Monday, May 21, 2012

I PRed this Weekend!! And lessons from the Brooklyn Half.

Gotcha!  Not that kind of PR.  Not the good one. I broke my personal record of not having walked in a half marathon before.  Not that there's anything wrong with walking.  In fact, check out this 2009 NY Times post about Tim Deegan, a 25-time marathon runner who improved upon his recent race times and qualified for Boston by walk-running...clearly, it has its merits.

But for whatever reason, I've personally always liked the idea of trying to run [I supposed jog is the more appropriate adjective in my case] an entire race without stopping.  And to date I had been successful on doing so in my half marathons.  I would say I had successfully reached this goal in all my races to date, but some stomach problems and one particularly humid day got the better of me...but I feel differently about extenuating circumstances such as those than I do about lack of fitness level.

I also broke my personal record for slowest half marathon.  Ah...what a weekend of firsts!

What can I say, though?  The longest run I did was just 8 miles four weeks before the reap what you sow, and 13.1 miles is kinda far to phone in (Lesson #1).

Needless to say I knew the race was going to be tough and not doable, but it was still disheartening.  Part of me felt like maybe there would be some sliver of hope that I would feel really good and make it until mile 10 in not too bad of shape and then be able to scrap up a slow 5k at the end, but I just couldn't get there.

By the time I got around to finish up cooking on Friday night Jen was already getting to my apartment from her delayed Bolt Bus.  By the time we ate said cooking and got to bed it was midnight.  Lesson #2:  Don't go to bed at midnight for a race you need to wake up for at 5AM.  Getting such little sleep may cause you to do dumb things like forget to bring breakfast with you to the race.  Thanks, Jen, for sharing your English muffin and peanut butter!! :)
Post 5AM wake-up....Pre 13.1 mile journey....not sure which of those two things was worse :)
I figured I'd get to about mile 6 or so before the race really started feeling tough - after all I had just run a hilly Central Park 10k the weekend before - but somehow the race felt tough from before the first mile was even over.  I tried to ignore how hard the beginning felt so that I wouldn't freak out and panic about the rest of the race.  Lesson #3: focus on the positive when things seem to be going wrong; a negative mindset can really do you in.  Luckily, right around mile 3 my friend Kathleen ran up and said hello - pretty small world for a race of 14,000+ people, right?  And then my friend Caroline ran up - she had thought it was fun that two friends ran into each other and then realized it was me!  2 in 14,000?  Absurd!

Other gems of wisdom include: Lesson #4 Don't sign up for a race that's around a time when you have a major life event [like moving] scheduled [although to be fair, the bed bug scare would have been a little hard to predict] and Lesson #5 Don't sign up for a race that's a time of year likely to have weather that you don't like to exercise in [I definitely voted for preferring cold weather workouts here, but I needn't complain further about the race temps, which weren't as bad as they could have been].

Anyway, this race obviously wasn't the one for me, but...the post race R&R was pretty great.  In fact, I'll go ahead and say that from the last .25 miles of the race onward was great - ha!  It was really fun running towards the giant ferris wheel and finishing the race on the boardwalk (well, once we made it up the ramp, anyway) - very motivating for a sprint to the end!  Jen was cheering for me at the finish line, which also helped!

Kathleen ran her first half and Jen turned in a pretty impressive  race despite our lack of sleep and a GIANT bruise that was causing her pain with each step - way to go, girls!
Next up we caught up with Kathleen and elected to forego the Nathan's hot dog zoo and instead eat at Popeye's where there were both seats and food - double bonus!!

Mmmm....Post Race Refueling!
After about an hour and a half of bench warming at Popeyes we hobbled to the beach for some sun, stretching and ice bathing in the cold ocean.  Lesson #6: A race with a beach at the finish line is really clutch.

Jen actually did '"ice down" in the ocean for a few minutes, but I was too chicken...that water was COLD
Beach time was followed by Nathan's hot dogs and cheese fries, which were clearly necessary (we ran to Coney Island, afterall!) once the line had subsided.  A loooong subway ride home later it was time for some Bud Light Lime on the porch with compression socks, and boy was it good.
Compression Socks, Bud Light Lime, and a view of Central Park....ah....

(maybe we should get one of these for the balcony?)

I think that about sums up my fiasco of a weekend, but all in, I'd say it was still pretty fun because of all of the great girls who I knew running the race.  Thanks, ladies, and congratulations to all who raced this weekend!


  1. Well completing the race after having stopped to walk can be very tough sometimes so give yourself a pat on the back. Then pat yourself on the butt for eating those cheese fries.

  2. found your blog off a link from Terzah's blog. I ran the Brooklyn Half this weekend too! So great to get the experience from other person's eyes - sorry it didn't go so well for you. Getting in the cold water felt SO good on my feet. We decided to forego Nathan's too.

    It was pouring rain yesterday as I was catching a cab to the airport...we got lucky with the weather.

    1. Thanks for stopping by and congrats on the race!!

  3. Good for you for still getting out there and doing it, despite knowing you weren't 100% ready. Now you know you're a true runner - you can still pony up and run 13 miles without having followed a traditional plan!!! Cheers to you my dear!!

  4. LOL! I love the yoga on the beach. I am so happy that you finished despite everything working against you for the half! When is your next NYRR race/half. We have to meet up at one of them sometime :)

    1. Like you, I'm also doing the mini 10k and Wall St run!

  5. No WAY I would have eaten Nathan's after that, but I would have tried getting in the water. I think you did well considering all that you had going on. Your description of that finish definitely makes me want to do this race someday.

    1. You should! The course was kind of boring aside from miles 3-6, but we made a really fun day of it at Coney Island. Maybe next year we'll do some rides after!

      Which marathon did you decide on?

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