Staten Island Half Recap!
My alarm goes off and it’s 3:15AM however I don’t get up until 3:22. My eyes burn and I feel coiled, like a cat, so I stretch in bed then head over to the bathroom, daily rituals.
I’m already hungry and I tell myself it’s time to make breakfast. I am so hungry I can’t do anything else until I get some type of food in my system. Whole-wheat toast, peanut butter and a banana, hasn’t failed me yet.
I take two or three bites and finally start to get dressed. It’s still pretty early but I need to leave my house by 4:45AM so I can meet up with my group NYCInstaRunners at the Staten Island ferry for 6:30.
It’s quiet, so I turn on the TV in the living room, jeporady is on and wheel of fortune was coming up next, whatever, it’s just background noise for me anyway. I continue to get dressed and eat breakfast, I go back into my room and put on more deodorant and take ibuprofen, and I come back out into the living room and stretch.
It’s now 4:12 and I realized infomercials are on now, I hit the “on demand” button on my remote and watch Dancing With The Stars, my “go to” show to get me excited and pumped up for this race. I throw on my sneakers, bib number and finish packing my fanny pack.
I’m ready to go out the door. But I need to take some pictures, so I set my camera up for video and I do some crazy poses. I take a screen shot of the stills and use them as “pre race” photos.
Now it’s time for me to go, it’s now 4:46 and I know the next train comes at 5:15 and it’s at least a 10 minute walk from my house to the train station, so I leave. I arrive at the train station and a man immediately sees I have a bib number on and starts talking to me. His name is Tony, he tells me how he used to be in the marines and he used to run for about three miles at a time, but nothing like a half marathon. He joked with me and asked if I was sure I was running a half marathon today. It was funny, but I had a train to catch so I finished the conversation and went to catch the train.
I’m on the train now and another man sees I’m wearing a bib. He talks to me about how he started running for health reasons and was shocked because I didn’t look like a runner. I didn’t know how to take it and I didn’t feel like being rude so I didn’t say much. We talked some more about running and then he talked about his wife of 32 years, the train pulled up to my stop and I got off to transfer trains. I saw a couple of ladies with bib numbers so I know they were running as well. I waited for the R train, but the N train came, we were uncertain if to take it or not, but the route map says it was going to our stop so we got on.
Two stops later we got off. They introduced themselves as Erica and Elizabeth I believe, I followed them up and out to the Staten Island ferry since one of them knew where they were going, as soon as we got out the station the ferry was right there.
I walk upstairs and sit down. It’s not even 6:00AM yet, but I wait. I text my friend Kenny and tell him I’m here. A few minutes later he’s there with Enida. We also met up with Stephanie, Heather and Joseph and got on the ferry.
We get to Staten Island and Heather and Joseph take off, I believe they are training for a marathon so they run a couple of miles before running the race. Stephanie, Enida, Kenny and myself go to Dunkin Donuts and charge our phones, they order coffee and we talk for a little bit before leaving and going to the bathrooms.
The end of this race in at the Staten Island Yankees stadium, which is pretty cool seeing as this is the first time the race is ending there. Of course most of the guys are excited because they know the history of the grounds and some ladies were excited as well. As for me, I just thought about the cool post race pictures.
We meet up with some other members of the group, while waiting for more members for the group to show up, we chit chat until it was time to make our way into the corrals. Of course I’m in the last corral however it was also lined up by bib number, 12103 was my number but there was no way I was going to stand way back there, so I stood with the 9,000+ bib number runners, no big deal.
I’m now standing with Johanna, Alexie, Amanda, Nicole, Enida and probably some others. There was a water show going on and I could barely see it but it looked pretty cool. But I was freezing so I didn’t care, I was too worried about whether or not I should run with my sweater.
We’re moving, I’m now side by side with Johanna, it’s her first half and she’s nervous but I tell her to stick with me and she’ll be good. However she’s now making me nervous and I am jittery. We’re still talking to the start line and we start getting our music and Nike app together for tracking.
We get up to the start line and we’re off...
Mile 1: It’s not even five minutes in and I’m already feeling hot, I know I have to take this sweater off at some point, but I’m still going to run. Johanna is next to me for a while and then she’s gone I turn back my head back to try and find her but I don’t see her. I’ll meet up with her later I thought to myself. There’s a slight hill but nothing to freak out about. I see the mile one maker sign and I take off my sweater. I can’t imagine running another 12.1 miles with this sweater on.
Mile 2: The only thing I could remember about mile two was seeing the mile 12 marker sign by a grocery store. That’s honestly it. I believe I saw Amanda and passed her but she was on the other side of the street, so I didn’t get a chance to say hey.
