It has been quite a crazy (in a good way) last couple of weeks.
Three days after coming home from UAE and India, we left for our “official” meaning pre-planned vacation with friends to Mustique, a private island of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. It was absolutely incredible there. We stayed at The Cotton House and the service was absolutely incredible. It is hands down the best hotel we’ve ever stayed in but also the best service we likely have ever experienced on any of our vacations. The island is small, very much walkable if you’re interested in up/downhills and through cliffs by the ocean but also easy to get around on a mule. We spent our days eating, swimming, snorkeling, reading, walking, drinking, more eating, and some light running. It was a blast!
We were welcomed home on Friday night with the big rain storm, delays in our flight, and pizza and pasta carb loading at 11PM for Saturday morning’s Brooklyn Half Marathon. With less than 4 hours of sleep, Josh drove me down to the Path train station a little before 5AM for my trek into Brooklyn. Thank goodness for my running friends who helped me pick up my bib earlier in the week. After achieving the PR in Long Branch a couple weeks ago, the goal of this race was to have fun. I knew with the half marathon sandwich I had planned that one was going to be a race and the other just a long run. Even though I was worried about whether or not I could actually run a half marathon after all this traveling, eating, time change, and lack of running, I was excited for Brooklyn. It was a course I had never run before and I have heard a lot of positive feedback about it.
I am a big fan of NYRR’s organization and race logistics but I was a little disappointed with the security, bag check, and corrals layout on Saturday. Bag check was on the opposite end of security with the corrals for Wave 1 runners in between. I don’t usually warm up before a race but I did quite a bit of that going between security, bag check, and corrals. Fortunately, I was able to make it into Wave 1 and caught up with some teammates before the start. As soon as I crossed the start line, I just ran and went with what felt right. In the back of my mind, I wondered if I would be able to run another sub-2 hour half but I knew I didn’t want to push it too hard. The race went exactly the opposite of that.
My competitive nature always gets the best of me. I ran a pretty evenly split race but it was definitely not easy. My first 5K split was 27:23 and it was pretty consistent from there. I averaged overall 8:57 min/mile and even when I was stopping more for water and Gatorade towards the last couple of miles, my mile splits didn’t change much. Many points during the race, I thought to myself that if I pushed harder, I may be able to PR again but by mile 10 or so when it was quiet on Ocean Parkway, I decided that it was much more important to make sure I finished the race hydrated. My official finish time was 1:57:13, which is about a minute off of my PR. I beyond thrilled how the race ended up though. With very little sleep and the lack of a schedule and routine over the last couple of weeks, I am happy that I could even come so close to my Long Branch Half time. It is a good feeling knowing that despite the lack of running (I guess the recovery helped) and cross training, I still maintained most of my endurance and speed. It had concerned me that since I ran such a positive split race a couple weeks ago that the PR may have been a fluke but Saturday proved that hopefully sub-2 hour half marathons will be the new norm.
The one thing that seemed to really help me on Saturday was fueling. I could barely stomach more than half a bowl of oatmeal at 4:30AM (I guess eating dinner 5 hours ago could do that to you) but I was really hungry by the time I was en route to Brooklyn. While waiting for the subway, I ate some Jelly Belly Sport Beans and then again right before the start. With the warm up between security, bag check, and the corrals, it really helped work out some of the kinks that I usually face with eating during a race. Aside from water and Gatorade on the course, I didn’t end up needing any more sport beans the rest of the race which not only helped with the excess air issue but helped with the overall flow of the race.
In many ways, I am disappointed that traveling is coming to a short halt and it’s back to reality this week but I am excited to take a rest from scheduled training (until marathon training starts in June) and focus on running for fun, some speed work, and a lot of cross training — spin, barre, swimming, and maybe even some yoga.
How was your weekend? Any big upcoming race plans?