Monday, May 16, 2016

What's in a number?

I feel like I've been making a big deal about Saturday's race. My 30th half marathon! Holy crap! But then when I really thought about it, I couldn't pinpoint why this number seemed so significant. I don't really remember which race was my 10th, or even 20th half marathon. So why does 30 seem so different?

Maybe because now I am actually in my 30's? The age that used to loom over my 20-something head is now here, and well, it just is. Maybe there's some sort of weird symbiotic relationship? I've known people who try to hit 40 half marathons when they turned 40, or 50 when they turn 50.

Or it could just be, Brooklyn. Brooklyn was my first, and I'll never forget it. In fact, I think ANY time I every mention the Brooklyn Half, I mentioned how it's special to me.

Case in point: My 2012 race recap.

I wish I was blogging back in 2009 when I ran my first half, but luckily I was keeping track of my workouts on Daily Mile, and I was able to search through SEVEN YEARS of workouts, to find my race recap. Lucky you for guys, I didn't edit out all the weirdness, though I did enjoy making some parenthetical comments, in red.

The full write up -Brooklyn Half marathon 2009 - The Long VersionLet me first say, this was my first half marathon ever, and this was also the longest I had ever run. (My longest training run was 10 miles, one week before the half) Let me also say, that the 2:26:21 minutes that it took me to finish was the quickest 2:26:21 of my life. I cannot believe that the run is over! It's already a past memory!! (What? Samantha, you're drunk. Go home.)

Let me also say, THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU to Michelle, Kenneth, Ted, Jessica, my mother, Lydia, and everyone else who wished me good luck, and told me I could do it and believed in me, even when I wasn't sure that I believed in myself. What I accomplished today makes me teary eyed. (Samantha, crying at the end of every important race is something you STILL haven't outgrown.) 

I slept poorly last night, and in fact, my alarm never even went off. (Thanks a lot iPhone) but, I managed to wake up at 5:30am, had my Luna bar, some water and went off my way to meet up with Michelle and Ted. There were some dramas along the way (no money for a Metro Card....15 minute line to use the most disgusting porta-potty EVA!) but nothing major, and the race ended up starting late, anyway. We cut in to the corrals (oops!) so we started about 5 minutes after the horn went off. 

We were off!! I'm really doing this!!For the first mile I was having some sort of weird shin/calf tightness that seems to literally only happen when I run in Prospect Park. Usually when I stop and stretch it out, I'm okay, but I kept running, because sometimes it goes away on it's own. By mile 2, it was gone. Okay, so mile 2....where's the water? It's warm, I'm thirsty, where's my water!!Finally, as we're approaching mile 3, there is a loud surge of cheers...the elite runners are running their second lap (In 2009 the course was slightly different--two loops of Prospect park, followed by the stretch on Ocean Parkway) in the park.....jesus..FINALLY 2.75 miles in Gatorade and water!! At mile 4 I lost Michelle and Ted at the water station, and the rest of the race I ran solo. 
I felt exceptionally strong in the park, which gave me great confidence that I was going to finish the race, and I was going to beat my goal of sub 2:30, and I was right on track for my other goal 2:24. Got a great surge of energy at 6.5 - 7 as we were leaving the park. There was pretty good fan support in the park, and other then that first water station, I think they were all spaced pretty well. 

I don't know what happened around mile 8 - 9, but i started feeling pretty fatigued. I knew I was more than half way done, (only 6 miles left! only 5 miles left! I kept trying to remind myself) but I was tired. I think at the 8 mile water stop I forced myself to gag through half an orange GU. (Have I told you how much I despise those retched things?!?!) (Sorry kid, they never get better.) There were misting stations at mile 8 and 10 which were FABULOUS! I was worried that I would get wet and it would make me all blistery (Ew), but the ice cold water felt sooooo goooooooood! 

By mile 10 I had felt less fatigued, though my legs were starting to feel sore. I remember stopping to walk some point at mile 11 and I guy said to me, "It's only two more miles! You can do it!" And I knew I could. So close. We were passing Kings Highway! Avenue U! The water stations were chaotic, but organized somehow. (Whut?The volunteers were dipping cups into large lined garbage bins of Gatorade. (In addition they filled up a pitcher and you'd just serve yourself) (Good to see in 7 years NYRR still can't figure this out.)By mile 12, I was feeling almost euphoric. So little left!! DON'T STOP SAMANTHA!!!!! At this point, I did kind of want to get this over with, but in a good way. My legs were still feeling stiff, but no pain. Coming towards the Q train over pass on W Brighton was totally overwhelming. There were a lot of people there cheering, and I could hear people cheering ahead, and there tears that started to well up my eyes. I tried to calm down, because I could feel my throat starting to tighten and I needed every last ounce of air I could get into my lungs. 

I did not run up the ramp to the boardwalk. (What???) You must be crazy. No effin way. I walked up the ramp (What???), took a deep breath, and tried as hard as I could to "power" through that last half mile. And it was not easy, that last half mile was probably the toughest half mile of the entire race. When they tell you "Only 1/4 mile left!!!" it's no consolation, because you see the finish line up ahead and want it to be done, NOW!!Overall, I really enjoyed the race, and I think NYRR did a pretty good job organizing it. It was no where near as crowded as I thought it was going to be. Of course I was happy to end at Coney Island, with it being home, but it was so nice to get those hills out of the way in the beginning, I'm not sure how I would have felt about the race had it been backwards.Right now, my calves are soooooreeee. I also have one blister on my toe, which hurts a little, and I'm a little sun burned on my shoulders. In a few days all that will fade, and all I will remember is number 10119, the good times I had on this day, and the great people I met today. (Still true.)

It's funny how things change, but it's even funnier is how much stays the same. The after party will still include my friend Michelle, but it'll also include so many other wonderful people that I've met over the years. I'll be running with my friend Lou, who I've been coaching for the past few months, and I may be running with a Oiselle Bird or two. 
Maybe that's what I'm so excited for. 30 incredible races in their own right, but most importantly, 30 opportunities to celebrate with 40+ of my best friends.
If you see me at Peggy O'Neals/Coney Island Brewery, say hello! Beer's on me.


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