There will be a post. I swear. But for now, here are all the videos (and a few pictures) I got through the race.
There will be a post. I swear. But for now, here are all the videos (and a few pictures) I got through the race.
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!
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!
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!
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“).
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:
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
Here’s all the laps. Officially
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
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!
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!
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.
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.
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!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 😛
—– Oh and the GUESS MY FINISH TIME WINNER IS….
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!!!!
I was going to start writing the report for the race and realized I didn’t say a word about the pre-party…! Given this is my favorite race preparty, and it’d be too much for one post, I am putting some pictures here. There is also a traditional “expo” component, with some clothes and a couple of vendors. The race is sponsored by New Balance and they do have an amazing array of gear to sell (really cute stuff) but the party is the best. You should take a day off work next year and go spend some serious time there, and bring all your non-running friends too. I mean it.
Carolina and I met up first to get a fun ride ALL the WAY there. You know, us UpperEastSiders are far from every thing!!
So, Caro got me these and I was wondering if I should try to pull the Kara/Shalane type of outfits and wear these for the Brooklyn. The orange one read “lead from behind” which I think it’s my favorite.
these rundies are so cute right? also, they’re not that different from my usual tights…!
Anyway, the preparty is awesome. First of ALL, the views of the city.
Brooklyn is cool, ok? but the best of BK is how awesome NYC looks from over there. We don’t have these views in the city… so, I could hang out over there all day (well, a few hours, or I’ll get withdrawal syndrome). Juan was coming from work, hence the formal attire.
We went indoors and got our bibs in a second!
There we so many games and stuff to do, and a band playing on stage, and food trucks with food, we could have been there all day eating, chatting and taking pics (which we did). Then Linda joined, Juan is the pimp apparently:
Doesn’t this look like so much fun? and how cool are these shirts?? the lettering is REFLECTIVE. I am definitely wearing this one!
so, pen it in for next year, because it’s the funnest “expo”, amiright?
Time to place your bets again… let’s do this!
Prizes shipped only within the US, but you can pick it up when you’re in NYC if you are abroad! Or have me send to someone in the US. / Guesses will only count if done before Friday 8 pm, ET. on this original post / Other comments anywhere else (Runners World, facebook, twitter, etc.) won’t count / If there are two guesses with the exact same time, the first one wins.
I know you all have been asking me for a post like the one I did for the NYC Half/Marathon, but I don’t think we need something that long for this race, but still, here you go… Not sure I am an expert on this one (I don’t go to Brooklyn enough!) but this will be my NINTH Brooklyn Half in a row, and all my GPS data matches, and I do have 7 years of race reports I can check back on (which helps a lot to write this!).
First, get excited, here’s a few of my pictures, more on the links below.
With this cheating sheet you won’t be surprised or have any reason to fade off in the second half. This course is easy to take on, quite similar to the NYC Half actually, but faster (there’s less hills, no wind in the second part, and a faster last mile -NO TUNNEL!)
If you want to click on the course elevation and get more details (so you know exactly where everything is on the map) that’s all here. I compared the last two years and I got the same (160.65 ft elevation vs 162.03 ft, but pretty similar).
Race starts (awesome sight of the Brooklyn Museum) downhill, for a half mile, then up for another half mile while you run towards the Grand Army Plaza (which you’ll run around), then up and down again. Something to look forward to on the second mile is the rest of the runners in front or behind you. I love turnarounds, heeeey heeeeey everyone!
These red parts are not big HILLS ok? Nothing to worry about, check up the elevation on the chart above, and you’ll see. Very very manageable and sweet.
Course is very scenic and pretty quiet until you get to the Prospect Park Hill (there’s only one) (does it even have another name???) a bit after Mile 4.5. It’s looong and you can’t see where it ends but it’s also not super bad. Check the elevation above again (almost comparable to Harlem Hill). You have a nice down after the hill another tiny bump in the course and then you’re in the clear. All downhill or flat from here. Seriously, the bumps (can’t call them anything else, they’re NOT hills!) are done before Mile 6!!!
