17 May 2014
I decided to run the Brooklyn Half on a whim, pinky swearing with two friends that we would all run it. I hadn’t run a half marathon in nearly three years, but there is so much excitement built up around the Brooklyn Half I figured it would be a good time. Mostly it was.
I actually put together a training plan for this race, then threw it out the window and did what I wanted. I should have stuck with the plan. Race day was perfect and I’ve been running really long distances for a couple of years, so I made quite a few mistakes with this race.
First was the training plan that I didn’t follow through on. And second was underestimating the effort it would take to complete 13.1. I didn’t bring any Tailwind with me or any of the other nutrition I typically take on a longer run. I just had a little snack pre-race and lined up to run.
Pre-race waiting was typical of NYRR, except this time the porta-potties were in the corrals. I found this arrangement to be quite convenient, except that half of them ran out of toilet paper very quickly. There were still hundreds in line waiting and the ladies were having to share toilet paper back and forth between the lines. (I always bring extra toilet paper or kleenex with me to races, except for that day! I don’t know why I didn’t bring any.)
I was in wave two and we started on time and headed up Washington Avenue at a steady pace. I tried to maintain a speed that I thought I could maintain and I did quite well through the first four miles. I struggled a little bit on the Prospect Park hill (always), so mile five was slower, but I made up for lost time during miles six through eight.
Then there was mile nine. Usually this is the point at which I am hitting my sweet spot. I LOVE MILE NINE. But during this race, mile nine did not treat me well. I kinda sorta started feeling a little weak during mile eight. I actually moved over at the aid station and grabbed a gel “just in case” I might need it later. As I moved past the mile nine point, I realized I was bonking. I ate half the gel, gagging, and threw away the rest. I don’t think it helped.
I struggled the last few miles and finished in 2:22 and change. That time isn’t terribly far off my other half marathon times, but I was hoping for closer to 2:15. In fact, I was on pace for about 2:16:30 until MILE NINE. <shrug> Bonking doesn’t change the fact that I didn’t train properly, but it did reinforce the fact that I shouldn’t have changed my usual long run routine just because I thought 13.1 miles wasn’t that far. <eye roll> I know better than that.
I reached the finish and collected my medal, but when I went to get in line for a photo, I discovered I was too late. The photographer told me he had been instructed to pack up, which made me mad. I was well under the 3-hour cut off and I was prepared to pay for a photograph. (Not to mention that there were at least a couple thousand people behind me that probably also wanted photos.) I eagerly waited for the email from the photo company to see what pics they had of me on the course. The answer is none. There were no pictures of me running and only two from the finish line and I was mostly obscured by other runners in both. That was pretty disappointing.
I will probably run this race again, if for no reason than to put the proper effort into doing it right. It is a nice course, even if the race is super big and expensive now.
Prospect Park Track Club Picnic on the Beach
The best part of this race is ending at Coney Island!