On Friday afternoon, my boyfriend (Anthony) and I went out to Brooklyn. He had a rehearsal for a concert he was playing Friday night at 10pm, and I took a nice long nap. :) Seems fair, even though we were both running Saturday, right?? Since we knew he was going to be playing in Park Slope Friday night, and the start of the Brooklyn Half Marathon was at 7am on Saturday, we got a hotel room for Friday night, near where he was playing and sort of near the start. In retrospect, this was one of our best ideas ever, because without this hotel room, neither of us would have slept more than 3 hours Friday night. This was the view from our hotel rooftop
I left Anthony's concert halfway through at 11:30pm, and made it to bed by midnight. He got to bed after 1am and was less than excited (I gathered) about waking up at 5:45am to run a half marathon. It really was my idea to run it, and I think he went along to be a good sport, so props to him for not wanting to kill me when I jumped out of bed excited and ready to go when we got our wake up call! And good thing I asked for a wake up call, because I set my phone alarm for 5:45PM. Uhhh....
When we woke up, we still weren't sure how we were going to get to the start. We had the subway option, but it was at least a 10 minute walk to the 2/3 line. We could take a cab, or we could walk/run to the start (1.5 miles). When we were finally dressed, had eaten (bread and peanut butter out of the jar. Yum. What do people eat when they stay in hotels the night before a race!?) and had all of the necessary GUs, Garmins, beans and iPods, we tried to get a cab. The first cab said that it was bumper to bumper traffic all the way to the start, so we decided to start walking. Note: we didn't see ANY traffic on our run/walk over to the start. Thanks, cabbie. However, it was good to warm up before we started running, so I guess it worked out.
Since Wednesday, I had been slightly worried about my right leg, because after my last run, it was feeling tight/slightly sore and just a little off. Okay, let's be honest. I was terrified that my leg was going to fall off during the race. Not because it hurt that much, but because that's how much I freak out about the littlest amounts of tightness/pain! For 3 days, I iced it constantly, foam rolled it, elevated it, rested it, strengthened the opposite muscle, and hoped that it would be fine for Saturday. On our way to the start, I could feel the same issue coming back and was worried that I was going to have to DNF the race. I've never done that before, and know that I would be completely crushed if it came to that. Once we got to our corral, (btw, there were SO many people!) I massaged my leg as much as possible and tried not to freak out about it.
There was a lot of talking over the loudspeakers that we couldn't hear, and before we knew it, the race started! It took us over 5 minutes to cross the starting line, but we were finally on our way! The course was slightly different this time (and better, I thought!), with the first miles outside of Prospect Park before only making one loop of the park. My goal time for this race was sub 1:45. This was my goal time for the NYC Half in March too, but I finished that in 1:45:54, so I was really hoping to get it this time. I knew I was going to have to run an 8:00 pace consistently, but thought I had it in me.
The first few miles of the race were the most exciting By mile 3, the lead pack had passed us going in the other direction so we were cheering for them, I saw someone who had already peed their shorts (that must make for a remaining long 11 miles...) and I saw Jocelyn!! We said hi quickly, and I yelled "GO JOCELYN" like a crazy person, but it was fun :)
Miles 1-3: 8:04, 7:55, 7:38
The miles through Prospect Park moved along...slowly. I knew the hill in the park wasn't as big as the Central Park hills, and I didn't think that we were running slower, but my Garmin told me otherwise. However, since mile 3 was fast, I knew we could take some time and still be okay.
Miles 4-6: 7:54, 8:07, 8:07
After leaving the park, I knew that a co-worker would be waiting to cheer us on around 7.5 miles. I think also knowing that we were out of the park, which means more than halfway done, got us moving faster. But somewhere between mile 8 and 9, I started to mentally struggle. I never felt that I got into the zone yesterday. Ever. And I have a hard time on straightaways, which always happen to the be in the 2nd half of the race, when I'm tired and need some things to look forward to.
