Sunday, August 5, 2007

RACE DAY: NIKE NYC HALF-MARATHON


Here We Go!

The 2nd biggest race of the year is here!

Because of the nagging injury I had in June, I had been cautious in my training. So, I initially decided to look at this race as more of a training run.

Pre-Race : Saturday, August 4, 2007

NikeTown on 57th and 6th was a zoo yesterday. I had to go there to get my "goodie" bag and race number. There was a "runner's expo" in their atrium, but Ily was double-parked in my car outside, and in NY a ticket for double parking costs $115.

The "goody" bag was also the only bag I could use to hold my stuff on race day. Thanks to the events over the last 6 years, the bag was see through. Nothing can be concealed anymore. Not even my underwear. The place was a zoo, so I got my stuff and got out.

Later on, I made packed everything, and made sure I had my alarm clock set for 4am.
One thing I usually do the night before is go off a race checklist. I have one for hot weather and one for cold.

Race Time! : Sunday, August 5, 2007

Here's a blow-by-blow of the course with historical information and how I did:

4am. Pitch black outside. By about 4:30, I was already out the door headed to the subway, which I took to 63rd street and Lexington. There was only 1 other runner on the 'F' train, but when I got out on 63rd and walked into the 59th street station, there were plenty more of us wearing a running number. It was then that the '4' train showed up. And it was packed with runners. Not a seat in the house, in fact.

I had made good time, and was able to jog around a bit, so I checked my bag at one of the trucks along 5th Avenue, made my way into the Park and jogged slowly for a while. At 6:15, I was at my corral area, sitting, with the rest of the people numbered 3000-3999. It was weird. I was all rarin' to go, but we still had 45 minutes to go. I almost fell asleep!

At about 10 of 7, Mary Wittenberg, the head of the New York Road Runner's Club that I belong to, started introducing many of the big headliners at our race. And it was a pretty big field of 'heavyweights' (haha not literally, of course). Robert Cheruiyot, Alan Culpepper, Hendrick Ramaala, Peter Gilmore, and the one and only, Haile Gebrselassie, who at the "old" age of 34, has two Olympic 10,000-meter gold medals, 22 world records, and 107 major-race victories. He is arguably has the unofficial title of greatest male distance runner of all time to rivaling that of Paavo Nurmi and Emil Zátopek.

The temperature in Central Park was 70 degrees (21 Celsius) after a week of oppressive heat and humidity in New York when we took off, and the mercury never went ovr 74 while I was on the road. Great! Humidity was down too, and in NY and in the summer that was a miracle!

I think that last week's grueling 11 mile run over the Williamburgh Bridge and into the World Trade Center, built a lot of confidence. I ran my race, never having to stop once, and never being tired or out of breath either. Sure, I didn't best my previous PR of 1:44:58 (at the Long Island Half), but then again, this was probably one of the smartest races I ran. I have to say, without wanting to overdo it too much, that I prepared for this race, charting every hill, and every environmental element to the best of my knowledge. I also decided to hold back my competitive juices just enough to realize that focusing on the pace, rather than the race, made for a nice, happy run.

Course Elevations:



Mile 1 (8:31.2)
The course almost immediately passes the world-renowned Metropolitan Museum of Art (look left), and the outdoor sculpture Cleopatra’s Needle (look right) with
the Great Lawn visible through the trees beyond. The road then dips down “Cat” Hill, named for the sculpture of a crouching mountain lion nestled in the rocks along the right side of the road. This hill is a frequent workout site for NYC
runners (you’ll find groups of them huffing and puffing up the incline during workouts). The course passes the popular Central Park Boathouse restaurant, located next to the Lake, where rowboats are available for rental.

I made sure to start slow and straight, and avoid trying to run around the slower runners ahead.

