Monday, October 14, 2013

Race Report: Grete's Great Gallop (Half Marathon)

On October 6th I ran in my third Grete's Great Gallop Half Marathon (now with the catchy title, "Memorial Sloan-Kettering’s Fred’s Team Presents Grete’s Great Gallop"), and there is good news and bad news. The good news is that I shaved a couple of minutes off of last year's time. The bad news is that NYRR does not dole out the salmon and cream cheese bagels at the end anymore. In fact, there were very few vestiges of it ever having been a Norway Day celebration. Now it's just a normal $50 race in Central Park...sucker!

The night before the race I sauteed swiss chard and smashed purple potatoes, both of which I picked up at the Fort Greene Farmers Market. I also cooked some pasta and mixed it with olive oil, nutritional yeast and salt to make a vegan mac and cheese. I'm not vegan, but this has been a long-time favorite dish of mine. Nutritional yeast is so strange and delicious. Its nutty cheesiness is creamy and addictive. And it has a lot of B vitamins, protein and fiber. The leftovers turned out to be a great post race meal as well. Some people blend cashews in a blender with the nutrional yeast and oil. I have tried this as well, but my favorite way to eat it is the simplest method. Drain most of the water after boiling the pasta and add a lot of nutrional yeast and stir in olive oil, salt and garlic. Keep doing this until it's very creamy and the right consistency. And serve!

We eat with our eyes. 

With a 9:00 am start time I was able to have some leisurely morning time before getting on the train at Atlantic Station to Central Park. I was a bit nervous about the new baggage situation. Now when you check your bag you have to put everything in a plastic bag provided by NYRR, and I wasn't sure how 6,000 identical bags were going to look. But it went smoothly. There are more volunteers in the baggage area now, and they organize all the bags by bib number for you.

It was a humid morning with 90 percent humidity. For some reason I started out feeling really hot and began to cool off as I ran. Perhaps it was the copious amounts of water I poured onto my head during the race.

I was a little worried about wearing new running shoes for this race since I had picked up a pair of Brooks Pure Cadence the day before at my local running store, Jack Rabbit Sports in Park Slope. I'd been feeling pretty desperate for new running shoes for awhile since I was wearing the same pair I'd gotten last winter when I was training for the Kyoto Marathon. These Brooks have a really low heel in them and it was suggested that my calves might take a beating if I started out running 13 miles in them. But I was fine. Maybe I don't run fast enough to be in any danger.

I had somehow forgotten how hilly Central Park is. This course, two loops of the park, is made of rolling hills the whole way. I suppose this was a good way to kick off my training for the Austin Marathon in February. The Austin Marathon is known to be a challenging and hilly course. According to the Austin race organizer's website, the first 17 miles gain 14 feet a mile and drop 33 feet a mile the last 9 miles.

I kept my pace under 9 min most of the way. I felt pretty strong (or am I just mis-remembering because it's been over a week since I ran?). My split times below are consistent with how I was feeling for most of the race. I see the slow start as I fought my way through the crowds in the beginning, and I see where I started to slow down after mile 10 when my legs began to rebel against the whole propelling-myself-forward-thing.

Official results gave me a finish time of 1:56:43.

Last year I ran this race in 1:59:57.

In 2010 I ran it in 1:51:46. That was also the year I ran 3 marathons, but I feel like I'm in better shape than I was back then. Go figure.

Shamala and Paul also ran the race, and they both did amazing! Paul got 1st in his age group and 14th overall! It was great to see their familiar faces.

What's missing in this picture? Salmon!

No comments:

Post a Comment