9/29/08

Newport Half Marathon...

"The desire to run comes from deep within us - from the unconscious, the instinctive, the intuitive." GEORGE SHEEHAN

Early wake up call on Sunday morning as I had scheduled a half marathon 2 weeks before. I had just gone to bed the night before at midnight spending time watching the NY philharmonic and had to get up at 5am. Why do runners do this to themselves? I always wonder the same thing all the time, but trudge through it. I quickly change into my clothes and start to head out the door.

I was to meet up with PBJ and The Lam, two other bloggers and teammates of mine at the path station on 33rd street. We had seen some people just going back to NJ from the night before, partying and staying out till the next morning...boy, those days were over! As we got to Newport, we followed other runners out of the path and we all were clueless on where to go. We chose right, but then was relocated toward the left, which clearly showed all of the fan fair of the race, since the Finish line was there. We had known about the race from PBJ, who works at Regain Publishing, which produces Runners World and Running Times. We report to registration, pick up our race packets, our shirts and attach our time chips to our shoes and stretch. I needed a good stretching session and we had about an hour before the start. We had arrived way too early before this race, since we did not know the logistics, but it was good since I was taking care of this IT band issue and needed the extra time to stretch out. We met up with TD and SN, while we were attending baggage check and they were in the potty line. CM and JM also joined us afterwards as we chatted and headed toward the start. CM and I hoped that this race would be a lot less taxing than the Fairfield half that we had done in the summer time, although CM had won an award in her age group. She said she was going to do this as a tune up to see where she is at before her go in NYC, but she will probably get some kind of award in her age group...

The race started behind....wait, we didn’t even have a race starting line. This race was so small (1,600 runners - it is not that small), but they did not even mark down the starting line, as our race chips started when the gun went off. This was clearly based on net time as a cumulative start, so the advantage went to the front runners and the people in the back were screwed by a few seconds.

The race:
I went out way too fast as I was in the front with CM. CM and I had discussed at the beginning that we were to go out in a “not so fast” pace. But really, who are we joking when we say that. I had been bothered by my leg at first, but when it started to warm up, I was smooth sailing from there on in. The course was flat and my legs were tired from not running at all and going out too quickly…but I just needed to hang in. I recognized this gal that had been running, but I couldn’t place where I had seen her or met her. I had been thinking: Masonry Camp? Running club (nope), umm…Alzheimer’s…But I couldn’t figure it out until after the race when I asked her if she was an architect or not. Apparently she was surprised to see me as I had passed her in the end, I had no clue that she had ran half marathons and really quickly as well! Figures we had played on the same team together in one of the Ultimate Frisbee leagues when I was playing Ultimate Frisbee at the time.
Back to the race…the course was beautiful and we got to see the skyline of NYC, the Statue of Liberty, the boardwalk of Jersey City, Elis Island…it was really a great race…and I took it all in with my camera. I was not running this race to run, I just wanted to get my head back into gear after the Reach the Beach relay and get on my ways of running again. It was tough to take a few days off and the slump or even the depression of running was not even there. I didn’t feel the NEED to run at all and this race I needed to get back into things before my marathon in two weeks. I need to get my head back into running, where running 26.2 miles you have to come up with motivation somewhere and appreciate the race and the sport for what it is.

So, about mile 9, we go twisting and turning around this park right against the boardwalk and we see some people winding their ways around about a mile or so ahead. I saw a guy running with a running stroller about a mile ahead of me, WITH KIDS! I was amazed and so was the guy next to me as we chatted about the guy for about a quarter of a mile. We really could not believe our eyes when we saw the guy running with his stroller, and he was running fast!

So, about 10 miles into the race I see Laminator run so well, he was bustling as I thought he was on target to running a PR. We both have similar times where he is slightly ahead of me in all of the mileages, except for one: The marathon. We are good friends, good competitors and he is Asian, wears a bandana and is taking my style away from me…I kidd….

So, I round about my ways from the boardwalk back into Jersey City as I see my refection and take some pictures of my stride. By this point at mile 11 the rain starts to come down and it feels good. It was very humid at the start and I needed to cool down and the rain was perfect. I saw the building that I had worked on for my job place and it’s very similar to what I had envisioned for my 10 year superlative in high school…with a slight modification – Something that had to do with running the NYC marathon and running past a building that I had designed or worked on (architecturally).

As we twisted and turned our ways back towards where we had started, I saw that the end was near. I saw the finish line and I geared up for the final sprint, but not too hard due to my injury. I hear someone call out my name as I had known who it was from the start. My cousin was to pick me up after the race and as he had done during the NYC marathon, I can recognize his voice from anywhere. I quickly glance his way and sprint towards the end. The course was actually .4 miles more than it should have been and I was very satisfied with my time. I had clocked in about 13.5 or13.6 miles depending where you run, but there were some soggy spots where you had to get off of the path and run on the sides, so that could have been it as well.

I came up with a great time and better than I had expected. I was especially pleased and especially surprised at my pace time, which I had no expectation to even be close to that. Nothing really hurt and I was glad on that because I had felt a good groove and momentum. In my mind though this was not the race to really race, I needed to save up for a good race next week in another half marathon. Next weeks race is a teams race and our team can close it out in the Class B standings.
Time 1:33:44
Pace 7:09.0
Place 117 Age_18/97

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