09 October 2011

NYRR Staten Island Half Marathon

Some time today I shortly wished that the New York Road Runners is a powerful, maybe even evil, corporation that at a moment's notice makes the City of New York jump through hoops for treats.  That the City would ensure the runners of NYRR events get the best treatment they wish.

The day started early, up at 5 AM to try to catch whatever Staten Island ferry before the 7:30 AM one.  Or so I thought.  It did not help that the D train, a short distance from my house, did not run to Manhattan.  I had to jog over to the N line to catch the D!   Confusing enough?  On other weekends, the N would run on the D line into Brooklyn, for some distance, then resume running with D stations!!!

I got to the ferry terminal in Manhattan around 6:40 AM.  I just missed the 6:30 AM boat by about 10 minutes.  Who knows, maybe it actually left at 6:35 AM so I really missed it by just 5 minutes.  The next boat was scheduled for 7:30 AM!  Argh, so I would take the 7:30 boat after all.  Now that I work in New Jersey I no longer have the luxury of picking up my bib and T-shirt at NYRR office during lunch, so I was hoping to be in S.I. early to take care of registration etc.  I still managed to get everything done in time once in S.I. but the wait in the ferry terminal was unbearable.  Breaking my routine of totally fast prior to a race, I had a banana while waiting for the subway and then croissant and coffee while waiting for the ferry.  I lucked out and happened to sit near the gate for the ferry.  I heard some people could not get on the small boat that the City provided.  It would be so nice if the City brought a bigger boat, not for a bigger shark but just to quickly move people to S.I.  And more frequent schedules for such a big day!  Suspending subway re-route would be nice too, but I suppose that's impossible since NYRR races happen almost, if not, all weekends.

The nice thing about being a non-competitive runner is that I don't have to worry about being at a particular place in the corral.  I only have to race against my own records and always run from the end of the corral.  There are slower people than me and I would go around them when convenient.  I never really worry about when the race really starts.  As long as NYRR does not dismantle the starting line, I have some time to reach the mat - only then will my time kicks off.

Mile #1 appeared pretty quick and so were the subsequent miles.  The route was no Central Park, with its nice shade, and the hills are formidable.  Most of the route was along the waterfront but some parts went through industrial areas and there was no shade whatsoever.  I had a GU energy gel a short time before and do not follow the recommended 45-minute interval for subsequent gus.  Instead, I took another gu around Mile 4.  Between Miles 5 and 6 I noticed the fishing pier on the waterfront.  Or was it the Roosevelt Boardwalk?  I love to explore Staten Island some more so some day I will have to be back with the bike.  I hate driving so going over the Verrazano won't do.  Anyway, I was going to use the last gu at Mile 8, but the climb up the hill after Mile 7 was so strenuous I stopped for Gatorade.  The walk and the water kept me going until Mile 10, at which point I wolfed down the last gu.

I sweat so much the leather watchband stinks.  For today's race, and going forward, I plan not to wear a watch at all.  I already hold the cell phone in my hand anyway, its clock will do.  Actually, for the S.I. Half, I totally forgot to bring the cell phone.  I prepared for the race the night before, laid out all the clothes, packed the fanny bag, charged the phone... Except I didn't remove the phone and charger from the wall socket.  No loss, as the time is shown at each mile marker anyway.  I knew I started about 6 minutes after the race clock started ticking so I knew what my time was.  Mile #13 seemed to take forever to reach but I finally made it into the finishers chute.  It was really nice to hear a fellow DailyMiler called out my name.  I saw her and called her back.  She already finished some 20 minutes earlier and was just hanging out cheering the runners.

In the end, I finished the run at 2:25:14, my third best time for a Half Marathon.  It was a hot day but I think it really helped that I wore a tech shirt, to wick away most of the great volume of sweat I normally generate, plus the gus, otherwise it could easily be another 2:40+ finish time.  Overall, it was a great day to be outdoor.


  1. Congratulations Qap on finishing another race.
    If you were to live in St. Louis, you could easily ride your bike to work, to the races and everywhere. And there are plenty of parks for you to run. (Don't ask me about my walking regimen - blah.)
    Also, glad to read that you are posting sort-of regularly now. (I am trying to keep up writing about my recent trip before losing my memory - haa haa).
    BTW, I tried posting comments to your previous posts but got kicked out - can't blame me for trying :)
    It is beautiful here - sunny and comfortable.
    We went on hayride and toasted mashmallow afterward - it was fun and so Americana.
    Keep up the good work, Qap.
    Have a good day/week.
    PS: Atlanta 2012 Marathon is Sunday, March 18th. See you there???????

  2. Thx, TOTA. I plan to do Atlanta Mary next year. I was there in Sep, too soon to re-visit and I cannot afford the air tickets.