That was main event of the year for me, that took longest and most intensive preparation for it. About 4 months. Had big expectations for this race, just because 10 weeks before completed Hampton half marathon pretty comfortable and strong (1.22.37)
Had three goals:
1. Minimum sub3
2. NY qualifying sub 2.55
3. Maximum sub 2.50
Was pretty sure, that I can handle goal maximum, but...
Day before race had late lunch with new thing, that I normally don’t eat. Some reach flavored with seasoning and little bit spicy gnocchi, all Italian restaurants around was closed for season or was opening too late.
From beginning there were some issues with self organization. I read wrongly info about shuttles and got late to bus, there was another guy with me, who missed it too. Good thing, nice volunteer brought us to start line in time, even had enough time to warm up, but started to be in stress already. Brought with me 4 gels, what normally enough for me during marathons, but lost one, still ok, because I gave my friend and teammate Samir, who ran 15k, to leave on water station of his start line bottle with drink mix, that normally I used on my long runs. (Separate big thanks to him and his wife, I don’t know how would this event work for me at all without their help.) he did it, but when I went trough, I was out of gels already, and really needed this drink, but it disappeared, it wasn’t there. Probably was taken by mistake or with all craziness around it just felt down and rolled on sidewalk, and nobody paid attention.
From start planned to keep pace 6.30-6.40, that was exact needed time for 2.55, right after first 30 minutes on race started to be rainy, was really comfortable pace, road was really flat, even when it was opened for cars, they didn’t bother at all. After 7 miles started elevation, made of 3 hills, first one went easy, second as well, they weren’t that steep, but then I got to big one, hardest part was about 1k long, dropped pace to 7mm, after tough part elevation still was keeping up, but much lighter, but annoyingly long, on this part had first problem, got strong pain in right kidney, then few minutes later in second, by breathing became really tough because of pain, I had this before, so needed to wait until pain will go, so kept running but much slower, than wanted(had this fun for about 10-12 minutes), then, yesterday’s lunch reminded me about itself with strong pain in right side, somewhere in liver area, and again got breathing problems. At that moment I was all wet, it was on the top, rain became stronger, so started to feel really cold, specially my arms, just didn’t feel them, didn’t feel vibrations of my watch on each kilometer, so couldn’t monitor my pace either, just followed my HR. So with side ache, cold, and already struggling got to easy part- first long downhill, where I planned to take rest and to run easier, just to let pain go. It helped a little bit, pain left me on half marathon spot, but later after finish I saw, that my pace at this point was very too fast(about 6 mm), and this was biggest mistake of the race, I just killed my quads, and they didn’t want to move much after I got to flat area. Specially when I was out of gels and energy and realized on 15k start water station, that have no more my energy drink, that should help me to have back my power, really wanted to give up, and just slowly to roll to finish, no matter what a time. Then checked on watch how far I am and what time, realized, that on downhill I won good few minutes, and I still can fight for NY qualify time. On water stations they had warm Gatorade, normally it is worst and most disgusting drink I can imagine, but this time it was right drink I needed, so kept rolling from station to station and looked on watch, just in case to be in time on finish.
Finish was interesting, I crossed finish line when my Garmin and marathon watch shown 2.54.57, but strava and official time shown 2.55.03, so I missed NY by 3 seconds, good thing have good time on HM to be qualified anyway.
Learned good lessons:
1. Nothing new to eat a day before race, specially nothing spicy with a lot of seasoning
2. Better to be way before time in place, than to have stress
3. To keep gels not in open pockets
4. To be dressed right for weather
5. Not to fly downhill, fresh quads could save me at least 2 more minutes.
Lost bottle with energy drink was just lack of luck, cherry on the top, but in mean time I learned how to deal with my body weakness and to manage pain.