Part 2 is when you crank up the heat (STFU!). The race is flat or downhill past mile 6 so you have a lot of room to play with. I’d run the first part very carefully (aka slowish) so you can spread your wings in the second part. You could start part 2 right after the hill in Prospect Park, right before Mile 6. I like to start when I exit the park because, mentally, it’s an easier break. Park: slow. Not Park: FIRE!!!
Once you exit the park (Mile 7), you will be in Ocean Parkway all the way until the last mile of the race. There’s a steep downhill into the parkway, be ready for it! Just past that, it’s OPEN, it’s wide, there’s tons of space and people to chase down. This is the best part, because you can really go crazy here. Some people will tell you it’s boring and there is nothing to look at, etc. It’s a highway, it might be… There’s less spectators than in the park, it’s quiet and it’s just a STRAIGHT LONG road to the finish. But it is, to me, an amazing opportunity to zone out, drive hard and bring it in. Choose a runner ahead (not the one right there, the other one!) and focus. Or count down the avenues (they’re lettered!). Once you make the right turn, you’ll have about half a mile, you make a left at some point, go up a ramp, and a right into the boardwalk to run about 200 meters (in the boardwalk!) straight to the finish line!
It’s tricky. Either it’s great to race in (40s, 50s) or great to have a picnic at the beach after (60s and over). Either way, it’s a win win!!
Historical data for reference:
If you go to the corresponding race report (below) you’ll see what I wore each year (and if it was a “racing or beach” year!)
It’s here. Adjusted for the course, though you can adjust it as you like.
Questions? Comment know below and I’ll answer!
Am I missing something? also lmk below!
Can I ask you for something? After the race, would you come back and let me know how it went, or what went right/wrong, or what you’d add to these tips?
Well, at the start line of course! The expo was fantastic, as usual, the race was great (minus baggage!) and my performance… well, I had so much fun trying not to melt… the weather was the big question mark leading up to the race… Is it going to rain? I prefer rain to that stooopid humidity that doesn’t let you breathe… so, yeah, rain please! And then maybe sunny and hot after so we could enjoy the beach with the team? That’d be the perfect scenario really!!I had done this race a few times, had to go back and check, 5 times! This was my 6th… so I feel like I have the course down, plus, you know I do all the crazy drawings and pace bracelet, and math… hey, planning is the FUN part!
Juan and I woke up at 3:50, left our apartment in the Upper East Side by 4:30 am to get on the 4:46 4 train to the start. There was another train 20 minutes later but it’d be too close to baggage closing and we don’t like to stress so we got very little sleep in exchange for the “no rushing” deal. The 4 train left us like a block from baggage at about 5:30… and then we had an hour and a half to kill where we caught up with pretty much all 26K runners and everyone who was working and volunteering.The biggest advantage of showing up so early?? Brand new portapotties!!!! I got in there twice, all smelled nice and was clean… so wonderful. The stuff dreams are made of. I prefer all of this luxury to an extra hour of sleep. And if you know me, there’s
Anyway, Juan and I got into the 3rd corral LONG before there were lines in the porta-potties and saw a lot of friends and team-mates. Blaise and Patricia were meeting us there and Juan was going to run with them for a bit. We had a lot of time to discuss pleasantries like the course and mile splits. I was going for 1:39, or 1:40 but with the 100000% humidity I started to doubt I’d get under 1:40. I do ok in the heat, but I suck in the humidity, it just zaps me out for some reason. Anyone knows why? It must be a low-blood pressure thing. I was doubting myself, thinking about starting slow and just coasting. We’ll see, I thought.
