Once I finally decided to do the race, I told myself that it would just be a training run - the first longer run of my marathon training schedule. After all, the Bronx course is difficult and it was sunny and nearly 80 degrees at the 8AM start.
Someplace deep down in my heart of hearts, my competitive self had other ideas. A training run wasn't enough. I wanted speed. I wanted to race. I wanted to PR. And so, I set out at a quick yet somewhat reserved pace.
Before I continue with the race recap, let me just say that I haven't been doing very many "long" runs of late. Plenty of 4 to 7 milers at tempo pace, some hill work at 5k pace, but nothing really long enough to be considered "preparation" for a half marathon. These past few months I've run several PR's and have been peaking for so long that I thought it was the new norm, but to be honest I've been slacking in my training. Not so much in terms of effort when I am running, but slacking in the consistency, determination and motivation departments. Frankly I have been coasting.
Back at the Bronx Half, I lined up toward the front with some teammates, the gun when off and so did I. I tried to be somewhat conservative, knowing that the heat and the difficult course would take their toll on me. Once I crested the first hill, less than a mile into the race, I knew it was going to be (please forgive the expression) an uphill battle.
- Mile 1: 7:15
- Mile 2: 7:20
- Mile 3: 7:25
- Mile 4: 7:40
- Mile 5: 8:57 (this mile must have been marked wrong!)
- Mile 6: (whoops forgot to hit the lap button!)
- Mile 7: 14:21
- Mile 8: 7:50
- Mile 9: 7:49
- Mile 10: 7:51
- Mile 11: 8:13
- Mile 12: 8:28
- Mile 13: 8:28
- Mile 0.1: 0:29
- Finish: 1:42:14
The miles wore on and I knew I could finish but not before the Grand Concourse had its way with me - the return trip of this "out and back" leg was especially challenging for me. So much so that I had to walk for a minute just before the Mile 12 mark (A huge thank you to the runner that passed me saying "you can do it - almost there man" and the spectator that said "lets go Astoria runner. Stay strong").
With some Gatorade in my belly and a cup of water on my head the end finally grew near and I was able to pick up my pace some for a strong finish.
The good news is that I now know I need to focus and re-commit to my training. I've got to put in the work to reap the rewards. I have ambitious goals set for races this summer and in particular a very aggressive finish time for a little race on November 5th and slacking off just isn't going to cut it.