And it's over. All that training and the race is over! Phew. It's good to be done.
Thankfully that big snowstorm that we were supposed to get was a complete bust. We left at 1 PM on Friday to get to Queens and arrived at 4. We checked into our hotel and met up with Suzy and Amanda. I have to say that we were in a very odd part of Queens. Literally the hotel was plopped in the middle of industrial row and the shuttle would only bring us to 3 restaurants. We opted for an Italian restaurant so we could carb up. After we stuffed ourselves silly, we went back to the hotel and met up with Monique and Stacey. We all hung out for a while and then went to bed.
On Saturday, my eyes popped open at 5:30 and I couldn't go back to sleep. At 6:30, we were off and running around getting ready, eating breakfast, figuring out what to wear and making sure we had everything. Since everyone in the hotel was going to the race, we decided to call a cab instead of relying on the hotel shuttle. We called for a mini-van cab and we got a limo. Literally - a limo picked us up outside the hotel. It was very funny. Off we went, riding in style to the race.
We arrived at the HUGE park and spent a lot of time walking. We had to get Monique's race packet. (She was running her first 5K). We walked and walked and picked up her packet and then walked some more back to the start line. The 5Kers were scheduled to start their race at 8:45 and the 13.1 started at 9:13. Once the 5kers started, it was time to get busy. There were decisions to be made. Gloves or no gloves? Jacket or no jacket? Fleece head warmer? Mmmm. We got down to business and took a ton of photos and then it was time to line up. Felice went towards the front of the line since she was running a 8:45 pace. Amanda and Suzy went to the middle since they were running a 10 minute pace and Janis and I went further back since we figured we would be running 10:30 or 11 minute pace.
Before we knew it, the horn blew and we were off. We were running at 9:30 pace which was way faster than what we were used to. But let me tell you - it was hard to slow down. There was music playing, there were a ton of runners and you just get caught up in the momentum. We kept telling ourselves that we had to slow down. Janis and I had a plan to stick together for the entire run. The only way we would separate is if one of us had a potty emergency or an injury or a need to walk. Otherwise, we wanted to run the entire race together.
The miles started ticking by. Each mile brought some type of entertainment. There were cheerleaders, drummers, live bands and DJ's. It was great. It kept me pumped up and gave me some motivation. The miles kept ticking by and we both were feeling great. By mile 8, I was feeling a little tired - but still feeling good. I kept thinking in my head that once I made it to mile 10 - I would be home free. After all, once I got to mile 10, then it was only 3 more miles.
We finally reached mile 10 and I was feeling pumped. I was really going to finish! At this point, we had only stopped to walk twice through two water stops. And oh, how I wished I could walk again. My hips were starting to hurt and the back of my legs were sore. Still, we kept going and then we hit mile 11. That's when Janis decided to step it up and run a bit faster. I was dying. I kept telling her to slow down and she kept telling me to speed up. And so I did. We pushed it from mile 11.5 - 13. In fact, when I looked back at my splits for each mile - our fastest mile was mile 12 to 13!
And finally, we saw the finish line. We ran strong and crossed the line together holding hands. Our time was 2:20:16. Since I was realistically thinking that we would do this around 2:25 - I was thrilled with the 2:20 time! I think I was in shock when I finshed. I was handed a medal and a funky foil blanket to keep us warm. I wandered down the line to grab a water and a bagel and I think I was dazed and confused. It hadn't sunk in that I really ran this half marathon.
All in all - it was fantastic experience. The day was perfect for running. The sun was shining and it was in the high 40's. The park was beautiful and visually stimulating. The only complaint I have was that it was a bit twisty. The race was well organized and I love my technical shirt that I got. And our bibs had our names on them. That was very cool so people could call out our names as we ran.
Would I do it again? Absolutely! I am already planning my next one.