The Brooklyn Half was definitely a memorable race for me. It was my first non-Texas race, my fastest Half, my first rainy race, and probably the most difficult mental game I've experienced in a race. All in all, I am really happy I ran this race.
Wave 1 started at 7am, so I wanted to plan to get there around 6. I woke up at 4:40, ate a banana, got dressed, and hopped on the bus to get to Franklin Avenue. I love running early in the morning. I always run better on a more empty stomach than I do after having full meals.
The week leading up to the race, I had been looking at the weather forecast every day. Up until the morning of the race, the forecast said that it would be pouring rain from 6-8am that morning. I had never run such a long distance in the rain before, so I did a bit of research. I read that it's better to wear less, tighter clothes for rainy races so that you're not weighted down by wet clothing and to minimize chafing. I bought a stick of body glide and put it all over my feet, at the tops of my socks. in between my legs, under my sports bra, and under my armpits. I also planned to wear a visor to keep the rain out of my face.
The day of the race, the forecast looked much better. I opted to not wear a trashbag to the starting line and I left the visor at home. I hate checking bags at races, so I packed my ID, credit card, metro card, and cell phone into my belt pouch.
The temperature was perfect for running in shorts and a tank top, but I did arrive at the start too early. It was kinda chilly when I was just standing around. If I run next year, I'm going to plan to arrive later.
Once they cut the tape that was dividing the start groups, I walked quite a bit forward before they announced the start of the race.
I started my Rich Roll podcast with Robin Arzon as the guest, and started trying to break out of the pack. I am generally really stressed by crowds, so the beginning of races is quite unpleasant for me. I desperately want to break free and I end up running way too fast at the beginning. I heard MapMyRun tell me that I ran a 7:16 pace mile at the beginning -- too fast!
The beginning of the race was great -- scenic and well-supported by friends/families with signs. We did a lot of zig-zagging around Prospect Park. The famously brutal hill in Prospect Park was placed in mile 4 -- which I was so happy about. I don't think I could have hauled my butt up that hill had it been at the end of the race. A woman at the top the hill cheered us on with a sign that said "This hill is your bi***." I laughed aloud when I saw that sign. We all needed that encouragement, so thank's, lady!
I spotted my good friend Laura and her son Theo right before the mile 6 marker, and then spotted my husband Matt cheering me on!
Honestly, I was not a fan of the overall course map for this race. If you scroll back up and look at the map, after the park, it was basically a straight, seemingly-endless run down the highway to Coney Island. For me, this felt like running on a treadmill. There wasn't anything pretty to look at, there weren't any landmarks/checkpoints, and the end was nowhere in sight.
I ate a gu packet at mile 9, and kept pressing on. I slowed down massively at mile 11. I was running out of steam and it was starting to rain. I just had to keep reminding myself that I was getting close to the unseen end.
Finally, I turned the corner towards the finish. At this point, it was pouring rain. I pushed myself as hard as I could to finish strong. My final time was 1h 44min -- not quite the time I wanted, but still a personal record.
Now that the race is over, I'm going to take it down a notch with running so that I can pack on some more muscle!
I love training -- all kinds of training.