randomthoughtrunning

Running 13, 13.1's in 2013 and the thoughts along the way!

1 down 12 to go!

on January 30, 2013
photo 2

Its a bird, its a plane, nope its just me after finishing a half in 12 degree temps!

I have a set a challenge for myself this year of running 13 Half Marathons in 2013, get it: 13, 13.1’s in 2013…yea its pretty catchy. Anyways, I generally run one marathon a year, but I thought I would go for something different this year and take this on. I think half marathons are much more “doable”, meaning you can still have a pretty normal life and train for them. I am not a fast runner, an average runner who can finish a half in about 2 hours, which means training runs never take more than that!  So my quest has begun, and if you check out my Off to the Races section you will see, I have my races planned out pretty well. It has not been easy finding 13 races locally, but so far I have 11 on the calendar and I am not too worried about finding 2 more for next fall.

I can cross off number 1, Manhattan Half Marathon. Overall a good race, I have had a busy 2 months leading up to this race, so my training was a bit scattered, between holiday celebrating and moving, I didn’t feel I was at 100%. Nonetheless, it felt great to get out and run. This race is 2 loops around Central park, rollings hills along the way, and about 4000 participants. I hate loop courses, I find them so boring, but this race was different. I am always so fascinated with Central Park and all it has to offer smack dab in the middle of one of the craziest places in the world. So I was occupied the whole time, and the hills while described as very challenging, I thought they were very manageable. Generally I train on the Boston Marathon course and run Heart Break on a regular basis, the word challenging means different things.

Pros

As mentioned, the course was fun, great people and well organized once you arrived at the race. This race had just the right amount of runners to keep you motivated but did not feel like you were stepping on each other. Good spectator race, this is always a big thing for me, when I do have some of my cheering crew with me, I want it to be easy to watch. Come on, running is one of the most boring spectator sports. You have to stand there pretending to clap for people you don’t know while you squint to see “your” runner come by, only for them to say Hi! and keep running. Because this was a loop course, spectators could easily see multiple times without having to trek all over creation. Sunny weather! The sun was out in full force which felt great once the race got under way, while it was sunny, the temps were not so great….

Cons

Because I am not from the area, I had to pick my number up day of, I had to go to NYRR headquarters before the race which is not the same place the race starts. They did mention this ahead of time, but still logistically it was not the greatest. Once you picked  your number up you were ushered outside of the building to pin your number and tie on your chip. Try using your fingers in 12 degree weather at 6:30a, not easy. I witnessed one runner trying to complete this task only to have her number blow away and fall into on of those lovely NYC grates that you never want to have to stick your hand in (She did). If you were lucky enough to pin your number, you then had to find a way to the start line about 25 blocks away, this is no biggie if the temps were not sub-arctic. I chose to walk which ended up helping me stay warm, as I then had about a 20 minute wait at the start. It was cold…12 degrees with the wind. I was expecting chilly temps, I am from New England and know that January is cold, I run and train in the cold, but I think what was most challenging about this was the length of time in the cold. Trying to keep my body loose and relaxed was tough the whole race, I felt tight the whole time and never got into that relaxed groove. I kept telling myself, its January, what did I expect??? Followed by me reminding myself of how great it is going to feel running in July when it is hot as hell!

Other tid bits

My Friend came along for the trip and we stayed at Comfort Inn on the Upper West Side. Awesome location! She was able to come cheer me on and walk back to the hotel in between loops to stay warm. We were able to get to Times Square the night before and eat at some great places before and after the race. The price was great, but this is a bare bones hotel. Our room was about the size of a dorm room, with a full size and a twin bed, yes you read that correctly a TWIN size. I knew this when I booked it, but it was still a funny site to see. They did offer continental breakfast and the front desk folks were very nice. You are not going to get a sweeping view of Central Park, but it was perfect for a place to sleep and shower while being close to the race.

If you are looking for a January Half Marathon, run Manhattan!

Run On-

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