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January 24, 2012 / fionarwbl

Manhattan Half Marathon Race Recap

I can officially say I’ve run 13.1 mile in a snowy blizzard. That is not to say that it was enjoyable, or I would be rushing to do it again, or I had fun. It was none of those things, and I will not be rushing back out next time New York decides to throw some wintry mix my way.

Everything about the Manhattan Half made me mad this year. Just to get them out of the way so I can get to the fun, slushy stuff.

1. The weather was truly god-awful. 24, felt like 14, a couple of inches of snow, and a decent wind throwing snow in your face. LUSH!

2. The lack of salt or plowing. Really, NYRR? Nothing to clear even a path on the loop? Just an advisory not to run hard? Gee, thanks.

3. Making a race non-competitive really does make it non-competitve. There as no race adrenaline at all.

4. I had a fast race goal in mind. I really wanted to kill this thing. It turns out that running in snow is similar to running on the beach. Hard. Ass. Work. And in no way going to facilitate a PR. I mean, seriously, what was I thinking?

5. The new 5 Borough logo is super lam-0. It’s like something I would have dreamt up in Powerpoint. And my Powerpoint skills are poor.

For all my bitching and moaning, I did kinda have fun though. I only ran this race because it was my friend’s first ever half marathon. It was pretty cool to help someone reach their running goal, and to get them through the last miserable miles.

We started 10 minutes after the gun, with apparently most of the race. This was the most lack luster race I have ever been at, with everyone kind of ambling up to the start line and running half heartedly through it. Although, not apparently, at the front.

Mad Snow Dash. Courtesy of NYRR website

Check out that guy in shorts. WHY??????

Within a mile I was ready to give up, go home, and get my dog to take him for a romp in the snow. You could feel yourself have to push off and slip a little with every step. I actually looked at my watch within a mile. A mile!!!! There are 12 more to go!

The first 4 miles were miserable as the wind was blowing snow in my face. I was wearing a hooded top which was a life saver. I has breaking all kinds of rules with this “race” (not really a race at all at this point!) by wearing new clothing – thick winter tights I got in December, and a hooded running top I got on a whim in November but it hasn’t been cold enough to wear. Wow, my clothing was really awesome. I was actually pretty cozy for most of the race. The LunarGlide Shields I got for Christmas were waterproof and toasty warm as well. So, it was just my face that was exposed and freezing. And probably a strange tomato shade.

Turning the corner onto the Harlem Hills offered a respite from the wind and a brief downhill break. Wheeee!! I am not too proud to admit that I love running downhills. It’s way better than hill workouts.

Here’s the thing about the Harlem Hills and the Central Park look. The hills around 106th street are long, but you’re kind of ready and psyched for them. The hill around 96th street is by far the worst hill in the park. You think you should be done and you’re just not. And during the Manhattan Half, you have to do them twice.

Right around mile 6 my husband called to tell me he was locked out. That was a sign that I should quit, right? But somehow by the end of the phone call I had run past the turn for getting my stuff, so I figured I might as well keep running. That is officially known as runner’s logic.

At the east side of the 72nd Traverse volunteers were encouraging us to finish up our runs early. I don’t blame them. I wouldn’t want to be out cheering for wackos who kept on running in the snow. But somehow momentum kept me running past them and up Cat Hill. And then, once you’ve run Cat Hill, you’ve really only got a few more miles and hills left. The wind did pick up again, just to make it interesting. Despite the fact that I’ve run 4m in the last two weeks, my legs were actually feeling pretty light and good. Weird, right?! My friend at this point was starting to suffer a little, like you do during your first half, so it was time to step up the coaching. For once, I didn’t focus on how miserable I was running, but trying to make someone else have fun. It was fun! I really enjoyed it. And we did eventually cross the snowy finish line. And we looked like this!

13.1 miles later! No, I didn't run with a giant white bag. It was my snow camoflage.


And now, I have nothing to run for. No training plan. Just running how I feel until I pick a new race.



Leave a Comment
  1. Stacy L. / Jan 24 2012 4:06 pm

    Amazing how runners’ opinions differ with each race. I absolutely loved the snowy half! It wasn’t my fastest or easiest, but I actually thought the 13.1 miles went by faster than ever (I was at 9 miles before I knew it) and had a blast running with my much-faster boyfriend, who’d typically run ahead after a few miles and leave me in the dust. Well, snow. Anyway, congrats on finishing it – everyone who stayed was seriously a champ. And you looked much more glamorous than I did in my post-race pic. You can actually spot an icicle in my hair.

  2. Dori / Jan 24 2012 4:15 pm

    I can’t believe you ran this!!!!! You are so hardcore. Great job. Sounds miserable.

  3. Emilia @ Run for Your Life / Jan 24 2012 4:27 pm

    I ran the Manhattan Half as my first half three years ago, and again last year. Both times it was effing cold, but never that dicey! Props to you for still getting out there. 🙂

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