NYC Half-Marathon Recap

So, yesterday’s half-marathon went a little better than expected. After looking at my recent workout stats and considering how my legs have been feeling, I knew it would be stupid to aim for a PR. I think that with any race, you need to have a hope deep in the back of your mind that you’ll have an amazing race, but you also need to be realistic. There’s nothing worse than racing a long race and realizing a few miles in that your time goal is out of reach. Maybe this isn’t the best approach, but I’ve noticed that I perform better when I low ball my race goal. Usually I find myself ahead of pace a few miles in and this gives me the confidence to stay strong and even pick it up. Anyway, I finished the 13.1 miles in 1:32:50, about 90 seconds off my PR, but still a good effort for the day. My plan was to start conservatively in the park (helloooo hills) and then start to drop the pace once I hit the flat West Side Highway. I didn’t wear my Garmin, but my timing chip recorded my splits every 5k:

5k: 22:02 (7:05)

10k: 22:21 (7:11) <—not sure what happened here…hills on west side of park?

15k: 22:02 (7:05)

20k: 21:47 (7:00)

Last .7 miles: 4:38 (6:37 pace)

And just for fun, I figured out my pace for miles 10-13.1:

Final 5k (miles 10-13.1): 21:35 (6:56 pace)

How did I feel? Well, I never felt AWESOME and to be honest 7:0x pace felt harder than I would like, but my time was better than the 1:34/1:35 I was shooting for.

The Good: yesterday’s time was faster than both my 2010 and 2011 NYC Half Marathons, I didn’t fall and gash my knee OR miss the finish line, I posted some solid negative splits.

The Bad: I didn’t confer with my teammates on our race plans. Three of us ended up with finish times within ~5 seconds of each other, but because we started at different places in the corral we didn’t race together. Next time: try to find someone to run with/work with. Also, lolz at my last 5k only being 25 seconds slower than my 5k race from a few weeks ago. You would think that running 10 miles beforehand would slow me down OR MAYBE I just should have been able to run faster for the Coogan’s 5k. I’m glad I can run that pace late in a half-marathon, but wtf! Why is my short distance race pace so slow? Anyway, yesterday was a solid workout and a good (realistic!) predictor of my current fitness level. No PR this time around, but as Jay-Z says “On to the next one!”

Rather than stuffing myself with pasta the night before the race, I tried to increase my carbohydrate intake throughout the week.

Since I wasn’t working last week, I was able to sleep late and head over to the local bagel shop for my most favorite breakfast: whole wheat everything bagel with egg, cheese, spinach, and tomato. I could eat this every single day.

Beer also has carbs (yay!), but I tried to eat something while at happy hour. Thursday’s pick: a flatbread that was supposedly shaped like the arches of the Brooklyn Bridge. It took a lot of imagination to see it, but I still felt the Brooklyn love. The flatbread was from a new vegetarian restaurant and it was pretty good. The crust was sort of like a puff pastry-pizza dough hybrid and it was loaded up with roasted shitake mushrooms, sauteed kale, parsley, and horseradish aioli. I’m not sure I would make a special trip to go back, but if I was in the ‘hood, I’d hit this place up again.

I post only the most attractive photos of myself on the blog, obviously.

Since things are going to get pretty busy this week (omg new job/marathon training/trip to San Fran omg), I took some time on Saturday and made a big batch of turkey and teff burgers. The burgers are based on a Runner’s World recipe, but I made a few changes. Adding cooked grains and spinach to the meat boosts up the fiber and nutrition content. Instead of using cooked bulgur or cous cous, I cooked about 1/2 cup dry teff. This little grain is popular in Eastern Africa and full of protein, iron, and other vitamins.

