The Summer of Jeff

Staten Island Half: Post-Race

Posted in running by Jeff on October 10, 2010

1:47:37.  Not a half-marathon time I’m particularly proud of, but given how and how much I’ve trained for it, probably about what I deserved.

I can count a few small victories, though.  I achieved my primary goal of going out conservatively–at least relative to how I went out in my previous half.  My first mile was exactly 8:00, and the second was 7:38.  As it turned out, both were faster than my average pace, but I didn’t suffer because I went out too fast; my pace lagged because I wasn’t fit enough to race the distance today.

Also, I did a much better job of running tangents–according to my Garmin, I ran a total of 13.22 miles (versus about 13.35 in my previous half).  Given how much weaving I had to do in the first few miles, I’m not sure I could’ve done much better than that.  Finally, I pushed hard over the last mile or so, picking off plenty of folks and clocking one of my fastest mile splits of the race.

That’s about it for the positives.  I’m getting over a minor cold and suffered from some mild cramping through almost the entire race.  I was solid through the first five or six miles, but from there on, had to walk through some aid stations, and my running pace sagged.  As was the case in my May marathon, there’s some frustration here: My pace slowed down because I was tired, but I kept getting tired because I didn’t slow my running pace enough.  Once you run a few 7:30 or 7:45 miles, it’s tough to switch to a slower pace, especially when surrounded by runners moving at that 7:45 clip.

My lessons going forward are simple, and not terribly insightful.  If I want to get closer to a 90-minute half, I have to log more miles, and I have to do more long(ish) tempo runs.  A side benefit of more regular tempos, I hope, will be a better sense of pacing that will hold up even amidst a crowd.

Enough about me–here’s a bit about the race.

The Staten Island Half is a New York Road Runners event, and as such, it was extremely well-organized and well-staffed.  No complaints there.

I was one of a huge number of runners who started a bit late because of delays on the Staten Island ferry.  From what I overheard, it sounded like an earlier scheduled ferry hadn’t run, meaning that the 7:30 ferry was additionally delayed by the crowds.  And then well over one thousand runners arrived on Staten simultaneously with less than 15 minutes until race time.  No number of porta-potties is adequate for that kind of pressure.

The course was a bit disappointing.  It was almost entirely out-and-back, and there wasn’t much in the way of views, except at the start/finish.  I’m sure NYRR is forced to compromise–there are better spots on the island to stage 13.1 miles, but getting people from the ferry and back would be a nightmare.  Given the uninspired course and the transport to get there, it’s not a race I’ll likely do again.

Next up for me…

NYRR puts on a a 10k and a 15k in December.  My personal life between now and then is tilted toward things other than heavy, consistent training, so we’ll see where I’m at as we get closer.  I’m excited about the motivation to build some speed and see what kind of 10-15k times it translates into.

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