Posts Tagged ‘prospect park’

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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