March 18, 2006

Half a Half a Marathon

What a beautiful day! I can't imagine better weather for all the runners who ran the Brooklyn Half Marathon today. I hope all my friends who were aiming for a PR achieved it. Wish I could have been with them.

I didn't miss the party completely. I got up at 7 to prep for a morning run and got out the door about 40 minutes after the race had started. This being my second run post-exacerbation, I figured I'd take the subway to the park and do two leisurely loops and that when I got there, the leaders should be just about entering the park and I could do my run as a show of solidarity with all those poor suckers brave, intrepid runners who had just finished 10 miles and had three more to go in the park.

I didn't take the subway. With a powerful sun shining down, it was plenty warm if I stayed out of the shadows, so I just headed for the park on foot, changing my plan from 6.6 in the park to 6.7 in my up-around-down loop. I was pleased that on the way uphill to the park, I managed to run most of it, with only one steep section slowing me to a walk.

I arrived at the park at a most opportune moment. As I stretched out my now-warm muscles at the Pritchard Square entrance and surveyed who all was in the park today, I was approached by two gorgeous women who inquired about the location of Ocean Parkway. I said it was at the other end of the park almost - about 3/4 mile down the loop, and were they there to cheer for a friend running the half? They smiled and said yes. I pointed out that being at the Ocean entrance is a good spot, since the runners come around a bend there as well and they'll have plenty of opportunity to spot their friend, but that since the route loops back on itself in the park, they could set up on the north side low down on the main hill and cheer their friend on TWICE. Then I took off.

Almost as soon as I got on the main loop and got a slow jog going, I looked to my left and the very leader of the pack came zipping by - he was really moving! He was followed 15 seconds or so later by another, and then a third runner in a minute. The loop was clogged with runners, not only racing but just casual, like me. A lot of people also turned out to take up stations and cheer their friends on - that was really nice to see.

As I made my way around the loop (sometimes walking, but not too much) I took water from the tables. Hey, I pay my dues to NYRR! I had meant to bring a bottle of HEED but somehow felt I should do this run weighed down by as little as possible, so no HEED, no powersnot, no tunes, just me and the mighty, mighty wind. (And indeed the wind was pretty strong at times and cold in the shadows, which made for a little more challenge for the racers this year than last, when it was a little warmer and not as windy.) It was not always my lungs I had to walk for; half the time it was my legs. I have pains in places I haven't felt before, but they're not major and they went away after four miles. I think breaking in my new 992s is causing these pains, even though I'm still running in the old 991s.

It was at the water table at the top of the park, just before I exited, that I was standing near a lamppost, leisurely sipping a cup of slightly-frozen water and catching my breath, that a very familiar face approached in the middle of the pack. NYFlyGirl was making her appearance! She looked great, running strong at a steady pace. She looked like she was working hard, and threw me a wave as I toasted her. Great to see you out there!

I didn't manage to catch a glimpse of either Derek or Beast; but I know they were out there. Beast emailed and said he's happy with his run, ran negative splits the whole way, which is a solid indicator of being well-prepared for a particular race.

I finished my water and headed home, and only walked one block in that last 1.7 miles. (Though my exacerbation is under control, the asthma still rears its ugly head and I really, REALLLY must remember to carry albuterol with me!) Along this final leg, I realized that the racers today had run twice as far as me, but that I ran a little over half of a half-marathon distance. And that any distress I had during the run was not distance related, but health related, which makes a quarter marathon a perfect re-training distance! This distance will start the training-up process again, will force my lungs to breath deeper, force my legs to build-up glycogen-storage capacity, use less glycogen for the work they do, take longer strides. I was pleased that while in park, I was easily able to keep up with the racers who were at about a 9:40 pace (at least until an incline).

I took my time and really stretched after the run, like I haven't done in a couple months. I've lost some flexibility, but not as much as one would assume. Since I was lying on my bed using a strap to help stretch my IT bands, I was not surprised to find myself waking up after a solid 90 minute nap! And though I had a pounding headache, the rest of my body felt truly great.

The home nurse came after that to take out my mid-line, I've just returned from getting groceries, and I'm sipping my favorite "recovery"/reward drink, POM (this time trying the blueberry version). And after this posts, I'm going to take a long, long hot shower. So, all in all, B+. Next year I hope to once again run the Brooklyn Half; in the meantime, I'm getting serious about tackling Nashville's half in April.


Beast said...

I need to stretch as well. My legs are screaming for it right now. I should have done it yesterday after the Half. My flight is a bit delayed. Maybe I can lay in the airport concourse and do my stretches.

nyflygirl said...

thanks for being out there and cheering!! was very nice to see a familiar face while attacking Prospect Park :)

FH said...

Hello, Cris. Thanks for leaving a comment in my Japanese blog. Upon your request, I tried translating the entry. (Only the first part so far.)