Sunday, October 17, 2010

Staten Island

I can't help it, when I think of Staten Island I get this song in my head every time:

Fortunately, the Staten Island half marathon was early in the day so all of the "staten island girls" were just getting to bed as we arrived.

Pre-race I managed to sneak in a quick 1.25 mile warmup with Elyssa in hopes of loosening up my knee and actually warming up because it was chilly on the waterfront. Despite the warmup and stretching that I did before the horn went off, my knee complained for the first few miles and periodically throughout the race. The first couple of miles were relatively flat and we were able to quickly settle into a nice pace (8:13, 8:01,8:14) because the SI half is not that crowded of a race. The goal for the day was to hit marathon pace and hold it to help train my legs what to expect in a few weeks on marathon Sunday. Mile 5 had a nice hill near Fort Wadsworth and we then made a turn and weaved our way down Bay St which we dubbed "the cute part of SI". At about mile 6 we ran downhill as the race leaders were making their way up on the other side of the street. The race continued with runners on either side of the street for the next few miles which made the miles fly by. I was entertained just watching everyone go by as we headed out and after we made the turn and took on the mile 8 hill I kept my eyes on the runners coming down in hopes of spotting two friends from Inwood Hill Runners. I couldn't believe it when I saw the mile 9 marker- the race was nearly over?! I was feeling so good and comfortable at the 8:11 or so pace that mile markers 10 and 11 came really quickly. By this time my knee was feeling alright, we were back under the Verrazano bridge and had run by the very familiar School Road outside Fort Wadsworth where we'll be spending some quality time pre-marathon on Nov 7th. I liked seeing all of the marathon reminders during the race, it made it feel even more like a tune-up for the big day. As we approached miles 12 and 13 we began to pick up the pace just to train the legs to work hard when they're getting tired and we finished it off with an 8:05 and a 7:47. I was more than happy with the effort and the overall feel. I think this race got me really excited for the marathon and what could happen on Nov 7th.

Final time: 1:48:02
Now the question remains... can I turn that into a 3:40 or below in 3 weeks?

I really enjoyed the course for this race, I think the NYRR did a great job of laying it out in such a way that makes it interesting and varied for the majority of the 13 miles. While it is technically an out and back course, it really felt more like a loop which I prefer. The rolling hills made it challenging and just more exciting than a flat course could have been. I loved the various views of the bridge and running along the waterfront. The starting area was so easy to get to (I drove there with friends but took the ferry back and both were very easy) and everything was well organized. The weather last Sunday was crisp, clear and breezy and that certainly helped make it even more enjoyable. I wont be going to Staten Island to hang out anytime soon, but I'm sure that I'll be back again for this race. I completed 4 of the 5 boros this year and SI was my favorite by a long shot. Someday I'll do the Bronx half, but from what I gather- it will be no competition for SI.

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