Monday, August 8, 2011

Hot hot heat and when not to PR

I am very competitive with myself. I want every race to be a PR and can really berate myself when it's not.

Last weekend, I was hoping to dominate the Queens Half Marathon despite the weather reports about the humidity and 90 degree temperatures on race day, the {scientific} rumors I had heard about reducing your running speed by 20% in extreme heat, and my own experience running {slowly} on hot days.

The evening before the race, I checked the statistics from the Queens Half 2010 out of curiosity. Welp, as it turns out, my finishing time at the Brooklyn Half Marathon would have had me as the top finisher in my age division at last year's Queens Half. Seeing as how I finished 13th at Brooklyn, this gave me great pause.

The second nail in the coffin to my PR dreams came at race start, when the temperature was already 80 degrees at 7 am. Seeing that on the Weather Channel app on my iPhone, I took a deep breath and said to myself something along the lines of, "girl, just get out there and have fun."

Fortunately I had pre-selected a killer playlist, as by mile 3 I was too sweaty to manage the touch-screen of my iPhone and skip through songs. I was also, therefore, too sweaty to keep track of my time as I had initially intended to and as I had so religiously done during the Brooklyn Half.

Ultimately, I am so glad. I was able to chill out and enjoy the race for what it was. The course was surprisingly lovely as we stayed almost exclusively in the interior of Flushing Meadows Park, running past the Billie Jean King court where the US Open is staged and Citi Field, home of the Mets {insert sarcastic joke here} The only horrible highway-view stretch was at around miles 9 and 10 - not the best time for a boring view - but really a small fraction of the race itself.

The final nail in the coffin for my PR dreams was cramp city, which hit around mile 10 and which I fully inhabited for the rest of the race. BUMMER.

I was not too thrilled with how I felt, physically, as I finished the race. However, in checking my stats online afterwards, I finished 13th in my age division again -- same as at Brooklyn {similar number of participants - both races were sold out}, where I felt fabulous! So it turns out, everyone else was also running slower and probably hanging out uncomfortably in cramp city too.

My final thoughts on Queens?

The course is pretty good, considering. I definitely think it is a superior course to the Manhattan half, which is two laps around Central Park. Excuse me, I do that every weekend for free, I really don't need to enter into a race for that one.

my poor attempt at mid-run photography - running around the world!

The "fun stuff" is truly and appalingly lacking. We got a cotton t-shirt. Not dri-fit. No bag. No coupons for Queens restaurants and activities. In contrast, Brooklyn provides a huge coupon packet for goods and services in the Coney Island and Prospect Park areas to encourage non-Brooklynites to take off their coats and stay a while. We were pretty much encouraged to depart the borough immediately upon finishing. Nothing to see here, folks.

Also, as I mentioned in my Brooklyn re-cap, the bananas are disappearing left and right. We got plums at race end. I'm not trying to knock plums, they are a great fruit, I sure ate mine, but...really?

In any case, I had more important things to concern myself with: getting my bottom home, showered, and on the New Jersey Transit for a weekend of sun, fun and friends!

Next up: Da Bronx. Here's hoping I run into J. Lo!


  1. Nice job in the half! Good luck in the Bronx :) Where are you moving to??

  2. Moving to Saint Louis, my hometown!