On Saturday morning, my boyfriend walked in the living room to find me watching NYC Marathon videos on YouTube. He joined me and did a good job of playing along and acting interested. Meanwhile, I was getting teary and filled with so much joy in anticipation of this special day.
The next morning, the alarm went off at 5:15am. I quickly got dressed, dabbed Vaseline on my special spots, got a quick kiss from Sean, grabbed the half turkey sandwich I got for free the night before at the local game store and then was off to the subway. Waiting for the 6am Staten Island Ferry (I intended to take the 6:30am, should have sent my alarm 20 minutes later!) with a sea of runners, I felt excitement for what’s to come in 4 weeks.
The sun rose as we made our way across the river. Once on Staten Island, I soaked in a few last minutes with Spotify and then checked my bag. They changed the course a bit this year, perhaps not having baggage and the finish line on the baseball field because of the inevitable rain. With lots of time until the start, I went through the security checkpoint and made my way to the porta potties. I found a door that spoke to me, opened it, and discovered I was going to be the first one to use it that day. The toilet paper rolls were all still wrapped. The toilet seat was spotless. The inside appeared to be perfectly empty. It was a safe space to sit, and I thought about sitting there until the start… what a treasure to be the first to use it. That felt a bit silly though, so I did my lackluster business and left.
Standing at the starting line, I knew today wasn’t going to be great. My running has been inconsistent lately and I foolishly took a strength training class the day before for the first time. After a moment of silence for those affected by the shootings in Las Vegas, we were off just as the first bits of rain dropped from the sky. I wanted to start off conservatively, which I thought meant hovering a bit above 8 minute pace, but turned out to be closer to 8:30 pace. I stuck with it for the first 5k, and then told myself to kick it in gear. I ended up running a smart race, progressively getting faster, but I really struggled to break 8 minute pace and just barely did for 3 of the miles. I didn’t feel like I was killing myself, but I also didn’t feel like I could go faster. I wasn’t sure what that meant.
The race ended up being my 8th fastest out of 12 half marathons run on the road. Nothing to brag about. It was about 3 minutes slower than last year’s Staten Island, but 45 seconds faster than the Brooklyn Half in May.
I walked away feeling “fine.” Okay with the fact I didn’t run amazing, at peace with the fact I won’t PR in the marathon despite introducing speedwork to my training this year, and hoping that I at least run in the 3:40s like I have in 3 out of 4 of my marathons. Any other worries I had melted away as I cut into the colorful sprinkle pumpkin pancakes waiting for me at home. Just over three weeks to go.