The Frozen Tundra: Big Apple Half Marathon

The Big Apple Half Marathon: Snowy, Wintery Wonderland (December 2017)

The night before the race, I sat in bed with a knot in my stomach. I looked out the window and stared at where I could typically see the Empire State Building on a clear night.In this case, I could not. All I could see were clouds and snowflakes. Tomorrow was supposed to be my last big training run ahead of the Disney World Marathon in January. I was going to run 3+ miles and then run the half to get 16+ miles for the day. Yes, I know. The mileage is still on the smaller side for a final marathon training run.

I needed this run and I needed the half marathon to incentivize myself to run in the weather. I checked all of NYCRUNS’ social platforms for an update. They said that there would be an update at 5am on whether the race would take place. With my personality, this was not ideal. I did not sleep well as I wasn’t sure If I was getting up in the snow to run 16+ miles or if I was going to sleep in my cozy bed and have a hot chocolate type of day.

From my days playing baseball in high school, I knew better than to assume it would get cancelled. In high school, there were several games I assumed would get rained out. However, when they didn’t call the game, I wasn’t in a mental state to play my best game. I still remember that lesson over a decade later. I always plan on things happening – even if there’s a chance it’ll get cancelled.

I woke up several times throughout the night to check the window for a weather update and to check the NYCRUNS’ platform for an update. Then I went back to sleep. At 5:30am, the update came. The race was on. I bundled up, prepared for the race, and then left early so that I could crank out a few miles beforehand. All in all, the weather wasn’t too bad. It was about 30 degrees. There were only 1-2 inches of snow on the ground, but definitely some icy patches in Central Park.

I ran a little over 3+ miles in Central Park before arriving at the start of the race. Unfortunately, I had to wait for about 40 minutes for the race to start, so I did get a little stiff with the temperature. My amazing wife met me at the start and we talked as I stretched out, used the outhouse several times and snapped a few pictures.

The race finally started, which I was thrilled about because I was cold. It took my hands 1-2 miles to thaw as they were shivering and felt raw. The route was in Central Park and looped about 2.5 times in the park. Everyone seemed to be running a bit slower due to the slush, ice and snow. The first loop was the worst as we all were trying to be extra cautious of the new snowfall. By the time we looped the second time, it was a lot clearer from hundreds of runners cleaning the path.

This wasn’t the easiest half marathon for me, but I hustled through and finished. No PR due to the weather, running a few extra miles beforehand and being extremely cold. However, I ended the day clocking 16.25 miles in 2:25:31 for an 8:57/avg. pace. And I got an amazing medal and story!

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