Turkey and Teff burgers (makes 8 patties)


  • 1 -2 cups of cooked grains (I started with 1/2 cup dry teff, added 2 cups of water, and let it simmer for about 20 minutes or until water was absorbed).
  • 10 oz package of frozen spinach, defrosted and drained (use your hands or a dish towel to remove the excess water)
  • 1 lb lean ground turkey
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 egg
  • cayenne, cumin, salt, and pepper to taste

Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a rimmed baking sheet and set aside. In a large bowl combine all of the ingredients (don’t over mix though) and then use your hands to form 8 patties. Place the patties on the baking sheet and flatten slightly. Bake for 25-30 minutes, turning at least twice. Note: until the burgers are completely finished cooking, they’re going to be very loose. I had to be veryyyy careful when I flipped them over with a spatula. Once the burgers are cool, you can eat right away or wrap in parchment paper and tupperware and freeze for later. I topped my burger with cheddar and ketchup and ate it alongside a big salad. It was a nice, light pre-race meal.

I know some of you might be skeptical of the unusual ingredients (teff? spinach? in a burger?!), but these are actually one of the best things I’ve made recently. I even contemplate eating a second burger even though I was already pretty full….

Okay, time for my first day of work!

Tell me: Did you race this weekend? How did it go? Favorite carbohydrate? Mmm, bagels.

  • Tiffany

    I had a 10 Miler on Saturday which went pretty well. I hadn’t run that distance since 2010 and before I had my daughter 4 months ago. My goal was just to finish, but I had a really good first 6.5 miles until my left knee started bothering me. At about mile 7, it hurt too much to run on, so I had to walk/partially limp the last 3 miles. I’m thinking maybe it was too much/too soon, but I did it and am not in pain now, thankfully.

    Carbohydrates- hmmm, ALL, I love bagels, pizza, fresh bread, etc, haha.

  • I ran a marathon this weekend! It was my first. Man, those things are hard! I have a newfound level of respect for everyone I know who’s run one. But it was also super great and very fulfilling. (My quads have much more negative quads about the whole endeavor.)
    Bagels are definitely the superior form of carb available. Though my mom and dad took me out to dinner at a fancy indian restaurant in DC and I have to say, freshly baked naan comes a close second!

  • I realize that I wrote “My quads have much more negative quads about the whole endeavor,” which doesn’t make any sense. I meant they have more negative things to say! Whoops!

  • Hi Megan, great race!! I ran the half yesterday too, I finished 17 seconds behind you but I think I was in a corral behind. I really enjoyed the race. 
    Those burgers look cool- I have heard of Ethiopians eating Teff so it must be good! Where do you buy it from? 

  • Ali

    Congratulations on a solid race, Megan! When I saw you hauling ass toward the finish I got way too emotional. I’ve had a few rough running weeks, and watching you go full-out at the end of the race was amazing to witness. I’m proud of you for pushing hard, and impressed that you maintained such a fantastic pace without wearing a watch. That’s a great skill to have. AND YOU FOLLOWED ALL THE DIRECTIONS CORRECTLY. I believe that should be added to the good list of things about this race. No 14-milers for you this weekend!

  • AmandaRunsNY

    Congrats on the nice race.  That is just amazing! I wish I could run like that!

    Also, I love bagels too.  They are probably my favorite carb, or else grilled cheese sandwiches.  YUMM

  • runnerskitchen

    omg. have you ever tried any of the fancy grilled cheese places in nyc? that is my idea of heaven.

  • runnerskitchen

    thanks friend!! when i heard you cheering at mile 13, it definitely have me that extra push to the finish.

  • runnerskitchen

    congrats on your race! the teff is bob’s red mill brand i purchased it at whole foods.

  • Trip to San Francisco, eh? Let me know if you need any beer-drinking or carb-eating tips! I’ve got plenty of both. 

  • Awesome race! Boston is getting close! 🙂

    I love bagels but rarely get them here because they’re not the same at NY ones even though the prices match! Other favorite carbs…french bread and desserts of all kinds. 🙂

  • My first Brooklyn bagel changed my life. That picture is making me drool, literally.

  • Congrats on a great race!!
    aww I miss the bagels of NYC!
    I love muffins!
    I hope you have a great week ahead of you!

  • My pace always drops a lot more on the hilly portions, so major props to you for keeping it within 6 seconds of the rest of the race. 

