Saturday is the 2009 version of Grete's Great Gallop, a half marathon that is essentially two loops around Central Park. It is a celebration of all things Norwegian, and Grete Waitz is the race starter and inspiration. I have run this race once before, in 2007. It was run the same day as the Chicago Marathon. You know, that Chicago Marathon, when they canceled it midstream because of the heat. Well it was that hot that weekend in New York also, maybe 85 degrees. Race temp was in mid-70s as I recall.
The race was a disaster for me. All things are relative, and I think I finished in 1:55 or so. But I cracked at about mile 10 and had to break stride and walk for a bit. And I was exhausted that entire day. Dazed really. I remember showering at my gym afterwards (it was in the city, so I showered before meeting up with the family for lunch), and just sitting on a bench being unable to move. My wife (Mrs. Wolve) said I was more exhausted and dazed than after running a marathon. Of course, I had no idea of the problems unfolding in Chicago which made mine seem trivial, but that race 100% kicked my ass.
So, Sunday I go back for more. I've run other half marathons since, and never had a repeat of Greta's Great Disaster. In my marathon training program, this week's long run is a 15 miler at Marathon Pace (MP for people who don't know FIRST) plus 10 seconds. So I am going to sub in the 13.2 mile half at Marathon Pace minus 10 seconds pace. That won't be close a PR, and that is always hard to deal with: a goal not to do your very best. But I haven't run a race in three months, and I need to capture that feeling again. I need the practice of dealing with the crowds, the pacing strategy (or lack thereof) and drinking at water stations. Just need to hone that race edge.
And hopefully wrestle with bear in the back of my mind that is an unpleasant memory.