Thursday, March 24, 2011

Race Report - NYC Half marathon

By Brendan Hall

New York, New York, the place of my birth, how I do love thee so. And what's not to love? The energy, the crowds, the excitement, the homeless dude playing the cello whilst singing "Wind Beneath My Wings" in perfect pitch. It's a spectacle and a perfect venue for an early-season half marathon. Now, since certain BTTers made my time look like I pulled a rickshaw with a family of four through the course, I'll spare you the details of my belabored motoring and focus on some of the more colorful aspects of my race weekend experience. (I did manage to pull off a 3+ minute PR with the rickshaw, btw)

I drove down Saturday morning and met a friend for a nutritious brunch in the West Village after which, while bouncing around in the early spring sunlight and breathing in the crisp air with its record-breaking pollutants in parts per million, I happened upon two cute little dogs outside of a cafe. They started sniffing my Converse and I returned the favor by petting them and asking the owner what their names were. When I looked up to meet her eye-to-eye, it was none other than Hillary Swank...seriously! I'd like to say that I maintained my composure and said something SO charming to the two-time Oscar winner in yoga pants that we spent the rest of the day cocktailing and making out but instead, I'm pretty sure I told her she looked hot in "Boys Don't Cry" and then blacked out. Moving on...

As Eric mentioned, the "expo" was nothing to get excited about nor was the swag bag. It wasn't overly crowded when I went, which is nice because I was still getting over my run-in with Hillary and crowds generally freak me out like clowns at a child's birthday party...or anywhere for that matter. I was hoping to pick up some Gu and/or other race fuel and they had nada. The only memorable item in my swag bag was Axe Body Soap which is hilarious for any number of reasons. After the expo I headed to my hotel to nap and woke up just in time to meet my brother at a sports bar and catch some NCAA hoops over Chicken Salad sandos...and a beer or two. (Sorry, Jorge!)

I rose to meet the race day at 5am, wolfed down all of the bodega bought breakfast treasures I had secured the night before and after watching 3-4 episodes of ESPN, headed out to catch a cab, a task I assumed would be easy at 6:45am...I was wrong. I ran all over midtown trying to flag someone/anyone down for a ride to 95th and 5th and after 20 minutes, I finally convinced a fellow runner who was already in a cab at a red light to let me jump in with her. My first cab-jacking...what a rush! We arrived to the race start with plenty of time to spare for a quick warm-up before the gun went off.

The conditions were perfect and running in Central Park is always a blast no matter what time of year. Great crowd support, a few long ups and downs before hitting the super flats of Broadway, 42nd Street and then West Side Highway. At the end of the day, I hit my goal of 1:35 and was pretty pleased with myself. So much so, I pulled off a second cab-jacking to get back up-town. I highly recommend jumping in the lottery pool next year. I know I will. Now, back to updating Hillary's wiki page...

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