19 August 2010

Bronx Half-Marathon, the Race Itself

The Bronx Half-Marathon officially started at 7 A.M. Sunday 15 August 2010.  Before that there was the national anthem followed by the horn, not unlike the much-hated vuvuzela of South Africa.  I think I was still on the queue to use the portable john.  No rush, really, I won't be running at 7 but my time will be counted only when I cross the Start line.  I walked slowly into the corral and stretched a little on the side.  Around 7:15 or so, I finally started my race.

Believe it or not, the first thing I thought when I finally ran was "Oh no, what did I get myself into?  Three hours, 13 miles, such long and big numbers!"  I thought back to my blog entry about lòng người ngại núi e sông (the human spirit fearing the mountain and the river) and pressed on.  Mile #1 came up pretty soon, where JHS 143 was located.  I took a photo of the store that I was sure used to be a different kind of deli, with a video arcade machine outside, where I lost a few quarters to Space Invaders.  Somehow I missed Mile #2 but even before I reached the Moshulu Parkway the leading man already ran back toward my group of runners.  The Moshulu Parkway was described as scenic but I was too busy running to really take it all in.  I only looked forward to where the course looped back, U-turn, on the Moshulu so we know we got another leg of the race covered.  At Mile #5, back at JHS 143, I feel a tingling pain on the right foot as I stepped down.  Luckily, it was nothing major and I continued back to the area of the start line.  For some reason, I got annoyed by a pair of power walkers in front of me.  It didn't look like real work to me, as they don't actually run but just walk very quickly.  Still, they managed to stay ahead of me - that's enough reason to be annoyed, right?  At some point I managed to run past them.  Rounding the corner to pass the start line and head for Mile #6, somehow I pulled a muscle in my left hip.  Past the portable johns and I was again on the Moshulu Parkway, but only until I reached the Grand Concourse.  Mile #7 was pretty much at the entrance to the Concourse, with Mile #8 around the dip that crossed Fordham Road.  Onward I pressed to around 183rd Street then a U-turn on the Concourse to reach Mile #9.  I noticed some woman using me as a goal to keep up with.  She alternately ran and walked and the tactic seemed to work.  I couldn't shake her off with my constant pace.  After Mile #11 we were back to the Moshulu for the last time.  I think around the U-turn on the Moshulu to get to Mile #12, I finally ran away from the woman.  Just before Mile #13, some man was trying to keep up with me and we were running shoulder to shoulder for a few minutes.  I offered to race him to the finish line and he accepted, but then I started to sprint and he could not keep up.  Pity my sprinting does not look that fast in the Brightroom video.  Sprint!  The page is actually for someone who finished a tad before me.  On my own page, the video does not include me at all.  I think there was a mistake. Jump!

Compared to the Queens Half-Marathon, the weather was great.  It was not hot and even the sun was not shining.  As a result, I did not have to stop at water stations as much, or get sprayed on.  My finish time was almost 20 minutes faster.  It really helped that I did not walk at all, only briefly through the water stations where I stopped for water.  I also paused to take photos.  Maybe I should skip the photos next time to improve the time even more.

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