I crossed the finish line!
I knew I could do it- but that’s not what I had been training to do. I wanted to cross the finish line in less than 2 hours, but that didn’t happen. I finished with a second best time of 2:05:05, and after calling my mom (duh!) and talking with Coach Jared, I’ve stopped beating myself up over it (more on that later).
Let’s rewind for a minute and talk about the race experience! Thursday afternoon, I headed to Brooklyn Bridge Park for the Pre-Party. At Pier 2, you picked up your race bib, had an opportunity to shop for Brooklyn merchandise, and get your last minute race questions answered. Brooklyn Running Co. set up shop with some cool Brooklyn gear and any last minute essentials (like headbands and Gu) that you may need. There was also a spot to get your race shirt customized! Outside there were swings, giant Jenga, a band stage, and fantastic views of the NYC skyline- the perfect photo op! There were just a few food trucks with some snacks and drinks; honestly, I was hoping for more food options.
Fast forward to race day… traveling from Nassau County to Brooklyn can be aggressive. We decided to hire a car which picked us up on time from my house and dropped us off right at the starting line. Our early wake up call ensured that we arrived in plenty of time to check our bags and get through security. My friend, Javi, was running in Wave 1 and bag check closed at 6:10am… Zzzz… I ate my breakfast while waiting in the corral since Wave 2 started didn’t start until 7:45am. This gave us time to warm up and use the porta potty (which I recommend doing ASAP because the lines became outrageous).
Race time! 7:45 am and the gun went off… funneling to the starting line I was SO READY to go. All that waiting had made me a little bit antsy to get started. The Brooklyn Half course starts with 3 miles outside of Prospect Park with minor ups and downs in the elevation. When you head into the park, it starts off flat and just before Mile 5 comes the biggest hill on the course which is not as steep as some of those Central Park hills, but seems like it will never end (it does, I promise). As you loop around the park, you discover what goes up must come down and get to enjoy a nice downhill as you come through Mile 7 just outside the park. You head to Ocean Parkway with a quick dip down and a steady bump in elevation on the entrance ramp. Think of this as your final stretch to the finish line- I just thought Ocean Parkway would never end. Until this point in the race, I was really feeling strong. The crowd was alive and had some really funny signs! My pace for the first few miles was a little faster than I wanted so I tried to slow myself down a little. I missed the ‘beep’ of my Garmin at Miles 6&7 and was unsure of how fast I was going. Unfortunately, I slowed myself down too much and had trouble picking up the pace again. When I saw my PR slipping away, I mentally checked out of the race, too.
As you’re running South, the Avenues go in order from A to Z then you make a right hand turn onto Surf Avenue and can see the roller coasters up ahead. The end is near! I had been wearing a bracelet with pace times for my 2 hour goal; when I saw the sign that said “800 meters to go,” I ripped it off and just made a strong finish. Crossing that finish line felt so good, but I was sooo disappointed in myself. I knew some of the mistakes I made early on in the race, but I was really mad that I had mentally given up. My jello legs made their way down the boardwalk where I was given my finisher’s medal, took a sweaty photo with it, then finally found some water (it kept everyone moving, but the water was a little bit down from the finish line).
After the satisfaction of crossing the finish line finally set in, now I had to find my friends and party! My legs were mush and I was tired, but I walked down the boardwalk where finishers also received a bag with water, Gatorade, an apple, pretzels, and a PowerBar. (One of the nice volunteers let me trade my bag so that crazy me could have a blue Gatorade- thank you!) Picking up my gear from bag check was a breeze and was also the designated meeting spot for my friends. *Side note: I had read recaps from last year about limited cell phone service. While I didn’t have a problem with my phone, some people had spotty service so make sure you designate a meeting point ahead of time.*
The Post-Race party was so much fun! You head into MCU Park, Home of the Brooklyn Cyclones, to find thousands of other runners celebrating with their friends and family. Beers were flowing, hot dogs were cooking, and the band was playing everything from the new JT song to some old school Spice Girls.
Before I left the house at 4am, my mom told me to “just have fun!” I definitely did that 🙂 The Brooklyn Half was a great race with excited runners, spectators cheering the whole way, and a killer finish line party. I will definitely be running this one again! Although I didn’t PR like I had hoped, I know there are more races to come. Coach Jared and I have discussed the idea of an October race… hmm… until then, I’m excited for the Baltimore 10 Miler in 2 weeks where I will be running for fun with my best friends!
Happy Sunday Funday, my loves!
A huge congratulations to my friends; Javi, who crushed his goal with a time of 1:29:54 and to Virginia, who finished her first half marathon! 🙂