We hear the national anthem, then Mary speaks: her last race!! UGH, I am beyond upset that she’s leaving, but I am sure things will be ok. I just hate change 😉 and I really like her. Peter and Mary blow the horn and I see the all my team mates and Juan go off. Bye bye. I hold back a bit. This was my plan if the weather let me know ma thing:
I didn’t know if I could bit my NYC Half time (1:39 something) but why not try? Then, the humidity attacked. I felt it early on, half a mile in and I was DYING. MELTING. I just was burning up, same thing that happened last year, also half a mile in, at the Boston Marathon. I was roasting inside and wanted to take all my clothes off and jump into the ocean (but we gotta get there first?!?). I actually thought about taking the singlet off but it’s a mess with the bib there… so I gave up and as soon as I saw the first water stop I started the dives. I was throwing 3 cups of water on me (or as many as I could gracefully grab) per table. I really felt like giving up and slowing down. I didn’t think I could even go sub 1:40 so why bother?
Mile 1: 7:39
Mile 2: 7:50 So far so good.
I told myself to keep trying, maybe it’d start raining and things would get better. They didn’t get better, but you know, we all play those tricks on ourselves… What kept me busy: it was waaay too tight in the first two miles, and quite busy and messy until about mile 5 when things started to open up a bit, but definitely crowded. I almost got tripped a few times. UGH. Almost like the NYC Half. Also, I saw a lot of Whippets pass me on those first 3-4 miles, and a lot of people in general.But I already know how that works, so I don’t stress: 90% of them come back later.
Mile 3: 7:21
By Mile 4, I run into Marie Whickam, I love seeing her, we run a bit together until I saw a water table and I had to take another shower, which was adding many many seconds (at least 10) per mile. After a quarter mile, I caught up back to her again. I kept seeing this team mate, Adam, who was running quite even pace, so I tried to follow him too.
Mile 4: 7:44 not enough water!
I was having 1 cup of Gatorade per mile (which is INSANE!!!!! I know!!!) and all the water I could throw on me. Then, at the next water stop I decided I couldn’t wait anymore. I decided I would have my gel right there. I only had one but if the Gatorade was helping so much, maybe I needed the gel asap.
Mile 5: 8:12 where I had brunch
As you can see, per the pace, I had to stop to eat and drink… Wow, the gel worked like a charm… I caught up to Marie in a second, and then Adam too. I was ON FIRE. It made me feel SO much better. I don’t tend to have gels or that many Gatorade in a half but apparently I really needed it. I felt like I was speeding up a lot as I left the park.
Mile 6: 7:56 still digesting
Soon I left Adam and I started picking up a LOT of people. There wasn’t anyone passing me anymore and I made a point, at mile, 8 to grab another gel at the gel stop and eat it. I just didn’t want to feel like I was dying again… I kept picking people up. SO MANY. I love this long stretch of the race…
Mile 7:21 let’s do this!
Mile 8: 7:26
Mile 9: 7:20
I saw a few team-mates on my way and chatted them up a bit. We were all feeling it a bit and I just felt like I had to keep pushing. Around here I saw Blaise going about 8 pace and I asked WTF and told him to come with me. He was shooting for 1:33, so it was shock to see him there. I am not sure if he tried to follow, but he didn’t, he didn’t have a good race.
Mile 10: 7:14Mile 11: 7:14
AH, a tiny little mist. Not quite rain but something!!! I felt so grateful!!! I knew I was close and I just had to close it in. But I wasn’t sure if I had enough for a really fast last mile. I started looking at the pace bracelet and I saw I as a few seconds behind. Nothing a 6:30 mile can’t fix… but I doubted I had that me.
Mile 12: 7:04 is that a mini rain I am feeling???
My team was there! Scott shouted “Pick it up Elizabeth” I smiled and pretended to go faster but… I probably I did a fast 400 there and that was it. Michelle gave me high five, thank you guys!
Mile 13: 7:02 slippery boardwalk, let’s do this!
