13th Annual MORE/SHAPE Women’s Half

Aaaannnnddddd Half-marathon #3 is DONE!

Yesterday I completed the MORE/SHAPE Women’s Half Marathon right here in my beautiful city of New York!

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This year’s race marked the 13th Anniversary and continued to promote women’s empowerment with the hashtag #womenruntheworld. A women’s only race always feels different from a regular one. My first half was the Nike’s Women’s Half in DC back in 2014 when I first fell in love with racing. Yes, there’s the pain you feel in your legs and that dying feel you experience when running up the hill. But seeing the crowds cheer for you and the encouraging signs people hold makes it all worth it. That’s why running in the city is so much fun. Everywhere you go, there’s someone there. Whether they think you’re crazy for running or cheer you on – it doesn’t matter.

But I have to say – this was probably my hardest half. Don’t think Central Park means beautiful greenery that stretches for miles and miles. Nope. There are 4 significant hills and a bunch of mini-ones. Of course, there’s always a downhill after an uphill but before you enjoy the downhill too much, the next uphill starts.

I used to dread Cat Hill, which runs along East 75th Street to East 81st Street. That stupid cat would look down and taunt me.

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Photo © Dr. Karin Burns at http://prioritypethospital.com

Boy was I so so so wrong. You know what’s worse? Harlem Hill, the hill that seems to go up and up and up at the top of the park. The first time around wasn’t too bad, but the second time was literally the opposite of heaven. I told my mom that I never curse but I couldn’t help it but keep repeating the words oh c**p in my head. (You know, the c-word for poop.)

Thank god for the volunteer at the top of Harlem Hill! He was THE BEST. He kept telling us You have conquered Harlem Hill. The Hill is now the past. It felt so good to hear it out loud. There was a nice downhill which I used to recover and go easy as I learned from the Nike+ Run Club pacers. The rest of the race wasn’t as bad. I saw my uncle at West 88th Street, which was a nice treat after a slight uphill. There were moments I doubted myself as to whether I could finish the last 3 miles. At the 10 mile mark, I told myself it was only another 5k which I had done many times.  At mile 11, I told myself “you can’t walk the last 2, after doing 11”, and at mile 12, I thought: “you only have 1 more mile to go – and there’s no stupid cat”.  I ran my hardest the last 0.1 miles, but I thought the finish line would never come. When I crossed the finish line, I was like THANK GOD!

I finished in 1:52:06, which isn’t a PR but faster than my half back in October. But given that my PR is a 1:45 from the Nike Half, I’ve accepted that having a new one will be somewhat of a challenge. You see? I truly believe that the first time must have been the adrenaline that made me go that fast, and maybe rookie luck? I was fine during the race but walking back to campus was ummm…quite painful. I was actually going to walk all the way back but Mom suggested I take the Circulator which I did, but I had to almost limp back to my dorm. Lesson well learned there.

This time I didn’t limp and I wasn’t in much pain at all. It was also good I kept standing and didn’t seat down until 2 hours later on the train. I’ve had the pleasant experience of running a race, sitting down in the subway right after, and barely being able to get up to get off at my stop. Having run 6 miles the day before, waking up at 5:30AM on both Saturday and Sunday, and staying at my cousin’s birthday party until 9:15PM, I was a little sleepy and a little tired but nothing a night’s sleep can’t heal. Plus, the birthday party had kept me well fed.

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But the BEST part of the race was the afterparty. It was sunny and beautiful and there were tons of goodies.

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And then I got a photo op with Erica Hill and Natalie Morales from NBC Today. Such strong, inspirational women. #womenruntheworld

They ran the race too! It’s amazing that they can train to run and be awesome on TV! I later found out that Natalie has even run the NYC Marathon 3 times and completed several triathlons.

I didn’t win any of the raffle prizes but being able to meet two of my favorite TV anchors was the best prize ever! They were as beautiful and genuine and nice as they are on TV.

Back at home, I had my post-race meal. Chocolate milk from my uncle who ran the Philadelphia Half last Sunday, which he PR’d at 1:52:39. (Whoohoo!) and ham and scallion bun.

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The MORE/SHAPE Half was definitely a challenging but fun race. I can’t wait to do it next year! Shout out to everyone at the race: volunteers, NYRR staff, sponsors, Central Park Conservancy staff, NYPD, runners, spectators, and everyone who made this race a forever memorable one!

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