Since we had an overload of house guests at The Nest this weekend I spent Saturday night at my best friend Jordan's (who was kind enough to sleep on the pull-out couch ensuring I got a solid pre-race sleep). Sunday morning I woke up way before my alarm, had a delicious pre-race bagel, iced coffee, and some extra hydrating H2O. After some last minute sun salutations, sun screen application, and Instragramed photos of my bib/shoes I made the short walk to the start at Battery Park. I met up with Drew at our designated meeting spot and Candy (Mom) was kind enough to snap some start line photos (all the race photos from today are courtesy of Candy).
It took us ~2 minutes to cross the start line and then we were off! Our game plan going into the half was to start slow then pick it up between 3 - 5 miles, and then again at 9 depending on how we felt. The first three miles went almost perfectly except for the fact that I had to pee immediately after starting the race. After spotting Dad, Mom, Aunt Louise, cousin Colin, and a few others along the first four miles we headed out on the grueling Beltline just behind the 4:15 pace group.
If you've ever run the Vermont City Marathon you know that the Beltline is maybe the most dreaded portion of the race. It's a 4 mile out and back filled with...n-o-t-h-i-n-g (besides a few water stations and some hard core fans). The first 1/2 went by pretty smoothly and we were able to see the elite runners finishing the Beltline (only four miles ahead of us, not too depressing). After passing the turn around I began to feel the heat. Although there was a bit of cloud cover there was not any other sort of cover.
Around ~7.5 miles Drew decided to take a pit stop at the port-o-potties and I decided to press on (I was very much getting annoyed with the Beltline and needed to get off ASAP). Unfortunately there is a slow, steady incline that ends at the top of the Beltline (where Mom and Colin were positioned for the "hey you're passed the worst part now!" photo. Notice the forced smile in those photos).
The funniest surprise of the day was reviewing the race photos my Mom snapped along the way and seeing one of my old camp counselors Doug pop up in not one, but two photos that Drew and I were in. Shows how oblivious I was to my surroundings during this race as I didn't even see him as we were running.
After Mile 9 I developed a terrible cramp in my side, and was ready for the race to be over (only 4 more miles). After checking my watch I was pretty sure I wasn't going to make my sub 2 hour finish as I had hoped, and resolved that beating my Providence half marathon time was still within reach (as most of you know I am terrible at doing math in my head and was actually still on pace to finish under two - as long as I didn't slow down much).
After seeing my dad (who mistook me for Drew) and some more family on Pine St. I passed Mile 11 at 1:41 by my watch and headed into the last neighborhood loop before Oakledge Park where the half marathon hand - off was located (below some great photos of Drew on Pine St. who was just a few minutes behind me).
Fighting off the cramp that would. not. just. go. away. I passed the 12 mile mark at 1:50 by my watch and attempted to pick up the pace for the last mile (I think I was actually running the same pace but it definitely felt like I was running faster). After running through some home sprinklers along the last mile I turned the corner and the only thing that stood between me and the finish was a quite steep, but short hill. I looked up and saw that DREW was coming down the hill on the other side! After a quick high five I glanced at my watch saw 1:57 and thought okay, it's still possible! After entering Oakledge Park and passing the 13 mile marker I saw the 1/2 Marathon finish line up ahead, and looking at my watch saw that it read 1:59:00 and broke out into a full out sprint. I crossed the finish line at 1:59:54 by my watch and even managed a wave to Mom who must have been distracted by my speed and didn't quite capture me crossing the finish line (if you look closely you can see my purple back in the distance heading up the relay exchange). After finding Mike in the relay exchange zone, and a quick hug, he was off and I grabbed my medal, beelined for the oranges and water while I waited for Drew to finish. She came in at 2:09 (clock time), which will probably be 2:07:something officially (she forgot to stop her watch as she crossed the finish line - silly Drew).
After reuniting with Mom, Katie, Stef, and Julia (best fans of the day!) We headed to the waterfront to watch the finishers and enjoy the day's festivities.
|Todd looking tall coming into the finish at 1:40 for his half. Good enough for a sub 4 hour finish for Team Drew.|
|Friends Elizabeth and Kevin coming in strong after running the full!|
|Mike looking good at the finish line!|
|Mike's first words after finishing "I am SO HUNGRY" (we quickly got him a banana and seat in the shade).|
|Team "Scrambled legs n' achin'!|
|And then the celebration really began!|
All in all it was a great race! Even with a terrible cramp and the heat I managed to finish under 2 hours and picked up a new PR! It was my 4th time running the half of this marathon and I think it might finally be time to run the whole thing.
Thank you to all the fans out there, you really made it a great race! And congratulations to all the runners!!!
Post marathon party re-cap coming soon.