Well, there you have it. I tried my best (in the last 100 meters!) to go sub 1:39 just because, but didn’t happen. Whatever! 16 seconds faster than the NYC Half earlier this year, but given the weather (and how I felt), I’ll TAKE it. Also, I was a bit overweight. I know you can’t tell and I look amazing and all that, but my scale doesn’t lie, and the chafing in between my tights is REAL too. OUCH. Actually, that’s how I usually know I put on some weight; it hurts there. I blame the little Miami vacation the week before (mental note, vacations are AFTER the race, not before!!!!). So, these are not excuses, just a way to measure how happy I am with my time (maybe 30 seconds extra for the weather, and 5 seconds per each extra pound… it’s a flat 1:38 in my head!!!). I am still FAR FAR FAR from my 1:37 PR but if I can bang out a 1:39 consistently, how can I really complain??? I am not far.
Finish time: 1:39:10 Average Pace: 7:34
Previous PR: 1:37:35 From: March, 2013
Age Grading: 68.60%
Overall Place: 2511 of 26,482
Gender Place: 443 of 14,216
Age Place: 35 of 1,403
Wait a second… 35th in my AG out of 1403??? What? that’s insane.
Another way to look at my splits:
Seems about right, I would have loved for the last 5K to be a bit faster but the rest seems ok. Now, I’ll say this to ALL OF YOU who run: 90% of you are starting WAY too FAST. You know what I mean. Look at your splits. I know it’s hard to hold it in, but it pays, I promise you!!! You want proof?? proof you say? There’s so much!!! (I like to do this exercise once in a while to remind myself during races why I need to let people go in the early miles). These are the 12 people who finished with me, in 1:39:10 exactly, 6 before, 6 after.
I am the orange, so you don’t get lost. We all finished at the same time, right? the fun part is WHERE they all were at the 10K mark. If you think about it, that’s the slowest point of the race, the 2nd 5k is the hardest, you just climbed all the hills this race has, so, if you’re going to slow down, that’s when you’d be at your slowest point, and save your speed for the last 5 flat and fast miles right? Ok, look, I was at 48:39 by 10K, ten out of those twelve were one or two full minutes ahead of me. That is a lot in a 10k, and a lot more in this type of course (where that 2nd 5k, the 10K point should be your slowest). Seven of those twelve where still one or two minutes ahead at the 15K mark, the rest started to drop back. By the finish, I had closed on all of them. I know this because I saw a lot of people passing me earlier on than I caught later, but this shows a LOT. Only two out of those 12 were able to hold it past the 10K mark. Don’t ever forget this, you now have proof that people that go out too fast will come back to you. Even if you don’t believe negative splits is the way to go, at least even effort should do it, and in this course, your first 10K is the slowest of the two… any questions!??!?!?
As soon as I crossed the finish line, I got my third hug from MaryW of the week, saw Richie, then Patricia, then Keith… and soon Juan. And it started POURING. Now??? now you’re going to pour on me!!??!?! WTF!!!!!! whatever….
We got some mylar blankets, pretzels, apple, and kept going towards baggage… and then… a scene worse than the humidity: major chaos at baggage. Actually, it needs caps: MAJOR CHAOS AT BAGGAGE. If this was Fox news, it’d be a: THE BAGGAGE SH!TSHOW type of headline. I seriously considered going home wet and cold but I really needed my
phone and keys… It was such a clusterf*ck, I’d consider not bringing a bag if the weather was better next time. A MESS. There was just one truck for 2 thousand people, corral 2 and 3. The first UPS truck (0 and 1) was fine, the 4-5 was fine… OURS was A MESS. There was a mob of about 300 (500??) people shouting and putting their bibs up in the air. Shameful. Truly awful. And stinky, of course.
Eventually we grabbed our bags, warmed up, and walked to the train. I wanted a Boston creme from DD but it was too crowded. Rain = No beach post race picnic. We just hobbled home, showered and skipped to Bareburger, as usual after a race.
