2016 Airbnb Brooklyn Half – a race to remember

hey guys! how was your weekends? busy one over here and yeah, there was a tiny race in it, which happened to be the biggest half marathon, with 27,409 finishers this year, and hey, 2023 more women than men, hey hey hey!!! wow, right? that’s amazing. amazing amazing. If you were there you know how fun it was. I had done this race 6 times before and I wasn’t expecting much, but let me get to it. I promise this one will be fun. Oh, the fun also happened at the preparty, all the pics and stuff is here.


I didn’t any $*&!$)# sleep, maybe 3 hours. Which is annoying because I am usually good at getting my 8-9 every night. I was so grumpy at 3:30 am on Saturday… We live in the Upper East Side which is quite inconvenient to get to Brooklyn… Anyway, Carolina, Juan and I got on the train and made it to the start in no time!

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Dropped our bags quite easily and just walked through security to the portapotties and corral. Now that the trucks are prepped BEFORE security, it took just a second. Great move, NYRR.

Is there anything better than empty and clean portapotties? IS THERE?

The answer is a loud NO.

We were there at 5:40 am so it was amazingly empty, calm, and clean. Then we just hang out and met with friends for the hour and 20 minutes until the 7 am start time! Luckily, the corrals are so big now that I was able to find like 20 of my friends in the B corral. Sharon walked by and she got a picture with us!

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Chat chat chat, it was soon 7 am! Ahhh! I wasn’t feeling that great so I decided I wanted to change my race game.


You know I had done the Newport 10K last weekend and the 10 days before that my heart rate had been out of control.  Here’s a crazy example of my weekly easy miles, easy pace of 8:47 to 9:43 was giving me heart rate of 181 to 205…  and of course I was feeling like I couldn’t even breathe!

bad laps

things were almost back to normal this past week but with the high effort in the 10K (around 190 bpms) just a week ago and this heart thing in my head, I wasn’t going into Brooklyn with ANY expectations. I had figured I’d start and see how I felt… But….

I know I am in PR shape, and I KNOW I shouldn’t waste that, but on the other hand, do I really want to kill myself for just a few seconds off? The truth is I didn’t. I wasn’t even willing to try. I know, I know what some of you might be thinking “it’s a race, you’re supposed to give your all, you don’t know how it could turn up if you don’t try, every second counts, yada yada” I get it.

But, whatever. Sometimes I just don’t care. Also, at the level of running I am doing, let’s not even talk about “speed” but let’s use Age Grading (that last number in the nyrr results is there for a reason!!), I am around 70%, really, at 70%, WHO CARES what pace I do? It’s not like it’s competitive or it counts or ANYTHING. I compete with myself. Which means: I will show up when I want. And, truth be told, health is always first. I decided I was going to take it easy, something I couldn’t do last week in Newport for some odd reason. My heart rate was a mess and I couldn’t hold back (you know it’s hard to NOT race once you’re in the race!!!). It would have been easier to stop and DNF than control my pace in NJ. This time, in Brooklyn, I decided I OWN this. I can control it. I CAN. Well, we’ll see, won’t we?  I just really didn’t want to go all out and die, or suffer for 1:35-37 minutes to miss a PR for seconds or get a PR for seconds. I figured I’d do around 1:40 and I was fine with that. (ALSO, I realize how amazing it sounds to say that 1:40 is easy… it took me YEARS to get under 1:50… I will always appreciate that 1:40 is now “easy“).

If you own your story, you get to write the ending

Juan was on a specific training run, during the race, he was doing 10 easy miles (easy for him is about  7:30) and then he’d be doing 800s with 400 meters rest all the way to the finish. So weird right. I just sat by him at the start and if he was going “easy” maybe we could run together for a bit.

The gun goes off, and I tell myself, let’s go with heart rate. I was determined to stay under 170 for the first half, and then we’d see. Just take it easy, control your effort, and enjoy. I had even brought my music, which I hadn’t used in a race in over a year. Oh, now the same playlist I used to think was NECESSARY was annoying the crap out of me! Juan and I were still running side by side when the first mile sign came by: Mile 1: 7:49 pace, Heart Rate: 155. Winning!!!  Little background though, the last two halfs I did this year were in the 1:36 range which is about 7:20 pace. Right around there Juan started to peel off and I didn’t even try to stick with him, by the turnaround in the plaza he was 50 meters ahead and moving. I saw Ben Ko taking pictures, Eric yelled at me from the other side, and Richie said hello as he passed me super strong. Another thing: in the first mile (and the next few) I felt like about 4 corrals passed me. I was going quite slow for everyone else around me. Mile 2: 7:45 pace, Heart Rate: 165.

