Monday, September 27, 2010

Race Report: Newport Liberty Half Marathon

When I signed up for the Newport Liberty Half Marathon in Jersey City, NJ the goal was to pace a friend to his first sub-2:00 half marathon. His training was progressing well throughout the summer and into September and I thought he should be able to accomplish his goal. A few days ago he texted me that he just finished a 7.2 mile run at an 8:30ish average pace. I thought to myself "he has this in the bag!"

Heading to the race, my friend was not feeling confident. The first 2 days of Sukkot followed by Shabbat just ended. This means 2 things 1) no running for 3 days and 2) taking part in many festive meals with large amounts of food usually served with wine or scotch. I told him to trust the work he's put in and that I would run all 13.1 miles with him to get him across in under 2 hours.

Everything was going well for the first 4 miles. We were on a consistent 9:05 pace and everyone was feeling fine. At mile 5, my friend mentioned that he wasn't sure if he had it today and that I should go ahead and we'd catch up at the finish line. I felt bad so I asked him one more time if he was sure I should go ahead before I took off. He told me to go, so I did. After pacing at a 9:05 pace for 5 miles, I knew I couldn't PR so I took off at a comfortably hard pace. Liberty State Park offered some amazing views of The Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and Lower Manhattan. It was not hard not to look around and enjoy them. We exited the park between miles 10 and 11and I tried to pick up the pace even more since we were back on wider streets. The wind started to pick up when we made the turn towards the waterfront. Rather than fighting it, I maintained my effort until I made the final turn towards the finish line. I crossed the line 1:54:38 (8:45ish avg. pace). I'm happy with the effort considering I spent 5 miles pacing at 9:05.

As for my friend, he finished in 2:02:35. He came close to accomplishing his goal. I think with a little more training and attention to nutrition and hydration he'll finally be able to run his sub-2:00 half.

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