Friday, May 23, 2014

2014 brooklyn half marathon: race report

one very funny coincidence is worth noting at the outset - almost to the day, two months after the nyc half marathon, i ran the identical race at the brooklyn half (albeit one second faster in brooklyn!  except for the wide disparity in temperature (teeth chattering cold at the start of nyc half), the race played out with practically identical splits!

aside from finishing it faster than last year's 1:45, i didn't have a time goal in mind.  i would have like to run sub 1:40, but that wasn't in the cards.  it would be race #4 of my 9+1 for the 2015 nyc marathon.  the brooklyn half is one of my all-time favorites (easily among my top five races) and i really enjoy running the course.  in fact, brooklyn was my very first half marathon way back in 2001 - in the days the course ran in the opposite direction, from coney island to prospect park!

logistically, however, the race isn't that much fun to contend with.  i didn't mind the early wake-up and drive in (i met up w/tony, jeanette, alan, and anne at 5:10 - and they had gotten underway at 4:45)! but the blocks long walk to enter via the security checkpoints located just beyond the very last corral and the blocks long walk back to the front of the corral and then onto the baggage check was a drag (though it did have the unintended effect of serving as a warm-up).  the low point of the morning, however, was baggage check - both at start and finish.

i don't like to harp on negatives -- but i was at the baggage truck at 6:20 - with dozens of other runners waiting for our bags to be taken - and, astonished, watched the truck doors closed despite repeated pleas to take our bags (and even some intrepid soles tossed their bags into the trucks helter skelter).  we were all relegated to the late baggage truck - which now had the runners from the 3 departing trucks to contend with.  and the confused scene of 100s of runners randomly tossing their bags onto that truck was more than unsettling.

on the walk over to my corral all i kept wondering was whether i'd ever see my phone and car keys at the finish.  but aside from baggage, everything else about the day was fantastic.  i love the idea of having porta-johns in the corrals (best race amenity since the invention of sliced bread - haha)!  the first person i saw in my corral was my taconic rr teammate, eliot.  a few minutes later, alan came in - having also tossed his gear on the late baggage truck.  while in the corral i had drank a bottle of water and ate a package of power gel gummies.  then we were off.

i really like the new course design that runs a couple of miles outside the park - up to and back from grand army plaza - before heading into the park.  ostensibly, this was mapped out to handle the increased number of runner (and avoid the lapping problem that would arise under the old course).  the number of finishers this years exceeded 25,000 - a sharp increase from last years 20,000+ runners!  that's an impressive number of runners taking to the streets of brooklyn!

as for the race itself, here are the splits:

5k  23:37
5m  39:46
10k  49:23
15k  1:14:24
10m  1:19:49
20k  1:38:21
13.1m  1:43:23

7:54 pace

despite a crowded and slow first mile (8:00), i was almost a minute ahead of my nyc half 5k split (24:11) - but quickly gave back those 40 seconds on the prospect park hills.  the 10k split finishing up the prospect park loop was now 2 seconds off the nyc half split (49:21).  i lost another 10 seconds by the time i reached the 15k split and at 10 miles was a solid 23 seconds off my split at the nyc half (1:19:26).

but with the help of a 2x caffeine gu at mile eight, which final kicked in, i made up 30 seconds over the last 5k and actually finished 1 second ahead of my nyc half time.  when i crossed the finish i didn't remember my nyc half finish - but guessed they were within seconds of each other.  my watch read 1:19:25, which as it turned out was 2 seconds slower than my official time.  when i finally looked up my times i couldn't help smiling.

but before i checked out results, tony, jeanette, alan, michelle and i headed back to the boardwalk for a couple of beers to rehydrate.  the bar, ruby's, had a fantastic view of the finish line and the crowds cheering on the runners as they crossed it. for the record, i had a mermaid pilsner (which was so hoppy that i would have sworn it was an ipa!).  all in all, it was a great day to run a half marathon - and finish up at the beach :D

here are my race photos.

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