First, while I'm blogging I just want to mention I had the opportunity to check out the new Run by Footlocker store on Union Square devoted to all things running. They decided to have their official grand opening festivities coincide with the NYC Half weekend. It was a convenient hop to the expo from there. The people working this location (14th Street & University) were all very knowledgeable and intent on pulling out all the stops to serve the NY running community.
I even got this cool T-shirt:
Now onto the race report. It seems like only 7 months ago since the last NYC Half Marathon, oh wait, that's because it was. Having the race in March was a breath of fresh air after last August's sweat fest. It was a crystal clear beautiful day.
I ran this race for the first time last year and really enjoyed it. This year it was my goal to play running rock for it. When I arrived at my little station I was downright giddy when I saw the big blue Lady Southpaw sign. I felt I had conquered the Everest of running organizations, I was playing a New York Road Runners event. It took me awhile to find the right contacts, but once I did I found the organization was very efficient and I really hope to get the opportunity to do more of their events soon.
I got there with plenty of time and leisurely setup all my gear. Last month I had the fiasco of forgetting my mic stand at an event in Brooklyn and I was forced to improvise with some creative use of duct tape (thanks Steve!) This time I had everything all packed up before I went to bed last night and a checklist to look over before I left in the morning. I still managed to forget my sunglasses, but they were optional.
My spot was on 15th Street and the West Side Highway. I was in the oasis for entertainment after Time Square and 42nd Street where there is nothing but stimulation and before the "wall of sound" into the finish. Right behind me was a water station, porta-potties and a "high five station." So in general it was a small point of relief for runners in one of the more difficult parts of the race. They had 11 miles behind them but they were still not done.
It is so interesting to watch a race in its entirety. You really see the bell curve of race paces. It was utterly mind-blowing when the first guy went sprinting by in under an hour from the start! I was star-struck when I saw Deena Kastor. Then the crowd gradually forms until the street is packed and tapers away again leaving you with those not as genetically gifted or facing a race that didn't go as planned and visibly fighting the pain of it. There is really the full gamut of human emotion from elation, to strong focus, to ease, to battle. It was exciting.
For about 45 minutes I was completely eating it up. I was having the time of my life, playing my songs and rocking out. I know people could only hear me for a few seconds as they whizzed past, but I really felt connections to many of them. I especially got a kick from the ones who waved or shouted, "I saw your page on Facebook!" I felt like everything I had been working on so hard was really coming together!
I got through all the "Songs For Running," playing "Engineering Masterpiece," more than once and a couple of covers. Then halfway through my cover of the Cranberries song "Zombie," the sound just cut out! I couldn't believe it. I had my power source charging the entire night. When I checked it, it still showed that it had power. I think maybe it was just shorting out or over heating or something? I turned everything off and turned it on again. It worked for a little bit but then the same thing happened again. That pretty much sums up the rest of my experience. I would turn it off, leave it for a couple minutes then turn it on again, with the sound on lower or playing a less intense song or something. Then, inevitably, it would cut out again after a couple minutes. Sometimes I could make it through a whole song, but most the time only half of one.
So far I have only used this power source for much shorter events. I don't think it had ever been on that long without a break. In the future I think I will break it up into shorter sets and see if that helps. I really don't want to have to buy another one at this point because those things are expensive and this one is so portable! I will probably do some research into and see if there is anything more I can do about it.
It was unfortunate that a large portion of the mid pack missed out on my playing anything. I joined the High Five Station briefly while I let the generator rest. That was super fun too. At some point I just figured f* it and played some of the more straight rhythmic songs without any amplification. Considering that the runners don't get to hear that much of the song anyway, not having sound didn't seem to make that much of a difference. It was a much better vibe when I was trying to sing then just standing there disappointed, looking like I was leaving them dry with the music. Of course I probably looked a little air-headed, as if I didn't realize there was no sound coming out of my amp. Oh well, you live you learn. I still really want to do this again and keep improving on the process!