Tuesday, May 24, 2016

2016 Airbnb Brooklyn Half-Marathon

2016 Airbnb Brooklyn Half-Marathon

Round 2! Saturday May 21st I laced up and ran my second half-marathon. For some reason this race was an extremely emotional race. Lots of tears and internal conversations with myself and God. However, this was definitely a much better experience than last year. However, of course there were shenanigans and setbacks leading up to the start line. 
I have to be completely honest and admit that my training this year was not up to par. Last year I had a coach and averaged 20-30 miles a week. This year I barely broke 15 miles a week. This lack of training made a substantial difference in my overall performance on race day. However, I had a few factors play into my training plan. This year I trained in Brooklyn utilizing Prospect Park and Eastern Parkway, during day light hours. With a busy schedule this is extremely difficult. Last year I had access to Central Park and the West Side running path and was able to run at nights after work. This year I didn't feel comfortable running in Prospect Park at night. Central Park is pretty crowded at night and home to a lot of running clubs and NYPD presence, making it a safe place to run at night. Prospect Park is not the same. Because of this I ran in the morning before work and after work before it got dark. This limited the distance I could cover in one run. I had to do split runs some days to cover distances longer than 4 miles. So my training was a bit off.

You may recall last year I shared that I got sick and had issues with my ankle. This time I didn't get sick but I did deal with issues with my ankle again. A few things impacted my ankle, inflammation and the support of my shoe. I'm a big fan of Jack Rabbit running store in New York for buying shoes. They measure your feet and have you run on the treadmill while they video tape it so they can access the fit and performance of the shoe. I've always done this, but this year decided to run in a brand new pair of the shoe that I ran in last year -- Brooks Ravenna 6. Excellent shoe for support, but heavy for lift off which adds pressure to my ankle. I juiced heavily, along with icing, elevation and lots of Bayer, and I felt the difference and was pain free on race day. 

Now for the shenanigans -- I broke a few rules this year to gain a necessary advantage......

Last year I couldn't understand how I was so behind and missed out on all the crucial things like water stations and running on the Prospect Expressway :) So I looked into the rules set by New York Road Runners (organization that manages the race) and I learned that there is a time limit for this race. 

In the interest of safety, and to allow Brooklyn streets to reopen as scheduled, the Airbnb Brooklyn Half will have a three-hour time limit. Participants who are not able to maintain a 13:45-per-mile pace (based on the time when the last runner in wave 2 crosses the start line) will have the opportunity to board a sweep bus starting at mile 7 for transport to the post-finish area at Coney Island. These participants may choose instead to continue running on the sidewalks, but they should be aware that fluid stations and other course amenities may not be available, although they will be able to cross the finish line.

Ah ha! So last year I was in Wave 2, Section J. Wave 2 takes of at 7:45am. Because I was in Section J I didn't take off until about 8:20 ish. So I was one of the last people to cross the finish line. That's why the roads closed on me while I was running. This year I was determined to not let that happen. Well of course once again these mofo's assigned me to Wave 2, Section J. Hell No! Absolutely not! So my friends and I decided that we would arrive early and sneak into the Wave 1 group which leaves at 7am. That would give me enough time to at least get through the park and get to the Prospect Expressway. So we arrived at 6:20 ready to go into Wave 1. However the officials were checking bibs intensely. Luckily my two friends who had Wave 1 bibs decided that one of them would swap with me, because they are much faster and would pick up time and be able to finish earlier. So I swapped bibs with my friend and entered with a Wave 1, Section E bib. I managed to move up to Section C. I took off at 7:10.

I took off pretty fast and averaged between 13-16 minutes per a mile for the first 7 miles, even with a bathroom break. When I exited Prospect Park at mile 7 I heard my Nike App say I was averaging 16:02 per a mile. I screamed yes and the water works began. I was an emotional basket case. At one point as I was running up Flatbush Avenue (before entering Prospect Park) I was pretty much running by myself and there were cheering sections with people who gave me high fives and told me to keep going. That brought out lots of tears :)

Everything was on point and I was on pace to finish in about 3 hours and 50 minutes. All of that changed right after I crossed Mile 8. My calves and right ankle were okay, but I had a burning sensation on my soles that I just couldn't run through. I ended up walking from mile 9 to the last 800 meters, where the hospitality truck and police escorts caught up to me LOL. It was all good though, I ran the last 800 meters and crossed the finish line at 4:25. Not bad! I have no complaints and know that my body will only get stronger and I'll become a better runner. 

I am extremely determined to nail this race. I feel confident that I can condition my body and run this race in under 3 hours. I plan to reach out to a running coach in the next few days and figure out a plan to get myself training this summer so that I can properly train for this race next February. 

Interesting Tidbit -- I learned that The Airbnb Brooklyn Half-Marathon is now the largest half-marathon in the US.

Share your thoughts....

1) Did you run the Brooklyn Half-Marathon or any other races recently?
2) Do you have any personal fitness goals?
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