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NYC Half Marathon 2015 race report

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Shot version: Best Half Marathon race since moving to the US: 2:12:12.

Long Version: I raced 4 half marathons so far in the US: Memorial Sloan Kettering in Central Park on October 5th 2014, Staten Island on October 12th 2014, Fred Lebow Manhattan also in Central Park on January 25th and the United NYC Half Marathon today, March 15th, 2015.

I improved my time at every race. The two races in Central Park are tough as we went over the hills twice. The Staten Island race is nice and scenic with hills also, to go around the base of the Verrazano-Narrows bridge.

We had a perfect day for running: weather channels announced 6 degrees Celsius and some sunshine. We had more likely 3-4 degrees without any sunshine. I decided to run light: shorts, a long sleeves black technical T-shirt from Namban Rengo and on top of it, the #UnitedNYCHalf technical T-shirt. Gloves and an old running cap completed the set up. The sun glasses were useless. I ran with my old iPhone, listening mostly to 3 recent recordings from Tycho, an American ambient music group: Awake, Dive and their KEXP live session. I ran Honolulu Marathon listening only to the live session as the constant rain prevented me to switch to another track on my wet iPhone ;-).

The #UnitedNYCHalf is gorgeous: a tough first half in Central Park, starting on 72nd street East, Cat hills, down to Harlem, a spur along the park to go around the statue of Frederic Douglass on Cathedral Parkway, on North West corner of Central Park, then back into the Park, with the tough hills.

I’m just back from Arizona where I went hiking 6 long and tough trails in Grand Canyon National Park. I have the benefit of altitude training, but not of hills training. More on these trails later on the same blog.

So I started to walk the hills. 1 minute per mile.

Then reaching the top near the reservoir, it should have been all down hill ! But we had the bumps near 72nd street and the exit of Central Park. I need to train on these hills more often.

Then 7th avenue was really great, all down hill till Times Square. Times Square is only closed twice a year: on New Year Eve and for the NYC Half Marathon. Super cool. I tried to spot special advertisements or messages for brands but couldn’t find one. Business as usual in the Capital of neon advertising! I saw lots of supporters along the streets and it was really great.

Then we turned to 42nd street. Again, down hill to the Hudson river. At the corner with 11th Avenue, I saw my daughter. We had a hug and I gave her my useless running glasses: No need as the clouds were still preventing the sun from showing up. The run along the Hudson was cold and windy. The various artists along the races were quite cool, some with DJ sets, some with live music, with a great walking band on 42nd and 12th and gret cheer leaders later down the 12th avenue.

Passing by the World Trade Center memorial is always emotional.

And it was then all the way down to Battery Park along 12th Avenue. The last mile went down into a tunnel, the last down hill and up hill before arriving at Wall Street and Water Street.

I’m really happy with my time. I still lack the ability to run up hill. I need more stamina and mileage. So for the autumn races, I had hills repeat and I’ll have to start running on week days.

I finished in 2:12:12. Neat. I saw the president of NYRR on the finish line. She is running a good organisation. The volunteers were amazing. Very well-organized race.

We received a bottle of water and a bottle of Gatorade, an Apple and some pretzels. I missed the usual cinnamon raisin bagel ! The exit route was well-organized, a bit too long but much shorter than Tokyo Marathon’s.

I came back up town with the subway, line 3, express line ;-). Then I ran home through Hell’s Kitchen. Freezing.

My miles breakdown:

1st mile : 9:34’25
2nd mile : 8:44’16
3rd mile : 9:27’59
4th mile : 10:41’48
5th mile : 10:19’03
6th mile : 10:04’44
7th mile : 9:48’12
8th mile : 9:55’63
9th mile : 10:15’37
10th mile: 10:30’93
11st mile: 10:13’61
12nd mile: 10:50’45
13th mile: 10:47’18
0.1 mile : 1:08’63

My average pace is 10:06.

Half : 2:12’20 on my watch, 2:12:12 as per official measures ! This is three minutes and thirty seconds off my PB established 5 years ago at Chiba Marine Half, which is super flat but windy on the sea-side near Makuhari Messe.

My 10 miles adds up to 1:39’17, 2 minutes off my PB.

I finished 12,785th out of 19,455 (top 66 %), 7,218th men out of 9,305 (top 78%), 865th in my age group.

What I did well:
– Altitude training in Arizona for a week. But a tad too close to the race.
– Good choice of clothes. Minimalist.
– Recording the race on TV: I checked the leaders race at home after a good hot shower!
What I need to improve:
– No running training as usual: I need to change my routine to include 2 to 4 weekly run plus a long run on Saturday.
– Hill repeats in Central Park
– Stamina to keep running sub 10:00 per mile for 4 hours+ 😉

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