My travel plans to New York City had already been set when I ventured over to the NYRR website to see what races they had going on during the time I’d be there. When I initially checked, nothing was set, but based on the 2017 date, I thought that maybe, just maybe, the Fred Lebow Manhattan Half would be happening while I was there. As luck would have it, the race was being held the weekend I arrived! Yes!
Now all I had to do was wait and register. Good thing I didn’t wait too long after registration opened to sign up because the race sold out!
I hadn’t been to New York City since 2009. That was the last time I ran the New York City Marathon so the trip was long overdue. The stars were aligning and things were working out so my family packed our bags and headed east.
We arrived on a Friday morning to bone-chilling temps at 25 degrees Fahrenheit. For us Californians, we were freezing. We were semi-prepared, but that chill really cuts through your bones when you’re not used it.
For the most part we had loosely-set agenda of things we wanted to do while there. One item listed was the possibility of seeing Springsteen on Broadway. Ok here is a short synopsis of my Springsteen on Broadway journey.
When tickets went on sale for the initial run you had to sign up to be a verified fan. I got verified. The day of the tickets were released, I received a code to buy them. Yay. Those things flew faster than you could take a breath. Needless to say, I didn’t get any and wasn’t about to pay $800 for a 2-hour show that I may or may not have been able to go to.
When Bruce decided to extend his run to February, I was put in the Stand-By group. No tickets for me. When he extended his show AGAIN, I got verified. AGAIN. This time I was able to nab tickets. Well, not really. I had tickets for June, but I realized there was no way I was going to be able to head back over during that time due to work and race commitments. Nope, not even for Bruce. So what were my options?
On Friday we walked over to the Walter Kerr Theatre and inquired about day-of tickets. None available. But one option is to wait (everybody form a line) to see if anybody sells back their tickets to the theater. Here’s the ticker though: They don’t normally go for anything less than $500 each. What?!
Now, I LOVE Bruce. And by love I mean, I’m okay with dying before him because if he goes before me, it’s going to wreck me. But $500 for an intimate show with just him? I can’t. I couldn’t! For that price I need me a 4-hour show…with the entire band. In fact, for that price, you could get yourself three 4-hour shows with the entire band. That’s 12 hours with “the heart-stopping, house-rocking, earth-quaking, Viagra-taking, booty-shaking, Legendary E Street Band.” The other option was to put my name in the lottery hat for $75 tickets which I didn’t get either.
So we took our sad faces over to the Brooks Atkinson Theater and inquired with Waitress: The Musical and scored big time! Sad faces switched over the ecstatic happy faces! Not only did we got tickets to see Sara Bareilles in the show, but Jason Mraz was performing with her! In fact, I was bummed when I heard his run was ending just before we were set to arrive, but again as luck would have it, he extended his stay! The show was amazing and it capped off our visit the following week!
Okay now onto the race stuff. That Friday we arrived, we also went over to the NYRR Run Center where we picked up our bib and souvenir hat for the Fred Lebow Manhattan Half!
Sunday morning was the race and both my sister and I were participating. It would be our first race of 2018 and her first race in close to 3 years. This was actually my first half marathon in gosh let me see *counts on fingers* three-and-a-half years. And that was a trail half marathon and I sprained my ankle during it. All I could hope for was the same thing didn’t happen to me here.
The weather at the start was somewhere in the 40s. Quite chilly. Again, not something I’m used to running in these days.
We ventured over to use the porta potties where the line moved swiftly and steadily. However, our potties didn’t have any hand sanitizer in them. Ew. As we were walking towards the starting area we were thinking of just washing our hands with the
freezing cold water. But we saw some girl standing there putting something on her hands.
“Is that hand sanitizer?” I asked her.
“Yes it is,” she replied.
“Is it possible we could use some? The porta potty didn’t have any.”
I tell ya, the Universe always provides! Thank you to that girl for being kind and generous. I hope she got a PR that day.
When the race got under way, I decided to start my GPS. Every step counts and I ended up with 13.7 miles on my watch and probably another 2 miles off my watch after the race. Not a bad mileage day in New York City.
As we moved down the path my legs and body still felt cold. Even after walking and stretching and warming up, my legs still felt cold.
Because there were so many people (estimated around 5,000 participants), the front leaders were already making their way back around and we were told to start running before we even got to the start line. Run, run, run people! Even if you plan on walking a bit. Ruuuuun!
So I started to run. My legs felt so cold and stiff. Running up the hills I felt them start to burn. But not enough where they warmed up. They were cold. I was cold. I wore my buff to protect my lungs a bit from breathing in the cold air. When was I going to warm up???
The course was about two-and-a-half loops in Central Park and I was excited to see parts of the park I haven’t run in before.
The first loop, well, I was mostly cold and I don’t believe I started to actually warm up until a few miles in.
There was one “big” hill between miles 4 and 5 and 8 and 9. It’s the same hill.
Other than running with my handheld water bottle filled with CarboPro and a few pieces of Run Gum, I didn’t have any other fuel. It was this and water.
I ran mostly with ease since I didn’t want to burn my legs out too much from the paved road. In all honesty, I didn’t run any long road runs since I’ve been focused on training for Sean O’Brien on the trails.
During the second loop, I spotted Fred Lebow! I missed him the during the first loop, but got to see him again on the third and final pass and that time he had a medal draped around his neck.
I took a quick photo and realized I didn’t take many photos at all during the race. Mostly I looked around and took in the atmosphere; admiring the beautiful landscape and architecture of the nearby buildings. Not to mention the beauty of the park itself. I was having such a great time.
On the final loop, I saw this awesome young lady handing out fist bumps to runners, and yes I had to get one.
When I finished the race, I waiting for my sis to come in. As I waited, I decided to walk down and meet her on her final loop, and after she finished, we both said how much we enjoyed this race and would want to do it again! It really was a great race and we both absolutely loved the medal and beanie cap! Not sure if I’ll be able to wear the hat much in LA, but I surely enjoyed wearing it in New York City. In fact, I wore that hat as often as I could while I was there in the city. Nobody could pry it off my cold California head.
Thank you to Peter Ciaccia, the New York Road Runners, and all the wonderful staff and volunteers who helped put this race on!
And thank you for reading!