My favorite SNL skit in the world is "Really?! With Seth and Amy". I basically use the phrase "Really?" on a daily basis. Most recently it pertains to my thought process, as I was waking up at 4am for the Queens Half-Marathon two Sundays ago. As in "Really? I'm up at the ass-crack of dawn to schlep my quote-unquote still recovering from a marathon seven days ago butt to the armpit of queens? Really?" Or perhaps, "Really? After running a marathon last Sunday where my knees swelled to balloon size and I almost cried at mile 18, 13 miles is an appropriate distance to race a week later? Really?"
At that point I was still 3 races short of the 9 required New York Road Runner races for guaranteed entry into the 2010 NYC Marathon (Really, Paula Radcliffe? Really?). So I REALLY thought I could just get another one out of the way while the weather was still fairly warm (If you think it's hard to drag your butt outta bed at 4am on a Sunday in September, think about how awesome it will be in December. Balls.). Yea, half-marathon half-schmarathon, whatever. Yea, apparently I forgot to invite my legs to the running party because it was without a doubt the hilliest course I've ever done (a close second the Rochester Spring Forward Distance Run, a 15k held in my hometown in April, but it's only 2/3 the distance). I was lucky that over the summer I trained mostly in Central Park, which is notoriously a hilly course, but there were times during this race that I distinctly remember pushing myself up hills and feeling the top of my head tingle like I was about to pass out.
The race itself was really well organized and the weather was absolutely perfect. And, despite my grumbling, I actually PRed this race, which I was extremely happy about since a) I had just run a marathon the week before at a faster pace than I thought I could maintain and b) it was was hillier than the other half-marathons I've done. The only gripe I really had about it (despite the really early start time....7am wtf?) was that the mile marker between miles 8 and 9 and 9 and 10 were so off it was excruciating. I had been averaging about 8:30 - 8:40 minute miles up until that point and on my eighth mile I clocked an 9:45. I was really mentally defeated because I was on pace for a PR and then I ran almost a minute slower than my previous mile. However, at mile 10 I clocked a 7:46, which I doubted was due to any great elevation change, and decided that someone had come back from partying the night before and put the 9 mile marker in the wrong location. Either way, when I crossed the finish line my legs felt like soup and I knew I needed to take some time off. The bonus was that it was only 9am when I finished which means I got home around 10:30, napped, showered and changed before half of my friends had even woken up. Kind of a nice kickstart to a Sunday no?
Next up is Grete's Gallop tomorrow morning at 9am (ugh another half-marathon...but BONUS I only have one more race after Grete's and one to volunteer at before I complete my qualification for NYC 2010! Woot!)