Saturday, 3 October 2015

Bay Ridge half marathon

 know it sounds like I got too excited in a bar last night, or simply lost my mind, but I already miss London weather. Since we arrived it’s pissing down all the time, and there’s quite strong wind, to add a bit of flavour to it.
So this Saturday morning doesn’t look particularly fun. Waking up at 6:30am, spending an hour on the train (oh yes, I miss London underground as well), all to be at the start at 8am in order to collect my number, and allow enough time for all the pre-race preparations and rituals.
Good thing is - it stopped raining. And I also start looking at the wind differently - in last two days I’ve learned a lot about the flags. They are plenty of them here. So, I’ve learned, they are actually quite playful creatures. They just love playing in the wind. The more windy, the more fun for flags. So I don’t mind the wind that much anymore, let the flags have some fun. Here’s a picture of them playing at the start of our race:

The race starts with about 13 minutes delay. It gives me an opportunity to enjoy this nice, chilly, windy morning, and to reflect on where I had my fucking mind when I decided to run in shorts and a sleeveless bib.
Runners around are really friendly, one of them even knows someone from Serpentine (unfortunately I don’t know that Serpie, so our conversation quickly turns to the safe topic of weather in London and NY).

Eventually, the race starts.
Right in the beginning we are forming a group of 10 guys in the front. The pace feels really comfortable, some of other guys kill the time with a nice chat. Quite interesting, considering we’re running at just sub 6-minutes/mile pace.
There is one guy in a Hawaiian shirt, running really comfortably, showing off a little bit (running up the curbs to get on the grass, etc.).
The course is just over 5km down by the Hudson river, then turn around, back to the start, and the whole thing one more time. There is a headwind on the last 2-3km on our way back.
Anyway, we keep running, after the first few km we’re only 7. And we run together until the last turnaround, so for about 16km. Then Hawaiian Shirt guy speeds up, and I’m making a mistake of trying to keep up with him. I’m falling behind quite quickly, but seems that no one is trying to follow, so for the next 1.5km I’m in the second position. But it starts to really hurt. I’m fine in terms of breathing, but my legs are trying to remind me, that I’m just back from off-season break, and that I've spent last 2 months before that focusing on 800m and 1500m racing. I have to agree with them, to be honest can’t remember when I’ve done a proper LT session last time.
So when I’m chatting with my legs, two guys are overtaking me.
I’m getting angry with my legs, conversation heats up - and another one is passing by.
At that point we decided (that is, my legs and I), that we have to agree to disagree, and stop this silly argument, as there are still 3km to go, and we don’t want all of those guys to finish ahead of us.
In the end I managed to overtake one more at the finish.
4th place and a small PB of 1:19:37. An unexpected success :)
The Hawaiian Shirt guy wins. He turns out to be a member of Penn State University Cross Country team...

Bit of cool down, stretching and nice chats with other runners afterwards. People here are really friendly, I can’t remember that nice post-race atmosphere in any of my recent races. Maybe only at the Green Belt Relay and Welsh Castles Relay.

Since the weather was getting better, we’ve spend rest of the day walking and sightseeing. With the Empire State Building as a highlight. The views are breathtaking. And another lesson I’ve learned - seems I’m even worse with heights than I thought I was...

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