Oh well. If you run Saturday, I don’t know if you saw, there were MANY runners down. Passed out, getting CPR, a friend told me there were 6 runners in the Coney Island ER alone, so I can imagine it was quite bad. I can’t be the only one affected by that humidity. A really good friend of mine hobbled the last mile and a half just trying not to pass out. So scary. Just promise me you’ll always keep an eye on your health instead of your speed first, ok? So many people fainted, that could have been any of us. Also remember to update your emergency info and buy a road id!!!
And now… I wasn’t really expecting much from this race. But I will, come Fall go for IT. I really want to PR. well, I would like to. That means, sub 1:37. I will shoot for 1:36. And do whatever it takes to get there by September.
Before I close the door though, three weird things: this was probably the first race in years that I don’t have one picture on the course!!! I got a tan on my legs, you can clearly see the short’s line. I had my headset on the whole time but I didn’t feel like listening to music. I tried twice but it was throwing me off so I must’ve listened to music for about 20, SO WEIRD.
As I had declared last week, I am done with running for now, I needed a mental break after 10 years and I wasn’t going to run anymore. But… I was signed up for the Brooklyn Half and the Mini 10K (in 3 weeks)… what to do? Well, I’m gonna pick the bib and tshirt and decide later. Maybe I would feel like running by Saturday…?
Pre-Race Party/ Bib Pick Up Bib Pick Up is more like a party, hence the renaming… It’s a nice place, by the water, with a GREAT view of the city, many food and drink options, a lot of space to hang out and see your friends, and the truth is we were running into people we knew every inch we walked. It was bit crowded, there was music, things to shop for, fun atmosphere. Too bad the weather didn’t help much but we got there, got our bibs, took some pictures, looked at the new balance stuff (nice!), went outside, got some food (there was a truck with melted cheese deliciousnesses) and stayed on the “lawn” to hear the band, then it started raining so we left soon. The trek from the Upper East Side where we live took about 1 hour each way, mostly because the 4/5 leaves you like almost a mile away. It’s a super nice walk though, and that street Lululemon or something off the Borough Hall stop is so super super nice!! I am planning to go back to the area.. on a nicer day. It’s a really nice park and you can’t top the views (says the Manhattan girl: if there is no view of the city, there’s no reason to leave the city!!!). Now, if you want to get in and out fast like this was midtown, won’t happen! I liked this place, though I liked the place they had last year too…
Friday: D (decision) day So, come Friday I hadn’t made a decision yet (Title should be more like INdecision day). Should I eat some carbs? Should I prep running clothes or should I just find something to do? If this was just a race in Central Park, it’d be easy to decide to skip it. But… the Brooklyn Half is more like an event… or a trip out of town with hot dogs and beach… AY, I couldn’t make up my mind, and by 4 pm I was stressing a bit. Juan was going to race it, so I’d be up at 3:30 am no matter what. If I could stay and sleep it’d be a different thing. BUT, if I had to get up and get out anyway (I am not just not going to not go cheer or meet him at the finish, can’t just stay home, what type of wife would Ii be??) then I might as well put some running clothes on…? So, staying in bed and sleep through it was not an option. I determined I’d go, try to run and enjoy it and if I didn’t, I’d just take the train… I had two exit strategies, my friend Tessa at mile 1.5 and my friend Flor at the 5 mile water stop. I’d just go with them to the finish and whatever! Flor even had a shirt for me. Then… I had the idea to wear the tutu to amuse myself: tutu power ON! You know my tutu, right? The BIG ONE!!!!
Then… I had the idea to ask on Facebook… because it seemed everyone I knew would be running Brooklyn to see if anyone would want company at my slow chatty pace! I wanted to make sure I had fun, and I was not going to do it alone for sure! I was looking for someone to chat through 13.1 in around 1:50 to 2 hours… I got offers to pace people but, pacing wouldn’t work, the other person would be working hard and who was I was going to have fun with?? Still a few people offered and we planned to meet in the corral! If all else failed and I got bored, I had my metrocard with me and would hop on the train to the finish! I had no issues giving up fast if I am not having fun. No guilt!
