I signed up for the race some time ago. After running my first half marathon during the Walt Disney World Half Marathon Weekend in January, I was looking for more races. There weren't any available that I could find in the dead of February in my neck of the world (just north of NYC) and the first race I spotted was the NYC Half Marathon. I looked into that but it was sold out. I could still do it as a charity run, but I would have needed to raise $1000. I thought this was do-able, but then i found out about the Sleepy Hollow race so I decided to do that instead.
As the date of the run approached I felt a bit of trepidation. First, I had heard from several folks (including my chiropractor, who is a runner and actually one of the sponsors of the race) that the course was very hilly and challenging. I also read that the race has a strict 3 1/2 hour time limit. I had completed the WDW race in 3:27. On the one hand that was my first race, it was very hot and I had to deal with huge crowds. On the other hand, the WDW course was flat. In the few days before the race I had some new worries to add to my list - we were hit with a sizable snow storm just a few days before the race. Much of the race takes place on trails and I was worried that there might still be snow or, even worse, ice. On top of all that my back had been bothering me (I had taken a few yoga classes a while back that did a real number on me.)
As you will read - all of these things were no problem.
First, with regard to the hilly course, I learned about this early enough so that I was able to do a lot of hill work in my training. Read earlier posts in this blog for more details. As to the condition of the course, with the exception of a few muddy spots it was fine. As to my time, I came in at 3:02. Yes, I was one of the last finishers but I got in well under the limit. Finally, as to my back problems, it was not an issue during the race. My back hurt like a son-of-a-gun after the race, but no issues during :-P. I also had been having some minor twinges in my knee during the couple of days leading up to the race, and while I did feel something a few times it was no problem and, unlike my back, my knee has not bothered my after. I'm not worried about my back, I can tell it's just muscle soreness, but it still hurts.
The race started at the very civilized time of 9:30. On race day the weather was sunny but cold and windy. I had been doing training runs in much worse weather, so I was used to it and not at all concerned about the weather. I wasn't sure exactly what to expect so I arrived early - about 8:00. I had already picked up my race packet a few days earlier so I didn't need to check in. The packet included your bib and an RFID chip you put on your shoe as well at a long sleeve t-shirt. It also included a bunch of info and freebies from race sponsors. Upon arriving I went to a local deli to get a breakfast sandwich and then I hung around the gathering area and walked around a bit trying (mostly in vain) to stay warm (and trying to keep my toes from getting numb.) Finally the race time arrived and we gathered by the starting gate.