During this past weekend of moving madness (finally in my new apt…yay!), I also woke up at 5 am on Saturday in order to run 13.1 miles in Flushing Meadows Park in Queens during the middle of some wicked heat and humidity. You know, as you do on a Saturday morning, right?
To be fair, the heat and humidity wasn’t nearly as bad as it was during the NYRR Long Training Run #1 last Saturday, which was easily the hottest day of the summer so far (on that day we only did 10 miles). We arrived at Flushing Meadows Park after grabbing a cab from where we are in Astoria now over to the park, and this was our view:
Not bad, right? The weather wasn’t too bad when we left at 6 am and arrived around 6:30 am. The first loop(ish) around the park didn’t feel too awful either as far as heat goes, but I think that was because we weren’t really out in the sun yet. Once the sun got up there it definitely got hot during the rest of the race.
For those who may remember the Brooklyn half-marathon back in May, you’ll be happy to know that I steered clear of the Gatorade mix thing at the fluid stations and as such, did not get ill during this race. I stuck with water and my Cliffbar gel shots only and the entire race went very smooth despite the heat.
This particular course kind of looks like a rat maze on the map, but it actually made for a very interesting race and the miles felt like they were just flying by because of all the twists and turns. Miles 3 and 11 felt a little like running through the Louisiana bayou given the 6-7 foot tall grass/brush + the ridiculously muddy road + the lakes covering the entire road forcing us to run into the grass in order to get around them (there was a thunder and rain storm the night before). It made for an interesting experience on that portion of the course.
However, this was actually one of my favorite courses to date! Near the finish line (around the fountain of the planets, which was SO cool to run around!) the DJ was blasting a Metallica song and asked the runners to do air guitars as we passed. Um, excuse me…I’m a little busy here if you couldn’t tell (this was about 12.5 miles in)!
And here we come trucking down the last stretch right after the mile 13 sign! The finish chute was just up ahead and at this point we were so ready to cross that finish line! We knew that water, bagels, and all sorts of edible yumminess awaited just beyond that finish. Our finish time was 2:02, which was 6 minutes slower than Brooklyn but still a little too fast for a training-type run. Luckily we both feel just fine and ready to dive into marathon training this week.
I pretty much loved this race. The heat and humidity kind of sucked, but the course was brilliant; not to mention the fact that comparing a race when I didn’t get sick vs one when I did (running the last 6 miles of the Brooklyn half while feeling nauseous and with a stomach ache was not fun)…well, that’s not a tough question, now is it? Everything went according to plan, and I feel like I’m on track to jump right into marathon training starting next week. We intentionally took it slower this time around because of the heat and the fact that we couldn’t afford too much downtime after this race because of the marathon. Seems like that worked out perfectly, and I woke up with my legs feeling fine. I’m still taking 3 days off before I start running again, and I’ll only do two short little runs before jumping back into a long run next weekend. From here on out it’s all eyes on the NYC Marathon on November 6th!