Saturday’s Brooklyn Half Marathon was a surprisingly gorgeous day and my race was surprisingly speedy. Those are two pleasant surprises!
With threats of rain earlier last week, I worried the race would be a chilly washout. Thankfully, the rain held off and the weather could not have been more perfect. Race morning starts early, and to make it more enjoyable Meaghan and I made the Brooklyn journey together. We met bright (actually, still completely dark) and early at 5:20 am and hopped on the subway for the long ride to the Brooklyn Museum, excited to kick off our race.
It was easy to get through security but the real challenge came when we went made a bathroom break before lining up to start. Why oh why are there never enough porter potties? Literally our entire corral was a giant winding line for the bathroom. Phew, we made it to the front before the starting gun went off.
I was so thankful to have a friend to spend the morning with because making your way to a race and waiting for the start can be tedious and nerve wracking. At 7am though, Meaghan and I parted ways to take on the 13.1 miles ahead of us.
Going into the race, I did a decent job with my training. If you’ve been following along, you know I’ve run about 1-2 runs per week, completed most of my long runs, and complimented my runs with lots of cycling and conditioning classes. To keep things interesting, I tend to do more cross-training than actual running, and for me this works. It keeps me in shape, feeling strong and I happily avoid running burn out. When I crossed the starting line at the Brooklyn Half, I felt confident in my abilities to have a good race. I didn’t think it would be my fastest or my slowest. I was looking forward to a comfortable and enjoyable race. And that’s what I had.
The first half of the race takes you through Prospect Park with small hills here and there. Honestly, I didn’t really feel much of the hills. The park is gorgeous, the weather was ideal for running and the race vibes were all positive. After the park it’s a steady straight line to Coney Island. This part can get a little boring, turns in races keep things interesting, but during a straight shoot for 6+ miles, it can be hard to stay motivated.
Throughout the entire race I had the 1:50 pacer nearby, sometimes really close and sometimes just slightly out of my view. To keep myself motivated, I aimed to keep the pacer close. The first half of the race felt more like a chase trying to keep up with the pacer, but in the second half, I had an energy spike, passed the pacer, and made it my mission to stay in front of him until the finish line.
In the last 800 meters of the run I spotted MM cheering on the sidelines and that gave me the extra boost to sprint to the finish. In the last push of the race, you get views of Coney Island roller coasters, can see the beach in the distance, and get to do your final 200 meters on the boardwalk, such a fun way to finish.
So excited to see a friendly face along the course!
The final kick!
I completed the race in 1:48:56 (8:19 pace). I wasn’t expecting to go this fast, my goal was only to beat my time from the 2014 Brooklyn Half–1:53:34 so I was very happy with my finishing time. I was shocked at the burst of energy I felt halfway through the race and saw my average pace steadily dropping as the miles went by. My slowest mile was 8:37 and my fastest was 7:53. I call this a success!
Sweaty finisher selfie
After I met up with MM, we joined the crowds at Nathan’s for a famous hot dog and french fries…and a corn dog because I just ran 13.1 miles and why not!
Oh hiiii beautiful (quickie food review: French Fries A+, Corndog A, Hot Dog B)
Meeting up with Meaghan after the race.
The big takeaway from this race was that while I may not always be motivated to do training runs, I still love being able to get out and complete a race feeling strong. For me, it’s all about balance; doing workouts I love and staying fit and race-ready through running, strength training, cycling and whatever other workouts make me excited to get moving. Find what works for you to get you to the start and finish line happy and excited to run.
What’s next? I’ll be doing the Lululemon Seawheeze half in August. It may be tough to keep up with my running while I drive cross-country to San Francisco starting next week, but once I get settled I’ll be back at it.
Did you run the Brooklyn Half? Tell me how it went!