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Long Island Half Marathon - RunHalf Marathon


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East Meadow, New York
United States
Long Island Marathon
60F / 16C
Sunny
Total Time = 1h 29m 7s
Overall Rank = 87/4065
Age Group = M35-39
Age Group Rank = 11/340
Pre-race routine:

Woke up at 4:30 AM. Ate one packet of oatmeal, small banana and drank a cup of dark black coffee. At 5:30 AM ate one GU Pomegranate Gel w/ caffeine.
Event warmup:

Ran .4 mile at EZ 8:30 pace. Stretched and waited at the divider on the overpass for my friend Mike (mscotthall) and his wife, Cindy. Spent a good deal of time slowly stretching out my hammy's, glutes, quads, hips and calves. Normally don't spend this much time stretching, but in the future I'm going to consider it.
Run
  • 1h 29m 9s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 06m 49s  min/mile
Comments:

We had a picture perfect morning, about 55 degrees with a gentle, cool breeze. An American Idol personality song the Star Spangled banner, a helicopter flew overhead, and close to 6,000 runners lined up to run 10k, 13.1 and 26.2 miles.

I was nervous all morning and right up to the start because I knew this was going to be my best chance this year to slay the sub 1:30 dragon. I wasn't going to get a flatter course that I knew better, with more ideal weather conditions. A month ago I ran the Suffolk County half marathon, a flat out & back course, but the winds were just brutal and I crossed the line in 1:30:10. Despite my all-out effort, it wasn't meant to be that day.

The Long Island Half was my first half marathon back in 2007. At the time, my longest training run leading up to the event was 8 miles, and I crossed the tape in 1:48:36. In 2008, after a year of marathon training (in prep for NYC) along with continued consistent running, I pulled off a 1:31:26. My cousin Chris (a 2:41 marathoner) paced me for that 1:31:26 and I suffered horribly from mile 1 to 13. It was then that I realized 'my will' alone was not going to get me under that magic 1:30. I would need more. Coming off an ITBS injury from November through January of 2009, I ran a 1:37:39. Because my running base was decimated by the injury, I was happy with that time. I was just happy to run 13 miles pain-free. In 2010 I toed the line with very sore quads from Ironman training. I'd been hitting the bike often, long and hard; not allowing for proper recovery, just 5k into the race I had to back off my sub 1:30 pace or risk an epic meltdown, and I finished with a 1:34:40.

So here I was, 10 half marathon feathers in my cap -- 4 of the feathers earned on this very course. I had a 1,678 miles running base from Jan 2010 to present in the bank, and it was now my Sixth time trying to capture this elusive sub 1:30 goal. I was a little nervous because I'd done a 50-mile bike/ 5-mile transition run two days prior. I'd gone easy during that bike/run and overall I think I've trained much smarter this year by allowing my body to truly absorb workouts before stressing it again. I also took off Saturday, the day before the race, entirely to allow my body some extra recovery time.

The first mile I felt like I was going slow, but my garmin read 6:30 and sure enough I came in with a 6:29. Right away I found a rythym and the next 2 miles came in at 6:40 and 6:44. I kept looking at my garmin and my general plan was to just keep my pace below 6:50. Whenever I felt like I was slipping off my pace, I would latch on to another runner, stare at the ground, focus on smooth breathing, and this would 'reset' my pace. I did this roughly three times in the first 5k.

Although this course is flat, it's deceptively flat. There are long and gradual inclines and declines, so subtle and gradual they are enough to alter your pace, but you can't actually see a grade change by sight alone. I've learned to use these subtle ups and downs. Mile 4 is slightly upwards and I pushed a bit here (6:52) and then through Main St. and down some backroads it's slightly down and I was able to tick off a 6:50 and 6:49 with an easier effort. Miles 7 and 8 (6:55 & 6:58) however are on open long stretches, and there was some mild wind. At this point I began suffering and the pretenders faded, while two or three runners passed me. I made sure not to get sucked into the slower pace of other runners, and each runner I passed gave me a little shot of energy. My garmin kept reading 7:05 but I knew I had some time banked from the first 5k, so I just focused on my form and pushed forward.

