Lessons Learned from the NYC Half

February 03, 2014 by Coach Gail Kislevitz

When you run with TFK, you get seasoned coaches who have learned valuable lessons throughout their careers. We have accumulated knowledge from running our best races and probably more importantly from our worst. And you, my dear TFKers, are the beneficiary of that knowledge.

So here is a lesson I learned from running one of my worst races. It was 2007 and the New York City Half Marathon was run on a hot, stifling day in August. I was raring to go at the start, my adrenalin pumping,  determined to run a PR. Standing next to me was George Hirsch, now Chairman of NYRR. I was 55 to his 73, but George is a fantastic, seasoned, and smart runner. Despite our age gap, we ran pretty much the same pace. I knew I should follow his lead on this very hot day in August but foolishness got in my way!

George stopped at every water station and took it easy on the Central Park hills. Not me! I blew past the water stops and charged the hills. It was early in the race and I was filled with vim and vigor as I passed George.  Entering Times Square, the crowds, the bands, the excitement all motivated me to run even faster.  I was also a seasoned runner and should have known better but I threw all my plans and racing skills to the wind. I was having fun! Until….

By mile 10, running down the hot and sultry West Side Highway, I was not having fun any longer. I had blown it and I knew it. Nothing was left in the tank and I was kicking myself for being so stupid. And as I crawled along the highway willing myself to the finish line, guess who passed me with lots of gas still in the tank? George! At least he had the decency not to acknowledge my suffering.
So what did I learn that day? Pride cometh before the fall. I didn’t respect the distance, the heat of the day, or my pace. I blew my race in the first few miles and suffered the consequences. So what should you learn from this? Listen to your coaches, and in the first half of the race run with your head and not your emotions. Then let it all out in the last few miles and run with your heart. 
Coach Gail

Categories: Human Interest