RACE MORNING!!! It was cruel how early we got up, and we went to sleep late because we got sucked into watching the Barbara Walters special…beeeeep beeeeep beeeeep 3:40 am alarm!!!! We figured we’d leave by 4:20 to get to the start by 5:40. It’s a long way from the Upper East side and I didn’t want to stress being late. I was going to be miserably sleepy and tired anyway! Luckily, it had just stopped raining, wohooo. We got ready, bundled up and got on the 4 to switch to the 2 in Fulton with another 10 thousand other runners. It was quite simple but I am always scared some train might not be running, we got there quite early. And sleepy. As it would turn out, we were quite right to get there early…
Bagagge and Start As soon as we got out of the 2 in Franklin Avenue, wow, there were high fences all over the place and only one way to go. Note: always check the NYRR website and use the train exit they tell you to use (if you go with the one you think is closest you might end up walking miles because of the fences!). That way then security and metal detectors then security again and IN! We then walked towards the corrals (starting from the back), where we saw the portapotties inside!! Wohooo, we rushed into those, as they were all empty, took care of business, then kept walking to drop our bags and back to the corrals. It must have been like a half mile walk, we got to the trucks and deadline was 6:20 am, we had 10 minutes! We had to rush and change as they were NOT waiting one second!!!! We dropped our stuff quickly (it seemed like a liiiitle bit chaotic) and headed back to the corral. Yey, portapotties in the corral again!! For a change, the first wave started late, this is never the case in NYRR races. I was a 4 corrals back so I am not sure what was going on in the front, but the first runners were 7 or 8 minutes late to start. Wave 2 seems to have started on time.
Race Atmosphere This race was huge, you could tell right away. I wasn’t sure how many people would be there… 20,000? 30,000? It seemed super ultra mega organized: like they were expecting Obama… there was a LOT of people, but still I never felt more crowded than usual. I saw so many people… many from out of town (sometimes you can tell by their t-shirts!). It really felt like something big was about to happen. By the afternoon, it’d be confirmed that this was to be the biggest half marathon in the US with over 25K finishers… craziness.
Weather. It was coldish waiting at the start, glad I had brought an old turtleneck I wanted to get rid of. It was 58 at the start, but with the little clothes and wind, we were freezing! Of course as soon as it started, it was perfect (and I was wearing as little as I could!) but then the sun hits you on Ocean Parkway, and oh uh, hottish! It was totally fine though.
The Corrals I was corral 3, Juan was 4, so we had told everyone to meet us at 4. We got there early and met up with Patricia, a lot of my team mates, Elyssa, Lara, and so many more people. Apparently Blaise was right there too and I missed him. It gets crowded quickly so if you’re going to meet someone in the corral, always pick a corner!
Elyssa, from this Bridges Runner blog, orange shirt, had volunteered the day before to run with me. I shyly asked “I like to talk when I run, is that ok? do you like to chat when you run?” I know some people hate it but as I said, I needed to have fun, and I needed help! But also, I don’t want to ruin anyone’s day! She said YES. I was so happy. Now let’s see if we’re both comfortable and happy at the same speed…! The Course is…GREAT! There are a couple of little hills in the first 10K, and then flat or downhill past mile 6. You REALLY have to negative split here or you did something wrong. Good course to PR in, though for some reason, I never seemed to PR here… There is the one hill in prospect park, which is not that steep but seems to last foreeeever (elevation profile is here) because it bends so much you have no idea where it ends. There can be way too much sun after you leave the park, but luckily there’s a few trees. MY RACE Well, I really I had no idea what to expect. Having felt so slow and tired lately and with my crappy attitude… we started slow, we chatted… we cheered, we screamed, we talked about how we both didn’t feel like running but we were still running because, by talking, it didn’t feel like running. We stayed on the side and made sure we didn’t bother anyone, mostly in the first couple of minutes when it seemed like all 20 corrals were passing us. Soon, everybody’s speed matched our non-speed and we were seriously cheering people around us. I am sure we bothered some people, as the people who talk sometimes bother ME when I am racing hard and unable to focus, sorry. We tried to not be obnoxious but most people were happy to have us cheer for them. We checked on each other and made sure we were going slow enough to not push ourselves, to make sure we were relaxed and having fun. We somehow managed to have a lot of fun the whole way!