Miles 7-9: 7:40, 7:40, 7:49
Anthony and I ran the Brooklyn half together two years ago, and yesterday was like deja vu. Somewhere between mile 10-12, he ditches me. Without saying bye. I wanted him to push himself and do his best, but he could at least warn me that he's going to leave me in the dust, no!? :) I thought I was pushing myself once I got to mile 10, knowing that there was only a 5k between me and the finish line, but again, my Garmin did not agree. Next time, I'm definitely having friends/family cheering somewhere between miles 9-12! This is also when I began having thoughts on whether I would want to/could ever really run a marathon. Could I really make myself run another 14 miles+?! There's a reason I haven't signed up for Philly yet, and it's because I wanted to see how I felt after Brooklyn....
Miles 10-12: 7:46, 7:48, 7:56
At this point, I was really struggling, although just in my head. I had to keep telling myself to keep going, because I knew that if I kept up at least an 8:00 pace, I was going to PR. And the faster I ran, the bigger the PR would be. My body felt fine, and I never once had any of the leg pain that I was worried about! Woohoo! So knowing that my body felt good, it was frustrating that I couldn't get my mind on board. However, I knew there was going to be a turn around 12.5 miles, so I was just trying to focus on that because then the end would be so close! Occasionally, I caught a glimpse of Anthony up ahead and that motivated me to push it. However, the little ramp up to the boardwalk did NOT make me want to push to the finish! I forgot about that from 2 years ago, and was unpleasantly surprised. But once I was on the boardwalk and could see the finish, I used everything that I had left (really, not that much!)
Mile 13: 7:40
0.1: 7:13 pace
Official finish time: 1:43:23 (7:54 pace)
And Anthony, who hadn't run a half marathon in 2 years, and really only started running consistently again in late March, finished in 1:43:06 (a PR for him by 8.5 minutes)! Clearly the speedwork that we've started doing helps a lot!
After finishing, we were handed these medals, which was a nice surprise since we didn't get a medal in when I ran this race in 2010!
Since the race, I've been going back and forth between being super excited about a sub 8 pace, and being disappointed with my finish time. I think I'm somewhat disappointed because I (stupidly) thought it was going to be easier for me to get this PR. I knew I was stronger than when I ran the NYC Half in March, so I had unrealistic thoughts that it would be a walk in the park. Or at least not as hard as it was for me. I definitely need to work on my mental thoughts when running a race. And learn to get in the zone more, like I do on my long runs. I KNOW I should be so happy with a sub 8 minute pace. And the last time I ran the Brooklyn Half, my time was 10 minutes slower! I know I gave it everything I had yesterday. I remember wanting to stop, feeling like I couldn't go any faster, and wondering if I might throw up, so it's not like I didn't try. And I got a PR! So for now, until I have a better reason, I'm going to blame it on the post-race blues. I was planning to focus on the Philadelphia Marathon next, but now I'm not sure that I want to take on that challenge...yet, which leaves me without ANY races coming up. It's also the first time since late November that I won't be training for a half. I plan to take the week off from running, but am wondering how I'm going to feel about running without a training plan next week. I'm such a type A person that I don't often run without a plan telling me what to do and when. I'm kind of excited to just run when I want and for how long I want, but we'll see how long that lasts! :)
We went to see The Avengers last night, and for the first 15 minutes of the movie, all I was thinking about was, "What race should I do next? How is Brooklyn over already?! Did I run as hard as I could have? No really, what race should I do next?? What the heck is going on in this movie!?!?"
All in all, looking back now that I'm no longer at mile 11, this was a really fun race. It was the first race that Anthony and I have run (mostly) together in 2 years. I PR'ed, the weather was beautiful, and the course was good. In a way, I wish the race was tomorrow, not necessarily because I would run it differently, but so it wouldn't be over yet!
But since it is already over, I need to go drink more water, foam roll and look up races to sign up for!
What did you think of the new course yesterday? What's your next race? Do you get post-race blues? What's your favorite marathon (in case I decide I could double the distance...)? What do you eat for breakfast when you're not home the morning of a longer race?