At the mile 8 aid station I sucked down a powerbar gel with 2X caffeine, washed it down with water, and pushed on a slight down. I then made a left onto the Wantagh Parkway and based off my splits I knew I was within seconds of hitting or missing it. The Parkway is a 1.5-mile long series of rolling hills. I focused on a quick cadence on the downhills and used that momementum to carry me up and over the overpasses. At this point I was feeling really good from my gel, and my confidence was growing as I began to push and I passed about a dozen runners total during this stretch, and only one runner passed me. I knew that at the exit off the Parkway was the 10-mile digital split clock. I knew that this was the race for me. Right here and now. I had to push and see a good time on that clock to get that mental boost to push me through the last 5k. The clock read 1:08:26. Dammit!, I thought as I really needed to be a 1:08 even or under. Shit, this was going to be close. **Little did I realize, I was doing race math and had forgotten that my actual time chip time was :24 seconds slower, as it had taken me that much time to cross the timing mats. I was actually only 2 tiny seconds behind my actual goal time.

I was befuddled by the Mile 10 clock. I didn't know what to make of it. What I did know was the last 2 miles were straight, shaded, and there was this odd abscence of wind. The same wind that has been slamming me on the bike and many of my runs was non-existsent. It was just a beautiful, now 60-degree sunny day and I FELT GREAT. I began reeling in more runners. All in front of me was carnage, and for the FIRST TIME EVER - I was not part of it. Every single half marathon, All 10 of them included a final 5k that lied deep in the bowels of the Pain Cave, where screams of horror and despair dwelled and it took every ounce of my being to 'hold it together'. And every single prior final 5k I fought the good fight, but ultimately faded -- as did my dream. It happened every year. It just happened a month ago when I missed by :11 seconds. But today was unlike any prior day.

I looked down at my watch and saw a 6:30 pace. I felt like I did the first 5k of the race. I was surging past runners who gave me looks of tortured souls headed toward oblivion. I encouraged a few of them. It was during miles 11 and 12 that I was overcome with shocked joy. I was beginning to believe that the dream was becoming a reality. But everytime this thought entered my mind, emotion and adrenaline surged through my limbs and it actually physically hurt. The jolt of emotion was too much. I had to clear my mind or risk a self-implosion. In retrospect I look at my splits 6:37 and 6:41 for mile 11 & 12 and I honestly can't believe I did that.

The final harrowing mile of the Long Island half is a cycnical winding path back through Eisenhower park. It winds like a boa constrictor and it's littered with people walking from the 10k race. Again, at this point I am always in an ugly, ugly painful place. Today I was in pain, but I was still feeling strong - more desperate than anything. For the FIRST TIME EVER 'I was that guy'. The guy I'd always admired and yearned to be. The runner finishing strong and making everyone look like they were running backwards with less than a mile to go. I was in control and everything was lucid and clear. I couldn't believe it. I hammered home a 6:38 13th mile. The crowds grew. In the far distance I could see the rainbow of orange balloons above the Finish Banner. I released my kick, passed two final runners, and I had the finishing chute all to myself! The clock proudly displayed 1:29 with plenty of time to spare and I raised my hands high toward Heavan as I crossed the line. Victory alas. Sweet, sweet victory.

As is customary, a medic followed me around for :30 seconds as I got my bearings. I always feel the need to leave it all out there those final 50 yards, and it shows :)

Dream chased. Dream finally captured.
What would you do differently?:

Absolutely nothing. Today's race result was simply a result of several consecutive years of Consistent Training. Patience, relentless persistency, prior race experience, smart/focused training and a discplined focus on Recovery are the straight-forward ingredients that led to a breakthrough day for me.
Post race
Warm down:

Ran .8 mile back to my car.

