Sunday, May 19, 2013

Brooklyn Half Marathon Race Recap

Well, I did it. I ran the streets of Brooklyn without entering into Queens! ;-) This was a huge half marathon, very early start time, well organized, and decent to run. Here is my take on the largest half marathon in NYC!

I woke up BRIGHT and EARLY at 4:20am. Although I was in the second wave, which started at 7:30am, my ride was in the first wave with a 7am start. So, I went through the usual rituals; got dressed, put on my mole skin, applied body glide, and ate breakfast (Okay I took it in the car, I'm a slow eater race morning.).

My secret to race morning perfection? Buy coffee the night before then reheat it in the morning. NOTHING is open that early. Plus. it's in a disposable cup!

I arrived and waited by my corral with some friends. This was an interesting development. The bathrooms were corral specific, so you could only use the portapotties in YOUR designated corral. This means there were plenty of squat spots,; however, it got really stinky by start time. Another interesting development? I forgot my Garmin in the car...which was headed to Coney Island to meet us at the finish. So, inadvertently  I had decided to run "naked". (Can't wait to see the search sources on that one.)

 My coworker and speedy friend! Spoiler alert: She PR'D!

My other speedy friend! Spoiler alert: He PR'd too! I must have transferred my luck in these photos...

I joined Ashley's corral and waited to start. I was so glad she asked to start together. We started the Philly Marathon together and lasted an amazing 15 miles together before I crashed and burned. We are also currently PR twins so it was nice to know I was starting with someone who has the same pace as me.

 All about the Sparkly Soul and neon!

Go go gadget brightness!

Miles 1-4: I had to run by feel. Ashley had her watch and kept me updated. Miles 1-3 were pretty fast, so we tried to keep it a bit slower as we entered the park. By mile 4 Ashley knew she had to slow it up a bit, so I bid her ado and said, "You'll probably catch up to me sooner than later." Now I was really on my own.

Miles 5-8: These felt pretty consistent. I enjoyed some music that Mr. Miller had secretly added onto my playlist the night before "No Sleep Till Brooklyn" by The Beastie Boys and "Brooklyn" by Jay-Z. He knows me. I'm a nerd and love matching things like songs and locations. The park was beautiful to run in because the trees not only offered shade but a bit of relief from the humidity. It was cloudy so people assumed it was okay; nope. I could still feel the strongest rays of sun creeping through and was thankful for the canopy of trees. The entrance to the highway was pretty cool, it felt surreal that both sides were closed! I PR'd my 10k by 8 seconds, which means I was on pace for a potential PR if I powered through. However, around mile 8, my hip REALLY started getting uncomfortable. I had avoided walking at most water stations because I had my fuel belt on, but I had continually been putting water on my head from mile 5 on. Between the humidity and the hip, I knew what my future was: Completion of Goal A: HAVE FUN.

Awesome sign! I loved her pep! Thanks for the picture, Ashley!

Miles 9-12: I relished my last race of the season. Even though my hip was uncomfortable, I stopped to stretch, cracked my back (Yes, I did), and kept on running. I didn't walk at all, a big step for me. I had no clue about pace or time, I just kept going, enjoying my music and enjoying that I can, in fact, run. This wasn't a cop out. This was my reality: I was doing this race for fun, and if my body carried me to a good race time, great. Thankfully my psyche didn't beat me up. I'd say that's a huge win. I was also glad to stop and help a runner who was taken down by the heat. I stopped and gave all the water I had. This is what runners do. My time is not more important than someone in need with no fluid stations in sight. Thankfully another runner, a doctor, also stopped and I left them with well wishes. Hope you're okay, Eduardo!

Snapped by my run club around 12.5...I was smiling to the end!

My last 1.1 miles of racing: They were FUN. I had saved my best music for last and my hip was feeling a bit better. Isn't it funny how towards the end of a race, things are magically are tolerable? As I rounded toward the finish and the cheer crowds were thickening, I kept saying thank you to them. They loved it and began cheering. I was so happy to be finishing, and Coney Island was a picturesque end to the race. I crossed the finish line happy. I did it. Lucky number 7 completed. No regrets. All smiles. 

Brooklyn Half Marathon Finish: 2:13:04

One happy runner

Then I heard someone say my name in the background: Ashley! I knew she would catch up to me eventually! She had some issues with the heat and had to slow up as well. (You can read her recap here) We both had the same idea upon finishing: Get our feet into the Atlantic ocean!

 My feet were in heaven. I went up to my knees then knelt on the shore to get my hamstrings/quads involved. This was genius.

Great race with a great friend. So glad I got to start and end it with this lady. Plus, every race should end on a beach.

The main obstacle of the race was not NYRR's fault. The cell service was non-existent. Apparently the towers were jammed by the tens of thousands of people trying to use their phones. This created a panic for me, as I was trying to find my wonderful car-mates. I searched the area where we were supposed to meet, then decided to just stay put. It got cold and rainy, and I was getting VERY nervous. Thankfully, I spotted B across the crosswalk, and I've never been happier to see her!

Two very happy runners toasty warm in the car ride home. Thank you to the Chans for the ride!!!

All in all, lucky number 7 was a great race. The course was a bit quiet, but having so many runners made it easier to keep going. I loved seeing so many friends! The running community is truly amazing. Despite my time being significantly slower than my previous half, I am satisfied and proud of my new race bling. CONGRATULATIONS to all the amazing finishers, especially to many of you who made it PR city!!!

How about you? Did you race this weekend? Do you try to push through injury during a race? Have you stuck with a friend in a race before? Tell me about it!

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