Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Brooklyn Half and Rock 'n' Roll USA

Signup for the Brooklyn Half Marathon took place last Friday. Although I had the foresight to inform some of my interested friends when I received the email from NYRR on Wednesday, I managed to forget when noon rolled around and signup officially opened. It's a good thing Jeremy mentioned it to me or I may have missed it altogether.

Aside from being a well-timed, well-placed race, Brooklyn is great because there's so much hype and excitement surrounding it. Judging from my Facebook and Twitter feeds, this seems to be more true this year than it's been since I've lived in NYC. I think I can count at least 10 people I know who are running this race. This year I hope to be a little more prepared to meet people after for a beer and/or swim and/or hot dog at Coney Island. My efforts to accomplish this last year were hampered by extremely poor cell phone reception and no planning whatsoever.

Whatever happens, I expect it to be a thoroughly enjoyable race and day. With any luck, the weather will be fantastic by then and I'll be in full summer mode, shorts and all.

In other news, I registered for the Rock 'n' Roll USA marathon. After years of resolving to run one of these races, I finally decided to get off my butt and actually do it. This is partially due to the fact that, despite my high Boston aspirations, I have yet to run a sub-4 hour marathon. I view this race as a practice run and hope to do it very comfortably within that 4 hour goal.

And much like Brooklyn, I'm seeing more participation than I realized. Amortya is running it as is Eric, from the old Team ReGen. Plus, I recently attended a hash, which is a new experience I should probably write about, and met a group of people there who are doing it too! Gotta love spring and summer races.

Are you doing either? Let me know, and I hope to see you there!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Manhattan Half Marathon - Race Report

As I've mentioned a couple times, this begins my fifth year of being an active member of the running community here in NYC. As a result, I can say things like "oh, [insert number between 1 and 4] years ago when I did this race, blah blah blah." It sounds weird when I say it.

I mention it because this is my fifth time doing the Manhattan Half. While better than in some years (read: in 2009 and 2011 when the temperature hit 13 degrees or last year when it was held during a blizzard), conditions were not ideal for me. The sunshine was beautiful, but at 18 degrees it was still much colder than is my preference.

The race started at 8 and I had to pick my bib up. Unlike in past years, I actually allotted myself a sufficient amount of time to wake up, get dressed, walk Phoebe, get to NYRR, pick up my bib and then run back to the start line on 65th and the west side of Central Park. In fact, I arrived with 30 whole minutes to spare. What I can further improve upon is waiting until race morning to pick up my race stuff. Recently, all they have left at that point in terms of t-shirts are XLs and XXLs. I only need so many gigantic pajama shirts.

Jeremy and Amortya were also running the race, although none of us ran it together. My goal was to run it in 1:45, which I felt was ambitious but not unreasonable. Normally, I don't keep my own time unless it's just setting my phone timer and not looking at it until the finish line is upon me. The basis for this decision is that there is such a thing as too much information. I have a fragile psyche when it comes to racing and, frankly, I don't want to know how quickly I've run each mile as it happens. At least not at this point in my running career.

I implemented an overly complicated way of tracking my time that gave me only a vague knowledge of my mile splits. I set my watch right as the race started and then looked at the time for my first mile, which was 8:20 and based the rest of my race on that. This worked in my favor because it gave me a goal I was almost certain to beat, which is usually just the sort of goal I need to motivate me to do better. It's strange...and not entirely intuitive but last year I raced much better when I told myself things like "just run better than a 1:55" (ran a 1:47 and change) than when I thought "run a PR" (I managed a PR, but only by seconds and because the course was insanely flat) or "run 1:47." I work better toward vague, easily achievable goals, for better or worse.

Anyway, with each mile, I'd add another 8:20 to my time to determine my next target, with the understanding that if I steadily increased the delta between my actual time and my projected 8:20 minute/mile pace time, I'd be in good shape. It sort of worked. I did PR by 1:15 but did not hit 1:45. I attribtue this less to my time tracking and more to the fact that I was simply not as prepared as I should have been to run the hills in Central Park.

You watch out, 1:45!

Thursday Night at the Races - Race Report!

Note: I started writing this 3 weeks ago.

I finally did it. I not only showed my face at NYRR's Thursday Night at the Races event, I actually participated. It was pretty much as I expected, which is to say that I was definitely back of the pack but not last in either the 3k or 800 meter.

This time, I made sure to arrive at the Armory with plenty of time to register and warm up. These things are much more intimidating than they typical NYRR race, with comparatively only a handful of participants (Probably a maximum of 40 in either event, versus up to 15,000 in a typical race).

Before the 3k, I started talking to one woman who was also racing and we joked that we both simply aimed not to be last (although I don't know what she was worried about because she ran a very respectable 12:06). She said that TNR was something her boyfriend did every year and that this was her first time there, since they had decided to make a long weekend of the trip.

After the race, I heard something happening over the loudspeakers and quickly deduced that a proposal was happening. I looked over and, sure enough, it was the person I'd been speaking to and her boyfriend! It was very cute and now pretty high up on my list of cool proposals...which actually is not very long...but still.

Check this out:

I'll even accept my name being written as Jen Akatie
 And this:

I guess this misspelling is moderately less puzzling
You can see the full results here.