Monday, March 21, 2016

The Ego and The Id: An Oral History of New York City Half Marathon (3/20/16)

Brendan with 200m to go
All photos by Liz Caffrey

Race: New York City Half Marathon
Goal Time: 1:25:00
Actual Time: 1:24:36

Lead up:
The New York City Half Marathon is a 20,000 person race and held the same day as the New England Championship the New Bedford Half Marathon. Being a 20,000 person race it has a two month lottery system register.

EGO: When Jesse first signed up for the NYC lottery, I thought it was a good idea.  We all hate the hassle of New Bedford and this would be a major race and we could have a fun time.

ID: I just don't get it.  We registered for a race but we didn't really register?  We had to wait two months to find out if our registration was really a registration.  Why couldn't they just hold the lottery NOW?  . . . Are you going to eat that cookie?

EGO: So, when we really did get into the race I was happy.  At the same time I was a bit sad because Urvi - whose idea the race was - did not win the lottery so she would be making the trip without the fun of actually running.

ID: 135 Dollars?  Really? We're paying 135 Dollars to travel to run through Manhattan?  They really should be paying us to do this race; I mean, we're the ones doing all the work.

Three months after the lottery results, the NYC half was held.  It starts in Central Park at 72nd Street and goes north past the Met and then down the hill past the skating rink on an out and back on 110th Street that loops around Frederick Douglass Circle before reentering the park and hitting the first 5k mark. 

ID: The starting horn went off and there were all these people just in our way.  Didn't we sign up for the 6:30 per mile group?  I just wanted to start shoving people or weaving through them or something. We had to run faster than this.  Stupid Ego wouldn't let me do it though!

EGO: I knew it was going to be crowded at the beginning.  So instead of doing something crazy like weaving through people just to keep up the pace, I knew we'd be better off if we just let the race come to us.

ID: And then I said: "Hey look! IT'S THE GUGGENHEIM!!!"

EGO: After the first mile it goes down hill past the skating rink.  Our first mile had been slow but I knew we'd make it up on this part.  Especially if we didn't sprint.  I also didn't want to go so slowly that we'd have to hold back and ruin our quads.

ID: Do you ever use those old tape recorders?  You know the where you had to press two buttons at once to record?  What was the question?

EGO: Out of the Park was the Out & Back on 110th Street.  Fortunately by now the crowds had thinned out enough that we could just run our pace.  I looked down at the watch, while it was a little closer to 6:30 but a little fast.  I figured maybe we just needed to average 6:30s on the first half of the race - the second 5k was going to be hilly. And then making the turn around Douglass Circle was tough because I wanted to cut the tangent but how do you tangent a circle?  We didn't pay enough attention in Trig for that.

ID: I was just singing that Bobby Womack song from Jackie Brown. You know that statue of Douglass in the middle of that rotary is NOT flattering.  Oh, and on the way back we saw Brendan and Corey and then it was like: "HEY!!! THERE'S KATE!!!"

Corey on far left

The basic goal was to average 20:05 per 5k.  Jesse ran passed the first 5k at 20:16.  While that was a little slower than the average the plan had been to negative split.

ID: What is this "Negative Split" bullshit?  What do you mean we aren't going to run fast NOW? Anyways, then when we get to the Harlem Hill and Ego is all like: "We gotta work and run up this pretty fast" and I'm all like "Whoa, buddy this is no fun let's take it slow."

EGO: We had to take it pretty fast.  It was too long to let us lose time.  But we aren't doing a hill workout or anything so let's stay within the plan.  Maybe 7:15/mile average up the thing. And once we get over them then we can take the next three hills that Jess Z called the "Three Bitches."

ID: They are bitches!

EGO:  Each hill we just had the same game plan.  Ease up the first 2/3rds; race the last third and then recover on the downhill.  Each time at the top it felt like it had been a bad idea but on the downhills, I realized we were recovering and getting ready for the second half.

ID (Arms flailing): WHEEE!!!!

Upon leaving the park the second time, the course moves onto 7th Avenue.  Two blocks later is the 10k marker.  Jesse had run the first 10k in 40:40 which meant 1:25 was going to need a 39:40 for the second 10k negative split.

EGO:  As you leave the park, you crest a hill and then you can look down 7th Ave.  I knew there was a lot of racing left.  So, I wanted to make sure we didn't fall into running too fast that could kill us later.  There was a lot of miles left.

