RACE: The Brooklyn Half Marathon
DISTANCE: 13.1 Miles
DATE: Sunday, May 19, 2012 - 7am
This year’s Brooklyn Half Marathon was challenging and it had nothing to do with the race itself, but rather the logistics surrounding it. NYRR was amenable to extend their office hours until 8pm on Wed. & Thu. but the race was on a Saturday and not a Sunday, with no race-day check-in.
However, we figured it out. I drove my trusty SUV to Bonnie's house, where from there we packed some team members also going to run this race. Bonnie, Eric, Nike, Micka and Pauline rounded out Karen and I. This was the fullest that my Sorento had ever been.
Once we got to Prospect, I lucked out, finding a golden spot near the corner of Lincoln and Classon. on was fortunate to get a spot nearby. Eric, then drove the vehicle down to Coney Island and parked near the finish line. We didn’t have to worry about bag check, or taking a 45 minute train over 19 stations in either direction, and having the 2nd driver helped us to sleep in a little longer (yeah, right! We still had to get up at 4:30am!!)
This was to be my 5th Brooklyn Half, and a new course (which meant immediate course record, ...technically speaking...). I have to admit that NYRR did a nice job with the new course. The start area was much larger than what was in the park years ago, or at Coney, years before that. Pressed up against the Brooklyn Museum, which I had been to once before with Matt & Steffie, the course makes its way south alongside the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, north again up to the Grand Army Plaza, and south alongside Prospect, before finally going into Prospect Park. Going from 2 loops in years past to 1 loop in Prospect is better. IMHO, NYRR has taken what I believe is their best Half Marathon, and have made it even better.
My running number, though not elite, was elite enough. With over 15,000 runners, getting #1243 meant I had a lot to live up to. And I typically don’t finish in the top 8% of any NYRR-sponsored event, so it was a higher number than I could have hoped for.
The weather wound up cooler and more humid than the weathermen had forecasted. Then again, it didn’t hurt to have a 7am start time, regardless of how much Karen and I like to sleep in.
While in the corral, I met this guy named Daniel Sully. We were talking technology for a little while, and mentioned to me about the wired Bose earbuds that he was wearing. I love my wireless Jaybirds, but the rechargeable only lasts for about 2 hours. Thus, I will need a good solution for the 18-Mile Tune Up, the Chicago & NYC Marathons and any 2+ hour training runs this year, which are all soon approaching. One little footnote about Daniel. He mentioned that he wanted to finish his race in about 96 minutes and he finished in 94 minutes (1:34:02 to be exact). Great work, Daniel!
I also want to give a kudos to my Motoactv watch too. Whereas I always had an issue gaining a signal with my Garmin 310XT Forerunner, my GPS managed to connect to the satellites within seconds, even in the face of 15000 plus runners (double from last year’s race.
As for me, I wasn’t feeling as my responsive as my watch. At least not so much before the race, and definitely not at the tail end of it either. I guess that’s what happens when you’re forced to wake up at 4:30am. Living in Port Washington now, the salad days of rolling out of bed and walking 4 blocks to the start of a NYRR race in Central Park are over!
I didn’t really stretch much either. I did visit the port-o-sans and did have some toast with raspberry jam and some RedBull prior to launch, but forgot to take my B-complex the night before. I slept only about 6 hours, but I did drink profuse amounts of water, though should have had some salt.
The area in which the race took off from reminded me a little bit of the Philadelphia Distance Run. Eastern Parkway was like the divided boulevard (forgot the name) in Philly. Our first turn came right ahead of us on Washington Avenue. From there, we went south, hugging the Brooklyn Botanical Garden on our right.
A little ways later we were wrapping around the Gardens, as the next hairpin turn took us north on Flatbush Avenue. Just as I got to the Mile 1 marker, the leading runners were passing me on the other side coming back down from the Grand Army Plaza. I did my first mile in 7:31, which was fairly fast, but considering the downgrade, I didn’t exhorted much energy, which was good.
|Acting stupid while my energy levels could afford it!|
We ran south on Flatbush, then turned right onto Ocean, and finally right on Parkside. The whole time we continued to hug the Park (Prospect). We entered Prospect at the southern juncture and did a full counter clock loop. By then I had finished my 3rd Mile in 7:30, again mostly due to the downhill nature of the mile.
Mile 4 was completed in the park at 7:47. I wasn’t breaking any PR’s today (my best, Newport Liberty Half 1:39:59 due to an all flat condition) because Brooklyn is hard, but I had written 1:44:30 on my Sharpie as the time to break in order to break 8 minutes per mile. My personal best in Brooklyn (or rather course-record) was 1:45:06. So, with the exception of the first number, everything else looked very doable even when I crossed the 5th mile mark at 7:55.
There was plenty of Gatorade on the course, but I refrained from that and water until Mile 3. It was a good move now, but it might have hurt me later on.
Mile 6 was a beast as expected because the northeast section of the park is where the long uphill climb ensues. I completed that mile in 8:12, my first above-8 mile, but I made up for the shortfall by posting a 7:42 on the way down the backside of the park in Mile 7.
|Just another sabbath morning?|
Unfortunately the lack of running, coupled by the early morning hours, and the expected Red Bull crash, led me to very sluggish mile splits along Ocean Parkway. I did Mile 8 in 8:02. Halfway to Mile 9, I developed a cramp in my right foot. Not good. Suggestion? When you load up on liquids the night before, ensure you’re getting enough salt. My 9th Miles took me 8:01. Mile 10? 8:03. I thought I would try and pick up the pace a little once I passed Kings Highway, but even then, I did my 11th mile in 8:00.
It was becoming unclear for me mathematically speaking, as to whether or not I was going to break 1:44:30, though I felt I had a great chance at beating my previous PR in Brooklyn.
I’d banked 110 seconds total needed to remain sub-8, for the first 7 miles. However, my 12th mile was not too good, as I posted an 8:20. Still, I was a good 90 seconds ahead and now that I crossed the Belt Pkwy overhead, it was time to do my thing to solidify not having to scramble madly the last few hundred yards on the boardwalk.
Mile 13 was done in 7:44, and it took me :46 seconds to do the last tenth of a mile (good enough for a 7:37 pace). My finish time of 1:43:16 marks my personal best in Brooklyn for a half.
Despite all of my injuries this year, I’ve been extremely consistent, and good, when it comes to my racing. I also came in the top 17% of the race overall as well. So it was a really good day overall.
|My exhaustion face today was very much in line with the past halves in Brooklyn. Don't believe me? Look at this pic, and scroll all the way up to the top right at my 2006 finish. LOL.|
Eric found me near Nathan’s on Surf, and we walked to the car to get my stuff, and back to the boardwalk to watch the rest of the finishers. I saw Pauline Seto, and Bonnie cross, and then Karen.
It was a really nice day, and everything turned out very well organized. Here were the results of our team. We had a nice turnout overall.
|Here's Karen at the finish stopping/inspecting her time..|