Damn. Gotta face the music I guess.
Well, as I mentioned previously-the Brooklyn Half definitely did not go well. Even though I was not expecting a PR (thanks to my actual half-marathon PR being a complete and total outlier) I thought maybe I can salvage a halfway decent race. Not sure if last year’s 1:42 would be in reach, but did feel that 1:45 was a reasonable goal. And I was ready to take the race on.
So I don’t know, even the morning of felt “off” in a way. Thankfully, I didn’t have too much trouble waking up (before 4 AM!) since I did go to sleep reasonably early the night before. Even though I’m in midtown now instead of the UWS, I still elected to take the Flyers‘ bus from the UWS, as we all know how unpredictible the MTA is on weekends, especially early mornings on weekends, especially in Brooklyn. And that also meant I would be cabbin’ it uptown. But it didn’t help that seemingly every cab was off-duty and of course I got nervous. One off-duty cab stopped but after I told him my destination, said he couldn’t go to the UWS. Eventually there was one who figured it wouldn’t kill him to drive 30 blocks! So I did get to the bus in time. However, once the bus was en route to Brooklyn…more nerves and unsettledness. Instead of taking the West Side Highway to the tunnel as has been done in the past, the bus decided to trek through the city streets to the Manhattan Bridge, just adding more travel time. As we were advised to check our bags by 6:20 and be in our corrals by 6:40 (race start was 7), we were really cutting it close. Finally we got to Prospect Park, but it seemed like the driver had no clue where to let us off…I think everyone wanted off the bus by that time. Figured it out, and once we we got off the bus I made a mad dash for the baggage area. Seemed like I barely had enough time to check my bag and get to my corral (thank god I didn’t have to take care of other business…may have been no time for that!) So yeah, waitin’ for the start…
And it began. Knowing mile 1 would be a little downhill, I tried to keep it cool, and not get caught up with what others were doing, given there were quite a few miles worth of hills for me to deal with. And as my mile 1 split was only 1 second off from last year’s race, I felt it was off to a good start. And then mile 2 and evil hill, part 1 happened. Looks like my long run of 4 trips up that hill didn’t work this time, as this mile was about 15 seconds slower than last year, and I had a feeling that it was going to be a tough day. Just figured I could make up the time on the downhills…and bide my time til Ocean Parkway. And once again, I decided it was gonna be a 2-gel day, as the humdity was deadly (close to 100%? not sure if i quite believe that though…) So all in all, I was through 7 miles in 56:06…7 seconds behind goal, but I could make that up in the remaining 6.1 miles right?
Or…not. Mile 8 included the on-ramp to Ocean Parkway (which definitely felt more uphill this year) and that was 8:15…OK, now 22 seconds behind schedule. I’d have to do 7:55’s or better for the remainder in order to get 1:45. Given that I negative split this race last year, I thought it could have been doable, but not today. I don’t know why or how, but my legs just went dead. Nothing I could say or do could wake them up. No water, Gatorade or PowerGel. They were just stuck in that one slow gear and couldn’t seem to shift gears and go faster. I was roadkill on Ocean Parkway with everyone and their mother passing me and I just wanted this to be over…but it couldn’t be over fast enough, as every single mile split was getting slower.
Thankfully, somewhere in mile 12, Flyer JA caught up to me and as I kinda had signs I wasn’t doing too well, he kept me company for a mile, was encouraging while just letting me run (though I was somewhat amused when he told me at mile 12 that it was just “4 1/2 laps of the track to go” 🙂 OK, maybe that may make the last 1.1 go by faster!) It did help, as I was able to speed up a little bit for miles 12 and 13, though sub-8’s were definitely out by that point. Finally, Ocean Parkway came to an end and we were able to turn right onto Surf Avenue, then up an evil on-ramp to the boardwalk (which again, definitely felt steeper this year…or maybe my legs were just shot by that point!) Dr. Evil was taking pictures and had to comment afterwards that I wasn’t smiling whereas others would…um if you were feeling as crappy as I was, you wouldn’t be smiling.
So, on the boardwalk I did remember one thing I learned from last year, and stayed on the straight boards as long as possible, as they were much, much more stable than the slanted ones. I looked down at Mr. Garmin at the mile 13 marker and saw that I may possibly be able to get under 1:47, but I’d have to hustle…so I did the best I could given the boardwalk surface…but missed by 2 seconds. 1:47:01, 8:10 pace. So glad this was over. But I guess there’s nothing like a Coney Island beach party to drown my sorrows…which may or may not have included dipping my legs in the ocean several times, eating Nathan’s hot dogs, hanging out at Beer Island (which didn’t open til 11 AM this year!), riding the Cyclone (which was scary but less torturous than running the race, lol!), chilling out on the beach, not getting back to Manhattan until it was about time for the much-rumored Rapture….
…and given it was a long day, I crashed mad early for a Saturday night and slept like a baby. But Sunday, and the day after, and the day after that, the disappointment of the day just came back to me. If I had to have a bad race, I would have liked for there to be a fixable reason. But this time? There was no excuse for my legs to have just gone dead as they did. And even though it was humid, it wasn’t brutally hot, therefore I most likely can’t blame the weather. Plus, I was hearing stories of people who PR’ed without really training, or not putting in any double-digit runs…dammit, I put in the work. Compared to last March/April/May, my mileage was higher this year. Long runs? All there-10 miles, 11, 12, 13-even 14 and 15 miles. And since March, I had been doing speedwork twice a week. Torrential storms with lightning? Hit the dreadmill for intervals (and I never do speedwork on the dreadmill!) Can’t make the workout for whatever reason? Get the plan B to do in the morning (thankfully this time around it’s not quite pulling teeth to get that info!) Despite the struggles this winter, once I got over the hump I wasn’t slacking off-little discouraging to be “rewarded” with my slowest half-marathon time in a few years (not counting the ones that were strictly training/MP runs)
But I really wanted a race that would have shown that I’m not kidding myself thinking I can BQ this fall…to BQ means I would have to run the pace for this half-marathon for a full (I really don’t think 3:40 is going to cut it for me, i’m gonna need 3:35 or better) So not exactly a confidence booster…