Posts Tagged ‘brooklyn half-marathon’

Ah yes, a fabulous case of deja vu.  Once again, got to the race just hoping to cross the finish line a minute or two under last best time, I was thinking 2:10-ish. Admittedly, I was a little nervous because of my recent bout with exhaustion, having only run once in the past (I am so ashamed) eight days.  And, the Brooklyn Half-Marathon course is fantastically obnoxious — flatness for the first nine miles, then non-stop hills for the last four — which made me indecisive about my race strategy. But, and I can’t wait to tell you: I finished this half in 2:06:02, a PR by more than six and a half minutes.

Now that I’ve blurted out my best news, I can settled down to my race report.  Husband gets mad props for getting up at 7 AM to drive me to Coney Island, because otherwise I’d have had to get up at an ungodly hour and endure nearly two hours on the subway to get to the boardwalk.  The start was gorgeous, next to the yellow beach and the glittering ocean. NYRR has begun lining us up by corralls (based on your previous race times) to ease congestion, and that seemed to go very smoothly.  The two-plus miles run on the boardwalk, though, were treacherous.  I’m not kidding–EN and I easily saw half a dozen folks take face-plants as their shoes got caught on the loose or rotting boards. Yikes.  Even though it was scenic, I was relieved when we finally got onto Ocean Avenue. These first few miles EN and I were shooting for 10-minute miles, but they ended up averaging around 10:20’s.  But, out speed picked up on the pavement, and we ran consistently between 9:45’s and 9:30’s almost until the park (around mile 9).

I was really looking forward to the half-way point, at Ocean Avenue and Avenue J, because that’s where my family would be cheering for me.  You see, my Nana’s sister lives right there, and my folks were bringing my Nana from Hicksville to come see me run, with a whole boisterious coterie of Italian-American extended family members in tow. Well, we saw and heard them from more than a block away. I pulled out from the pack and started waving, they recognized me right off and went bonkers. I was half-expecting them to be banging pots and pans, like we used to do on New Year’s Eve.  I ran right for my Nana, since I just wanted to give her a big hug and kiss.  It was like my wedding — the whole group of them were videotaping and snapping photographs as if I was walking down the aisle, god bless ’em. Then, it was right back into the stream of runners. I was elated from seeing my family for at least a couple miles. [After the race, some guy I’d never met before said to me, “That was quite a cheering squad you had on Ocean Avenue!” And I later learned that apart from my mom, Nana and aunt, everyone else stayed and cheered until the last walker went by. Now that’s fabulous!]

Before we knew it we were in Prospect Park, grimacing at the prospect of the hills that awaited us (and grimacing at my bad pun?). We passed our TNT coaches easily four times, always a welcome distraction. Now, probably, those hills still would have sucked, but maybe not as badly, if we hadn’t been posting 9-minute miles. At least, they sucked for me, not so sure for EN who kept chattering away as if I wasn’t completely panting like a fat man who just climbed ten flights of steps. I think it was mile 10-11, or maybe 11-12, that is mostly downhill; that one we ran close to an 8:30 pace. Apart from that, the only other good thing about the park leg were all the cheering hipsters (I didn’t know cheering was ironic). The hills came one after the other and it was impossible for me to catch my breath the last mile and a half. Of course, if I’d been moderating my effort level on the hills, I probably wouldn’t have been that out of breath, but by mile 10 we’d decided to go for broke (real scientific race strategy, aye?) and I could feel I wasn’t going to bonk or anything like that. Just pant, wheeze, and otherwise force my lungs to capacity. Four times EN asked me if I was ready to kick, and it wasn’t until the 100M mark where I trusted myself to.  At this point, for me, the only benefit in kicking was that it would get the whole wheezing/panting thing over with sooner.

And finally, we crossed the finish line! I couldn’t speak; fuck, I could barely breathe. Gatorade. Baggage. Dry shirt. Stretch.  Yay!  We met some former TNT teammates for pizza at this awesome joint called Enzo’s (we just explored & found it nearby). Then: subway, hot shower, Husband, and dog.

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I am definitely a girl who needs her daily dose of sun; I think it’s just one of the bunches of reasons why road running is such a good fit for me.  My Type-A personality is usually strong enough to get me to work on time even on rainy, overcast mornings.  Not today, though.  Today tested all my resolves (Yes, resolves with an S: I had to tap into my plural reserves to pull myself through this day).