I started pouring water on myself by then. I know for some people this isn’t hot (as there were people in long sleeves and long pants?!?!?!!!!) but I was burning up. Even running that slow. HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE? Mile 3: 7:22 pace, Heart Rate: 165. Heart rate was nice and stable.

WHAT? I can run 7:2x miles with a heart rate this low? can it be this easy?!?!?! WHAT? All right.

Mile 4: 7:35 pace, Heart Rate: 170

I then saw Keith on the side of the road, I knew his hamstring was a huge problem and thought the worst. It rattled me a bit. Jon passed me and we said hello. I was literally chit-chatting the miles away.  Mile 5: 8:04 pace, Heart Rate: 172. That hill got to me a bit. It was hard to keep the heart rate down, it’s a looong incline. Not steep, just long. I tried to keep my composure and slow down as much as possible. I didn’t have a screen with the pace, just average pace (not current pace, or last lap pace) so I was only seeing my heart rate. Then, the part of the race that is usually is my least favorite. I am done with the hills, and the easy part is about to come, I just can’t wait to get out of the park… Mile 6: 8:01 pace, Heart Rate: 173. It got harder to stay under 170s, so I was slowing down a bit, I might have just been tired, though I also remember eating gel there. I wasn’t hungry but I did feel like I had to. I also saw a guy go kiss his girlfriend (or I hope he knew her!!!) and also grab her boob. I yelled “I saw THAT”, she laughed, as well as everyone around me. Oh the fun and the things you see in a race. This was the best one:

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every single person I saw was punching that thing. IT WAS HILARIOUS. Here is the video

Soon, we were out of the park, up and down the highway, into the high speed section of the race and I REALLY FELT like spreading my wings I bit. I thought, well, just the straightaway and me now… Mile 7: 7:23 pace, Heart Rate: 172. Back to 7:20s in the 170s. I remember it feeling so easy then.

I think there’s something to be said about a loooong warm up, huh? I also remember passing a LOT of people. I saw team mate Megan, and she was really at it. She looked great and told her to keep at it. We then started trading the front for a few meters. Mile 8: 7:30 pace, Heart Rate: 172. I was a bit scared to pick it up, I wasn’t sure I wanted to push my heart rate. One the other hand, I am almost there!!!! Mile 9: 7:21 pace, Heart Rate: 176. This part was a bit ridiculous. I was passing people left and right. It felt amazing to feel so strong at the end of a race, and like I was running in a conveyor belt and everyone else was standing still. Seriously. Nothing beats that feeling at the end of a race. It was like I was running a 10K surrounded by marathoners. Mile 10: 7:12 pace, Heart Rate: 179. And it felt amazing.

Around there I was chatting up another team mate, Hannah, and then saw Juan, he had gotten his 10 easy miles in and was now doing his 800s with 400 recovery on the side of the road. He was running the recovery part so we chatted a bit and I kept going. I figured he’d pass me in his 800s in a minute and we’d leapfrog all the way to the finish around each other. I never saw him again though until the finish. He said he was just so happy watching me go, that I looked so strong and fast. Mile 11: 7:09 pace, Heart Rate: 179. 

Do you see how each mile is getting faster and faster? I didn’t have any hopes of getting down to a 1:45 or 1:35 (which would be a PR) but I was JUST SO HAPPY running that fast and strong. I was doing low 7s at the end of a half, when I wasn’t able to do 6 miles at 7:20 last week in a 10K. Running easy and relaxed might be the trick guys!!!!!! Either I just need to not give a crap or just a very looooong warm up!!!!

Huge Kudos to Dan de Luna. I don’t want to sound like an ass, but if I pass someone, it’s because I have enough to go faster. I really do hate passing people, so if I do it, I REALLY have more. He passed me at around mile 7 or 8 and never faded and I never saw him again. I have to say, that doesn’t happen very often. Or ever. Dan, CONGRATS on such a strong pace!

Mile 12 is always FUN. I saw Ken, I saw Mary, I saw Sid and Asteria, I saw Michael Conlon. I yelled at them all. Mile 12: 7:03 pace, Heart Rate: 183. See? faster and faster! This is the way I had raced all my life, until this year, when I had just been starting too fast. Too much caffeine or the warm up or the intention to go fast, who knows. I can now say, IF I HAD TO CHOOSE, I rather finish a race this strong than PRing. I know: it sounds crazy!

Guess what, I got even faster: Mile 13: 7:01 pace, Heart Rate: 183. I didn’t have it in me to push to 190 or 200 heart rate. WHY? Because I was having FUN! Isn’t the best?

