The day finally came and then went, the NYRR Brooklyn half marathon. This was my goal race of the year. In 2011, I took 6:00 off a soft half marathon time. I had never run the half very well. This year I planned to continue the PR trend and focus my training for 4.5 months with Coach John Henwood to get my time down further, to a 1:40. I ran a 1:44 with only 4 days of low mileage training a week so training 6-7 and with focus should easily get me there.
Working with John was whole new experience, far harder workouts, far more long runs. I am no doubt overall stronger and without injury! I was nervous two weeks before the race because I was tired and stressed out. My taper week was a 14 miler on the Sunday, a 75:00 on Tuesday, 45:00 Wednesday, 40:00 Thursday and Friday off. I got a nice 9 hours of sleep the night before, I ate a good breakfast and I was ready to race.
I took a cab to the start with David and Patrick. That was a mess, with 16,000 people trying to get to Brooklyn by 6:00am on Saturday traffic was a mess. What should have taken 10:00, took 40:00. We eventually got out and walked. We got to the baggage check just as they were breaking down the tables at 6:20. I think my bag was the last to go in the truck, thousands of people missed out. The toilet lines were 50 people deep and the stress of waiting was way too much. The guys were all going to the trees, so I followed the trend. At the first tree I ran into a Front Runner Buddy, Dave and joked, “fancy meeting you here.” Went on the other side of tree and did my business. Because of nerves my mouth was very dry and I really wanted water, but I could not find any.
We had to be in the corrals by 6:40 but I wanted a decent warm up. I jogged for 10:00 or so, and once I saw I could get in and out of the corral, I found a nice side street to do some strides.
I stood in the corral for at least 15:00 before the start. When the gun went off, it was over 3:00 to shuffle to the start. We began with a hairpin left turn and nice slight downhill. I was very relaxed for the first 5k. I felt good and thought I was running conservative. John told me to run 7:40-7:45 pace. My first 5K was 23:35, 7:35 pace. A bit fast but there were some good long downhills. I was at 10K at 48:37, 7:49. I was feeling good, relaxed, it was a lot slower but that was all the big hills. My right quad started that burning thing again going up the hill but I relaxed slowed down and did not freak out knowing I could make up the time and knowing my quad would be fine. After the park the hills would subside and I would be on pace for my 1:40. But I was wrong. I kept getting slower. At mile 9 I had to use the toilet. This has never happened to me in a race ever, but it was not a surprise. I did not do all the business behind that tree. I lost :53 but no problem I would pick it up.
The only good mile after mile 9 was the last one, somehow I pulled off a 7:26. My final time was exactly, and I mean exactly the same time I ran in 2011, 1:44:23, way off my goal. The competition was much more fierce this year, I came in 26th out of 321 in my age group. Out of the 7,071 women who raced, 6,386 younger than me, I managed to beat 6,448 of the total. The number of women racers really drops off at 40, what the heck happens to them?
I wanted to beat myself, my one year younger and far less mileage self, but it did not happen. And yes I was angry. I was angry for all the times I went to bed at 9:00 rather than see friends, all the extra money I spent on massage so that I could do a workout. All the workout that left me on the sofa for the remainder of the day. But now two days later, I am happy for my new found strength. I am happy for all the runs with new friends from John’s Henwood Hounds Racing Team. I am especially grateful for my great friends David and Patrick who went on more 18 mile runs with me that any sane person should do. I am happy to not be hurt. I am happy to feel strong. I am happy I got a chance to run this again, but no more BK half, it is a zoo. Oh and I was happy to jump in the ultra cold, 59 degree, Atlantic Ocean! But yes, I am still a little pissed about my time.