We arrived to the race around 7:45am. The start time was at 9:00am; thankfully the race organizers realized that the past two year's start at 9:13am was just too uneven for OCD runners. This left time for one, read ONE bathroom trip. Thankfully it was enough! This photo was just post bathroom, pre corral:
Mrs. Gray and I were SO excited to run! We got into the corral for 10:00/miles and got ready to rock and roll. Then some girl sang the national anthem, it was a DEAD RINGER for the Whitney one.
Miles 1-5: We were very conscious not to go out too fast. I wanted Mrs. Gray's first half marathon to be great, energized, and not a huge struggle at the end. We chatted and enjoyed these miles. I got sick of a tired/dead crowd of spectators, so I decided to talk to them! Quips such as "Thanks for coming out!" or "That's a great sign!" Got a few "woohoo's" here and there!
Miles 6-10: They were filled with shenanigans. We were having FUN! (See previous post) It's a race, but it's FUN! I saw my coach from the ING NYC Marathon, Juampa, and was glad for the support. At about this point I realized I had forgotten my long run/race pepto bismal pill....uh oh. I struggled for a bit but fought through it and came out on top...not in line for a bathroom break. Mrs. Gray was going strong. If I had a dollar for every time I said "How are you feeling? Do we need to slow down? Speed up? Do you need a shot blok? Drink water." I would be a mega millions winner :-D It was about this time that Mrs. Gray needed some musical inspiration. I kept my ipod off because a) music pumps me up to run faster (True story) and b) I needed to hear if she needed something.
Miles 10-12: Things got serious. I told Mrs. Gray, "At 8 miles, we've broken through the wall. After that it's smooth sailing." Then I followed that with, "A half marathon is a 10 mile run to a 5k race." So, the 5k race had begun. Mrs. Gray was a CHAMP. She was tired. She was ready to finish. We ran it out.
Miles 12-13: We saw the light at the end of the tunnel. There was a finish line! There was a "Just go around the water and we'll be done!" discussion. There was a photographer to photograph our desperate run to a happy ending!
Miles 13-13.1: The finish. We saw our supporters, and then hauled it to the finish line. Per a text discussion the week before, we opted to hold hands at the finish. We start together, we finish together, no runner left behind. It was a joyous finish and we were thrilled to find our family and friends shortly thereafter with fabulous signs and sweaty hugs.
13.1 NYC Props: THERE WAS A NEW WATER STATION! Last year I had not worn my fuel belt; bad move. The longest part of the race without spectators is this loop around a lake, and no water for almost two miles. I was pretty sure I got dehydrated. Thankfully there was a water station out there this year. Although I had a fuel belt, it was nice to know that other runners would receive water during the least shaded part of the course. Also, the bands and local high school cheerleaders and marching bands were FANTASTIC! GO TEENS GO!
13.1 needs improvement: the course? Not sure how they would change it, but there is a lot of turning around. However, spectators get to see runners repeatedly because the course circulates well so you can see a runner at mile 4, then turn around and see them at mile 6! Also, the egg rolls at the finish line were WEIRD. No thanks. A bagel and a banana and I was OUT.
Congratulations to Mrs. Gray for a fabulous finish! You worked through excitement, endurance, exhaustion, and elation to complete your first half marathon. I am honored that you allowed me to walk through it with you. Let's do this again VERY soon!
Congrats to all my friends who completed their first half marathon, their "more than one" half marathon, PR'd, and ran in this awesome race benefiting World Vision!!!