by Young Executives Board member and 2015 RNY Half-marathoner Paul DeGregorio
I have always been interested in running the NYC Half Marathon (and hopefully the full marathon sometime soon!), mostly due to the fact that I simply love New York City. Being able to run through the closed down streets and Central Park has always seemed so cool to me. The scenery, roar of the never-ending crowd, and energy surrounding the event is simply awesome. Moreover, I was very excited to be able to run to support Row New York.
Following my collegiate rowing career I have managed to keep up with working out, so my training leading up to the race did not change much. I would normally do a mix of different types of cardio two or three times per week, but switched to strictly running for the two months prior to the race. The weekend is when I covered a lot of ground. I would trek to Central Park every Saturday morning and put in a solid 10 miles- I had never run this far in my life, but felt that my leftover capacity from college would carry me (luckily it did). Unfortunately, January and February were brutally cold and running outside for an hour and twenty minutes was not nearly as enjoyable as I tried to convince myself it would be. Although, every Saturday the park was PACKED with other runners so I felt like there was some camaraderie in our collective suffering.
Race day finally arrived and I wasn’t really sure how I would fare. At the beginning of the process I just wanted to go out, finish, and help raise money for a great organization; however, as race day drew near my competitive edge took over and I realized I can never really do anything, “just to finish.” The morning of I felt a little out of it as waking up early and performing at my optimal level has never been my strong suit. It was a little cold pre-race, but I knew once I got moving it would be perfect conditions. I made it through security and into my corral and anxiously awaited the start. When the gun went off I did my best to stick to my race plan and not over-exert myself early on. Throughout the race I felt great and was able to stick to a fairly consistent pace. My favorite moment was definitely coming out of Central Park and approaching Times Square. It seemed as if to rise out of the streets and open up before you into a sea of lights, people, and blaring music. I got a huge kick of adrenaline and immediately picked up my speed. The sheer length of the race didn’t dawn on me until mile 10 and 11 when I started to fade a bit, but once I hit the twelve mile mark I saw the light at the end of the tunnel and was able to finish strong.
Overall I think it was an incredibly rewarding experience and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to challenge themselves and be part of a really awesome event. Training is certainly a lot more fun and meaningful when you have an end goal that will be realized and crossing the finish line is truly the culmination of all the hard work you put in. I am looking forward to doing more races with Row New York in the future and hope my short recap convinces some others to do the same! Happy running!