We ran as far west on 42nd Street as possible, turning right (north) briefly on the West Side Highway, only to make an immediate u-turn and head south towards our final destination - the finish line at the financial district/South Street Seaport area.
|Mile 8 already? At this point I had run further than I've run since last May - when I ran the Brooklyn Half.|
|Tiny (Irish) Dancers|
Between Miles 8 and 9 I found the North Brooklyn Runners volunteer crew at a fluid station. Here's Anna - she's an impressively fast runner. That being said, she's been very patient with me in the 2 runs I've done with NBR (I'm literally the slowest runner in the group)
|Anna, I love your enthusiasm!|
|Mile 9?! Already?!|
Around this time I was a little concerned about Mile 11. I remembered that when I did the Brooklyn Half last year, I kind of wanted it to be over at Mile 11. So I kept that in the back of my mind since it was approaching. But I also reminded myself that all I had left was 4 miles - and that's the length of most of the runs I do. I could TOTALLY do that!
|15K mark! (that's 9.3 miles, and it's Melanie's favorite distance!)|
|Jill, always a pleasure to see you!|
|I'm not sure who the woman on the left or the guy in the middle is (sorry) but he knew who I was|
|This woman said she's a blog reader too. I didn't have time to get her name but asked if I could use the photo in the blog. She said yes, and I was out of there again! Hello lady! Thanks for cheering!!|
|Holy moly! Mile Marker 10! That means all that's left is a 5K! Piece of cake!! (mmmm cake!)|
And right around this point I noticed that I was still feeling good as far as my breathing and legs were concerned, but I noticed the back of my upper arms were rubbing or slapping against something in a way that had caused chafing. (This is why I can never run without compression pants - trust me!) It was mildly irritating but I knew I could live with it for another 2 miles. The funny thing is, just moments after realizing the chafing I was experiencing, I saw an onlooker holding a sign. Imagine my delight when I read it - The timing was really uncanny...
|"Chafe now, brag later" - lady, I adore you!|
So many people were out cheering and supporting us along the whole route. Normally, during the park-only running events, there are very few people cheering - mostly just the volunteers and a handful of people that came out to support someone they know. But for this half-marathon, running through the park and streets, there were so many onlookers and supporters! I can't even tell you what a great boost that is when you're running. It absolutely lifts my spirits, makes me smile and inspires me to keep going.
I especially love to read the signs - there's funny signs and personal signs, memorials to people past and well wishes to people present. There are various noisemakers and pom-poms. The crowd makes it so enjoyable that you can easily forget you're running. Seriously - I was only aware of my running when I made myself become aware of it. Otherwise, for the most part, I was running on auto-pilot, motivated by the crowd and fueled by the love I have for New York City.
Naturally this led me to thinking about what else - the NYC Marathon! I know that thousands of people come out to cheer - so many that I often have a difficult time even getting a view of the runners on many corners. There's that many people cheering! So I couldn't help but start to think what that day will be like - the first Sunday this November, when I'm running my first marathon, and seeing and hearing all the people cheering at various points along the route. I know it will motivate and entertain me and help me to keep going.
The best part is that most onlookers cheer for everyone - shouting encouraging words for all, or reading the names or countries on the shirts "Go Italy!", "Great job, Megan!" - even though they don't know the people they're rooting for. I plan to have my name on me somewhere so I hear it all day - from friends and strangers alike...
|This group had a bunch of good signs - "Don't Stop Believin" and "Spandex looks hot on you!"|
|I especially liked the Facebook reference - "Yes, it's facebook official. You are actually doing this today!"|
|This has nothing to do with the half marathon but I can't resist certain shots. I just had to stop and grab this one - I loved the old timey metal garbage pail, blue & yellow building & NYPD car that helped frame the shot|
|Mile Marker 11!|
|Only two miles to go!|
|You, sir, are a biking god!|
We continued south on the West Side Highway, passing the former site of the Twin Towers -
|lots of construction down here... nearly 11 years later.|
|Thanks NYPD. Now please stop targeting cyclists with your ridiculous ticket blitz and start ticketing the deadly cars and trucks, OK? Thanks! Sincerely, *Bitch Cakes*|
|Oh my goodness! Mile Marker 12!|
|1 mile left to go!|
|Woo hoo! Echos!|
|taken during the 2010 Marathon - 20K mark in front of St Anthony's on Manhattan Ave|
|20K in 2.5 hours!|
|Oh my goodness we are so close to the finish!!!|
|800 meters to go! I can't believe it's almost over!|
|What?! Just 400 more meters!?|
We then turned right onto Water Street and that's when I saw it... Mile Marker 13 and the Finish Line not much farther in the distance!