Many runners passed me at a very fast pace. It made me wonder whether they were naive or that if I was in bad shape. But passing the first mile marker in 8:31, I was definitely happy.
====================================================================
Mile 2 (8:34.4)
The course continues on park drives over gently rolling hills toward the southern end of Central Park. (The ING New York City Marathon route veers left and out of the park toward the Plaza Hotel and Central Park South.) The buildings of Midtown loom in front, but you’ll complete a full loop of running in Central Park before exiting and running south toward Times Square. Rounding the bottom of the park, the massive Time Warner Building at Columbus Circle is visible near the park’s southwest corner. A few hundred yards before the two-mile mark, the route makes a gradual ascent and passes Tavern on the Green restaurant and the world-famous ING New York City Marathon finish line. This is also the site of the NYC Half’s first fluid station (on the west side of road).

After the initial downhill on Mile 1, Mile 2 was more of a level run. All I kept thinking was to keep the pace, and not burn anything. I had some big hills ahead of me.

===================================================================
Mile 3 (8:46.0)
Through these early miles, use the gently rolling hills to help you control your speed. Like the marathon, the half-marathon is a race that requires careful attention to pace. Run too fast early on, and you may struggle to maintain even a slow jog later. The course passes a well-known statue of the orator Daniel Webster at approximately mile two. The route then begins a gradual climb through the West Side Hills and reaches its highest point on the course on West Drive at approximately 86th Street. This is the site of the NYC Half’s second fluid station (again on the west side of road).

First big hill. Against conventional wisdom, I kept looking down at the white lines, and pretended like I wasn't going up hill at all, but instead I acted as if I had vertigo. Bottom Line: I was playing mind games with myself into believing I wasn't going up a hill at all. And it worked!
===================================================================
Mile 4 (8:17.7)
The course continues northward and makes a significant ascent from about 102nd Street to 110th Street—the infamous Harlem Hills. The top of this first big hill comes almost exactly at the four-mile mark. Again, many local runners and teams come here to build speed and strength with speed workouts.

A tough hill for sure. But I had mentally prepared for this all week long. Unbelievably, I had my best single mile here! Best of all I wasn't even tired when I reached the top. I credited this to my upper body and abs workouts. My arms were like pistons on this climb.







==================================================================


Mile 5 (8:58.8)
Down, flat, and up goes the terrain through this challenging mile, which also includes the race’s third fluid station (on the north side of the road) . The hills are manageable and can serve the smart runner well by bridling any temptation to push the pace with at least an hour of hard running still to come. The course passes the scenic Harlem Meer as well as Lasker Pool in this mile, both visible on the left.
Next big hill. It's affecting me, but still only a little. I'm marveled by the amount of people cheering us on in the Park, and by the number of cups on the ground in front of me. I'm beginning to think that it was time to eat the carb gel pack. But not just yet...
====================================================================

Mile 6 (8:40.5)
The course is relatively flat for the next mile as it passes the park’s East Meadow (look left) and the North Meadow ballfields (look right) before ascending gradually, then flattening out as it passes the fourth fluid station (on the east side of the road), then the race’s start line at 85th Street.

I'm beginning to realize that the hills are nearly over. Is it time to let the horse out of the barn yet? (or am I just the first person to have said that in a manner meant for something other than what it is normally expected?)
==================================================================== Mile 7 (8:34.7)
With one complete loop done, the next mile is over familiar territory as it repeats the first mile of the race. Despite the repetition, there is excitement in this mile: with its completion, the 13.1-mile distance is more than half covered.

It felt great to see me pass the starting line. I knew there was one more hill, but I was feeling great so far. I crossed my 10k marker in a net time (not based on 'gun time') at 53:29. True, it's nothing like the normal 7:50 pace that I'm used to at this stage, but it was the safe thing to do.

