ahem, that’s me, always.) If you know me, you know I’m an old lady who typically goes to bed around 9:30 or 10PM and gets a solid 8 hours of shut eye every night. 4.25 hours does not bode well for me or those around me. I think the only reason I woke up and successfully avoided a DNS (Did Not Start) was because I was too tired to think about finding another time to do a long run. If I showed up on Staten Island I’d be done in a couple hours, I wouldn’t have to worry about figuring out hydration on my own (love me a good aid station!), and I could go home successful and guilt-free. (The guilt factor always gets me.) Plus, I’d receive guaranteed entry into the NYC Half in March for finishing the 5-borough series that I worked so hard on (running 4 of the 5 races; I completed the Brooklyn Half, Queens 10k, and Bronx 10 Miler…SI would be my 4th).
Do I need to remind you that we were waaaayy out East on Long Island, and the race was on Staten Island? Even though the both have “island” in the name, they are not close. Not at all.
I didn’t even pull up this map until about 30 minutes after we left, if that tells you anything.
As we toured the entire island, I focused every ounce of my energy on not falling asleep. I worked really hard at pinning my bib onto my shirt. I DID NOT HAVE COFFEE. This made everything exponentially harder. Eventually we made it; Brendan dropped me off and went on to work, I jogged a little and met up with Lora and Dayna, my Ragnar teammates!
Thankfully, Dayna offered to run with me. I would have been absolutely miserable without her. Around mile..ohhh…ONE, I was already thinking about how tired I felt. But I hung in there, chatted with Dayna about Ragnar and Ironman and the cute older ladies out cheering, checked out the skyline, and took my sweet time getting to the finish line. We discussed how inspirational some of the walkers were, and how they’re shining examples of determination for people who might not think they could do a half-marathon. (I love that.) My legs felt okay…my brain did not. We lamented on how everyone says Staten Island is flat. Staten Island is not flat.
Part of the course was along the water and beautiful…the other part was through a warehouse area, and then through a neighborhood. It was an out-and-back which I kind of enjoyed; I like knowing what’s coming and where exactly I am on the course in relation to the finish line. I also loved seeing the runners going the opposite way on the other side of the road. I kept my eyes peeled for speedy Lora, but I missed her! Maybe because I was also concentrating on how amazing peanut butter Gu is. IT TASTES LIKE REAL PEANUT BUTTER. So wonderful.
This definitely wasn’t my best race pacing-wise, but I did enjoy the company and again, nothing hurt. BIG WIN. We even made a bathroom stop! I usually never do that, I’m too OCD…but this was definitely more of a training run. If you’re a numbers person, here you go:
Mile 9…I remember that dang hill!
We finished with a strong kick (hey, 8:07!) and then had to sprint directly to the ferry. I still had a long trip ahead of me. Dayna and I took the ferry to the city, and then I had to take the subway to Penn Station, and THEN get on the train out to NJ. Such a ridiculously long day.
But, I finished this challenge feeling invincible. After the past couple weeks (mainly Ragnar), I feel like I can do ANYTHING. This is why I love running. I found my strong. And it’s here to stay.
How do you get through tough races? How do you find your strong? Has a specific run/race ever made you feel like you could do anything?