Event comments:

This the best road race on Long Island. Thousands of particpants and hundreds of awesome volunteers. A great expo, great post-race party. A flat, fast course.




Last updated: 2011-03-27 12:00 AM
Running
01:29:09 | 13.1 miles | 06m 49s  min/mile
Age Group: 11/340
Overall: 340/4065
Performance: Good
Course: Big flat loop around Eisenhower park.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall:
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Good race?
Evaluation
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 5

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2011-05-02 12:43 PM

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Subject: Long Island Half Marathon


2011-05-02 1:24 PM
in reply to: #3477852

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Expert
1145
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Ann Arbor, MI
Subject: RE: Long Island Half Marathon
CONGRATULATIONS Bobby! What a race, what an effort, and what an awesome dream to capture. You are truly an inspiration to those of us that have followed your training and your racing. Your race report has made me want to go out and race right NOW more than anything I've read in a long long time. Can't wait to see what you can do at IMLP this year.
2011-05-02 6:39 PM
in reply to: #3477852

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Master
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Goodyear, AZ
Subject: RE: Long Island Half Marathon
So happy for you!
Sounds like a well executed race and a great start to what will be a fantastic year of PRs!
Glad you got the PR you were chasing!
2011-05-02 8:01 PM
in reply to: #3477852

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Master
1367
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Dirt Road
Subject: RE: Long Island Half Marathon
Wow, nice run. You smoked it.
2011-05-02 8:03 PM
in reply to: #3477852

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Champion
19812
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MA
Subject: RE: Long Island Half Marathon
Dream chased. Dream finally captured.

Great job...I know you have chased this for awhile...must be so satisfying!

You rocked it
2011-05-03 8:22 AM
in reply to: #3477852

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Master
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Reston, VA
Subject: RE: Long Island Half Marathon
Congratulations on a great race!


2011-05-03 8:51 AM
in reply to: #3477852

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Extreme Veteran
592
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Long Island
Subject: RE: Long Island Half Marathon
Way to slay that dragon!
2011-05-03 12:21 PM
in reply to: #3477852

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Expert
694
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WA
Subject: RE: Long Island Half Marathon

Great race report!

Wow!!  Smokin fast!!

You trained well and had the mental focus needed to finally slay that dragon!

Congratulations on capturing your dream!!

2011-05-03 4:28 PM
in reply to: #3477852

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Expert
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Sun Prairie, WI
Subject: RE: Long Island Half Marathon

Congrats on achieving your goal!  That is awesome as well as the race itself, sub 1:30.  Your one of the fast guys!  Nice race report to boot.

2011-05-03 10:03 PM
in reply to: #3477852

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Expert
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Subject: RE: Long Island Half Marathon

Found you through Yeat's inspires....wow!  What an awesome race you ran.  I felt like I was right there with you!  And I will be at Lake Placid this year! Behind you, far far behind you!  

Congratulations on reaching your goal!  I love that you included your back story in your race report.  I am often amazed at what fun I've had and the goals I've reached in a sport I didn't even know about a handful of years ago.   Congrats again!  Enjoy the spoils of your victory!

2011-05-05 4:24 PM
in reply to: #3477852

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Middle River, Maryland
Bronze member
Subject: RE: Long Island Half Marathon
You didn't just slay that dragon...you killed it, stepped on it, danced a jig on it and flexed and growled afterwards.  Awesome race...way to bring the hammer down.


2011-05-06 11:23 AM
in reply to: #3477852

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Master
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Ann Arbor, MI
Subject: RE: Long Island Half Marathon
Congrats!!!! You are AWESOME!
2011-05-09 9:55 AM
in reply to: #3477852

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Pro
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Norwalk, Connecticut
Subject: RE: Long Island Half Marathon

How did i miss this report??  Bobby, that is fantastic!!!  Great job my friend!!!

 

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