I gathered my things and headed out of the house for the Norwegian Festival Half Marathon in Central Park with plenty of time to stretch out and warm up but the subway line I need to take into Manhattan refused to leave the station.
After some time, fellow runner and Hellgater, Alan, stepped into the same subway car and we passed the time chatting about running. Unfortunately the MTA had chewed into our warm up time and we were now a bit rushed. Compounding the issue was a light rain and the faulty instructions I had to the race start which put us about 10 blocks north of where we needed to be. Sorry about that Alan!
The light drizzle turned to a outright downpour and as I dropped my belongings at the baggage check the air horn sounded - marking the start of the race. Drat.
Rather than wrestle with the thousands of people inching their way through the starting chute, Alan and I decided to wait a couple of extra minutes to get a clean - if late - start. I also took the opportunity to use the Port-a-John. Hey, the race had already started so there were no lines... Carpe Diem!
Alan got out in front of me and I spent the next few miles zigging and zagging around the back of the packers chasing him down. Somewhere around the hills at Harlem Meer I caught Alan and then slipped by.
The next few miles went well but I began to fatigue as the course made it's second loop around the north end of the park. At mile 10 I said to myself "Self, you've just got a 5k to go. Stay strong." I listened to my own suggestion pressing on the flats, kicking up the hills and motoring down them. With about a mile to go I began to push hard to the finish and sprinted the last 400 meters.
At first I was a little disappointed in my final time of 1:37:05 but given the poor start, constant rain and hilly course I should be pleased with this race. But there's always that voice in the back of my head saying you should have prepared better, run faster and kicked sooner...
Here's a photo of me after the race debating with that voice.
"You should listen to your heart, and not the voices in your head."