Saturday, May 18, 2013

Brooklyn Half Marathon Recap: A Reminder Why I Run

Today was a day that reminded me why I fell in love with running in the first place. 

It wasn't about trying to PR. It wasn't about splits or strategy. We were out there for fun. Okay edit that - first because it fit into our training taper plan for the 50K next week. And second to qualify for NYC Half next year and 9 + 1 for the 2014 NY Marathon. But the love for racing and fun were factors in signing up. Pretty sure we knew PR's don't happen 2 weeks post marathon and a week before an Ultra. 

And sometimes you really need that reminder that you do it because you love it. Especially since you spent a few days hating yourself for signing up in the first place. The logistics of Brooklyn were annoying for our equally busy work/training schedules. Luckily it turned out I had some downtime on Friday and going to the expo turned out to not only be painless but also a quite pleasant experience. 

Stepping off the subway to this view, was not awful.

A little graffiti.

They took their party seriously. I took scoring watermelon Nuun quite seriously.

Totes would have carbed up had the line not been down the block.
Then I had to set my alarms for Saturday morning. Insert a lot of hate once again when 3:45am found its way onto my alarm preset. 
I don't think the frame of mind I was in Friday night is even questionable towards BK.
This morning I got a little bit of excitement when getting ready because I was in love with my outfit. Yes the outfit and matching are high up there on my priority list of things that really matter when running. 
It's hard to NOT be in a good mood in this outfit.
After being picked up at 5:15 and a quick stop at 7-11 for caffeinated goodness; we were on the road to Brooklyn. And oh so thankful for the ride, thank you Michael! 

And still not in the mood to be running. All I could think was I had run 13.5 total Wednesday and only taken Friday off from working out and that this was going to be a painful race. I had this sense of dread that my legs would feel like lead. Not to mention my stomach was oh so rumbly. 

We finally arrive and with a sense of "here goes nothing" hopped out of the car to make our way to the corral at about 6:20. Holy mayhem. SO MANY PEOPLE. This was seriously no joke. Tara was going to run with me so we made our way alllll the way to my corral, 17,000 at 6:30 and luckily had the half hour to spend in the bathroom line. Which we would be in right until 7:00. 
A couple people showed up this morning

I love this girl.
Finally we were starting - and I bumped into my friend Lindsay (PR'ed, yessss! Congrats!) and Tara and I talked "strategy" otherwise known as we didn't give a f*ck. Tara needed to be careful with hydration so we planned for every water stop and I knew bathroom stop(s) would be happening. 

We crossed the start finally without ceremony and it was go time! 

Both of us could feel we needed to warm up and we eased into a pace and settled comfortably in the low 9's or so would show when I looked at my Garmin which wasn't too often. 

Off the bat we were having a lot of fun. I was taking pictures...and video...and we were goofing off and having a fun time. Laughter was happening often. There was an electric energy being around SO many runners. We were quickly put in a good mood. The only frustrating part on the beginning was watching that first batch of runners come around the circle and back - it seemed to take us forever to actually get there (insert NJ Marathon flashbacks and shudders). Other than that we were our usual yelling and cheering selves. We like to cheer for our cheerleaders. Just the way we are!

We are running. We are having fun.
We got into a groove, and the miles ticked off. Run run run slow for water walk through for however long it took to drink and take off again. I didn't start with water until about mile 6 but had NO problem stopping. 

We were on the road outside the park until shortly after mile 3 then looped through Prospect Park - and boy did I forget how much I enjoy the park. 

Oh and cannot forget this awesomeness right before the park (like I said pictures were a big part of the run)
Yup #OnlyInBrooklyn
Note to self do some marathon training next cycle there. Such a nice change from Central Park.

My stomach was really off so when Tara stopped for water at mile 5 I hit the bathrooms and was a lot better off after. I was too scared to eat any Gu during the race but did start to hydrate at the next mile marker.

After hitting that lovely hill in PP, we opened up our pace and the next couple of miles would be pretty speedy, we were in the mid to low 8's and creeped into the 7's - I was surprised by how natural and good it was feeling.

Upon exiting the park, the excitement was invigorating!! The spectators lining the entrance/exit were awesome and so motivating, I loved it! Then, we entered on to the highway, and it was AWESOME so wide and open!

We OWNED the highway baby!!!

