The first year Eric ran the half, it was August and beastly hot. I mean, just absolutely ungodly. He made it through, which was an accomplishment in itself, because he ended up crazy dehydrated. It was just too hot to replenish fluids fast enough. But, he did it. Last year, his goal (a bucket list goal, nonetheless) was to run a sub-two-hour half marathon, and he did it with a time of one hour and 58 minutes (in much more agreeable 55-degree weather, I might add). However, that time was according to his personal timer, but when the official results came out, they had clocked him at 2:00:11! Eleven seconds over his goal! That was a great improvement over his last half marathon time, but there was a little grey area there as to whether or not he had actually run a sub-two-hour race and achieved his goal. Plus, he had quite a bit of knee pain during the race that he ran through, but he was sore for some time afterwards.
This year, he was excited to run again, but really didn't place any expectations on himself. As you may recall, he has been super busy at work for about the last month or two, often getting home at or past midnight, and thus has had no time at all to train during the week. His training has been limited to only weekend runs, and he only ran two runs longer than five miles at all this year. He felt rather unprepared but just went in ready to give it a go.
And he ROCKED IT. He beat his time from last year, finishing with a time of 1:57:46, and now can most definitely cross that goal off his bucket list. He placed 4,599th out of over 10,000 finishers. I signed up to receive text messages of his progress as he passed the 5k, 10k, 15k and 20k marks, and his pace sped up with each new update. Clearly, he was feeling strong. He felt great through the whole race - no knee pain, no dehydration, nothing. He was sore a bit afterwards, but dude, he just ran 13.1 miles. All in all, he did a great job and I am crazy proud.
So, let me tell you about the day in more detail than you would ever want!
First, it was COLD. Remember my whining about weather yesterday? Yeah, Sunday played a part in my overall disgruntledness. First of all, we left at 6:00 a.m., which is just not okay in my book. And the temperature was in the 30s. Again, NOT OKAY. Unlike last year when I wore a nice lightweight summer jacket, this year I had to be bundled up in my winter coat, scarf and boots. I forgot my gloves and majorly regretted it later in the day. Eric wore a long-sleeved running shirt under his t-shirt, and wore earmuffs and a sweatshirt to the race that I kept with me while he ran. NOT OKAY.
Anyway. We left at 6:00 and took the PATH train to 33rd Street, then grabbed a cab up to 95th and 5th for the start of the race. They were pretty intense this year in that only people with wristbands were allowed to enter the park near the corrals, so Eric stretched outside the park then we parted ways.
He looks ready to go!
He went in to find his corral and I went to find the starting line. Because they were so crazy about PEOPLE MUST HAVE WRISTBANDS, I had to walk waaaaay out of the way to even enter the park. As a result, I barely made it to the starting line in time to catch the end of the introduction of super-fast people and the National Anthem. And then, off they went! Ready, set, go!
Ready to go at the staring line
TV cameras ready to lead the way
Here he comes! Do you see him?
He is blowing me a kiss here, because he is romantic even when he is about to run 13.1 miles.
The course was the same as last year, which if you recall takes the runners on a loop and a half of Central Park for about 8 miles, then south on Seventh Avenue into Times Square to 42nd Street, then west to the West Side Highway for the remaining three miles to Chambers Street. (See the course map here.) So, after Eric passed me at the start I made the mad dash straight across the park then south a bit to catch him just past the 5k mark. This year I made it across with plenty of time to cross the street without dodging through runners, and was even able to see the leaders making their way past me. And after a short wait, I found Eric again, looking as strong as ever! Go, Eric!
Runners snaking through the park. This picture was taken probably 10-15 minutes after the starting gun, and these people are still trying to make their way to the starting line. There's just a gazillion people running this thing.
Central Park at sunrise is quite nice.
Leading men just past the 5k mark
After Eric passed me at that point, I exited the park at 86th Street and hopped on the C train down to Times Square. I found a spot along Seventh Avenue and waited for him there. Times Square is always fun because they have lots of live music, and it's very high energy. The runners really get into it and it's just a lot of fun. (The only non-fun part was that it was FREEZING and my glove-less hands were like ice by the time I left.) Eric was still looking great when he passed me here, and even did the "YMCA" as he ran past the music stand! What a show-off.
Runners making their way through Times Square
The music stand - there are four singers there leading the crowd in song!
I love this guy.
I don't remember what he was saying to me here, but it was probably something far too witty and/or sweet for someone who has already run over 8 miles.
After Times Square, it was time to hop back on the subway down to Chambers Street to meet him at the finish. Well, past the finish line, anyway. The finish line is always just MADNESS, and there was no way I could get down there in time to navigate the crowds and find a spot to see him finish. I did try to work my way up close to sneak a peek in hopes I would just make it in time, but as I stood there, I got my final text message that Eric had finished. When I saw his time, I was SO EXCITED for him! I couldn't wait to see him and congratulate him.
Pandemonium around the finish line at Chambers Street
My text messages of Eric's progress! FINISH!
We met up at the Irish Hunger Memorial, where Eric was able to show off his medal and I was able to appropriately gush over him. Way to go, Eric!
Handsome Half-Marathoner Husband
Eric's medal! The back says "Run through the heart of it" with the date. Very nice.
We wandered through the post-race festival at North Cove Marina for a few minutes, but it was just so stupid cold that we packed it in pretty quickly and went on back to the PATH train. We spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing and resting. All in all, it was a great day.
The runner and his proud wife after the race
Congratulations, Eric! I'm so proud of you. You're the best.