In case you're not familiar with my running history, I ran my first ever half-marathon on a treadmill in December 2010. And my first ever real half-marathon event was in May 2011. It was the Brooklyn Half. I finished that half marathon in 2 hours 27 minutes and 41 seconds. It was a great first half marathon experience. And though I've run at least 12 half marathons since then, I never came close to that time. But time aside, it was so special to run my first ever half in my own borough and to finish on the Coney Island boardwalk was just magical. I was hooked on the Brooklyn Half. I knew I'd do this half marathon every year. So I ran the Brooklyn Half last year, and (literally) the moment it went on sale, I signed up again for this year's.
This year's Brooklyn Half was a little different though. NYRR had a bigger vision and wanted to make it last for DAYS because instead of just picking up our bibs at the headquarters like we do for most runs, they organized a 3 night long pre party in DUMBO where we could pick up our bibs and shirts, in addition to enjoying many festivities (beer! food! music! vendors! spectacular views!). Being a lover of the Brooklyn Half, and Brooklyn itself, I was more excited to check it out!
I rode to the pre party as the sun was going down -
|on Kent in Williamsburg, at Broadway. You can see the new World Trade building on the left|
As I rode my bike to DUMBO, I passed a bunch of fellow North Brooklyn Runners. Of course they were *running* to the pre-party! lol crazy runners!
|crazy runners like to run|
|See you there, suckers!|
|I never get tired of this shot|
Here are some photos from the 3 nights of the pre-party. Yes, I was there all 3 nights because I had so much fun I had to go back again and again!!
|Instant photo fun, courtesy of New Balance|
|I finally met IG follower Alnardo. He's friends with Amy from TheAwesomeMom.com|
|I met and spoke with Mary Wittenberg! (President & CEO of New York Road Runners) I may have also been buzzed - which should explain the huge smile - I hope I didn't say anything stupid.|
|beautiful views under the Brooklyn Bridge|
|I had this IG photo printed :)|
|oh yeah. facial hair. I *love* facial hair!!!|
|I'm pretty sure I was the last one to leave|
|I stayed till the very end and rode home with the awesome hat I bought!|
That Friday, the night before the half, I got as much of my stuff ready as possible -
And the morning of the Half I was up very early, around 4:30 am. An hour and a half later I was ready -
|Let's do this!|
Around 6:00am I was riding to the starting line -
|no one is out and the sun is just coming up|
The start was about 6 miles from me. I didn't make it half way there when I got a flat on my bike. I had been having trouble with the rear tire a lot at that time, but I thought I'd make it to the starting line. I was wrong.
Now, you may not know this but I get nervous enough before a run, so getting a flat made me down-right panicked. The moment I knew I couldn't ride any further (I was desperately trying to ride on the rim but had to stop), I saw a cab and hailed it. I asked him to pull over and wait while I locked up my bike (it was very early in the morning, I was lucky to even find a cab!). Soon after that, I was sitting in the back of that cab on my way to the start and the sweat was literally pouring off me, just from nerves.
|expressionless but freaking out on the inside|
Blocks from the start, we were sitting in bumper to bumper traffic (ironically, caused by the street closures for the half marathon). Once I realized why we weren't moving, I just got out and walked to the start -
Despite all of my nervousness, I was not late. I was still shaking but I knew everything was ok. I made it past the crowds in front of the Brooklyn Museum and to the baggage drop (normally I don't bring baggage but I brought snacks, my phone charger & makeup for after the run and a bathing suit for my running club's after party on the beach)
|the scene in front of the Brooklyn Museum on Eastern Parkway|
|me & Ethan|
|Saville & Me|
The run seemed much more organized this year than last year. There were plenty of port-o-johns in the corrals and actual security at each entrance, allowing only runners with appropriate numbers into the corrals. It was a big improvement from last year!
|waiting in the corral|
|I instagrammed from the corral|
The run started right on time. We got to the start line so quickly in fact, I was still fumbling with my music and heart rate monitor!
|here goes nothing!|
The route was the same as last year - we started by running on Washington, which is downhill. A nice start to the run! Then we turn onto Flatbush and loop around Grand Army Plaza, back onto Flatbush. There were already plenty of people lining the street and cheering for us, which is always nice.
Before long, my running app told me I had run a mile. And that I did it in 10 minutes and 25 seconds.
um... come again? 10'25"?!
That's CRAZY fast for me. I haven't run that pace in 2 years. I tried not to think about it and told myself to just keep running. I didn't want to psyche myself out obsessing about my pace, but I did notice I was feeling better than usual as I was running. So I was hoping to not lose that feeling. I just kept on running...
|My friend Torr!|
|running towards Grand Army Plaza|
|of course the fine ladies of BGR were out cheering for their girls and anyone else! They rock!!|
|how cute are those shorts? she added "HALF" under "BROOKLYN"|
|helllllllo sexy cyclist!|
|It's the Xylofolks, who I see a lot!|
|get ready, here comes Nellie's Hill!|
|I'm not sure what this expression is capturing...|
I was surprised how many people were out cheering for us in the park, because it was pretty early on a Saturday morning and they could have been in bed (I would have been!) But runners love spectators, so thanks for coming out to cheer!!
