Name: AirBnB Brooklyn Half Marathon
Time/Place: 7:45am in Brooklyn, NY (Eastern Parkway near Brooklyn Museum)
Weather: Cloudy, 59F, 48% Hum. Winds from NE @ 11mph
|Despite spending 96% at threshold heart beat or above (65% maximum), I still felt pretty good afterwards!|
I will admit, I had some fears about this one. I hadn't lost enough weight, and my lower back has been (and still is, even worse now) hurting me. I also have a big challenge with this race, simply due to the logistics of distance and start time. Even with voluntarily falling back to Wave 2, we still had to leave by 5:30 (and that was running late), just to get a spot (luckily) and be able to get to Grand Army Plaza in time to go thru the metal detectors (another obstacle, albeit for our safety).
Right before the race started, I popped a B-6 Vitamin which I had splashed back with a Red Ruby Grapefruit Red Bull. I had had stuffed shells the night before, and a toasted English muffin with butter that morning. I don't think I could have crammed any more carbs or caffeine anywhere else in my body.
As the route suggests. the first few miles have us running on the streets around the park but not actually in the park itself. As I was running down hill past the Mile 2 mark, I was looking for Karen but did not see her. I forgot she was wearing a red brimmed hat, thinking she was wearing a white one.
The biggest challenge to my physical ability, probably and as always with this course, was the long approach and subsequent hill just passed Mile 5. However, the encouraging words from a lady who was running with us resonated with me. "Focus on your breathing. It's the only hill to worry about. You can do this, it's not that tough." were some of the many inspirational statements she made. And true to form, running those hills in Sea Cliff have properly seasoned me. I did not have the torturous climb that I thought I would. In fact, I did Mile 5 in 9 flat, and Mile 6 in 8:37. In the end, that big hill was as easy as eating flan and I should know, as I was made in Spain after all!
I knew as I started to make my way down the west side of Prospect Park, that I just needed to keep pace, and not blow my load. And, if I could do this, that I would be able to break 2 hours.
During the expo on Thursday. it was suggested advice that when running south on Ocean to stay to the left as it was shadier. Interesting to say such a thing, when you consider that the left side was not even open for the runners. It didn't matter though, as the sun never came out on this day.
When you consider that 4 of my first 5 miles were done in a pace of 9+, it was quite an achievement to say that when Mile 6 was done at 8:37, that it would be my slowest mile from therein forward. I had one hell of a negative split coming my way. Peeling off the rest of my miles in an average time of 8:06, and even managing to do three of those miles in sub-8 pace.
I was feeling fresh, and noticed how many people I had been passing, nearly ever since the start of the race. I was kicking ass, much in the same way Lucas Hood kicked the shit out of Damien Sanchez in Season 1 of the great Cinemax show, Banshee. Towards the second half of the race, I was even passing people, who had started 45 minutes earlier in Wave 1.
In addition to the splits above from Garmin, these were the kilometer marker splits from NYRR. Another ex-Forest Park Runner, also did a great job herself. Take a look!
I was feeling great as I made the right turn onto Surf Avenue. It was at that 20k mark where I had decided it was time for MACHINE to go ON (though I had already been increasing the ante all along)
As we all made the final left turn to head for the ramp leading to the boardwalk, I could smell vomit everywhere in the air. A sober reminder that doing a half-marathon is no easy task, and could get the best trained athletes in us, if we're not careful.
I was now at the ramp, and I was taking off. A Ramp which turned into a rampage, which turned into a romp of a finish!
My final time of 1:52:35 and 8:35 pace, was much better than I had ever expected it to be.
And despite that I had done some 41 half-marathons with faster times, you have to consider how much younger, leaner, and meaner I may have been in those races. And still, this finish could be the beginning of something better along the way.
Not since October 11, 2015, and 6 Halves ago, when I did Staten Island at 1:49:50, had I done a speedier half!
3/20/2016-NYC Half- 1:53:48
5/01/2016-Long Island Half-1:53:24
5/21/2016-AirBnB Brooklyn Half-1:58:20
1/22/2017-Fred Lebow Half-2:02:31
Almost right after the finish line, I found Marilyn Charles. The legacy of Marilyn is astounding. Awhile back she not only placed in her age group, but would be the overall female winner. She placed 1st or 2nd in several NYRR-sponsored events, such as the Grand Prix races of the different boroughs like this one here. When she saw me, she had been walking back, towards the finish line. I was happy to see her as I used to hang out with her quite a bit when we were runners together in FPRR. She mentioned that she had not gotten her medal and was going back. I kidded with her, telling her how she probably ran so fast that she blinked after the finish line and ran right past the medal-givers.....and I'm not sure I was kidding that much, hahaha!
On our way back to the exit and towards MCU park, a young guy (in his twenties) gave me a lot of credit by telling me that he stayed pace with me, and then I bolted at the end. When you wear a shirt like I do, it's easy to be spotted after the race. But then again, I've never shied away from publicity.
I also saw Ramon Miranda "Bikerboypito" who was back in the swing of running since the birth of his child. He too was a member of NYRR. It's amazing for a race that featured nearly 28,000 runners, and with how mammoth this race had become in scope, that I can easily spot all my running buddies. While we were at the family reunion area, I saw Chris Watkins walk by. And finally at the train station as Karen had since found me, and since her myself and Marilyn walked together, caught up with Jack Berger. With the crush of people all around us? Insane!
As the adrenaline began to wear off however, and as we were taking the F train north to connect to the C and eventually our car, I started feeling the pain in my back again. It was bad. I don't know if it's muscular or organ. I surely hope it's just muscular. I may see a doc, if I don't feel better by Monday.
Lastly, the power rankings:
Age (50-54): 258 out of 708 - Top 36.4%
All Men: 6,067 out of 13,472 - Top 45.0%
Overall: 8,448 out of 27,440 - Top 30.8%
PowerRank Score: 190.74. Green category (GOOD)
|Let's remember where we parked, Karen!|
|Congregation near the UPS trucks. Note Karen's truck switched off my bag to the late truck. Remember that for next year!|
|The obligatory selfie.|
|The obligatory group selfie.|
|Leaving MCU park|
|Karen wanted the 'Hot Dog' photo|
|Love the caption on the shirt!|
|Meeting up with 'Uncle Jack' at the Coney Island subway station|
|This photo trumps all and it isn't even mine. Chris Watkins asked this girl on stilts to take this photo. Idea for me for next year!|
|Ahhhh yes....The hardware is lovely, isn't it?|
|Marilyn Charles, Karen and I !|