|Oh my goodness! It's Mile 13!|
What's that ahead? Oh I know - THE FINISH LINE!
|I'm coming for you, Finish Line!!!!!|
I crossed that finish line, still smiling. I didn't cry, and that didn't surprise me because though this was a new course, it wasn't a new experience - I had already accomplished my first half last year. Even though I didn't cry, I was emotional - mostly beaming with joy and excitement! I was thrilled with how well I ran and how my body performed despite being in what I would consider "not as prime shape" as I was last May. The weather was perfect, the crowds were great, and I actually saw some friends along the way! I had an amazing time. In fact, I'd say it was simply awesome. A perfect Half-Marathon!
As I walked beyond the finish line, I saw this...
Heck yeah lady, thanks!!
|Proudly showing off my NYCHalf medal soon after crossing the finish line|
|Congratulations, half marathoners!|
|Hey Danielle, great meeting you! Thanks for volunteering!|
As I descended the subway stairs, something significant struck me - my legs didn't hurt. I recalled that after finishing the Brooklyn Half last year, for a full 24 hours or longer the muscle on the inside of my legs just above my knees was so sore I could barely walk down stairs at all. Here I was walking totally normally. I have no idea what I did in the last 10 months that built up that muscle, but I thought that was a great improvement!
|On the 6 Train. I had no idea my eyelash was loose until I saw this photo! Usually I can feel when that happens.|
I took the train to 68th St. Walking from Lex to 72nd and 5th Ave where my bike was parked. On my way I had a chance to see this remarkable optical illusion art! I had read about it and it was even greater to see in person. I believe there are other pieces along Park Ave, but was happy to stumble upon the pink one. The artist's name is Rafael Barrios, if you want to look him up.
|beautiful and very cool art sculpture on Park Ave in Manhattan|
Visiting Dad, of course!
My Dad wasn't working far from Central Park that day, so this was very convenient for me. I proudly showed off my medal and summed up my experience for him (Awesome! Perfect weather! Times Square! My body didn't hurt! Only 10 minutes longer than last year! Medal!!!)
|Dad and me. I know we look alike. I'm the one with the lipstick.|
|On the 59th Street Bridge. Of course I'm wearing my medal!|
|Marriage proposal on the Pulaski|
|on my way to Champs. I'm famished!!|
|Vegan brunch of awesomeness at Champs!|
|The Champ, posing in front of Champs!|
|so long Robbie, thanks for celebrating with me! xo|
After two beers there, I went home to upload my photos because I was dying to see them and share them!
Then I had one final celebration - I went to one of my favorite bars in Greenpoint, Bar Matchless. I enjoyed yet another two beers (my favorite - Brooklyner Weisse) and Felipe met me there (yes, he's back. Sort of. Don't ask. I'm terrible at relationships and worse at breakups.)
|Oh I earned this delicious beer!|
|Me & Felipe. Yes, he looks scary when he doesn't shave. Oh and he gave me that red white & blue medal.|
Finally, after that, I headed home for a shower and to relax, even though I didn't want to. I was still bursting with excitement and energy and didn't want the day to end. It was incredible from start to finish, totally perfect. I absolutely loved the NYCHalf and am even more excited for the full NYC Marathon now!
Here's my heart rate monitor stats for the day:
Bike ride to Central Park:
- Total Time: 38 minutes
- Minutes in Cardio Zone: 15 minutes
- Percentage of Time in Cardio Zone: 39%
- Average Heart Rate: 125
- High Heart Rate: 144
- Total Calories Burned: 240
- Total Miles: 5
- Total Time: 159 minutes (2 hours, 39 minutes, 49 seconds)
- Minutes in Cardio Zone: 159 minutes
- Percentage of Time in Cardio Zone: 100%
- Average Heart Rate: 161
- High Heart Rate: 177
- Total Calories Burned: 1587
- Total Miles: 13.1
- Pace: 12'12"
Bike ride home and for festivities:
- Total Time: 97 minutes
- Minutes in Cardio Zone: 48 minutes
- Percentage of Time in Cardio Zone: 49%
- Average Heart Rate: 126
- High Heart Rate: 156
- Total Calories Burned: 635
- Total Miles: 13