Word of advice (to myself): Don't take a five hour energy shot right before a half.
I can hear the voices now, "nothing new on race day!" And yet, I decided to throw caution into the wind and just do something I thought would help enhance my race because I lacked proper rest the night before. Talk about stupid. You'd think that with all the time I've run before, that I would not make such a rookie mistake, but oh well. It happens.
The night before, I took Mac over to my mom's place, and stayed over. Chris had a softball game early in the morning at the same time as my race, so this arrangement for my mom to watch her, works out. My sis, Anna was running, and stayed over as well, so we were both able to head out to Central Park together. Having to sleep with a toddler on the same bed means no real rest. It's more like several cat naps between waking up. Mac wasn't totally comfortable. And as luck would have it, she was having teething issues so there were several incidents of ear piercing screams in the middle of the night. I must remember to pack children's Tylenol next time just in case.
Woke up as quietly as possible, (though about 20 minutes before we were about to leave, Mac wakes up in one of her moods, and freaked out my parents and sis, who have never seen such an episode. Calmed her down, gave her milk, and gently ushered her back to bed. (Told my mom this was pretty much normal on most days, and that she would wake up between 6:45-7:15, though she must have been tired because she woke up at 8:30!) Anyway, had some oatmeal and left around 7am with Anna. We stopped at a drug store to pick up the 5 hour energy. I keep hearing good things about it, so I figured that it could either help or hurt spectacularly. Unfortunately for me, it was spectacularly bad. I took it right before entering the corral, and even before the national anthem was done, I knew it was a bad idea. I got lightheaded and my heart started racing.
The race started out decent enough, but I couldn't control my pace. It was just all over the place. I had a blistering 9:37 at the third mile leading up the the first pass at the dreaded Harlem Hill. Around mile 4, I began to feel the now familiar tightness in my left hamstring, and I plugged along until it felt like my heart was going to burst out of my chest. At that point, I pretty much knew I was in trouble, and had to decide quickly, do I finish slowly and conservatively or do I just DNF? As much as I wanted to DNF, I couldn't justify it. The race was $80, and I was already out there. Barring major injury, (which from assessing with adjustments on course), I was going to just finish no matter what. Putting all notions of PRing aside, I just cruised. The shot affected me so badly that I didn't even fuel as I normally would, which added to the misery. It got to the point where I started craving Gatorade, which I never want to drink unless I am desperate... and well, by that point (mile 8), I was pretty freakin desperate. Anyway, I completed the race, but it was ugly. My splits ranged from 9:37 (mile 3) to 13:00 (mile 11) with most in the 10s-11s. Despite the fact that it was one of my poorer performances, it was my third best time for a half (2:26:59), so I'll take it. One thing I won't ever take again is a 5 hour shot! I mean, no one needs 8000% of Vitamin B at once!