I got hot soon, even though I wasn’t racing and I was wearing less clothes than EVERYONE around me. The tutu was great though… it got SO many cheers and shoutouts that all I was doing sometimes was say thank-yous nonstop!! I love my tutu! The park was bit more crowded than the rest of the race but it really wasn’t so bad. We were having fluids every 2 miles, and one gel as we left the park. I saw so many people cheering, at the water stations, passing me in the race, really you felt like everyone was there! Pace-wise, I have to admit, I barely looked at my watch once or twice… I had no idea. Elyssa shouted mile splits sometimes, just because our only thing was to check not to go over 2 hours, but as I can’t do any math, I figured I’d look at mile 10… I like to hit the pedal when I leave the park but Elyssa had an irish soccer game -or something- to play that afternoon and wanted to save some energy, and I was comfortably having a good time that I was not chancing it by taking off! By mile 9 we decided we’d finish together and we did just that! Easy peasy, half done! We got to Coney Island, we put our hands together and crossed the finish line. 1:57 and something.
The Finish Line The best part! You have around 300 meters to run on the boardwalk and it gets loud and crowded, even before 9 am! They had medals, bagels, powerbars (chocolate and mint, yuk!!!) and gatorade+water. It is just such a happy place and by 9 am you are free to just go do whatever you want!!! I had told Juan to wait there for me so I caught him as soon as I got my medal! There were a few blocks walk until we got to baggage but it was super organized and easy. Really nice medal too. And we got more pictures of course! The Post Race/Getting my bag back fiasco! Well.. we had to walk a bit to get our bags and holy molly it was a MESS. Seems like just a few bags where there, there was no line, everyone was against the fence holding their number and shouting their number and if the volunteers found it, they’d bring over the bag. My bib was on my skirt and I just didn’t feel like unpinning it so I asked someone (taller!) ahead of me to shout my number and SOMEHOW I got my bag super fast… Everyone else was just standing there… Apparently, I was one of the lucky few people who got to bag check in time! I learned a LOT of people didn’t get to the bag deadline early on, so they dropped their bags in the “late” truck, so those bags where being brought there in bunches… and/or there were not enough volunteers. I offered to jump in to help to organize the bags by numbers but they didn’t let me. It really was a mess all around. Stats time Oy, this might be painful… or whatever! Finish time: 1:57:32. Average Pace: 8:59. 20 minutes off my PR, ha.
The Post Race Well, I skipped the MCU park as I had already been there last year for a NYC Runs 5k and my team, the Dashing Whippets, always has a beach party!!! YEY, beach weather. FINALLY! So we scooted over to the beach after we got our bearings and omg, the FUN
It’s done. I am not sure when I’ll post again, if I have anything else to say… but, my parents are coming to visit (after 5 years!) and they’re too excited to see me race, and the Mini10k happens, so, we shall see.
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Full run details are here, with more details on the elevation profile. Just select Elevation in the menu on the left where it says Select Metric. Let’s see if you can figure out where I took my gel! 😉
2013 Race Report, with a lot of the race details and review is here.
Also, as I just prepped this year’s course mile splits, here is what I have: Green is DOWNHILL (fast); PINK is UPHILL (slow!), and Yellow is FLAT (you got this!). So you won’t be surprised!
and how I structured my miles… obvs this will be determined by the race day weather, but so you get an idea:
Early on, when I decided I was not going to do a Spring marathon, I had set my eyes on PRing at a Half. Naturally, I picked the Brooklyn Half. It’s a great and easy course and the race is super fun as the last stretch is on the boardwalk and then… there is funnel cake right there!
