GFGL Race Reviews: NYC Half Marathon

Get Fit Get Life will now be featuring a Race Review section, which will sum up racing experiences that members of the GFGL team and community have on their fitness adventures. First up… the NYC Half Marathon.

First off, I’m Maggie, the founder of GFGL, and I am going to sum up my training and racing experience in this post. I hope you enjoy and it inspires you to sign up for the NYC Half Marathon next year!

I trained for the race using Hal Higdon’s half marathon training plan. I chose the advanced, but slipped to intermediate or beginner for some training runs depending on my schedule. The important part of any long distance training plan is the long run on the weekends. I was living in NYC, so I was able to do my long 2-hour runs in Central Park. No complaints there! I followed the training plan from early January until race day, March 18, 2012.

My preparation started the night before with a pasta dish and an early bedtime. I skipped the wine and opted for some water, but it was worth it! The wine can wait for post-celebration. I woke up early at about 5:15. This gave me time to eat an easily digestible breakfast and warm up. I had the classic peanut butter toast, water and iced coffee to get geared up. I was actually not too far away from the starting line, well about 20 blocks from Central Park, so I used that walk/jog as my warmup.

Organizing my race day outfit!

I remember looking around beautiful Central Park and standing side by side with people from all over the world that had come to NYC to run this race. It was surreal to be part of such an amazing race where everyone was gathered to tackle their 13.1 miles. Each racer took a different journey to get to race day that morning, and that’s a spectacular thing.

I was in one of the later waves of runners, so I had to wait about 10 minutes after the start to actually get moving. You could tell all of the runners were so antsy. Once I started running, I realized why people come from all over to crank out 13.1 miles in NYC. The park was lined with tons of people cheering in support at 7:30 a.m. It gave me the kick of adrenaline I needed to start the race off strong.

The first part of the race was a loop around Central Park which was six miles. I love that loop and it was so familiar because I did my training runs on it. It seems like it never gets old. Running in Central Park gives me the same thrill and happiness every single time. The loop gets a little hilly about halfway through, but I powered through it. I think the first six miles are tough to get through because you know that you have a lot more mileage to cover. I went sans music so that I could really enjoy the experience and I’m glad I did. Runners were constantly giving each other support and there were even bands playing on the sidelines later on.

After I broke free from the loop, I hit the road to go right through the heart of Times Square. It was one of those moments that you want to soak in as much as you can and then keep it untouched in your mind forever. It’s one thing to walk down the crowded street and observe Times Square, but it’s a whole different experience to see it with the entire road blocked off. I felt like I could really enjoy the true essence of Times Square without the usual distractions.

The last of the miles were along the Hudson River at the tip of Manhattan. It finished by South Street Seaport. The finishing stretch was what got me. I felt like I was competing in an Olympic event because SO many people were crowded around the homestretch and cheering frantically. If I wasn’t ready for a last kick, I definitely was when I saw the NYC Half cheering section! When my foot hit the finish line, I knew that I not only got to mark off another half marathon, but I enjoyed a race that enriched my running experiences as a whole. I came in at 1:40 even and enjoyed the medal and goody bag before celebrating with my brothers. Family at the finish line is ALWAYS a bonus. I highly recommend going to Pershing Square Cafe for a hearty breakfast (post-race, of course) if you end up competing in the NYC Half Marathon.

Celebrating with my brothers 🙂

I did it!

The NYC Half Marathon was an incredible race that I highly recommend. If you have any questions about the racing experience or if you would like to submit a post about your own racing experience, email me at GFGL would love to review any and all races, so let us know!

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