A few months ago, my dear friend Tracy approached me after my marathon and said, “I would like to run a half marathon some day.” I got excited about this and suggested that we run the Queens Half Marathon in September. She agreed and we signed up for the race. Tracy worked hard the entire summer increasing her mileage and training for this race all while she was working as a nurse at a Summer Camp upstate. I had other ambitions to train for the Seattle Marathon held in November. My plan was to use the Queens Half as a test on my performance as my goal was to finish Seattle in under 4 hours. Two weeks into training for Seattle, I learned that I am pregnant and ditched my plans to run the full marathon in Seattle this November. I then set my sights more seriously on the Queens Half Marathon. My training felt great every moment. My pace has slowed since I became pregnant, which is natural, but as long as I listen to my body, my doctor and I are excited to have my running.
Yesterday morning, I woke up around 5am, gave Tracy a wake up call at 5:30 and headed out the door at 5:45. The start time of the race was 7am, a free shuttle was provided from downtown Flushing to the start. Tracy and I decided to take it rather than have the trouble of looking for parking at the race in College Point, Queens. Upon arrival to Main Street, Flushing, I was in for a big surprise…..a HUGE line for the shuttle was waiting and no shuttle had arrived. NYRR stated that the last shuttle from Main Street would be at 6:15am. After a long wait, extra buses provided by the city, Tracy and I were finally boarding a packed bus at 6:55am. Five minutes before the start of the race! My dear friend Ellen, had driving in from Manhattan to cheer us on and had arrived at the start very early. I called her to let her know we were running late. She said she would call if they started the race without us as there were hundreds of people still in line for a bus when we left. Around 7:05, Ellen called….the gun had gone off. What now? Are we going to be able to still run when we get there?
As we head to the start, we hit a portion of the race course that was clear. It was obvious that the runners had already passed through this area. However, it was barricaded and the police officer would not let us through to get to the start. The bus driver could not get clearance, so we had to walk to the start from there! 16 blocks!!! Oh man, this is an adventure!!!
We finally arrived at the race start, quickly checked our bags, stopped by the porta-potties, and rushed to the start line. Ellen was waiting for us just past the start with decked out signs for us! Tracy and I started and had the experience of a lifetime. Not only was this the first race I have ever been late to, it is also the first race where I have started with so little people! It was just Tracy and I that crossed that start line at the same time. The clock when we crossed: 22:00. Twenty Two minutes late. Wow.
Tracy and I stayed together until between miles 2 and 3 where we hit a long hill, she slowed and I kept going. I kept looking back and Tracy kept telling me to keep going. So, I kept going. I kept thinking, “this course is pretty hilly, but no more hilly than Central Park.” I was proved wrong around mile 6. The hills started to get steeper and longer. My pace was still pretty good and I kept feeling really strong. I stopped at all water stops to get water and Gatorade as staying hydrated is extremely important while pregnant. The course had so many turns in it I couldn’t tell how far into a mile I had gone.
As mile 10 approached, I got really excited because I still had a lot of energy and pushed the pace a bit more. As I came into the finish corral the last .1 mile. Ellen was there to take my picture and cheer me to the end. (above on the right) I sprinted after her and finished strong crossing the finish line in 2:03:44! What a great time for a hilly course and a girl that is 10 weeks pregnant! I met Ellen and we cheered the other finishers wait for Tracy. Tracy arrived at the finished at 2:25:34. (on the left) I ran on the sidelines with her as she crossed the finish line and gave her a huge hug. She was so proud of herself that she did it!
( Ellen and I after the race)