The Race I Now Hate: Staten Island Half
4:00am is the time my alarm goes off, but I'm not ready to get out of bed so I press snooze on my phone and head back to sleep. A couple of snoozes later I see its 4:30am, now I know it's time to get up and start getting ready.
After the usual bathroom routine, I immediately turn on my TV to the Disney channel. Of course, Sunday mornings it's The Suite Life of Zack and Cody followed by Wizards of Waverley Place so I'm not complaining.
My race day outfit was very simple, almost all black everything. I didn't really have any intentions of being seen or being colorful at this race so I kept it simple.
By 5:55am I was out of my house and started my commute to the a Staten Island ferry. The ferry ran every 30 minutes, which meant I needed to be on an early ferry just incase something unexpected happens.
With five minutes to spare I make it to the ferry terminal. The doors hadn't open yet but there was crowing around them. I make my way into the sea of people to get to the doors and then I see familiar faces, Amy and Kenny!
We ride the ferry together and she graciously offered me half of her croissant. I was starving and I ate breakfast, but at that point hunger struck again. I chatted with Amy and Kenny for the rest of the ride as well as us checking our bags. From here, I met up with some of the BGR! ladies and we stretched together as well as chatted and headed over to the start line.
Jillian and I decided that we were going to run this race together and that we did. We headed off to the port-o-potties and then waited in the corral to start.
Miles 1 and 2: Very quickly Jillian and I noticed that starting in an "earlier" corral was a different vibe than starting in a later corral. The runners seems very VERY focused and were not interested in chatting. I mean, this doesn't mean we were going to chat with other runners, it just meant that if we wanted to we knew that wasn't going to happen. Five minutes in we saw a fluid station but didn't stop, we just kept going. I noticed that my left knee was starting to hurt again at mile two and the first thing that went into my head was "man I really have to get this checked out."
Miles 3 and 4: Jillian and I were still keeping up with the "earlier runners" we realized that more and more runners were being released from the corrals and they were catching up to us, which was fine, we really weren't running for time or anything, just running to get through the course. At this time I saw my friend Charlene and she was keeping up with the 2:00 hour pace team.
Miles 5 and 6: Around mile five we started to see the other runners on our left side on a Boardwalk, which means that's where we were going to end up soon. At mile six we made a left turn and passed an empty fluid station that only had about 15 GU's on the table, no water, no Gatorade, nothing. We kept running and we're on the boardwalk.
Miles 7 and 8: My leg was really starting to bother me and running on the boardwalk didn't help it at all. I tried readjusting my positioning on the boardwalk but that didn't help as well, I just tried to run/walk through it. At mile eight you can tell there was a water station but again, there was nothing or anyone manning it, everything was packed up and the garbage was off to the side, we couldn't believe it, we shook our heads and kept moving.
Miles 9 and 10: The two miles that wore me out, after coming off of that boardwalk, the hills at mile nine were ridiculous. At the first hill Jillian and I met three different runners and we chatted with them going up the first hill, we were not trying to run up a hill after coming off of that boardwalk. Then the second even bigger hill came as well, Jillian ran up the hill and I walked it, I knew with my knee pain I wouldn't be able to run of the hill so I tried to conserve as much energy as I can for the flatter parts of the course.
Miles 11 and 12: My pace slowed down a lot and at times I thought of heading over to the medical tent to quit, but no matter how many times I've tried I couldn't bring myself to walk to that tent. I was trying to keep up with Jillian at this point and it pained me to know that I was holding her back, but I tried anyway. At a point inside mile 11, I stopped, striped to stretch my knee out, anything to ease the pain, but it didn't work. I ended up crying because I felt like I've failed myself and everyone around me, I passed the medical tent already so I couldn't really turn back, I could hear people asking Jillian if they should call the medic for me, but I shook my head. Soon after the same people we met at mile nine came saw me bent over at mile 11, crying. Th spoke to me, told me that I was going to finish this and they weren't going to leave me behind. We started walking and I told Jillian to go ahead because I didn't want to hold her up anymore than I've already have and she did. My new running pals Jose and Gigi carried me through the rest of this race. Of course mile 12 only had Gatorade and no water, go figure.
Mile 13/Finish: Phone is dead and my watch is going, I know it's a 3 hour plus finish and until today I still don't know the exact time because it's my worse half to date. I guess I'll take a look at it at some point in life, but I'm utterly disappointed at my failed knee. I received my medal and went to pick up my bag and met up with the BGR! ladies.
It's safe to say this is going to be my last race for awhile, I'm currently in the process of strengthening my knee and the surrounding muscles in order for me to become a more efficient runner. Hopefully in doing this, it will also make me a faster runner and I'll be able to achieve that PR goal I've been looking for.