Monday, December 9, 2013

Weekend Wanderings - Rangers Game & Half-Marathon Recap

I arrived back to NY from Florida in the evening on Saturday, and mostly just crashed as soon as I got home.  I caught a little bit of a cold while I was on vacation, and I wanted to feel as good as possible for my first ever half-marathon, the NYCRuns Frozen Bonsai Half-Marathon!

I woke up early yesterday and headed downtown to the Central Park entrance at 72nd St to wait for the start.  Roger was sweet enough to pick up my race packet the day before, so I didn't have to worry about that.  I got there early enough that I should have brought my coat and checked it, but unfortunately, I did not, so I wandered around the park a bit trying to stay warm.  I also took this, the only photo I could take all day (more on that later):

Bethesda Fountain, right at the start line.
The Frozen Bonsai started at the same time as the Ekiden, a really cool relay race that was also being run in Central Park at the same time.  They both followed separate courses, which was a little confusing at first, but the path was marked really clearly, so it wasn't a problem in the end.  The relay seemed like so much fun that I'm thinking of running it next year.

The race started out well, and I kept my first few miles at about a 10 minute pace.  The race ran a full loop around the park, followed by a top loop (crossing at 102nd St) and a lower loop (a short loop crossing at 72nd St).  It meant that we ended up crossing the finish line four times in total.  The first loop felt long, especially that one hill that is always besting me in Harlem, but I've run that loop a few times now, so it was mostly familiar.  I kept up with a girl who was doing intervals of running and walking and wearing a really cute red running skirt, for the whole first loop and much of the second, and I think following her (and going a bit ahead of her when she was walking) really helped me keep my pace.  I could tell that my right calf was a little tight, and I needed to slow down a bit on the second loop, but overall, I felt pretty good the whole time.

As I ended my second loop, I saw my friend Courtney waiting at the finish line for me, cheering and carrying two signs.  She was SO excited, and it really encouraged me to pick up my pace for the end. (Seeing that I had 20 minutes to run the last two miles or so and still make my goal also helped with that - I was secretly hoping to finish in under 2:30, although that seemed impossible to me).  Courtney was one of the first people to encourage me to run, so having her with me for my first half-marathon was really special.  She said, "You're so close!  Don't make me chase you!" as I ran by, and I really felt like I could finish it.

The last two miles went by in a flash, and before I knew it, I was picking up my medal (a really beautiful one!) and heading out to a delicious old-school brunch with Courtney.  I finished the race in 2:28, and I couldn't be prouder.  The whole point of running this was to force me to keep training through the winter.  While I've definitely done a lot of my short runs on the treadmill (and some longer ones in the Florida sun), I've been much better about running in the cold than I ever had before.  I'm hoping to sign up for a few more races to keep me going through April, when I usually start again.
My race photos keep getting worse and worse.

The only downsides to the race were my phone dying (hence the no pictures - I'm still working to get it fixed), and pulling a muscle behind my knee.  I think it was a combination of not stretching enough before the race (bad on me) and running it a lot harder than I'd trained.  It's pretty sore, but I think I'll survive.

After brunch and relaxing at home for a bit, Roger and I headed downtown to meet my cousin and his fiancee for dinner and a game. We met them at Eataly and had some delicious food at Le Verdure there, and then walked up to Madison Square Garden for my very first hockey game, the Rangers versus the Capitals.  It was such a blast! Even though the Rangers lost, it was fascinating to see such an incredible game live.  I love speed skating, and so even though this was very different, I loved watching all their movements.  Luckily, Roger had his iPhone, so we got a few more pictures of the game.  I'll leave you with those. 

A really cute candid picture of us.

My cousin and his fiancee

Go Rangers!


Have a good week!

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