This weekend I had my first race since NYC Marathon last fall and my Crohn’s diagnosis, The NYC Runs Narrows Half Marathon. It has been a really long and tough road back but I finally feel like I am coming out on top. My doctors still say to not be complacent where I am at because I will improve further, but MOST of the time, I feel better than I have in a long time.
So let’s put it out there up front – I said in my previous post that I really thought I should run 2:05 – official time = 2:04:57. Woo!
Let’s recap days leading up.
I took a lighter running week, rest days on Monday / Thursday. Did intervals Tuesday, Wednesday easy and Friday easy with strides.
Food wise, I went on a high carb, low fat/fiber route. I lived on banana oatmeal, turkey sandwiches and pasta for three days. Basic stuff that would hopefully keep my gut happy. And maybe I had a half glass of wine Friday night, which had me going to bed a bit scared because my stomach felt AWFUL.
Woke up Saturday with lots of time to do my thing and get out the door. Started drinking water and ate a plain roll on my way to Brooklyn. Also took an immodium because I figured, can’t hurt. Was feeling more nerves than anything.
I was stressing because there is only a bathroom at the start and it is a double looped out and back. You turn around at 2.5 and 9 miles. So not a single bathroom to be had while racing #scaredshitless in no man’s land out there!
I can’t not mention the weather. It was a swampy mess. 89% humidity. I knew this would be a race run on feel versus hitting a pace.
The beauty of NYC Runs races are the size. I think there were less than 200 people. At 8am with minimal fanfare, we were off!
Miles 1 – 2.5:
We were immediately running into the wind. I start strategizing and want to maintain an easyish effort and make sure that I am not exhausting myself against the wind. Find a couple people who seem to be doing my pace and plan to keep them in my sight.
Miles 2.5 – 5:
Hit the turn around and immediately feel the wind fall off. It is nice, try not to pick up the pace too much since it is still early on. I want to be on cruise control. Also scared that pushing it will cause GI distress. Running pretty easy still.
Miles 5 – 9:
Running into the wind again. At this point I am on a mission to get to mile 9 turn around. I want water but do not want to ingest anything until we are on the way back. My underarm is chafing like a mofo and I am slightly miserable by that. Still have my little pacers in front of me. I start questioning life choices in running as I am not half way yet. And THIS is what it looked like:
Miles 9 – 11:
Water! Sweet, glorious water. I walk through the water stop to drink down 2 cups and make myself stop so I am not sloshing around. Start running again and get a burst of energy that the end is near. My clothing is DRENCHED. My shorts are literally dripping and my socks are soaking wet. I now decide that I am going to be okay (stomach wise) and it is time to start making this a race. I begin reeling in those pacers in front of me and picking them off. I am never able to do this at the end of a race and it is a bit of a rush.
Miles 11 – 13.1:
Definitely exerted myself too early. I am now tired. I am feeling the need for fuel. There is water station around 11.5 and I ask for “waterade” can we say dehydrated much? Lol. I take a water and Gatorade and continue on. I basically fartleked the rest of the race. My legs were pretty shot. With one mile to go we come into a 5K race sharing the course with a bazillion people run/walking at me. They would not move so I am stuck weaving in and out of them. Angry thoughts are circling through my head.
I cross the finish line and eat all the grapes and drink all the water. I saw bagels and have never NOT wanted a bagel more in my life after all the carbs the days before.
Final splits: 9:43, 9:22, 9:29, 9:29, 9:24, 9:29, 9:33, 9:31, 9:51 (water), 9:19, 9:23, 9:41 (water), 9:29, 8:41 (.16)
I cannot be more thrilled with how this race went. Both executed based on conditions, not walking when it got rough out there and how I prepared the days before (and dear everyone who tells me to go gluten free with Crohn’s – considering how well I responded to carb loading I would say there is NO problem there for me).
I felt better about thinking how much humidity played a part stumbling upon a depressed man who ran a 1:24 and the race shot his confidence for sub 3 for NYCM. It was killer out there.
I think in another 6 weeks or so that I should get even closer to 2 hours. But for now I will bask in the glory of the first healthy race I have had in YEARS (my 1:53 PR is WITH a bathroom stop even).
And spent the rest of the day stuffing my face with multiple salads! Good lord I missed greens.
Overall, loved the race and the people that run them. My confidence has skyrocketed. I don’t know if there will ever be a day when I will 100% trust my gut to behave but success on Saturday has put me one step closer.
And good lord it feels good to recap a race. A GOOD race.