ID: The hills are gone!  RUN!!!!

EGO: I don't know what happened we listened to Id...

ID: Oh my god, Times Square!  (singing) dun, dun, dun, dun, dunt... Fresh Air. We're just sprinting through Times Square people yelling and music playing and oh my god... Wait, it goes the other way: It's first "Fresh Air" then (singing) dun, dun, dun, dun, dunt... Times Square!

EGO:  That 7th Mile was a little fast, but we were on the second half of the race.  It was time to put into action the negative split plan...

ID: Oh this again; I'm going to get a beer.  You want one?

EGO: 42nd was a little lonely since everyone was packed into Times Square.  But surprisingly just as we started to flag we got a surprise yell cheer from Liz Caffrey.

ID (yelling from the kitchen): We should have gone back and given her our gloves!

EGO (yelling into the kitchen): You don't turn around DURING a race! (turning back to me) Had we realized it at the time, we could have ditched our gloves but by the time we thought of it we were BLOCKS away.

ID (while walking back into the room and handing me a Sculpin IPA): Then we took that left before turning and heading the other way.  We get a great view of the Intrepid and I'm like: "Remember that Law and Order..." and Ego cuts me off.

EGO: I did.  Now was the time to concentrate on the job at hand.  We wanted to spend our concentration on running each mile at 6:20 or faster.  We were getting tired and daydreaming about 20 year old Law and Order episodes wasn't going to help.

With a tail wind, Jesse managed to make up some ground.  The 15k split was 1:00:14, or 1 second under the overall plan!

Jesse on the last turn with the flag of Iceland.
EGO: The negative split plan was working...

ID: Because we finally started fucking running!

EGO (looking at the ceiling away from Id):  I'm not having this argument again. So, now all we had to do was keep hitting each mile at 6:20.  Just try to clock each of them.

ID: And this guy with the Dominican Flag!

EGO: Yes, there was this guy with the Dominican Flag who passed us.  He was running faster but not much faster than us.  So we just targeted the flag.  Just keep that guy in our sights.

ID: We were blowing past people now. There were some tired runners. And we felt AWESOME!!

EGO: We did not feel awesome.  But, as we came upto the Tunnel and the 12 mile mark, we were relaxed and on target.  I mean, we still had to run at least 6:40 miles but...

ID: The tunnel was kinda cool at first and then it sucked.

Coming out of the tunnel was the 20k mark and Jesse was at 1:20:04 ~ 16 seconds ahead of the plan. But still there was a tough climb and 1.1 km left to run.

ID: All I could say was: "WOW!!! Look at that view of the Brooklyn Bridge!"

EGO: Coming up the hill out of the tunnel we were going so slow.  We had to run the last 1.1 km in less that five minutes and I needed us to stay focused and then all I could think was: "WOW!!! Look at the view of the Brooklyn Bridge!" But I kept us focused.  As I made it up to the 400 meters to go I was going to look at my watch and as long as it was 1:23:30 or faster, I knew we'd be doing alright.

ID: RUN!!!!!

EGO: There were two turns.  Just before the second one was the 200 meters to go and I didn't want to bother about time in case we weren't going fast enough so we listened to Id again...

ID: RUN!!!!!  Oh my god, we were just running as hard as we could.  There was the finish line just keep running!  I saw the clock and it was under 1:25.  RUN!!!!!

EGO: It was great to reach our goal and now we can concentrate on the Boston Marathon.

ID: That guy in the suit still beat us.

Jesse finished the race at 1:24:36 which was not only a nearly 3 minute Personal Record (PR) but, as long as the qualifying times don't change, should auto-qualify him for the 2017 New York City Marathon.

ID: Then I blew chunks on Wall Street.

EGO: Yes, we vomited.

Corey also had a PR in New York and Brendan just missed by 3 seconds.  Meanwhile in Ashland Rob Cook and Nichole Bukowski had big PRs in the half (Nichole WON!!!).  And in New Bedford, Brian Keefe, Aharon Wright and Mark Duggan (in a divine comedy of errors) each had PRs.

ID: Wait, you're going to quote us directly?

EGO: Yes, it's all in those release forms he had each of us sign.

ID: I didn't fucking read those.

No comments:

Post a Comment