It’s done. Another great half marathon in the books. It definitely was an outstanding one in many ways. Not only because I ran a new personal best of 01:48:30 (old PR was 01:50:51 on the old course) but also because of the circumstances this year. It was a new course – nobody knew what to expect.
Then it was a very cold Sunday morning in the city with the temperature at the start only reaching 29 degrees Fahrenheit. And a record of 21,965 finishers was made this year. But let’s start with the beginning:
NYC Half 2018 review: My day
Starting in wave 1 at 730 AM is a pretty normal time for me. I’m used to waking up early and heading out for a run. What I’m not used to is waiting in the cold for an hour before the race even starts. What comes along with the NYC Half is a long wait at the start line. Obviously with so many runners involved logistics make runners come early and wait patiently. I tend to freeze very fast and even though I was wearing 3 layers of clothes and two hats I was freezing like crazy. At 743 AM I finally started out towards Manhattan Bridge.
I kept reminding myself of my own race strategy to not go out too fast and run by effort not pace on this downhill to the bridge. I was flying and in many ways running in Brooklyn reminded me of the NYC Marathon. Those emotions came back which felt nice. But honestly I felt right away that the cold won’t do any good for me today and it took me until Chinatown to warm up.
The cold, headwinds – what else?
Let’s be real: Even though I ran a really good time I wasn’t really able to enjoy the race so much. My body was in pain and headwinds for the majority of the race was a big challenge. But I had the goal to beat my PR today so I pushed through the pain. A friend of mine who is a coach for the NYC Strides told me during training that sometimes running will hurt and you have to learn to run through it. Why did it hurt? I think because of the fact that I got so cold at the start.
My body had no proper time to warm up which is absolutely not okay, but I had no other choice? The skyline views of Brooklyn and Queens, and passing iconic spots like Grand Central Terminal was amazing. Soaking the city vibes in helped to distract me a bit. In situations like that you need a strong mind. Try to distract yourself with anything that comes along. For me deep thoughts always work best. So I got myself into a prep talk and thought about my friends and family who support me so much with everything I do.
I was sticking to the plan of a challenging pace around 08:17 – down to 07:51 in some parts and to save energy for the park in the end. My loved ones were waiting for me on Times Square (watch the video on my Instagram) – an energy boost that I needed on that uphill towards Central Park. I remember thinking that it’s “only” 4 more miles to the finish and the last stretch to the finish will be downhill so “keep pushing”.
The last push in Central Park
Thank god my diet was on point again the days before the race so I never ran out of fuel but I really felt that this race was faster than what I’m used to. I can’t remember Cathill to be honest. Must have been very painful. But since Central Park is my “home” – where I spent most of the times training – the hills are my friends lets say.
The three sisters on the west side of the park were the last challenge of the race. By that time all I was thinking about was the nice downhill in the end. I got a text from my friend wishing me luck for the race right on the last hill (thanks to apple watch I was able to read it while I was running). Another boost to run faster. My time was decent and I knew if I keep up the pace now there will be a 01:48:00 today. My plan was to push hard on the downhill coming back which I did. Talking to myself towards the end I finished with 01:48:30 which is a great time for me and I’m super proud of it. Because my fastest mile was 07:51 I was even able to move up a corral from E to D. Yay!
Congrats to all of you who finished this amazing race. The new course is so much more fun than the old one, but also much harder. If you need advice on how to recover from a half marathon please read here.