=============================================================
Mile 8 (8:38)
With the completion of mile seven, the Manhattan skyscrapers once again surge into view. This time, the route veers left at the bottom of Central Park and proceeds down Seventh Avenue straight into the heart of it all. (You’ll pass a fluid station on both sides of the road just as you leave the park.) Whether you’re a jaded New Yorker or you’ve traveled halfway around the world to run here, you can’t help but feel a thrill at this point on your journey. NIKE Cheering Zone 1, at 57th Street and Seventh Avenue, will feature music, coffee, and spectator kits. The route passes Carnegie Hall at 57th Street (look left) and the Carnegie Deli at 55th Street (look right). This part of Seventh Avenue is slightly downhill, but try to avoid the temptation to run too quickly, as you have plenty of ground still to cover.
Beginning on Seventh Avenue, runners and spectators will be treated to live entertainment along the course of the NYC Half-Marathon Presented by NIKE!
Click here for a description of bands and other course and finish-area entertainment.
What an adrenaline rush it was to exit the park and head down 7th Avenue! Still, I knew I had almost half the race left, so this was still not the time to let it all out yet. Meanwhile, I had water to wash down the GU gel pack I had not to long ago. Seventh Avenue had a good show of people cheering (even at 8am), and it would get even more boisterous for the mile afterward. 7th Avenue's con would have to be the lousy condition the road was in.
===================================================================
Mile 9 (8:40.1)
After passing the eight-mile near at 49th Street, the course enters Times Square, known around the world for its billboards, ticker signs, and vaulting highrises. When running by, be sure to look up as you might just see the WABC-TV telecast of the race displayed on the NASDAQ and Good Morning America giant video screens and check out race messages on the Reuters message board. NIKE Cheering Zone 2, at 44th Street and Seventh Avenue, will feature music, coffee, and spectator kits. You’ll then take a right onto 42nd Street, past theater marquees, more landmarks including Madame Tussauds New York, and Dave & Busters, and the Port Authority Bus Terminal. Along this stretch, look for a fluid and carbohydrate-replacement station featuring CarbBoom! energy gel (on the north side of the road). From here the route is flat all the way to the finish. Assuming you’ve trained well and paced your race carefully so far, you should be able to enjoy the ride.

I never saw the CarbBoom! Energy Gel station, but then again, I did not see any shower sprinklers anywhere along the course either. The crowd was maddening especially near Times Square. It was such an incredible feeling to be running down that street with no cars anywhere in sight, and seeing all those billboards, including the big one showing us run! Oh by the way....No More Hills! YAY!!!!
====================================================================
Mile 10 (8:35.4)
You’re not quite in the home stretch, but making the left-hand turn onto the West Side Highway not long after the nine-mile mark should give you a sense of accomplishment. You have just over 5K to go, and it’s straight and flat, with the expansive Hudson River on your right and the buildings of Downtown Manhattan ahead. Get inspiration from the Toyota Hybrid Turn to the Finish at 42nd Street and the West Side Highway, featuring several new Toyotas and a cheering section with Toyota branded cheer sticks. Toyota is the official lead car of the NYC Half-Marathon Presented by NIKE. You’ll pass a fluid station on the east side of the road at approximately 34th Street.
There was such a nice breeze coming down 42nd street from the Hudson River, that I had to take off my hat and hold it in my hand to keep it from flying away. Also, it was nice to see the scantily clad Brazilian women on elevated stage, dancing to samba music, as we turned left onto West Street.
====================================================================
Mile 11 (8:42)
Just after the 10-mile mark, look right to see the Chelsea Piers sports complex, where you can enjoy sports from ice hockey to bowling year round. More likely at this point, you’ll be thinking about the finish line, now just a couple of miles away. NIKE Cheering Zone 3, between 16th and 17th Streets and the West Side Highway, will feature DJ entertainment, spectator kits, a JumboTron, and more. You’ll pass a fluid station on the east side of the road at approximately 14th Street.


I played it smart by running in the shade of the trees along the divider separating the north and shouthbound sides of the West Side Highway. I finally took a look at the Hudson to my right. The day was absolutely beautiful outside. And the end was near!!!

