Sunday, January 21, 2007

The surprising thing about the Manhattan Grand Prix Half Marathon

So, the number one fact about running a half marathon in Central Park in January is that it's 13.1 miles long. Running, we often referred to the length as 13 miles, so I suspect those last 500 feet came as kind of a shock to some people. The second fact are the hills; you do two loops of the park, and there are two long hills that take on far more significance the second time.

The third thing -- and remember that it was 19°F (11° with windchill) when we started the race -- is that ice forms on the water cups the volunteers set out. You might think that they would have fewer cups of water in reserve than they do given this problem, but I guess efficiency is paramount.

At first I was able to pick up a cup of water and poke through it with my thumb. As the race progressed, I started to have to crack it with a knuckle. My last drink of water, I picked it up and smashed the paper cup -- which had something like 3/4 of an inch of ice at the top -- against the table. It created a little cascade of ice and water, but I got my fluid.

In retrospect, the Gatorade Endurance formula probably froze more slowly, but it doesn't have a name that inspires confidence. Anyway, some pictures, courtesy of a friend with a cell phone. It was a beautiful day.
1. Starting off. I'm just to the right of the speaker.

2. Running partner Rob coming in for the big finish

3. Following Rob none too closely. You can pick out my distinctive yellow pants. I'm the fifth runner in the picture.

4. Me and my enormous keister making 13 miles into 13.1.

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