Finally Injury Free: United NYC Half Recap
Usually runners prepare to run a race, especially a distance as long as a half marathon. After the Staten Island half last year, I took a long break from running due to a knee injury on the course. Now a break so long wasn't intended, but it was much needed and it was appreciated.
I received an email in late December or probably early January about running the NYC half for free, so of course I took the chance. However I quickly remembered last years race and that didn't go well for me at all and thought to myself if it was a good idea to run this race again.
I downloaded the Asics running app, made a plan but didn't follow it. I did very little training for this race and as the date approached I began to get more and more nervous. Not really understanding if I was really going to run this race.
The week leading to the race, I still was uncertain if I was running. I didn't want another incident of last year on my hands, but I also wanted to redeem myself but I was in no place to do that, so my option was to either run the race and injure myself, or not run at all. As all of this is going through my mind, I ended up picking up my bib and I was also coming down with a cold in the same week.
The day before I talked to different friends looking for guidance as if I should run the race or not. As day turned into night I made my decision to run, I couldn't let a race (a free one at that,) pass me by and I know I was having a case of FOMO (fear of missing out,) so all of these factors went into running this race.
Running the Race:
I arrived at the start line and I immediately realized that it might not have been a good idea, I'm nervous, scared and confused at how my legs are supposed to work winced I've haven't used them in this manner in a long time, but it's either now or never and I've already traveled all this way to do this race.
Wise words from my mother filled my thoughts, "don't show off." That's all I kept thinking, don't show off. I haven't been training, I haven't been running, so here was no reason to push for speed or time, the goal was to run without being injured.
As I pass mile markers, I think, "I can do this, I can run injury free, just keep this pace, I am in a competition with no one but myself." I couldn't afford to have an injury, so I ran as if I wasn't going to get one.
As I pass each mile marker I realized the distance was becoming easier, I knew I could do this, around mile five I felt myself speeding up trying to keep up with other runners and I dialed it back to keep my "injury free" pace.
Times Square is my favorite part of the race but only for a brief second because you're only in Times Square for a brief second. Maybe two miles if that, more like a mile and a half. It's nice to one side of the street blocked off for runners, so appreciate the city that never sleeps in a different fashion. As I was running through Times Square around mile seven there was a jumbo screen where you can catch yourself running. Of course I managed to completely miss myself on it, but I still got a picture.
I pretty much zoned out after exiting Times Square. I was texting, listening to music and I'm pretty sure I was on Facebook at some point. I was meeting up with my girlfriend at the finish line we coordinated as I was on the course.
After reaching mile 13 I knew it was time to sprint to the finish and that's what I did. A time of 3:17:05. It wasn't my best, not a PR but I ran injury free which is exactly what I wanted to do. Because of this, I am not ready to tackle whatever race is next and hoping to PR that with a vengeance.
(Photo credit: Daphna W.)