NYRR Brooklyn Half Marathon 13.1M

May 3, 2008

NYRR Brooklyn Half Marathon 13.1M (Q)
Coney Island, Brooklyn, NY
Saturday, May 3, 2008

Official time
1:32:51 (7:05 pace)

Mile marker: lap/split
Mile 1: 6:12/6:12
Mile 2: 6:27/12:39
Mile 3: 6:38/19:17
Mile 4: 6:47/26:04
Mile 5: 6:52/32:56
Mile 6: 7:35/40:31
Mile 7: 7:03/47:34
Mile 8: 7:06/54:40
Mile 9: 6:57/1:01:37
Mile 10: 7:47/1:09:24
Mile 11: 7:48/1:17:12
Mile 12: 7:14/1:24:26
Mile 13: 7:50/1:32:16
Mile 13.1: 0:38/1:32:54

I have now officially completed my first half marathon!  This would have been hard to imagine just a few months ago.  The race itself, however, did not go very well.

According to HopStop it takes about 1 hour 15 minutes to get to Brighton Beach, a subway stop on the Q train near the starting line; I got there in less than an hour.  I figured that if the organized buses left the Upper East Side at 6:00, I should probably leave my apartment on the Upper West Side at around the same time.  I managed to arrive at 7:00 before any of the buses arrived and shivered on a park bench in the breezy and overcast 49 degree weather for almost 2 hours.  Shivering is an understatement — call it convulsions — I drew stares.

My breakfast on the subway consisted of an apple danish, half-banana, and most of a 20 oz. bottle of Gatorade.  The night before I ate spaghetti with meatballs from a local pizza shop.  This was pretty much in line with my race prep in previous races.

As the race start time approached I got in the long line for the porta-potties.  Almost as soon as I finished I had to go again yet I figured maybe I could just hold it (1.5 hours?).  I took a few paces up and down the boardwalk to get acquainted with the atypical wooden running surface and made my way to my corral.

My short-lived goal from the Run for the Parks 4M two weeks ago was to make the time for the first blue corral; I succeeded with a 6:19/mi pace.  However, the wearing of a blue bib was decidedly an underwhelming experience.

The race horn sounded and, ready or not, I ran.  I finished mile 1 at a quick yet relaxed 6:12 pace, but at mile 2 I felt two pinches in my stomach.  Uh oh.  By mile 3 I was undoubtedly cramping and I started to fade, as reflected in my lap times above.  I held on the best I could.

Down the road a runner pointed at an object laying in the road and, not knowing what it was, I jumped over it.  Turns out it was a $20 bill.  I thought about the cost-benefit of turning around but kept running — not enough benefit.  Maybe for a $50!

At mile 6 — the first opportunity — I stopped for the porta-potty behind a hydration station and managed to walk in on someone (wasn’t even a runner).  I dashed into the next porta-potty, then grabbed some Gatorade, and rejoined the race at a cost of at least 40 seconds.  It felt like a Formula 1 pit stop.

During the race I observed other runners — their attire, shoes, stride — but couldn’t make any generalizations.  Each runner had his or her own uniqueness.

Until mile 9 the course remained flat but then began the hilly loop of Prospect Park.  Considering the cramping and my stride disintegrating into a waddle, I was surprised to be knocking back mile times of around 7 minutes.  In Prospect Park, however, the hills proved to be too much and I had to take breaks to stretch.  Maybe it was just coincidence, but my previous longest race was 9 miles and the remaining 4 mile distance also happened to be new racing territory for me.  My mile times soon fell deep into the 7s.  I finished the race in 1:32:54.

This was my first race with my brand new Garmin Forerunner 405.  I’m very pleased with the watch but have a few reservations regarding the software.  For example, the Garmin Training Center does not calculate splits (as listed above) — I needed to do this myself in Excel.  The mapping is also fairly primitive: running on the Coney Island boardwalk is mapped a few hundred yards into the Atlantic Ocean (this was fixed when exported to Google Earth).  My qualms are minor given how much information I gain in real time wearing the GPS watch.

In other highlights, Mary Wittenberg, CEO of New York Road Runners, grazed my back before the race and that was kind of awesome.

A lot went wrong today.  I had the bad luck of side cramps and a forced bathroom break, but I was under-trained for which I can only blame myself.  I had run only a few longer runs in preparation – none at race pace – and just one over 13.1 miles.  I don’t mean to come across ungrateful, but this was certainly one race I’d like to have over.  I see potential at this distance.

In related news, Filly Eight Belles broke down at the Kentucky Derby and was later euthanized on the track.  I’m glad the consequnces weren’t so severe in Brooklyn!  I’ll be back…with a PR.


One Response to “NYRR Brooklyn Half Marathon 13.1M”

  1. Laura said

    Wow, that’s an incredible pace for your first half – congrats! And I agree that I’d love a do-over today… I used some poor racing strategy that could have made this race a lot better for me. Looking forward to next year!

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