And there’s the boardwalk and OMG this guy in a gray shirt sprinted SO HARD it made me chuckle. I laughed all the way from the start to the finish line. How could I ever have a funner race???

Last bit: 6:59 pace, Heart Rate: 184. There was no all out craziness, just a controlled amazing effort. Finish time was 1:39:02

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Here’s all the laps. Officially

Stats Time!

Finish time: 1:39:02. Average Pace: 7:34

Previous PR: 1:36:03. From: March, 2016

Age Grading: 68.57%

Overall Place: 2,660 of  27,409

Gender Place: 461 of 14, 761 

Age Place: 34 of 1,416

finish time

I feel SO awesome about this. I am still not over the fact that I can do a sub 1:40 half while having fun. And I am happy that I can appreciate that. I hadn’t dipped under 70% AG this year, but again, WHO CARES? Other than me, really, and I don’t seem to care that much apparently. Races like this are a unicorn!

Caught Juan right at the finish and a few friend and team mates! I did hurry to the trucks because I was freezing and I really needed to pee. I finally learned how to drink and run at the same time (yes, I used to walk to drink…) and I think I drunk WAY TO MUCH. Ha!

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before I peed all 3 gallons of Gatorade. Hey, it’s FREE!!!! 😉

The parking lot was bopping!!! We did have to move after a while, we went to the baseball field party for a bit and then to Rudy’s to meet up with some friends!

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that woman in the back doesn’t like me!

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apparently, we can’t walk two feet without buying food. Good thing we run!

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I am in the right holding my waffle fries and crab cake sandwich and PRETENDING TO NOT HAVE A FULL MOUTH

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I literally say this all the time: I HAVE THE BEST FRIENDS

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(where’s Abbe for this picture???) if you don’t know Baker, you MUST! And check Dan in the back 😉

Soon, I started freezing, as I usually do, so we had to go home. I did have enough warm ups but I had dumped so much water (I GET HOT!!!) that my bra and shorts were soaking wet. Then everything else got wet. And I hadn’t slept… Plus I wanted a burger, and gelato…! you know….

omg the train ride home is always SO STINKY. Luckily we got to sit down.

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We were too lazy to dress up to go to 16 Handles after our showers so we just got a whole thing of Soft churned for each one of us, we’re disgusting. Then nap. Then bareburger. Such is life. Juan had a 4 hour indoor-cycling thing the next day (can you imaging being on a treadmill for 4 hours?!?!?! vomit) so we both chucked it up to his constant carboloading. I might need to get myself a second sport if I keep eating like he does! Again: whatever.

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How was your race? Did you love it? how did you pace? Did you PR? Did you have fun??? Did you use my tips post or pace bracelet, did it help? Can’t wait to hear about everybody else’s race!!!!!!!!! TELL ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am tired and needy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 😛



and check out my response… this was 2 days before the race. She was one of the two people who guessed against a PR… People, don’t be scared to guess a slowish race!!!!!!!!!!!!!! IT HAPPENS.

Daniela, email me and pick a gift from that post!!!

Can’t wait to hear from you all!!!!


46 thoughts on “2016 Airbnb Brooklyn Half – a race to remember

  1. Great race report and I’m glad you had fun! I obsessed over your 2015 race report and tips on running the race; they really helped! Saturday was my first time running the Brooklyn Half and I LOVED it! Didn’t PB, but I did just run a marathon three weeks ago, so I didn’t care. I’m working on my own race report and can not wait to register for 2017! Thanks again for the tips and congrats again on your race!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My first half and of course I did not follow your instructions. Went out a bit fast because it felt easy. I always feel good going uphill so didn’t want to lose that advantage. Once out of the park I didn’t feel as good as I would have hoped. Our friend Gaurav picked me up at mile 10 and talked me in. Didn’t take any liquid maybe that was a mistake. I got my time but it hurt. Would love to learn how to run like you. Easy at first and then negative split. That will be my goal for NYC half! Thanks for all of the good advice. Glad you had a great race!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It happens, no worries. it’s hard to start slow. takes a LOT of self-restraint. You still had a great time (though, I think you can run it faster!!! next time). Definitely should have taken some liquid, were you not sweating??? I was so hot and sweaty I was drinking at every mile! Glad Guarav picked you up!! Friends in the course are the best!!!


  3. Congratulations on the great run girl 🙂 and thank you for choosing me already days earlier lol

    BTW I finished my first ever half in 2:04:15h so proud of myself.

    will send you an email asap.