Potential part time job: running photographer. Getting good at this. Great form Tara.
I didn't believe that this could be a PR course due to the volume of people, but honestly had I been in a mindset to try - totally could happen. Wide open spaces people, it was awesome.

We were also half way through at this point and it felt like we had been running for 5 minutes. There was nothing but smiles of happiness and giddiness for running.

I know, I sound corny. But when you connect with a run there is no better feeling.

And to be feeling like this after what has been a no break for almost 2 years in a training cycle, two weeks after a full marathon (with only 2 rest days), 2 days after running 13+ miles...let's just say I was in awe of my body. Was I breaking records? No. But we were keeping a great pace. I didn't even think I would be able to hold a 10 minute mile pace today and we were anywhere from 8:30-9:30 the whole time. Heck we split a 8:2x with a water walking break.

At this point though the miles were speeding sooner would we slow through one water stop then another was upon us. There was a smattering of spectators (and shout out to the Hoboken group! yeahhhh buddies!) but overall just a sense of: I love this run.

I remember hitting mile 10 and being sad that it was coming to an end.

Who does that?

The only unfortunate part was my stomach took another dive and at mile 12 I knew I had to stop or that final mile would be miserable. Good thing time was not of the essence.

I was glad that I did because the energy in the final mile was amazing. These spectators were so much more engaging, and cheering! (earlier on at some parts yes there were spectators, but they weren't cheering...which is why we cheer FOR THEM :)

It can be tiring to be yelling and cheering at the top of your lungs for the people that are out there spectating when you are a couple hours into running, but honestly 9.5 out of 10 times I would prefer to be the one running, so am so so thankful.

We hit the 800 meter sign and I was just in shock, were we really about to finish?

Then the 400 was upon us.

I was so excited to be finishing with my BFF and running rock star. We have some of the most amazing runs when we stick together - feeding off of one another's energy.

(Side note: I cannot wait for was our mission to PR in picture taking today. We were camera whores on the course: there might be a blog post dedicated to them)

We soon dashed up the on ramp to the boardwalk and the finish line was in sight. The finish was lined with cheering spectators and we got ready to finish hand in hand. Yes we are absolutely adorably cute in our running excitement.

And then, we were done.

Will run for hardware.
Half marathon number ??? I don't even know 12? in the books.

Quickest half marathon ever. Okay well not quickest finish time was 2:10:xx but it felt like we were running for a hot second. I finished not tired, legs could have still gone longer and just happy with the race.

I'm not going to post them because there is no need; but looking at the splits we probably would have run well under 2 had we actually "raced" this...bathroom alone cost about 5-6 minutes those two stops and walking through 11 or so water stations...I'm happy with the pace that was being kept when we were running.

And well, we have bigger fish to fry as in we will be running a 50K in 8 days. So, you know...keeping our legs fresh as can be is kind of key.

The DJ and post half atmosphere was electric - all we wanted to do was dance dance dance (and may have had a little parking lot stretching dance party, totes necessary). The only con's - water/Gatorade station was past the pictures and medals and everything. And the subway ride home was cold as balls. Other than that, today was a day of perfection. I would go run that half again immediately. As in, let's go right now and recreate that experience.

I kid, I kid. Kind of sort of...I often wonder if others have this insane connection with running. It's a necessity for me. I may not be BQ'ing (at the moment give me time) but I feel the genuine NEED to go run daily. Often multiple times a day. Just who I have become.

But in all sincerity, I apologize for all the hate I have spewed towards you this week Brooklyn; let's be friends. You rocked my world today, in a way that hasn't happened in quite some time.


  1. Love the alarm messages to yourself. I need to try that.

    Glad you had a good race and that you loved the Brooklyn half as much as I did! If you were trying for a PR, it's the race to do it for sure.

    And -- um -- still in awe you are doing a 50K. I just...I can't....

    Good luck with taper week!!

  2. Awesome! I love those races when you feel so good, and the time flies by. Congrats!!

  3. I love this post, mostly because I hope to someday feel like that when I run. I'm glad you had such a great time and I look forward to seeing the pics. Congrats!

  4. LOVE LOVE LOVE how great your race was. I still have yet to feel that connection to running in a race, despite having it in some great training runs, and I'm really looking forward to that experience. Yay for BK!