The night before the 2012 Brooklyn Half Marathon race I was a good girl and got all organized. I ate my usual pre-race night meal: whole wheat pasta with marinara sauce, and I laid out all my gear for the next morning. The half started at 7am so I was trying to make sure to maximize my sleep time and also to prevent the frantic race-morning search for one thing or another (which is my usual situation).
- All ready for the morning!
This morning I pulled myself out of bed and headed off to the train. Luckily, the race start was in Prospect Park
. That is so much closer to me than Central Park, which is where where most of the NYRR races are held.. What a nice treat! I have to admit that I broke one of my main running rules
: don’t try anything new on race day
! My pre-race fuel was a Think Thin bar and some pretzels.
But usually I have a Clif bar however for some reason I wasn’t in the mood for it. Risky move, but it worked out just fine. (Remember, do as I say not as I do! I don’t recommend this.)
I also wore a hat to run today (which I never wear) because the sun on Ocean Parkway
is notorious for being brutal and I didn’t want to burn. Adding a hat isn’t a huge deal, I know, but its still something new. By the way, I loved it
I may just be a hat-wearing type of runner!
The course started outside the park, looped through Grand Army Plaza, into and around Prospect Park, out of the park to Ocean Parkway, and to the Coney Island boardwalk for the finish. I LOVED this course, I thought it was perfect for a half marathon and very scenic. I especially loved running past the lake in PP and on the boardwalk on CI. Here’s a few photos from this awesome course.
- Around Grand Army Plaza
- Up the PP hill where I saw this great sign…
- If that isn’t running motivation, I don’t know what is!
- Down the ramp to Ocean Parkway
- And the finish line after the race was over.
So you may be wondering (or not, but I’ll continue anyway)… “Megan, thanks for the summary of the course.. but how did you do?
” Well, I am pleased to report first of all that I finished. For me right now, that’s an accomplishment. With my recent injury
, I wasn’t even sure if I’d be able to complete the race. Not only did I finish but I was able to run somewhere between 7-8 miles
without severe pain in my knee! If you remember, a few weeks ago I was only able to make it about a mile without pain so this is a huge deal.
For the first 5-6 miles, which took place around Prospect Park and within it, everything was going swimmingly. I did walk a bit on the big hill in PP only because I was afraid it would aggravate my knee. My goal in the park was just to get out of the park without walking (success!). Around mile 6 I started to feel the familiar twinge in my knee but it wasn’t bad enough for me to stop. I walked for a minute or so between miles 6-7 to make sure it wasn’t worse that I thought, but then made sure to run out of PP and onto Ocean Parkway. There were cheering fans and that transition point between the park and the highway really kept me motivated.
Somewhere between miles 7-8 on Ocean Parkway (my Timex forgot to measure distance. Damn technology!), the pain got a bit too much. I probably could have ran longer but I knew if it got too bad I wouldn’t be able to finish the race at all. And also I didn’t want to aggravate it too bad and prolong my healing. So I started speed walking. I walked pretty much the length of Ocean Parkway, with some bursts of running on the grass on the side in between. I was envious of all the happy runners and wanted to start running again SO bad, but I had to talk myself into resisting that urge.
Ocean Parkway was LONG! Basically it was a straight shot, flat, with no twists or turns. The sun was out in full force but luckily, the left side of the road had some shade. I hid in that most of the time
There were also a few sprinklers from the fire hydrants set up along the course, which I loved. It was so refreshing!
On Ocean Parkway I was keeping track of the lettered roads (e.g. Avenue A, Avenue B, etc.) I was SO happy when I reached Avenue Z. It took a while, especially because I was walking most of it, so it was a happy sight. Not long after that, I saw the boardwalk in the distance!
After I saw the mile 13
sign, I had all intentions of running the whole last mile but my knee wasn’t having it. So I kept walking until about half mile to the finish and then started running. I ran up to the boardwalk (which was much nicer on my knee!) and crossed the finishline. Even with walking a little less than half the race, I finished in 2:31
. A far cry from my 2:06 NYC Half finish
, but I actually ran that whole race injury-free. As you can see below, my splits were fine up until the 10K mark. I started walking after that, which is why the rest of my splits are so off.
I am honestly incredibly proud of this finish. I feel like its harder to walk part of a race when all you want to do is run. I feel really accomplished for doing this half at all and also for listening to my body the whole time. And in the meantime I also had a great time. The positive of walking though was that I got to take in more of the course and take some cool pictures!
After the race, I got some ice from the medical tent for my knee (which is feeling just fine now) and went to the CI beach to stretch. I got a little tweak in my back at mile 13 so I wanted to loosen it up. Laying on the shady cool sand felt SO good! I love this race finish location.
- Changed out of my smelly race clothes and into my Aspaeris Pivot shorts for recovery!
Now the race wasn’t perfect, here’s some cons:
- The race start was a bit crowded. For the first few miles there was some congestion but it did clear up in the park and I had no problem after that.
- I wish there was more time on the boardwalk (basically it was only .10 miles on the boardwalk or something). I wanted to run longer near the ocean!
- It was impossible to get cell service after the race. That’s not NYRR’s fault at all, but it made for a confusing post-race for me. For a big race like this, make sure to prepare a meeting spot ahead of time!
Despite some negatives, this was a fantastic race all around. It was well organized by NYRR, the volunteers were great (as always), the weather was perfect, and the course was really fun. I definitely want to run this again next year, hopefully injury-free!
UPDATE: Race photos came in. Its a miracle, some are actually GOOD!
Running onto the Coney Island boardwalk. Almost at the finish!
Um, did I see a ghost? Why am I the only one looking that way?
Reaching the finishline
I’ve always wanted a photo like this.
Did you run any races this weekend?
Did you run the Brooklyn Half? Tell me about your experience!