Mile 3: I look around to see if I see Johanna or someone and I don’t see anyone. I just keep running. I fill up my water bottle with Gatorade and water and I keep going. My music is blasting and I am feeling it, I actually feel really good. I see a 2:10 pace group pass me and a 2:15 group pass me, I was shocked because I was ahead of them, but I knew I wasn’t going to be able to keep up.
Mile 4: I get a phone call, yes a phone call from my mother. She asks me if I started running yet. You could imagine my face when I hear that. I tell her I am on mile four and ask her what’s going on. She says I’m not being tracked, great I tell myself. I never had this happen before but I thought it was a problem with my bib since I had it on my leg, so I pull over to put it on my torso and I keep running. However I am also seeing the “elite” runners pass me on my left side 48 minutes in. Those runners are on mile 10 already.
Mile 5: A nice downhill, steep downhill which keep my momentum going, I loved it. I didn’t stop for a while because I just had that much energy, I ended up seeing Amy and Christina and gave them a wave. I was still concerned about my tracking time and decided to call my mother back after I hit the 10K split mark.
Mile 6/10K Split: I called my mother and she says that I am still not being tracked, at this point I just think it’s a system thing and I continue to run. The sun beaming down feeling good actually, but it’s still cold. I’m waiting for the course to make a turn so I can start making my way to the finish line, I’m impatient.
Mile 7: Here’s the turn, time to make my way to the finish line. I’m now looking to see if I see anyone that I know and I don’t. I’m not really sure where everyone is at this point but I keep running. I pass a small playing field to the right of me I’m not sure what game is being played but I can see two teams suited up and ready to go.
Mile 8: Still looking for other people, but I take a moment to thank the man upstairs because I know I’m at mile eight and I’m not getting swept, I look behind me and I don’t see a truck but then I look further up and there it is, the sweeper truck.
As I run closer to the sweeper truck going the opposite way of me and probably on mile six, there I see Johanna. I yell out to her and wave. She looks like she is in pain, but she’s running with someone so that’s a good sign but she’s running with the sweeper truck as well, almost as if she’s talking with them. I guess that’s a good sign as well.
Mile 9: What goes down, must come up? In this case it did. That nice downhill on mile five that I ran is now an uphill on mile nine. I made sure I didn’t go too fast because I wanted to conserve energy for when the course evens out again. But it was a hard hill to run up.
Mile 10: Nothing special here, it was just mile 10. I told myself only three miles to go, and I can run three miles. So it was no big deal. I noticed a lot of small corner stores in the area, but that was about it.
Mile 11: I have a stitch in my side, it’s now getting hard to breathe. I try to keep going to push through the pain but I can’t so I slow down and start walking. The last thing I want to do is pass out on this course. I imagine myself calling to a medic at this point, but I don’t think it was that serious. Two more miles and I’m done.
Mile 12: One more mile, just one. I’ve lost my intervals and I am just walking and running as I see fit. I look down at my watch and I see that I am over the 2:30 mark to finish the course. It doesn’t matter now, I just want less than three hours. I turn back around to see how many people are behind me and it doesn’t look like much, maybe about 50 people. Now I think, don’t be last, so I try to speed up.
Mile 13: This is it, the area where the Dunkin Donuts is, where the race started, I see where the water show was taking place and I just keep running, there are people lined up cheering and clapping, but I am just focusing on running and keeping this pace until the end. It’s now getting harder for me to breathe, my side hurts, my throat has that raw, dry feeling and no matter how much Gatorade I drank, it didn’t go away, so I thought the faster I finished the faster I can regain my breathing.
13.1/Finish: I crossed the finish line and I am done. I looked down at my watch and it tells me I crossed at 2:53:44. I actually finished in 2:53:40, yes those four seconds matter! That’s good enough for me. I walk over to the side and just try and catch my breath, forgetting I have to walk over and get a medal and then go get something to eat. I walk over and get my medal, a couple of photographers take pictures of me and I’m done.
I see Alexie and others hanging out, we take some photos, some people head off to the restaurant and others stayed back. I decided I was going to wait for Johanna and a couple of others did also.
We see Johanna cross the finish line and she has to go over to the medical tent, she popped her knee and they give her some ice and wrapped it around her legs and ankle and we leave the stadium. I’m now with Alexie, Mia, Tee, Johanna and Joanna making our way to the restaurant. We hop in a cab and go there.
Great times, great people and a great race. All thanks to the man upstairs.
So that’s it. My Staten Island half experience. I have now officially earned my entry into the NYC Half for next year. Can you say excited? Of course this mean news sneakers, new running gear, new everything!
Next year will start my journey to the TCS NYC Marathon for 2016 and I know that’s going to be one hell of a ride.