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a girl lives in brooklyn
After writing about my ‘training‘ on here since practically February, race day finally arrived! I was one of 27,000 runners who ran the Brooklyn Half Marathon this past weekend; 5/17/14. Although I did get burned out on training around April and really didn’t do enough long runs toward the end, I still finished. And didn’t have my worst time. So I’m happy about that!
Some general advice to event coordinators, don’t put a large gathering of people inside a tent. Also, don’t make people trudge far to find said tent. And especially don’t do these things when trying to represent a whole borough.
The Brooklyn Half Expo this year was in DUMBO (down under manhattan bridge overpass) right on the waterfront. It is pretty. And usually has pretty views. Unfortunately, the three days leading up to the race it was cloudy and rainy. I was happy that it didn’t rain on race day. But hiking down to the waterfront, amidst DUMBO’s non-grid cobblestone streets, and beside park construction, was even less fun in the rain.
New York Road Runners put on this giant three-day expo that really was more for publicity than the runners. There was a small tent containing bib & t-shirt pick-up, plus about 3 small vendor tables. Outside on the pier were food + beer stands, food trucks, and a stage for live bands/work outs. The general public were invited to share in the festivities. Sounds great and all but really just meant little for the runners. Also I learned that NYRR just has waaaay too much money.
The day of a race is definitely the worst day to wake up with a migraine. My alarm was set for 5:15a but a pounding migraine woke me up at 4a. I sat up in bed, exhausted, nervous, and shaking in pain hoping that it would subside. My thoughts were scattered if I should still run it. If I could even leave my bed. Drama aside, after taking a bunch of advil and crying while walking around my apartment for an hour, the pain finally dulled down to the point I could function again. For good measure, I took a few more advil before heading out.
I guess there’s security clearance for races now so that took a lot longer than expected, even without having a bag to check. Once I got to my corral, a co-worker found me who was also running. I’m used to running these things alone, so it was pretty nice having someone to chat with for the 45+ minutes we were waiting for the race to start. Our wave started at 7:45a but we didn’t cross the start until almost 8:15a.
The first portion of the race went really well. I felt strong, wasn’t tired, my asthma wasn’t acting up. This shows in my time as my 5K, 10K, and 15K splits were all my second-fastest times to date. The spectators were great and there were some great signs, like the one above. I kept telling myself, I am faster than the G train!
This was the second time running this race and I still love the course. Prospect Park and Ocean Parkway are two routes I run very frequently so both were familiar to me. The one downside is that the course passes right by my apartment. It was so tempting to just detour on home to the couch! But that was around mile 7 and I was still feeling pretty good then.
Then mile-10 came along and pain started settling in. First, I felt my quads tightening up. This was rather strange for me because, if anything, my calves are usually the ones to feel sore. Then I began to feel the blisters in my big toes. Everyone knows that runner’s feet aren’t sexy. I’ve had so many blisters on my toes over the years that they are actually calloused now. But sometimes during races, I get blisters inside the callouses. Gross!
Somehow, I still felt good mentally. I never felt utterly miserable and never told myself “I’m never doing this ever again.” The race still felt short. But I was in a lot of pain those last three miles. It definitely showed that I didn’t put enough focus on long runs in my last month of training. Lesson learned.
I finished! My fifth half marathon! My second time running the Brooklyn half!
Out of five, this places third for time. I feel confident that I can keep up the momentum I had in the beginning of this race throughout the whole thing. My brain wasn’t even sabotaging me this time, my body was. And that is a much easier obstacle to fix.
I know I may not be fast and probably never will be but I still enjoy the challenge of these races. I’m planning to do another half in the fall. To keep up my momentum over the sweltering summer months, I’ve also committed to a 5K summer series. Eight races for $25 is a great deal and hopefully I can get a PR in there somewhere!