Saturday, May 19, 2012
A Race! Brooklyn Half-Marathon
7:19s | 13.1 miles | 58~64°F
This morning I ran the Brooklyn Half-Marathon. I ran it in 1:35:50, amounting to running 7:19s. That’s considerably better than I thought I’d do today!
Here are my Unofficial Garmin Stats:
I didn’t really realize the weather for today’s run until after I finished. It was gorgeous! The temperature was unnoticeable–somewhere in the upper 50s to low 60s–and the skies were clear and cloudless. While I tend to run better in temperatures about 5 to 10 degrees cooler than this, there was nothing to complain about because the weather didn’t seem to play a factor in my race.
I set out this morning thinking I’d hope to do 1:38, or at least a sub-1:40. Not that fast for me but it seemed about where my training was right now. Actually, I was a little slower in training but I figured the race would by its nature pick up my pace, which it did. But also what picked it up was the downhills! A lot of this race was slightly downhill or even explicitly downhill, and I told myself early on in this race to capitalize on the downhills …
Actually, that’s not entirely true. I started this race with a low-expectations mindset. I was doing it more for the fun of it, maybe even the obligation for 9+1, so it was a low-pressure situation. I realized soon after I started I had to pee, and while I could have held it, at the first mile I saw toilets and thought, what the heck. I did the same in the Surf City Marathon at the first mile, and it only consumed about a minute of time. Sure enough, it took me maybe a minute or two.
It was after then that I thought, Heck, let’s see if I can capitalize on the downhills. I used the first time as a way to catch up on some of the time I lost, and it wasn’t long before my average pace was something that was still ahead of what I thought I could do. I told myself to keep a steady pace, but these slight downhills were telling me, Go ahead, push it while you have it.
When I entered Prospect Park, I knew that this was an unknown territory for me. I’d never run it, only biked it, and while I remembered hills, I didn’t know where they’d be and I couldn’t recall how they’d be. It was the first half of my time in the park that was the toughest–and by “toughest” I mean that it wasn’t really that tough. Most of the hills at that point were unsurprising and very low grade. The second half was awesomely downhill.
Up this this point (that is, up to the 10K mark), I’d been running with a pins-and-needles sensation in my left foot. I figured this was because my shoe was probably tied too tightly, though nothing about it seemed extraordinarily tight. Whatever the case, my foot was presumably inflamed in the shoe and it felt as if I had a thick pancake underneath the ball of my foot on top of having the sensation. Just after the 10K mark I pulled over to loosen the laces on my shoe. I set out again only to pull off again because it hadn’t seemed to help, and I loosened the laces some more. It still didn’t seem to work, and I just carried on. I ran some wonderful downhills then and really picked up my pace while I was rolling down the hills.
It wasn’t until around mile 11 that the pins-and-needles sensation cleared. I could even feel it clearly suddenly! I had forgotten about it since the 10K. We were on Ocean Parkway now, a very long stretch of flat, generally slightly downhill roadway that takes you about 5.5 miles to Coney Island. I used numerous stoplights there as motivation to pick up my pace from one to another–nothing too much, but just something to keep me engaged. I was really measuring my breathing, trying to keep up with a guy in Vibrams just ahead of me whom I didn’t want to beat me. I was doing a pretty good job, though I didn’t pass him until about mile 12.
Fortunately I looked at the course map ahead of time, so I knew not to spaz when I hit the 13th mile marker. Usually .1 mile doesn’t seem like a lot, but the map had a couple turns and I knew there would probably be a ramp uphill. There was. I got up it, and the finish was just ahead, only so far away that I could basically do the kind of sprinting I tend to do on the 72nd Street Transverse in Central Park for races that finish there. When a challenger looked as if he was trying to finish in a sprint, I kicked it up another notch and was able to finish in a clearance with no other finishers. I remember slowing down minutely just before the mat, which if I could do over I would just for the sake of discipline. I was relieved that I did so well in this race, both timewise and pacewise, not to mention given my health in the last few days, which has felt dismal in light of what I’ve consumed while I stare at a computer screen doing the copyedit of my book. I have to say, it was nice to get out, even if I was up at 4:15am on 5 hours of sleep!
I consumed 2, 1x caffeine chocolate PowerGels about 10-15 minutes before the race, then had 1, 2x caffeine tangerine PowerGel at mile 9. I had some pretty great splits in this race, and my first mile could have been one of those but I intentionally held myself back after seeing how fast I was going. That was the last time I really held myself back this race!
P.S. I saw Ming!