Sunday, April 11

Half Marathon Report

Well, the half marathon is over, and I am still alive and kicking! I owe so much gratitude to each of you who offered moral support and financially helped me reach my fundraising goal to support World Vision. I found out a few weeks before the race that I was in the "Orange Laces Club" and I received a pair of bright, neon orange shoe laces to wear in my shoes on race day - for raising over $800. In fact, my goal was to raise $1000 and I am happy to report that I exceeded that goal, raising over $1,060 for clean water wells to be dug in Africa.

John and I drove with our kids to New York City on Friday, April 2 and headed straight in to the heart of Manhattan to a running store located in the World Financial Plaza to pick up my race packet.
In the envelope was my race number to wear on my shirt on race day and my racing "chip" which is a tag that you loop through your shoe laces to clock your individual race time. I also received my orange laces to wear in my shoes, for reaching a fund raising milestone of $800. After picking up my packet, we headed over to our hotel, located near LaGuardia airport and Flushing Meadows Park, where the race was located.
The kids were able to enjoy some pool time with some friends, as I was racing along with three other girls from my town and two of them had brought their families along as well. By dinnertime, my aunt had driven up from Washington DC with a friend of hers to stay overnight and support me while I ran. We had a nice dinner out and then headed to the hotel for an early bedtime.
Unfortunately, besides pre-race jitters keeping me awake, we had some unruly hotel neighbors, and even a 3:00 a.m. call to the front desk didn't quiet them down. I got up around 7:00 a.m. without having more than a few winks of sleep. I had brought my own breakfast along, and this allowed me to get dressed and eat while John took the kids down for breakfast. Our hotel offered a shuttle service over to the race site, and we all caught the bus and were in Flushing Meadows Park by about 7:45 a.m. At 8:15 a.m., we met at the World Vision tent where we got race instructions, and a team picture. We also were able to walk together with other World Vision racers and our friends/family to the start line. It was such a blessing to have family and friends there to give encouragement and support since I have done all of my training alone.
My one goal for the race was to be able to complete the whole 13.1 miles without having to walk. My pace is not fast, but I figure if I'm moving faster than I can walk, then I am technically running Winking smile emoticon My "ideal" time goal was to finish in 2 hours 30 minutes, but I figured it would take me closer to 2 hours 45 minutes since the temperature was unseasonably hot and the race was several hours earlier in the morning than I usually do my long training runs.
I got off the starting line with a friend of mine who has been running for a few months longer than me, and stayed with her till about mile 7, even though we were going quite a bit faster than my last few training runs had been. It was great having someone to run alongside, but about mile 7, I reverted to my usual pace to make sure I would be able to finish the race running. Around mile 10, the heat and fatigue began to set in and fortunately, my sweet husband was at the sideline with a fresh bottle of water and lots of encouragement. I also began to review the long list of names of people who donated to the race in support of me, the many emails, text messages and phone calls that I had gotten to wish me luck and it was just the thing that really boosted me through the last few miles.
The course was set in the beautiful Flushing Meadows Corona Park, the site of the US Open & the Mets stadium. The weather was sunny and breezy and there were a lot of areas that had tree shade. The real bonus that the course was virtually flat, except for a bridge or two that had a bit of a rise going up and slope going down. I was able to finish the race in 2 hours 32 minutes and I was very happy that I met my goal of not stopping to walk. I was also pleased that I was very close to the finishing time that I wished for myself!
I want to thank each of you again for the encouragement and support that helped make April 3rd a day that I won't forget.