=============================================================

Mile 12 (8:43.5)
Course marshals will direct you to run to your right, on the West Side Highway’s southbound lanes, as the northbound lanes will be open to traffic. This part of the route is exposed to the sun, so you’ll want to wear a hat with a brim and apply sunscreen before your race so you’ll be protected at this point. You’ll pass the course’s final fluid station on the east side of the road just before mile 12, at approximately Canal Street.

I was going to go all out but decided against it. Why hurt myself now? I had run the whole way without stopping once, without feeling any pain. Regardless of time, this had been a great run. The sun was all over me now, and I took my hat off again, for fear of flying off. Not religious, I thanked God nevertheless for having given me such a good run today.
===================================================================

Mile 13 and Finish (8:22.4) and (0:39.3)
In the final mile, look right to see the World Financial Center and Battery Park City commercial and residential area, and left for a view of the World Trade Center site. The finish is at the northern end of Battery Park, at Rector Street. Smile and raise your arms as you cross the finish line—you did it!
Remember how I told you that I wasn't going to go all out? I lied. I had so much energy, that I actually sprinted the entire tenth of the mile remaining, in 39.3 seconds (a new PR for that small race appendage). As I crossed the finish, I grunted, and yelled a few "yeah's".

===================================================================

The finish line was a sea of people. As we walked past the chutes, I had my photo taken. Then we got our "snack" bag. The person next to me was telling his partner, "What did they fill this bag with? Bricks?" after surmizing the weight of what he had just been given. I got my bag ( which consited of a pear, a bag of pretzels, and a 24 oz. bottle of Poland Spring), and moved on down to getting my race chip detached from my foot. After that I crossed into Battery Park, and got my bag. The Blackberry inside sounded like a key was stuck. I rebooted the phone, and Ileana came in as soon as it was back up.

There was a lot of confusion. We could hardly hear each other with all of the noise, and then we were also in two different places. Although, I asked her to meet me at the finish line, I didn't see her, and kept walking. I finally had her come further south to Battery Park,and we met between the two Red Cross tents between Battery Pl. and West Street.

We headed into Battery Park, had our complimentary Jamba Juices (smoothie chain here in NY) and sat as we watched the award ceremony. After I had enough of seeing 4'11" 90 pound people doing half-marathons in under 1 hour and 10 minues, we got up from the uncut and weedy grass, and decided to go for a nice long walk in Lower Manhattan. She wanted to see Trinity Church & St. Paul's Chapel. They were giving out free breakfast outside of the Chapel just ahead of the "Bell Of Hope" that the UK gave to NY, in the wake of Sept. 11th, so we sat and munched (my calories went thru the roof today by the way). Later on she would tell me to make sure I tell everyone that she took me for breakfast.....at the cemetary!




So....How did the "other" guys do?
Part of this was courtesy of WABC-TV (7online.com)
Haile Gebrselassie won the New York City Half Marathon in 59 minutes, 24 seconds Sunday, cruising away from elite competitors two-thirds of the way through the race to win his eighth half marathon in eight attempts.
Related Links
View Images of the Race
View Race Video...part 1
View Race Video...part 2
View Race Video...part 3
Gebrselassie, a two-time Olympic gold medalist for Ethiopia, pulled away from Abdi Abdirahman of the United States shortly after they emerged from Central Park along with two-time Boston Marathon champion Robert Cheruiyot of Kenya.



Hilda Kibet of Kenya won the women's race in 1:10:32, outkicking defending champion Catherine Ndereba by 1.15 seconds. Nina Rillstone of New Zealand, a surprise leader until the final quarter-mile when the two Kenyans passed her, was 3.75 back in third.
Near the eight-mile mark, the Somalia-born Abdirahman surged ahead to leave Cheruiyot behind, and then Gebrselassie left Abdirahman behind for the final five miles of the 13.1-mile race.

Gebrselassie appeared comfortable as he ran alone down the West Side highway. One fan near the finish at Battery Park on New York Harbor waved an Ethiopian flag in honor of Gebrselassie.
Gebrselassie, who has won three marathons in the past two years, won gold in the 10,000 meters in Atlanta in 1996 and Sydney in 2000. His time was the second-fastest half marathon run in the United States, second only to his own 58:55 in Tempe, Ariz., last year.

