“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail” – Benjamin Franklin
I signed up the week before the SI half marathon for a few reasons, the main ones beinIt was cheap – Entry cost $60 (50% of the more popular Brooklyn half) or $45 if you are a member of NYRR. As I have a couple races planned over the next year I took the option to purchase the NYRR membership for $40 and get the discounted race entry of $45, resulting in a total of $85.
- They offered a 5k race on the same day – My fiance has recently taken up running and this meant we could partake in the same event which was nice!
- I wanted to see how I could perform with little to no race specific preparation.
This being the second Half marathon I have completed I finished in 2hrs 8 minutes, 5 minutes slower than my personal best.
This is were the quote I began with becomes important, I have not ran longer than 6 miles since completing the Brooklyn half in May. I focused my training for the triathlon specific distances (5k, 10k) so I was expecting to struggle a little in the pacing. The fact I signed up last minute, I allowed myself to socialize a little bit too much on the days and consumed a few too many Guinness! I completed the race but mile 8 on wards was both a mental and physical struggle and the elements did not help. I was disappointed not to at least match my previous time, however I know that with better preparation and training that sub 2hr half is not that far away.
I woke up at 5am to see the weather forecast proving correct, the wind was blowing and the rain was coming down fairly strong (nothing compared to later). I hoped in an Uber down to the SI ferry to make the 6.30am, not wanting to check a bag I planned to run in waterproof running jacket and stay dry, big mistake! The ferry terminal was packed with runners which was expected as there were over 10,000 people competing.
I arrived into State Island at 7am and after waiting in line for the toilet (no surprise there) I headed out of the terminal to the start area at 7.30am. This is where things got interesting, the 5k race started at 8am so my fiance had to run off to get into the starting place leaving me with 45 minutes until the race started. The weather was rapidly beginning to decline, most racers were huddling under any piece of dry coverage they could find. I did the same and waited until 8.20 to head into the corrals, here was the first problem, the Corrals did not have any portaloos and people were not being let back out to find one! The race toilets were in the opposite direction to that start line and behind the last corral which I found a bit of an odd setup. I had checked the race map and knew that there were toilets on or near every mile marker.
The race was a staggered start, I went past the starting line at around 8.50am (needing the toilet at this point) and this is where the race organisation was a little bad. There were only 1 or 2 portaloos posted every 1-2miles each had queues of up to 10 people. I did not want to break my stride so I powered on to the next set thinking there would be more, but no the same queues. At this point I started to notice a steady stream of people err relieving themselves in nature, so with no other option I followed suit.
The course was an out and back style course with the return leg following a different route until the final mile and finishing up in the baseball stadium by the ferry terminal. There are some decent hills thrown into the mix and with part of running along the shoreline you are exposed to the elements.
I took the attitude of pushing hard for the first half of the race allowing myself some leeway for the second half. This worked well and at the half way point I was on track for finishing in 2 hours but on the second half my body just was not willing and the miles started slowing down until eventually I was hobbling along.
At this point it is worth mentioning the horrendous conditions, the rain and wind had steadily increased at the half way point my feet were drenched and my clothes were wet through. The course itself was in parts flooded at around mile 11 there were a couple places where you had no option but to run though water a couple inches deep.
The race ended in the stadium, with better conditions I can imagine the atmosphere to be pretty cool but from what I observed every person was just collecting the medal and heading for somewhere warm!
All in all despite the weather conditions it was a fun race and the course felt easier than the Brooklyn Half, I will be back to compete in it next year although I will prepare next time!