I was supposed to run a half today, but the weather and NYRR had other plans. Woke up at 4:30am and picked up the cell phone right before the alarm went off and proceeded to get up get dressed and make a quick PB toast and coffee. Left the house at 5:40am and actually got to Lexington and 63rd at 7:00am so I made it to Central Park in great time even though the F train wasn't running and I had to switch trains again.
When I got to Park Ave, I just had to follow the women. One thing I love about running in Central Park is that I can always just head to the general area and follow the crowd. In any case, I made it to the baggage area and learned that the full marathon had been canceled due to the heat warning, and the half was on only as a fun run. A lot of women were pissed. I was already resigned to the fact that today wasn't a day to play around especially with my lack of proper preparation in this type of weather. (I ran out of GU.)
Yesterday's heat advisory was bad, and one of the volunteers announced that there was a heat related death at the Country Music Marathon and 9 people taken to the hospital. Due to the field, they didn't want to take any chances today.
So now it seemed like almost all of the full runners decided to do the half along with those who registered. And because it wasn't going to be a timed event, everyone just crammed themselves wherever they fit in the corrals, runners, joggers, walkers, everyone. Right before the start, they asked the walkers to do one loop, and that if anyone can't run the two loops in under 3 hours to remove themselves from the course. Because I am right at that borderline, I made the decision that if I lagged today, I'll only do what I can do rather risk doing anything stupid. I had a goal of making 10 miles and that would be good enough for me. The horn went off about 5 minutes late and I didn't get to actually pass the start until about 10 minutes after 8 (giving me 2:50 to finish the course).
From the first mile, I could tell it was going to be bad. Beforehand, I made the bad decision of adding salt into my water bottle that already had the Heed powder in. It made the water unbearable so I just swished the liquid in my mouth whenever I felt thirsty. I kept my eye on these two ladies that had pink and white balloons with 2:45 written on it, but they kept slowing down as well, so I kept picking out teams that I felt I could keep up with. (Team Aquaphor and then Team Aussie Wedding.) I identified a familiar runner (this Asian woman who had about the same build and pace as me) and kept her within sights also. She had a slow and easy stride that I remember, and since she was always within the same pace in previous races, I just minded her.
However, by Mile 3, I felt like it was pointless to dodge and weave to keep up. I was wasting energy. The field didn't feel like there were a lot of people there, but for some reason it just seemed harder to maneuver. Besides the slight breeze coming through every so often, the condition was quickly becoming unfavorable. I must have seen an ambulance race through at every mile. The course went clockwise, so I ran up the gradual slopes of Harlem Hill and let the steep downhill pull me through. At the bottom of the hill, one of the volunteers had a hose and sprayed it in the air in an arc for the runners to run under. That helped a little, as I prepared for the winding slope to the East side heading towards the Museum Mile. But I felt the unmistakable beginnings of a blister developing (already!) on my left arch, and a painful rub on my right toe. It was not going to end well.
I think because of my lack of proper hydrating, preparation, and just plain foul conditions (not to mention today there were a lot of smokers around and the fresh smell of horse poop from the carriages) I just couldn't manage. By the end of the first loop, I was done. Crossed the finish line at about 1:53 for the 7.4 miles I did. I didn't think I'd be able to make the next 6 miles in about an hour so I just called it a day.
Unofficially speaking it's my first DNF, but because of the heat warning, it still qualifies as part of my 9+1 for this year. So while I'm not exactly happy with my outcome, I was satisfied that I got credit for at least trying.
Next up, Mother's Day 10M. I should fair better then!