I ran the Airbnb Brooklyn Half Marathon on Saturday. It was my second time running this race and despite cursing myself the days leading up to it for signing for up something so close to the London Marathon and all the way in Brooklyn so early in the morning, I think this may be a race I will continue to run for as long as I can.
My alarm went off at 3:28AM on Saturday morning (yes, I like to set my alarm for odd times). I jumped out of bed. I don’t sleep well when I know I have somewhere to be. I had my clothes and race necessities all laid out the night before so all I needed to do was do my morning yoga routine, pack breakfast, and get dressed. By 4:15AM, I woke Josh up to drive me to the train. I have an amazing husband, poor guy couldn’t go back to bed after he got home. He should have just met me in Coney Island!
I arrived in Brooklyn around 5:40AM and the subway station was right by Wave 1 start, so it was incredibly easy. There weren’t as many runners out yet when I got there, but you can tell off the bat that the organization of bag drop, security, and the corrals (at least in Wave 1) was so much better than last year. I had time to spare before bag drop closed at 6:10AM, so I took my time stretching and taking off my long sleeves. The UPS trucks were clearly labeled with corral numbers. As soon as I dropped off my bag, security was also a piece of cake. I made it through bag drop, security, and into my corral in less than 5 minutes. The porta-potties were located next to the corrals this year, so while waiting I was able to go to the bathroom two times (too much information, sorry). I love it when porta-potties are in the corrals because it really helps manage crowd flow and you can also squeeze in another trip once the corrals start moving.
Right before the start, Peter Ciaccia made a nice tribute to Mary Wittenberg, then the national anthem, and we were off. Well, I didn’t start until 17 minutes later, but you get the idea. I had absolutely no plan or strategy for this race. I ran the London Marathon less than three weeks before and I was unsure of how recovered I was. Also, between tapering and the recovery, there was very little speed work done. Last week, I woke up with upper back pain which led to not a lot of running but also a trip to the chiropractor. As of Wednesday night, I was in so much pain I was unsure of whether I could even run the race. All of this combined made it very easy not to formulate a race strategy.
When I crossed the start line, my goal was to run. I was going to run on feeling and while it is always ideal to negative split a race, I was trying to positive split it. I knew that the first half of the course through Prospect Park would be hillier than the second half, which is essentially flat all the way on Ocean Parkway to Coney Island. I was pushing for a stronger first half so that way when I got tired, which I suspected I would be, it would be on the easier segment of the course. I did exactly that and it worked out well because while the weather was humid the whole time, the rain started in the second half of the race. Also, I was expecting water stations on both sides of the street on Ocean Parkway (I think it was like that last year), so when there wasn’t I had to dash to the other side of the street and adjust for running closer to the side with water. My splits (according to my Garmin) were: 8:58, 8:40, 8:18, 8:29, 9:10, 9:02, 8:27, 8:46, 9:08, 8:51, 9:04, 9:17, 9:01, and 8:09 (for the last 0.23 miles, I didn’t run a perfect tangent). My official time was 1:57:09, which is four seconds faster than last year’s race and less than a minute off my PR.
While the second half of the race was hard and there were times I knew I could have pushed harder but didn’t, I was extremely pleased with the outcome. I know with the mental struggles I’ve gone through recently, and coming from a marathon, plus back pain, and the weather being less than ideal, I ran a really good and somewhat consistent race. I also know that on a different day, I would have had a really good chance at setting a new PR, so for now I will be happy with just a course PR. This was the race I needed to get my running mojo back and it did just that. I also played with a different fueling strategy (more to come on that) this time and it seemed to work better.
After the race, I met up with some of my teammates at MCU Park for the after party and had a great time. Thank you NYRR for a great race and setting the stage for the largest half marathon to date in the United States.
What were your weekend running activities?