||NYC Half Marathon
We were both fortunate enough to be selected as lottery entrants for the 2011 NYC Half Marathon (automatic entry to runners with qualifying times of 1:23 and 1:37 for men and women, with the remainder of the field chosen 'randomly' via lottery). Race morning was quite cold with a temperature of 37 degrees and winds of 12-15 mph. Despite a lot of waiting (you have to enter your corral 20 minutes before the race starts) once we started running it was hard not to smile. The 8-mile loop through Central Park provided a few challenging hills but nothing too bad. Once we exited Central Park onto 7th Avenue we ran right through Times Square, which was surreal. Even though it was 8:45am on a Sunday, the city that never sleeps lived up to its name and the lights and fans had us forgetting about our tired legs and just enjoying an unforgettable moment. The final 5k was a flat and fast straight shot along the Hudson River to the finish in the Financial District. All in all, this is really a fantastic race and a once in a lifetime course that you should definitely run if you are lucky enough to get in!
Highlights: Two-fold: (1) So incredibly proud of Kristin for running so well despite being sick (she had a terrible cold and couldn't stop coughing for almost a week before the race and even avoided a few water stations as any stopping caused her to cough) and (2) running through the glitz and glamour of Times Square - one of the highlights of our running careers so far.
Tip: Stay in the heart of the city and take the time to plan out your trip via the subway system before the race. Not that there is anything wrong with hotels in the Upper East Side, but you are going to walk ~1.0 mile to the start so you may as well stay in the heart of the city!
Day 1 (Friday):
During our trip to New York we spent the first day north of the city in Ossining with Aunt Marilyn (thank you again for all your hospitality Marilyn, the flank steak was excellent). From Ossining we took the train into the city and exited through the famed Grand Central Station. The station is quite a sight and worth a stop inside if you are in the area.
Day 2 (Saturday):
After a quick stop at the half marathon expo (very small expo) we stumbled upon the Union Square Farmer's Market (8am-6pm Mon, Wed, Fri and Sat) and shared an organic strawberry juice which was quite tasty and not too sugary. Nice market to walk around and sample local fruits/produce.
Empire State Building offers some fantastic views of the city - especially on a clear day. Take the elevators up to the 86th floor and walk outside to get your own 360 degree views of New York City. The guided audio tour (~$4 per person) is worth the money if you are not familiar with New York and want to know what structures/areas of the city you are looking at once at the observation deck.
Tip: The extra $15 to visit the 102 floor is not worth your money or the extra time you wait to take a single elevator with a 6-person capacity to the top (no outside viewing area and very small room).
Guy & Gallard is a nice lunch stop near the Empire State Building. Fresh sandwiches piled high with good meat and cheese (the most brie I have ever seen on a deli sandwich). Kristin tried the ham and brie and I tried the turkey and brie. Both were good and very reasonably priced, but be aware that most fixings beyond lettuce cost extra. As a nice treat for ourselves we also shared a giant Rice Crispy treat – which was super light and full of marshmallows. Nice local deli.
What's a trip to New York without a Broadway show? We caught an early Saturday show (2pm) entitled Anything Goes at the Roundabout Theatre. The show was entertaining, especially a few of the super energetic tap dances, but be prepared for several references to people/places/things from the 1920s and 1930s. A class show and an ejoyable time.
Shula's Steakhouse Chain steakhouse that offers a lot of good (but expensive) dinner options ranging from steaks to chicken to fish. As there were no pasta options (this was our pre-race dinner), Kristin and I both had the Mahi-Mahi and split an enormous baked potato with a side of broccoli. The Mahi-Mahi was quite light and very tasty and the potato, along with the Brooklyn Lager (decent) and the Sam Smith Organic Lager (a bit sour), gave us all the carbohydrates we needed. In addition to a good dinner we enjoyed some great company too - great to see Aunt Marilyn, Paul and Janet.
Day 3 (Sunday - Race Day):
Fetch Bar and Grill (Upper East Side) is a dog-themed bar/restaurant serving up some great burgers and beers. The mushroom Swiss burger was very good (and cooked to order) and the seasoned fries were a delightful post-race treat. The Lake Placid Ubu Ale is served from a tap that looks like a dog-bone and is well worth a try - our favorite local New York beer!
Tip: The restaurant may be crowded on the weekend around lunch-time as Fetch offers a very popular Brunch menu - so take a look for seats at the bar which also offers full food service.
Central Park is a great place to walk around and if we lived in New York City we would spend a lot of our free time running and biking the trails and paths throughout the park. Very picturesque water in the center of the park, provides some great views of the city. A short walk on the Eastern side of the park leads you past the Guggenheim Museum (looks like a giant cupcake) and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Unfortunately, we were running short on time so we weren't able to tour the museums, both if they are as impressive from the outside as they are from the inside they are sure to be amazing.
New York Half Marathon Medals
March 20, 2011: NYC Half Marathon