I really wanted to PR. I haven’t PRed since June last year and I was looking at my race log and it was looking too orange (orange is NO PR!). Also, I had told myself early on, that I would NOT go to Berlin if I didn’t sub 1:40 here. This would be like my Berlin trial. What’s the point on going all the way to Germany to run a fast marathon if I am not in “fast” shape when I start the marathon training? I had just done NYC Half in 1:42 something (close to my PR) so a sub 1:40 was a stretch. But I had hope for a miracle…
The race starts in prospect park, laps around the outside, then a lap in the park and then a 5 mile straightaway on Ocean Parkway all the way to the sand. The park loops are fine for me, I like undulating, but the flat stretches bore me out and I know I struggled there last time. It’s a mind game for sure!
But because it is not in Central Park, I had to get up at 4 am. Okay. By the time we got there, it was great: no-lines portapotties everywhere, nice weather in the 50s and every one seemed happy and excited. I don’t get excited right before the race, I just start dreading the pain really. Met my friends Patricia and Blaise in the corral and we set to go. I started having issues with the Motoactv and I was *this* close to chucking it. The watch has been full of issues for the last month, first it lost the heart rate monitor, then the music stopped working, then… I lost my patience. But the things tracks my cadence, so I decided to keep it. Just for that. Oh well.
There were about 15K people in this race. ENORMOUS. But it never really felt that crowded, as it’s normal in Manhattan. My goal was to keep sub 7:50 pace but I set out easy. I felt tired from the start…
Miles 1 through 5: 7:30, 7:48, 7:21, 7:54, 8:15.
I was all over the place. I’d feel tired, then catch a second wind. Think “what am I doing here?” and then “This is the race I was waiting for”! I couldn’t pace myself as I usually do. The course had been changed this year so I was lost and confused, then bored and out of energy… It was a struggle to keep motivated. I don’t feel like I ever gave up physically or mentally but I had no idea why my legs were not responding. I stopped looking at the watch after mile 2.
Miles 6 through 10: 8:39, 7:38, 7:48, 7:45, 7:43
I had a gel at mile 6 and I felt a sudden high, like I could start pushing. It didn’t last. Mile 7 we left the park into the parkway, I thought I could settle for a pace here and go for it. Never happened. I kept stopping for water (those are the miles over 8 minute miles). I didn’t want to stop, I know it throws me off the pace, but I couldn’t help it. Decided to race everyone around me, but they all kept slipping away.
Miles 11 through 13.1: 7:51, 8:05, 7:31, 1:25 (7:53 pace).
I am not sure how this happened. If I had been looking down at my pace, I would probably know what was the issue. I wasn’t. I know I tried, but it just wasn’t there.
I looked down at my watch when I crossed the finish line and I saw a 1:43 something. I know it is still a good time and not that far off from my goal and my PR and aaaaaall that, but I was really disappointed. I am not sure (other than sleeping more) what I could have done. I have no excuses. It just wasn’t my day. Hopefully, there’s one around the corner somewhere.
Finish time: 1:43:35. Average Pace: 7:55
Previous PR: 1:42:47. From: September 2010.
Age Grading: 64.66%
Overall Place: 2793 of 14168
Gender Place: 568 of 7071
Age Place: 67 of 1058
When things go awry, I only like to do one thing, and fast: MOVE ON. Got some food, some pictures, and hurried to the beach.
Patricia, Emily, me, and Blaise and some osom bling
Elaine, you know her (please bug her to keep posting) who came to cheer!
Cheer AND jump! And I am not doing a good job at anything today!
And then… then it got scary…
This is what “worse than death” feels like to me!!!