Sunday, October 7, 2012

P(retty) R(ad)

"What's wrong with this picture?" Rayne asked, holding up his running sneakers.

We had gotten up before the crack of dawn to go run the Staten Island Half Marathon (13.1 miles), arriving to the parking lot at 7:15 am. The race, the start of which was only about 50 yards from our car, was at 8:30 am, so Rayne had gone to get our souvenir t-shirts while I had curled up in the front seat to sleep.

(It sounds uncomfortable, but any uninterrupted sleep these days is miraculous.)

Forty-five minutes later, I was groggily trying to focus my eyes on Rayne's sneakers.

What's wrong with this picture?
"Oh no!" I gasped, as reality set in. "I don't think you can run the race with two right sneakers," I added unhelpfully.

"Yes, honey, I know."

And with that, I was running solo. The last time I ran Staten Island was with Rayne in 2006, when we'd only been together for four months. That race was my personal record (PR) for a half marathon. Since it was only the second I'd ever run, I've had a lot of personal "worsts" in the last six years.

Here I am before the race.
The gun went off. I was practicing a version of the Jeff Galloway run-walk method, which I had recently written about for Travlete, a website for endurance athletes.

So, the morning hadn't gone perfectly. I was wearing a new sports bra (a no-no for races), new running pants (huge no-no) and Rayne's nutrition belt, because the water bottles on my new hydration belt had spilled all over my bag and the belt in question. And my running partner was sidelined with a case of the colossal oops.

Despite all that, I was feeling pretty good. At the half-way point I knew I was going to have a good race. By mile 10 I knew I was going to beat my old time.

In the last 0.2 miles, I opened up my stride and finished with a bang, 2:11:20 (10-minute miles) a full five minutes (and three seconds) faster than my original PR.

All I have to say is:

SUCK IT, skinny, in-shape, well-rested, 31-year-old me. I'm faster than you!