Saturday, May 22, 2010

The One and Only Brooklyn Half Marathon!

One of the things the New York Road Runners Club does that I actually like a lot is the five borough half-marathon series: a half marathon race in each of New York City's five boroughs. Most years I manage to do at least three out of the five races. The most special of these five races is the Brooklyn half marathon. The Brooklyn half marathon is special for a number of reasons. Firstly, it takes place in Brooklyn, the best borough in New York City. Secondly, it starts in Prospect Park, the best park in New York City. And thirdly, it ends right by the beach in Coney Island. Finishing a race and then going to the beach on a nice warm day is a very good thing indeed. Especially when there are hot dogs and beer close by.

Despite all the great things about the Brooklyn half marathon, I really wasn't in the mood to run it this year. Following a couple of weeks of sleepless nights and a ramp up in my training, I woke up on Saturday morning with tired legs and absolutely no desire to run. Furthermore, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority had conveniently decided to shut down all subway lines going to the start of race, just for this weekend. I arrived at Prospect Park at 6am in a bad mood, feeling like a loser and wishing I was back home in bed.

One of the interesting things I find about racing is all the wierd thoughts that go through my head before and during a race. Running a 13 mile race at hard effort at 7am on a Saturday morning is fundamentally a silly and uncomfortable thing to do. The mind rebels. Here are some of the things that went through my mind:
  • At mile 3, I decided the race was boring, and that I was going to drop out and go home.
  • At mile 5 I saw Prospect Park Track Club coach Tony Watson. I decided he would be mad with me if I dropped out of the race due to boredom, so decided to carry on.
  • At mile 6, I decided I was having a wonderful time, now that the race was starting to hurt a little.
  • At mile 7, I believed I was running such an amazing race, that maybe this would mean I could qualify for Boston in my next marathon.
  • At mile 12, I thought I had a chance of breaking my PR by a minute, so I ran so hard I almost started to vomit, and had to slow down.
Well unfortunately I didn't run quite the spectacular race I was fantasizing about, although I did achieve a PR by 1 second, finishing in 1 hour  47 minutes, 26 seconds. My previous PR was achieved eight years ago, in Central Park. I also managed to run negative splits, averaging a 7:50 pace for the last few miles. Even better, at the end of the race they had chocolate bagels. Brooklyn rocks!


  1. Well done BigBro ! I never ever got bored running a race so that is a first.. though i didn't turn up to Baddow Ten this weekend