For the last 5 years, a fair number of of my spring, summer and fall weekends have included an NYRR race–the last two weekends were true to form.
Last weekend, we ran the UAE 10K. This race is always fun and festive. When your race has a rich sponsor, you know you are in store for sway–like tech shirts and medals!
This 6 miler was supposed to be my taper run for the Brooklyn Half, but my training fell off somewhere along the way and it turned into more of a build run to supplement my two longest training runs, which topped off at 8 miles each.
I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I felt that I had certainly trained enough to successfully complete a 10K without much effort. Or not. The gun went off and my legs felt like lead. I’m sure most people know what I’m talking about. Sometimes you start a run and have great fresh legs and sometimes you feel like you are wearing invisible ankle weights. I plodded along, around mile 3 things got better for a while. By mile 5, things were bleak–I was feeling a bit nauseous and the lead feeling had returned. Somehow I rounded the bottom of Central Park South and the end was in sight–sort of. The 800 meters to go, 400 meters to go, 200 meters to go signs seemed just plain mean. But finally I finished.
Clearly, I made a rookie mistake–no hill training. The Great Hill seemed somehow greater and the rolling hills on the west side seemed to never end.
I have to be honest, I left the UAE 10K feeling pretty defeated. I wasn’t sure how I would even finish the Brooklyn Half, as it the distance is more than twice as long.
I like to be over prepared in any given situation. I cook enough for 20 when 10 people are coming over. I make 14 copies for a meeting with 12 people. I triple check work documents before sending them out. I don’t like to leave room for error. It causes me a lot of anxiety. But somehow, come half marathon week, I was struggling to complete a 10K. While I hate to be unprepared, I also hate giving up. So after much agonizing (which is always helpful), I decided to try and make it through the BK Half, even if I had to walk most of it.
On Wednesday, I went to pick up my race packet at the Half Pre-party. It was actually a good way to get in a more positive mindset!
Brooklyn Bridge Park is so cute!
The pre-party was sponsored by New Balance, and they had lots of great promotions going on. There were also other vendors, lots of food trucks, live music and plenty of general merriment to enjoy, which I did. I may not finish the race, but I am going to pre-party with the best of them. Damnit.
Before I knew it, it was the night before the race. I went out to dinner with friends and then went to bed early, as we had a 5:00AM alarm set.
Race day morning was a flurry of activity, but we were out the door in 20 minutes to catch the subway. While it seemed to go by pretty quickly, it took about an hour to get to Prospect Park. We went through security and got in the corrals. Each corral had a ton of port-potties, which was a nice bonus. I was pretty nervous in the corral, but three things helped cheer me up:
1.) A bunch of girls that were wearing shirts that said, “If found, please drag to the finish.”
2.) When the announcer said, “Brooklyn, are you ready?” and several people yelled no.
3.) When the announcer said, “Are you ready to run?” And a guy said, well, we are here, so I guess we have to.
It was nice to know that I wasn’t the only nervous one there! After what seemed like forever, off we went. My legs didn’t feel great, but they didn’t feel bad. The first part of the race is an out and back around a round-a-bout. I saw Frank coming back on my way out. I knew the out and back was almost 2.5 miles of the course, so I was happy when it seemed to go by fairly quickly. I saw fast runners zooming out of the park as I entered, and soon after I put on my headphones and just decided to enjoy the nice lushness of Prospect Park. There was a big meadow with tons of dogs frolicking during off leash hours. My goal was to at least make it through the park before I decided whether I would need to walk. Fortunately, Prospect Park is pretty flat, and I was still feeling good when we left at mile 7. While my favorite part of the race is the park, it’s nice to be on Ocean Parkway, so you can finally stop running in circles start to get where you are going–Coney Island.
Around mile 9, I was starting to feel fatigue in my legs. I decided to walk for 20-60 seconds at every mile marker to give my muscles a chance to lose some tension. While there were some moments where I thought I would never make it to mile 12, overall I felt way better than I did at the UAE. Everything was going much better than expected even though I was probably running 12 minute miles.
As we rounded Surf Ave, I could smell the popcorn and hotdogs. Soon we were on the boardwalk running the last 200 meters on the sandy planks.
For being a large race, the exit area moved really quickly and I soon found Frank in the finisher’s area.
We enjoyed Coney Island for a bit before taking the long train ride back home. We went to a great Yankees game in the afternoon and by the time we got home, I was totally spent.
While my only goal for the half was to finish, I was shocked that I actually finished around my usual half time, 2:14. It certainly wasn’t a PR, but I guessed I had ran it in closer to 2:35, so I was pretty happy to find out I finished 20 minutes faster than my estimate. I was worried about the 3 hour cut off time for nothing!
I’ll definitely run Brooklyn again. I love that it’s flat!
I hope all the other BK half runners had a great race!