Just 2 weeks after running the Pittsburgh Marathon, FOMO motivated me to run the Airbmb Brooklyn Half Marathon - the largest half marathon in the country. A group of over 60 NPers were out both running the race, and volunteering at a water station - so I bit the bullet, paid the non-NYRR member entry fee, and began to dread the journey to Brooklyn.
Between Pittsburgh and Brooklyn I didn't run much at all, figuring that giving my legs some time to rest was going to help me in Brooklyn more than making them even more sore and sleepy.
Given my experience at the Brooklyn Half last year, I'm completely shocked that I wanted to go through the experience again. But that's the funny thing about races - you stress before them, you're miserable during them, the logistics frustrate the hell out of you, and then you cross the finish line and you're ready to sign up for another one.
Like last year, packet pick-up was only offered at Brooklyn Bridge Park. Looking back on my recap of the 2014 Brooklyn Half, I find it funny that I wrote, "the view was AWESOME! Had it been a nicer night, and had I been there with a group of people, I definitely would have loved to stay, had a drink, eaten some Chickpea and Olive, and enjoyed the music."
This year, the weather was nicer and I was with Peter, who I convinced to try Chickpea and Olive (I loved mine, he wasn't sold), while we sat outside and listened to the music (and got two free ice cream cones each).
The morning of the race a big group of Upper East Side NPers met at the subway pre-5:00 a.m. to trek to Brooklyn. We had prepared ourselves for miserably packed subway cars - but shockingly, it really wasn't bad at all! When we got off the subway we were very close to security and bag drop (much closer than last year). We took some pictures and headed to our corrals.
I desperately needed to use the bathroom, but the line for the portapotties snaked through the corral and barely moved. I legitimately almost cried at one point. It was miserable.
Once I went we stood and waited for the start! Peter was still recovering from being really sick, so he was going to try to pace me/keep me going. I didn't have a strict "goal" time, I just wanted to run fast (but not stupid). Peter's job was to NOT let me go out like I did in Pittsburgh.
Around mile 6/7 I started to lag behind Peter a little and he seemed to be feeling good, so I begged him to just stop looking back to make sure I was with him and to run his own race. I had just had an amazing Pittsburgh, and I wanted him to have an amazing race. He said "Ok" but I didn't believe him for a minute.
Once you're out of the park, the course gets slightly less exciting. Ok, a lot less exciting. The spectators are gone and you're on a long, flat stretch of highway. Around mile 10 I knew exactly what Peter was doing - he was staying just far enough ahead of me that I would keep trying to hang with him. And it was working, except for the fact that my IT band was absolutely screaming at me, causing me to limp at some points. I knew I only had 3 miles left and then I could rest for as long as I needed so I pushed ahead and eventually Peter let me catch up to him so we could chase down the finish line. We were both wanting to cry a little at that point I think, but we pushed each other as it started to pour rain and we turned onto the Coney Island Boardwalk. I love the ending of this race - it's full of people cheering and it's such a cool place to cross a finish line. I only wish the turn onto the boardwalk weren't so narrow - it slows you down right at the moment you want to be breaking into your final sprint.
Peter crossed a second before me, and I finished in 1:40:34 (a pace of 7:41). I was extremely happy. And extremely wet.
Luckily, within a few minutes of finishing, the rain let up as we went to get our bags. Unlike last year, when I had to wait over an hour for my bag to turn up, this was an extremely easy bag pick up.
Once we had our bags and our pictures, it was time to celebrate with some giant beers. The sun came out and felt amazing - if I were to describe my perfect day, it would probably be running a race before some serious day drinking. Nothing better.
NYRR - bravo on all the improvements to the Brooklyn Half - I'll definitely be back next year! My goal after 2014 was 1:45:00 or faster. New goal? 1:38:00 (I want a 7:30 pace!)
*Thank you for pretending this race recap isn't approximately 2 months over due...