Normally, running home in the rain is a test of my toughness.  I have the bridge to myself, the rumble and screech of traffic is muffled by the soft swish and patter of precipitation.  This afternoon, though I just wanted to wrap a big blanket around me and take car service home, rocked into a 5 PM nap by a Lincoln Town Car.  No time, though, for the comfy way out: at 5:15 I still hadn’t left, and I had to make it home for my 6 PM FreshDirect delivery.  Quickest way home: 32:24 minutes on foot, but those same 3.5 miles would have taken an hour in a car, and 45 minutes on the subway.

Of course, it ended up not being nearly as chilly and wet as I’d anticipated, and I do believe the cooler temps even helped me pick up the pace.  I’m hoping to get in a Wednesday and Thursday run, since Saturday is the Brooklyn Half-Marathon.  How is everyone getting there, by the way?  The whole thing gives me agita. There’s no easy way from Sunnyside, Queens.  Would love to catch a ride or share cab fare with anyone who’s heading there from LIC, Sunnyside, or Woodside…

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Today marks the sixth day in a row that I’ve run, and my body felt it.  This week and next week will be intense (for me) as I ramp up a bit for the Brooklyn Half on May 3rd.  But, today when I left my office building my second thought was: tomorrow, you rest. (My first thought was, I should have been home by now to feed & walk poor Matilda.) I ran towards my day off, and I think it made me faster. 3.5 miles in 30:24 (8:41 pace).  Or maybe it was the fact that I caught hardly any lights.

But once I was on the bridge, almost immediately I decided to dedicate my run to my Auntie.  She lives in Florida year round with Uncle, and every winter I hear from her about how there’s suddenly a waiting list at the library for the bestsellers, she has to park miles away from grocery store entrance, get to church earlier than usual to snag her normal pew, and make reservations and restaurants. Because of the Snowbirds, of course.  Sometime around 5:45 PM I knew first hand what she was talking about.  Because the pedestrian and cyclist lane of the Queensborough Bridge — my bridge, the bridge I ran over all winter long, through wind and rain and freezing temperatures, through the dark and the gloom — was jam-packed with recreationists.  I don’t know what else to call them.  They were like a hapless invading militia, kitted out with mismatched, secondhand bikes or outfitted in shiny new running gear, coming through in the wrong lane, veering everywhere.  I wanted to stomp indignantly and say, Where you when I was I was running with a little pile of sleet on my head?? But really: when the world lays one on ya like it did today, who can blame you for striding or pedalling out into it? The sun was too warm, the breeze to sweet for me to hold a grudge for long.

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I have noticed a somewhat disturbing-yet-still-giving-me-hope-for-the-future kind of trend on this blog: the posts about the eldery get the most traffic.  I’m not kidding.  The post about my 92-year old Nana is my second-most popular.  The post about the 101-year old limey marathoner–more comments than usual.  Now, news about athletes who could technically be parents of masters athletes catches my eye.  Thus, I would like to post the kudos to another aged athlete out there who is winning his age group (albeit in another sport).

One of my industry’s daily newsletters, Shelf Awareness, featured this capsule in its contents today:

Congratulations to Stanley R. Greenfield, owner and founder of …[blah blah blah–PF]…. Stanley recently won third place in the U.S. Squash Racquets Association’s national championship in the 80+ division!

Stanley R. Greenfield, an inspiration to all of us laggardly whippersnappers.  Sarcasm aside, my girl Sarah actually may soon win her age group — at her current 20-something age.  Oh yes, it’s true: read her race report and find out what she can do (even after a few beers the night before.  Ah, youth.).

Me, no hopes of winning my age group, unless I’m running a race where I happen to be the only competitor in my age group. Fat chance of that happening in New York City.  But yet, I press on, signing up for races willy-nilly, unable to resist the lure of running with the sweaty, grunting pack (or, depending on the event, behind the sweaty, grunting pack). If you look to my Upcoming Races sidebar over there on the right, you’ll see I’ve signed up for this year’s New York City JP Morgan/Chase Corporate Challenge.  As if my daily 8-6 grind isn’t corporately challenging enough, as if I don’t already spend 10 hours a day chasing deadlines, materials, projects.  I’ve had to go and add the (admittedly delicious) pressure of appearing in shorts, singlet and pigtails in front of my (mostly likely speedier & skinnier) company breatheren. At least I have three months to train.

And, just to tie up the loose ends, I am still in for the Brooklyn Half, even though they’ve gone & moved it back a week on me.  Now my next 13.1-mile gasp will be on May 3rd. 

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