It’s funny because when I told a few people that I had run the Brooklyn half, they were utterly surprised. They told me that they hadn’t read anything about it here, or even heard me talk about it. Well, for once in my life, I’ve been able to keep my mouth shut. Ok, let me rephrase this – I’m really good about keeping other people’s secrets, but I’m pretty much an open book and so nothing really stays under-wraps for long. 😉
I had a good friend who had signed up on time and was training for her first half. As I helped train with her – from track workouts to long runs – I threw around the idea of running the race with her. Since it was sold out, I thought I would be able to get away with just popping in after the start and out before the finish. Oh I would have been so disappointed if I did this. They had official check-ins with metal detectors and bib officials. Good call, Kaitlin.
But let’s take a few steps back (but really…). Even though I though about running the race, it wasn’t until last Monday that I actually decided to do it. I managed to get a bib and when I picked it up on Friday the 16th, I knew I was locked in. I got to Friday’s happy hour and went right ahead with a glass of water. When a few coworkers asked, I mentioned that I had decided to run a half marathon the next day. They laughed and gave me a hard time that of course I would just decided to do such a thing. Oh the things we runners put ourselves through.
Saturday arrived with a bright and early wake up call. Oh how I don’t envy the people who get up at 5am every day. Well, I actually admire you for doing that because boy, it’s tough.
I met my friend Carmen at the subway only to realize the weekend and pre-normal hour schedule meant scattered and delayed subways. Cool. We made it onto the 1 train and headed down to Brooklyn. As you can see the platforms were PACKED and all of us practically pushed our way into the cars. I felt bad for many of the people at further stations because there was absolutely no room to join and they just had to sit and wait.
There’s something magical and nerve-racking about getting ready for a race. So many people with their own pre-race routines, different types of runners, etc.
One of the main reasons I wanted to run this race was to catch a glimpse of Brooklyn. As you probably notice from most of my posts, I don’t get off the island much. I wanted to be able to see the different boroughs and what better way to do that than run?
Of course I would be running FAR behind these speedy people. This was the starting line of the entire race I’m sure they zipped their way through the parks and streets as if it were just a casual long run.
The last few miles were along the road pictured above, which also happened to remind me of home with the wide streets and houses spread out (relatively) along the road.
Carmen started in the wave ahead of me so it was just me, the road, and my playlist for the next two hours (hopefully less…). Even though I told Carmen that I usually start out on the slower side, I realized this was far from true. Adrenaline kicks in and I’m ready to race. I had a solid 5, 6, and even seven first miles. I started to amaze myself when I still felt strong around mile 8 and 9 but all good things come to an end and that would be mile 10. Oh boy, not to be too dramatic but I did feel like crashing or passing out around this time.
I allowed myself to merge over to the aid station and try my luck with a goo and a bit of Gatorade. I was going to try to persevere without it but knew I needed a bit of energy, however artificial it might be. Only bummer about this was that I had to slow down to a slight stop in order to choke it down and then it took me a hundred yards or so to get back to speed.
Sure I went to bed thinking, hm, how could I have cut off the rest of that time? Could I have pushed it more? Skipped out on the aid station? Who knows and as I think back to how I actually felt, I think I did give it my all and I’m proud of that. Mile 10 was death and I definitely needed that fuel. I normally don’t eat or drink during races (terrible, I know) since I have a finicky stomach and never practiced eating on the run.
Well, for not really planning to run the race, I managed to power through those last three miles, onto the Coney Island boardwalk, and a personal best time! I just barely missed a sub 1:40 time but was very happy with my effort. That whole frustration with having larger than model quads? I guess I have to thank my body for carrying me this far!
My oh so lovely announcement of a PR on Instagram – 1:41:05! I normally don’t do selfies but just couldn’t resist. (P.S. this was so NOT a NYC bagel…disappointment)
Carmen had brought along a few mini bottles to celebrate the finish. Not exactly the best (maybe decent for 23-year olds and only costing $1) but fun in theory. Shoutout to Carmen for her 1st half and running it in 1:40:09!! She was a sprinter in college and killed it in her first race!
A better way to celebrate (at least in my mind) is with a delicious post-race meal! Nathan’s seemed to be the location of choice for everyone and their extended family. The wait was probably 45+ minutes but it was worth it. Maybe it was my hunger but the hot dog + fries + lemonade hit the spot.
I’ll have to come back to sample some of the other items and of course write up a decent review. There’s so much character down in Coney Island that one has to spend almost an entire day soaking it in.
I was too wrapped up in the end of the race and thrill of the day. How can you blame me with views like this? Especially after the winter that never seemed to end. Oh and I forgot to mention that this comes 12 hours after flash flood warnings. Yep, east coast you are quite the character.
As I said, I will definitely be back to do another round of explorations and write-ups but for now, revel in the sun, the surf, and the gorgeous spring day.
“The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather in a lack of will.”
– Vincent Lombardi