These signs were great! Thanks to the parents for being so cute & clever
After the full loop in the park, we exit onto Ocean Parkway, another nice little downhill -
|runners as far as the eye can see!|
and then it's 5 miles of somewhat monotonous (but thankfully flat) miles down Ocean Parkway -
By this point we were more than half way done, this was close to Mile 8. And I was running pretty consistently and still faster than I usually run in a half-marathon. I was especially thankful that my body felt really good. Nothing was bothering me on this day. Usually when I'm running, something hurts or is uncomfortable. But on this day I was feeling really good!
|oh hey, look! It's BGR again!|
|Thanks for the thumb's up, guy! & Yeah lady, you know it!|
Running down Ocean Parkway, I came up on this older gentleman -
He's sort of a legend in Greenpoint and NYRR too. He lives a few blocks for me and runs the NYC Marathon every year. I see him at Summer Streets and other running events. If you think you're too old to start, think about this: He ran his first marathon at age 60, in 1998 -
|this is proudly displayed in his window|
He'll be 75 when he runs the NYC Marathon this year. He's so bad-ass!!
|I have him a thumbs up as I passed him and told him he's amazing|
This ladies sign reminded me that I'm actually fairly close to the finish!
|not tutu far now!|
It was around this point, at Mile 11, when I analyzed my pace. I thought about how much time I had been running and that I had 2 miles left.
|Mile 11, just 2.1 miles to go!|
And it was at this time that something significant occurred to me - If I do not slow down or stop for any reason, I'm going to PR.
O.M.F.G. I'M GOING TO PR!!!!!!!!
Like I mentioned in the opening, my fastest ever half marathon was my *first* half marathon, a full 2 years earlier. And I hadn't come close to matching that time since. So if I were to PR today, that would be a pretty enormous deal for me.
Once I realized that, I told myself to just focus. Just keep running. Don't get distracted and do not stop for any reason!
|Mile 12, we are so close!|
We run down Ocean Parkway, all the way to the end, finally turning right onto Surf Ave-
|I love the view of that walkway to the aquarium and the subway on the right.|
We run on Surf for a short stint, then we turn left to head towards the boardwalk, where the finish line awaits!
I love running that block between the Cyclone Roller Coaster & Deno's Wonder Wheel!
Oh my god. I'm so close. So close!!!!! There's Deno's Wonder Wheel!!!
|running past the Cyclone!|
A short moment later, I'm on the boardwalk, running towards the finish!
|Can't stop! Won't stop! Don't Stop!!!|
And just seconds later, I crossed that glorious finish line! I was on such a mission, I didn't even take a photo of it. But I assure you, it was fantastical!!!!
I stopped my HRM and running app and collected my medal. Then I checked my time. I did it. Oh. My. God, I did it! I PR'ed by a full minute!! I was on top of the world! I can't remember the last time I felt so amazing. Here I am seconds after that moment, I actually bought this photo -
|I love my medal!!|
After that I wandered around, not sure where to get water, food, or my bag...
|I don't know this guy, I just really like this photo|
|You can see tear stains from my tears|
|parachute jump under an overcast sky|
I found my friend Saville, who finished in under 2 hours
|You know I can't resist an overflowing garbage can shot|
I wanted to stop at Nathan's for a celebratory beer & fries before I left, but it was *still* closed from Hurricane Sandy (it would open the next week)
While standing in front of Nathan's, I ran into a few online and real life pals -
|the beautiful Antanyah dressed as Wonder Woman and her Mom with a cartoon version of her WW self on her shirt. Too cute!|
|Then of course Lauren, who you've seen on this blog a few times|
|and Claire, a blog reader I had never met before. She was very sweet :)|
I made my way out of Coney Island, taking the F train -
I didn't go straight home though - I got off in Park Slope for a celebratory beer at my friend's bar with another runner pal. This is a great English pub, called The Monro, on 5th Ave (go check them out. Tell Nicole & Vinny that BitchCakes sent you!)
|Matt and I show off our medals and drink beer. Yay!|
Once I emerged in Greenpoint, I had a text from my friend Meghan that she was at Habitat. Surely I'd join her for another celebratory beer!
|Meghan and baby Ada have helped me celebrate many victories this year! I love them!!|
Here are my stats from the run:
Total Time: 2 hours, 26 minutes, 37 seconds
Percentage of Time in Cardio Zone: 100%
Average Heart Rate: 172
High Heart Rate: 186
Total Calories Burned: 1589
Total Miles: 13.28
I still cannot get over that pace and time and how great I felt during that run!
Oh, and just this week we received our New York Runner Magazines from NYRR and who should I see on Page 28, clearly enjoying the pre-party?
|me, with fellow NBR member, Aaron and Taylor|
What a truly awesome day for me. I will never forget that run. I talked about it for weeks and I'm glad I finally had a chance to share it here. I love you, Brooklyn and I love the Brooklyn Half!!!