How was your weekend? I had a relaxed one and I tried as well to write a recap for my 1st half marathon 2 weeks ago – the AirBnB Brooklyn half marathon. Which is hard to do because finding words for something that special is like finding words for the birth of a child or at least it feels like this to me.
First of all some numbers for you guys, I ran a total of 13.1 miles with 27.409 finishers. We started at the Brooklyn library and finished and the Coney Island boardwalk. This year was the 35 year celebration of it. A little over 2.000 volunteers helped to bring the race together and helped us athletes with questions and water when needed. More than 1.500 runners ran for NYRR´s team for kids to help build a better and brighter future for the youth.
Morning of the race!
Thanks to a great friend I was able to sleep in Brooklyn and had only 2 miles to the start line. After only 3.5 hours of sleep I was up again and ready to go. I always prepare everything on the night before, it helps my nerves and just in general. After my disastrous run in Shorts in Florida, I decided I will never ever run in shorts again and so my choice was a light but knee-length pants for my first half marathon.
On the way I had my usual plain bagel and water with electrolytes in it, I tried many things before and they work the best for me.
I dropped my bag off quiet early and went thru the security check. For me it was important to have enough time to warm up and use the bathroom. Because it was my first long run I had moments were I felt overwhelmed and anxious but then I thought about the bigger picture and I knew I was ready for it.
The start time came and the gun went off and there I went. My goal was to take the first miles easy and the other 11 miles splitted in moderate / hard / moderate. The only concern I had, the water breaks, was I able to keep running or did I have to stop and walk?
I decided to keep my phone in the pocket during the whole run because craziness over time never helped no one and for me listening to my body always worked the best. Yes, I also run without music, drives me nuts and I never can find my rhythm.
Mile 1 – 9:58 pace, right were I wanted to be. To keep myself at an easy pace I chose a “slower” runner to follow. At first I thought I was too slow because many runners passed me but I told myself, stay calm, you will catch them. By mile 2 – 9:41 pace I was sweating like crazy because of the humidity and I knew I couldn´t skip any water stations if I don´t want to feel dizzy.
Mile 3 – 9:07 pace was way faster than before and I found a group of 4 people (friends) who had a faster pace going on and my “goal” was to catch them. Mile 4 – 9:12 pace, mile 5 – 9:05 pace and mile 6 – 9:23 pace passed by pretty quick because I listened to many conversations around me and you would not believe what people are talking about during their runs. You would be shocked.
With every mile I left behind me I felt better and better, almost like I just woke up from a power nap. It was always like that, even when I was only brisk walking, could do that for hours. Not even the hills during those 3 miles could stop me or hold me back.
Mile 7 – 8:49 pace was a long down hill stretch which was great for a little recovery. I had a ton of fun running thru the Prospect park, so many people holding signs and cheering us on. I never gave so many high fives in my life but it was great and I tried to get them all. A little after mile 8 – 8:53 pace I lost the group and I was back to running alone. Which was no problem for me because I trained alone and I felt amazing.
Mile 9 – 9:39 pace and mile 10 – 9:24 pace flew by. I was passing many people who passed me earlier and when that happened I knew I was on the right path.
When the mile 11 – 9:14 pace sign came up I felt wonderful and was wondering if I will ever have that point were I have to set goals for myself to finish. I mean those little nagging voices, why are you doing this? Why don´t you walk? etc. but they never came. Just a feeling of total happiness and the feeling of having peace inside me.
The last 2 miles were a lot of fun. People cheering, holding signs, friends finding each other and it was just a pleasure to watch. Mile 12 – 9:29 pace. Mile 13 – 9:09 pace, I gave all I had left which got stopped by a narrow piece of the route at the board walk entrance. One more thing, lady who stopped at the most narrow point to hug her friend, next time please wait for the family reunion spot or step all the way to the right and not in the middle of the road. She slowed down around 50 runners and she would not move and inch for 30 seconds or so. Let me tell you people weren´t happy about that.
The last bit on the board walk was awesome. A bunch of people cheering and the best part you can see the finish line and you know it is over soon. Behind the finish line with the medal around my neck I grabbed my goodie bag and rushed to the trucks because I was freezing and I needed to stretch. At the handout for my bag I met a friend and chatted for a little bit. After we said goodbye I was on my way home back to New Jersey.
Finish time – 2:04:15 h
Average pace – 9:29 min/mile
Elevation – 245 ft
Calories burned – 1.543 calories
After beating my goal time 2:15h by 11 minutes and feeling amazing afterwards I immediately knew I could have pushed a little harder. Which does not mean I´m upset or something because I loved to have the Brooklyn half marathon as my first and every mile was pure joy for me. I was even surprised that I enjoyed every inch of those 13.1 miles as much as I did and that I didn´t regret doing it for 1 second.
But the perfectionist I am just knows I could have finished in under 2 hours. Now 2 weeks later I know it was the right choice I made and that no one will ever take that experience away from me and not many people can say they ran a half marathon and finished feeling amazing and still have energy left to run another 2-3 miles.
I already analyzed were I lost time and what I can do better next time. I lost most of the time at the water stations because I had to walk them to be able to drink. Guess my next goal is to learn how to drink during running.