    Liked by 1 person

  4. I wanted to thank you for the great tips and the pace bracelet for this race. It was my first half-marathon and I wanted to finish under 1h30m. I followed your strategy from start to finish and it paid off BIG TIME. I let people pass me without chasing them (I was prepared mentally and took off around the 10km mark, a bit before leaving Prospect Park.
    It was a bit worrisome when the 1h30m pacers passed me in the early miles with their group of followers. Plus you hear them at a distance hitting the pavement, and they make quite an impression! I was committed to the strategy so I stayed back but I’d be lying if I say I did not have second thoughts.
    What you say is true, you end up passing a lot of people in the second half if you run smart. Final time was 1h27m05s :-). Thank you again!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow, so great to hear that. It’s very very very hard to start slow but it does pay off!! good for you for believing in yourself and getting it done!!!!! CONGRATS!!!


      • Thank you and congrats on your race as well! Luckily, I had read your post(s) quite a few times before and your performance comparison with other finishers was very convincing. It’s a much better feeling to be the one finishing strong at the end.
        I have already read the NYC Marathon tips as I realize it will take very very very serious training. Luckily, the Staten Island Half is a bit before to decide on a realistic goal for the big race. I’ll make sure to check any tips you may add 🙂


        • Ah, you’re so sweet!!!! I’ll be here if you have any questions!!! I am actually working on a post on “how to train for NYCM” hope I get to finish it soon, maybe that helps!??!


          • Your tips for Race Day are great to take some stress off the shoulders. Knowing when to arrive (not too early), what to expect at the start (weird-looking people), how to start (VERY slow), what will be ahead (a lot of miles with a few challenging hills) are already great tips. Your attention to detail is great for people who have never run a specific race as it proved for me with the Brooklyn Half. I especially liked the tips about road obstacles for the New York Marathon!
            I am looking forward to the quiet mile you describe before the last stretch. Seems like the place to start producing the big effort to meet a time goal!
            I know I did not run enough ahead of the half marathon and I had nothing left in the end! For casual runners like myself, tips like the amount of miles per week you need to have in your belt, the variety of the workouts or even in the nutrition area are great to take :-). I assume finding someone to train with would be the cherry on the cake? I’m sure you’ll cover all the key topics and can’t wait to read your upcoming post! It will probably be a lot more entertaining than the dull training plans you can find online.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Youcef, given you did so well in BK (starting slow and speeding up later)I have a feeling you’ll do amazing in the NYCM! I’ll get to it soon and if you have questions, you can let me know!


  5. Awww Liz, I can sense so much happiness from this post ❤ So happy you had a great day! And you're SO right, <1:40 is nothing to scoff at! I remember trying for over a year to break 1:45… and even now, 13.1M at 8:00 are not always that easy, let alone 13.1 at 7:3x.


    • Seriously… I am sure I sound like an a$$hole saying I run 1:39 EASY but that’s one of the biggest accomplishments ever!!! ah, 1:45 for you, but breaking 1:40 took me FIVE years (I just checked…!). it’s amazing what a lot of training does!


  6. I havent been following your blog for too long, but I love your pace contests!! Are you running the Mini 10K? That will be my first NYRR race. I live in CT but my daughter lives on the upper east, so I am staying with her. I’ve run in Central Park a couple of times, but never in a race. Always love coming to the city and jealous of you city dwellers/runners!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • No, I’ll be out of town for the Mini… sad to miss it! there’s a profile elevation on a post on my blog if you’re looking for it!
      You’ll love it!!! so many teams come out to cheer!!


  7. I was aiming for 2:00 (a PR) and totally blew it. I used the pace bracelet I picket up at the Expo, which was not laid out for how I usually run (negative splits). So, at the start, I spoke to the 2:00 pace leader, and he said he would be starting slow, therefore I figured I would just stick with him. But there were SO many people around him, I lost him pretty much in the first quarter-mile, hence, back to the bracelet.So the first 3 miles I did great, was ahead of sched. Then the sun started to come out and the hills started to come up, and the wheels just totally fell off. I was sweating , which doesn’t happen that early typically and just feeling blah. Was also dealing with the remnants of a cold I had all week, lungs were not up to par and was pretty sleep deprived as well.
    The worst part was, all the usual things that usually keep me going did not do their job..I was hating my music, the Gatorade was making me a little nauseous, was taking too long at water stops,and I kept on focusing on how lethargic I felt instead of getting out of my head. So, was very disappointed in my time (2:10) and my effort.
    Also, I don’t understand why everyone says Ocean P’way is flat/downhill. If that is the case, why, all the way up to Avenue H, could I see the heads and necks of runners down the road from me? If flat or downhill, I shouldn’t have been able to see them, right?


  8. You sound so freaking happy on this post that I’m just walking away with that. I don’t care about time or PRs. i care about enjoying as you enjoyed this race. Congrats Elizabeth. Big hugs.


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