    I ran the LA Marathon and managed to follow my plan to a T. I felt pretty amazing during the race and had enough energy in the final miles to drop down to about 10K pace. 

    Hope the first day at the new job went well.

  • YES! Finally a recipe for teff that I can totally get behind (that’s not injera). Thank you! 

    Also, way to getter done at the Half, lady. PR or no, you killed it! 

  • CONGRATS!!!! You never cease to amaze me.

    And bagels for the win. Always.

  • loved cheering for you (man voice and all) and that you are supa speedy! congrats on an unexpectedly (though i had a feeling you’d kill it) successful race. we must congregate soon and discuss things. things being jobiness, etc. preferably over pizza. mmmkay?

  • I’m so glad I spotted you as you were speeding by Engineers gate! I would say I’d offer to pace you in a half sometime like you did for me, but I’d need a scooter or rollerblades for that…

    Teff – east africans eat it? yeah, that + neon = gonna me super fast ASAP

  • runningseal

    Congrats on a solid race and outperforming your expectations! I’d say that puts you in a good place for Boston 🙂 I ran the nyc half too this weekend. I need to learn how to pace better without a watch, because the satellites got really messed up in Times Sq and the tunnel …and I should just not be that watch dependent. Still a 7+ minute PR for me though 🙂

  • Congratulations on a great race! I think you ran a really impressive race – especially considering that you’ve been putting in some hard miles lately. Nice job with the negative splits too! That’s a racing skill I have yet to master. My goal is to TRY to negative split Boston but I’m not so sure how successful I’m going to be…seeing as I’ve never actually negative split a half/full marathon before (minor detail, right??)

    I hope your first day of work went well! Good luck with the rest of the week!

  • MealsforMiles

    Congrats on a really strong race, Megan!! I can’t wait to see you kicking ass in Boston soon. Also, hope the first day went well!

  • Jemma Andrew

    Congrats on an amazing race!!!

  • Awesome time!

  • Congrats on beating your low balls!

    My half this weekend was shiiiiiity. Oh well.

  • I did not race this weekend, but it was fun to cheer!!  After training for long, long distance races for so long, I think I’m scared to go out too fast in shorter race and therefore don’t hit times that I probably could if I went out faster.  It’s a tough line to toe. 

  • Excellent race, Megan! You’ll be so ready for boston with all your mileage and ability to obviously maintain speed! Maybe a sub-90 half in 2012?!
    Favorite carb? Wow. Hmm. A good, cheesy bagel sounds pretty amazing. And beer!

  • Awesome job at the NYC Half! Especially about picking back up your speed while not wearing your Garmin.

    As for my favorite carb? Either Bagels or Cookies. Yumminess!

  • Gemma C

    Stunning time! You did soooo well! My hero, Kim Smith, also had a pretty amazing race! Favourite carb is a freshly baked date scone with jam! 

  • Mmm, that recipe sounds awesome. Where in the city do you buy teff? I assume a natural foods store might have it, but thought I’d check.

    Also, CONGRATULATIONS on the great race!

  • Congrats on your race. I enjoyed reading your recap of this race. This is one race I’d like to do next year. I can’t wait to try the recipe for the Turkey and Teff burgers. Thank you for sharing. Cheers***

  • Katie

    WOOHOO, rock it girl!  Congrats!!!

    Also, congrats on your first day of work!  Can’t wait to hear all about it… hope to have that date one of these days 🙂

  • runnerskitchen

    yes! things are gonna be crazy for the next few weeks, but you are on my radar lady 🙂 p.s. a new co-worker lives in Astoria and i was telling him all about the delicious-ness that is queen’s kickshaw!

  • Laurakasselrn

    What a great race! I had a lot a fun- wasn’t expecting the hills in central park though! Wanted to be under 1:37 but that did not happen. Oh well another time!!
    Favorite carb- prob bagels!

  • Andrew Lange

    I spy a picture that I took! That flatbread did look delicious!