I have so many feelings about Sunday’s Fred Lebow Half Marathon.thoughts on my second time through @nyrr's #FredLebowHalf Click To Tweet
Because I picked up my hat so early, it was a disjointed “race day experience” and then I just repeated same picking up my shirt & bib for Gridiron while getting my medal engraved. I was excited to be running Lebow again, but I was nervous especially as my calf/achilles hadn’t fully resolved. My official race plan was to listen to my body and go as long as it felt safe. If I thought I was exacerbating whatever is going on, or if I was too cold/wet, I’d drop out.
- I finished happy. That was my primary goal and challenge with Achilles pain getting an assist from the weather forecast. I really didn’t expect the race to go on, and NYRR was fairly sure it would have been a fun run at best. They made the decision to go on Saturday morning and I was unsure. In the end weather wise, it wasn’t much worse than Brooklyn. I was glad for the 8a start because by noon when I was headed to NYRR Run Center to have my medal engraved, the wind had kicked up big time. As of writing this Sunday evening, it’s 11 with a wind chill of -1. That would have been a much harder race.
- I finished strong this was fun. While yes, I wanted to be done in that I was soggy, I didn’t feel trashed and wasn’t really counting down the miles. There were moments, like between miles two and three when I was dreading Harlem HIll and ca. mile 7 when I wondered whether it would really be bad to sneak onto the Transverse to finish vs. heading into the passing lane for my 3rd and final lap. But overall I wasn’t counting down to the end. There were moments I wasn’t sure what mile it was. This was also surprising as I wasn’t sure what my cardio was given this weird cycle. This had to do with pacing, no doubt, and more on that below, but it made me think I really will survive marathon training.
- I didn’t feel trashed at the end. Yes my calves are sore and I’m grateful to bengay, the foam roller and epsom salts, but I feel much better than I did after Lebow last year. I was so excited to be able to flamingo when I went to get my medal. (I am a dork, yes. ) Granted, it was my good leg and I won’t be doing Tree with my left anytime soon, but I am wowed at this. As of Monday evening, my quads and knee are fine.
- I ran all of the hills. I actually ran 99% of the race. Walks were for fiddling with wardrobe and opening gel/chews and pouring a cup into my water bottle to top that up. This really surprised me since I didn’t think I was in hills shape. Looking at some of the splits, I’m not sure whether walk/run would have been better or not. I’m happy with my pacing.
- Speaking of, I let the pacers go before mile 2. 2:30 was the last set and I knew I wasn’t in 2:30 shape. I’d have blown up if I tried. I decided to treat this as a rainy, long, supported training run and just go at my pace. If I finished last, so be it. My watch was under my sleeves so I didn’t look at it very often. I was lapped by the winner between miles two and three and eventually lapped by 1:30/1:45 and pacers. “Last hill” when I was at mile ~7 and they were between miles 11 and 12 made me want to throw things. Although I thought I was losing time, I stayed with the same people most of the race. There was a lot of team work in helping open gels, get gloves on and off, etc. One guy paused to help me on Harlem Hill as I was trying to get gel out, put glasses back on and shove soaking wet gloves in my pocket.
- Official time: 2:42:26. That’s about a minute and a half behind last year‘s 2:41:09. I’m supposed to be disappointed, but I’m really not. I knew I wasn’t in PR shape between the calf/achilles and November’s impact on the training. I made the decision long ago that I was training for Fort Lauderdale and not this. When my watch beeped 12 miles I knew I had about 1.3 to go and ~15M. Knew it would be close, and decided to push it. The result? My best mile since mile four. I don’t regret this at all, I don’t think I could have gone faster earlier and finished
- The new coat is probably what kept me from hating the race more. After a wet fun run a few weeks ago, I knew my jacket needed to be retired. It just didn’t zip all the way up. So Saturday once I knew the forecast was going to be WET, I went to Modells and got this after striking out at New Balance and Jack Rabbit. Nothing new on race day and all that, but folks had recommended it, it said it was breathable and it was perfect. On top I had a base layer, a tee shirt and a long sleeve top that I didn’t mind tossing if it got too hot/wet. When I went to change I realized other than base layer sweat, and the back collar, I was dry! I am similarly floored I had no blisters either from wet feet or new shoes, but when I went to throw out socks, the volunteer commented that he’d had a lot tossed in his bag, but mine were the first socks. Also, fresh socks in a ziplock in an inner pocket stayed perfectly dry. Best thing about four pockets, no need to wear belt although I hung on to my water bottle way longer than necessary and it would have been nice to have somewhere to put it.
- My fueling: more on the gels below, but in general it was good. NutriGrain bar in the Uber to the start/corral, Gatorade Apple Pear gel at about 10K and two vile Blueberry Gu chews toward the end. The gel was unplanned but went down fine since I wasn’t overheated.I thought I took a second one on the second lap, but apparently dropped it as it wasn’t in a pocket when I went to take it, hence two chews. The consistency of the Gatorade one was nice and the citrus was less glu-ey than vanilla, which is the only Gu my stomach likes. Fueling is going to be a fun challenge this spring summer. I have no idea what I’m doing for Ft. Lauderdale where heat & gel didn’t mix last time.
- There were rumors they’d be changing 9+1 just as they have been changing 4/6, but all is the same for 2020. Picked this up at RunCenter while waiting on medal engraving. An interesting addition to 4/6 for 2020 for those of you who aren’t local who want to run the NYC Half is this $80/$100 Virtual Half in partnership with Strava It comes with guaranteed, non-complimentary entry and the virtual trainer ($30 value). Is it worth $50/$70 to bypass the lottery? It’s certainly cheaper than going the charity route.
- the weather? But really, I can’t complain about a chilly rain in January. It could have been icy or freezing rain. I really have no complaints about this race. I wish I had photos, but that was a choice I made not risking my phone in the rain. ETA: one photo below
- YES! I didn’t get caught by the official photographer for the Brooklyn Half and was sure I’d find myself courtesy of my hot pink jacket. No such luck, but when I perused Cheer Everywhere’s gallery today, I spotted my pants. This is why we wear pink 😀 I just wish I’d spotted the photog to ham it up. Then again, this was Harlem Hill. I think take one, because I’m pretty sure I hung the soaking wet buff on an earlier branch in lap 2. I thought I took my glasses off later though, so unclear when this was
- The medal. Well more precisely, the writeup on how it came to be. I’m not one who is driven by a race’s medal, but I love Fred Lebow, this race and the medal.
- My attire. I wish I had a photo, but I didn’t bring my phone because it was so rainy. Top layer for my upper body was a trash bag. Lower body? A heat shield from one of last year’s races. I actually ran in the heat shield for about half a mile and the trash bag until just before Cat Hill between miles one and two when I just got too warm. I was jealous of those who planned ahead and had ponchos.
- Flat Cari failed me. I learned from Brooklyn and laid out, among other things, two plastic bags and two NYRR gear bags to keep my feet dry until the start. I then left them in my apartment. Oops. I bought new chews on Saturday night, and promptly forgot to put them in my pocket. So I have them for Fort Lauderdale or a long run before then, and gummed stale blueberry ones.
Overall, I was really happy with this race. Lebow was just as fun the second time through and I continued to learn a lot about myself. While at the moment I’m saying no more January Halfs! I think I know I’ll be back next year.
What’s your favorite race that you return to?
What’s your favorite I’d forget my head if it wasn’t screwed on moment?