At the awards ceremony Abdi drew laughter from the finishers as he indicated that his run was not as tough as everyone else because it only took him 1 hour to finish, while it took the rest of us 3 hours. (check out the YouTube link below!)



Haile was more gracious, as he cited the fans of New York when asked about what took him so long to run here. (see below:)



Eyes closed but my heart was happy for the medal I received!





3 comments:

DGA said...

Very nice review of the race and sites. Selassie is a direct descendant of emperor Selassie of Ethiopia? Or are they all related?

I did not know that running makes people cannibals! How was lunch at the cemetery? Any good bones to chew? Hey, don't knock it, a lot of phosphates, good for your discs.

So the last 10th of a mile you did at an average of 6.33 min/mile? Very good.

Anonymous said...

[url=http://tinyurl.com/getvpn][b]Click here to get VPN service![/b][/url]

[b]Anonymous surfing[/b]
Using our service you'll be fully anonymous in the Internet. Hide your IP address, and nobody will know that strange visitor from Germany ( Great Britain, Estonia and so ), is you.

[b]Full access to network[/b]
You can use any services, access any sites and use any software with us. BitTorrent, Skype, Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Pocker .. we have no restrictions.

[b]Traffic protection[/b]
Don't worry, from this moment all you data will be protected using 256 bit Blowfish encryption algorithm. Nobody can access your internet data.

[b]Wide variety of countries[/b]
You can choose one of over twenty high speed servers located in different parts of the world, from South America coast to islands in Indian Ocean.

Related keywords:
anonymous surfing review
proxy server vpn
anonymous secure surfing
proxy vpn
anonymous vpn free
internet explorer vpn
vpn dial up
ssl vpn
Traffic protection
anonymous surfing freeware
anonymous surfing software
vtunnel
anonymous surfing vpn
best anonymous browser
surf the web anonymous
best anonymous surfing
anonymizer anonymous surfing review
firefox anonymous surfing
Virtual Private Networks
Free Vpn Client Software
anonymous surfing software
[url=http://dasbmw.ru] anonymous surfing software[/url]
[url=http://seobraincenter.ru] anonymous proxy[/url]
[url=http://carlwebster.com/members/Alexander-Pwnz.aspx]Buy Cheap Zoloft[/url]

Anonymous said...

[url=http://tinyurl.com/getvpn][b]Click here to get VPN service![/b][/url]

[b]Anonymous surfing[/b]
Using our service you'll be fully anonymous in the Internet. Hide your IP address, and nobody will know that strange visitor from Germany ( Great Britain, Estonia and so ), is you.

[b]Full access to network[/b]
You can use any services, access any sites and use any software with us. BitTorrent, Skype, Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Pocker .. we have no restrictions.

[b]Traffic protection[/b]
Don't worry, from this moment all you data will be protected using 256 bit Blowfish encryption algorithm. Nobody can access your internet data.

[b]Wide variety of countries[/b]
You can choose one of over twenty high speed servers located in different parts of the world, from South America coast to islands in Indian Ocean.

Related keywords:
anonymous surfing review
proxy server vpn
anonymous secure surfing
proxy vpn
anonymous vpn free
internet explorer vpn
vpn dial up
ssl vpn
Traffic protection
anonymous surfing freeware
anonymous surfing software
vtunnel
anonymous surfing vpn
best anonymous browser
surf the web anonymous
best anonymous surfing
anonymizer anonymous surfing review
firefox anonymous surfing
Virtual Private Networks
Free Vpn Client Software
anonymous surfing software
[url=http://dasbmw.ru] anonymous surfing software[/url]
[url=http://seobraincenter.ru] anonymous proxy[/url]
[url=http://carlwebster.com/members/Alexander-Pwnz.aspx]Buy Cheap Zoloft[/url]