Race Recap | airbnb Brooklyn Half Marathon

My alarm went off at 4:15am on Saturday morning and I had no problem waking up. My bedtime the night before was 10pm, so I was fully rested and ready to start eating preparing for 13.1 miles from Prospect Park to Coney Island. I had a half a bagel with almond butter, half a banana and a coffee. I packed a water bottle with a nuun in it to drink on the way to Coney Island, and then another full water bottle to have ready for post-race in my car.

The logistics of getting to this race from anywhere other than Brooklyn or Manhattan were daunting, and just flat-out annoying. According to nyrr.org, and various friends that I spoke to the best thing to do would be to drive to Coney Island (the finish line) and park there, and get on the subway BACK to Prospect Park (the starting line) in time for a 7am start. The corrals were supposed to close around 6:45am, so hence the 5am departure from Manhasset.

I met Astrid in the NY Aquarium parking lot, which was quickly filling up with runners. We were all going to the same place, so it was easy to follow the crowds to the Q train, and then hop off at the right place near Prospect Park. However, we still had a ways to go to find Wave 1, and the roads weren’t very clearly marked. When we finally found Wave 1, we still had to wait in line for the bathrooms, and they were SO long. We heard the National Anthem playing in the distance, and heard the start, but we weren’t anywhere near the starting line. We started walking, and you could see the starting line up ahead around a turn, so I fixed my outfit/phone/Gus, got my tunes rolling, and double checked my laces. Around 7:15am, we were off!

red face, but feeling good coming out of Prospect Park

red face, but feeling good coming out of Prospect Park

The first few miles were rolling hills, and I made such an effort to hold myself back pace-wise. In the past that has always been my biggest issue (going out too fast) so I was determined to get to mile 5 without any major efforts, just nice and easy breezy. It was CROWDED. It also felt like a lot of people were running side-by-side which is super annoying. I made a game-time decision to skip my vanilla bean Gu, and just start on my Gu Chomps (gummies) instead around mile 5. I took 2 every 2 miles, and that seemed to work just fine.

Around mile 6, you run out of Prospect Park and start to head to the straight away portion of the race. My race plan was to gradually pick it up every mile starting at 8, but I could see that my splits were hitting between 9:10 and 8:55, so it was going to take a super fast second half to actually PR. It was also raining, but I truthfully don’t think it made a difference. It kept me nice and cool.

At mile 11, something happened that shook me up really badly. I could see a crowd forming on the right side of the road, and as I approached, I saw that it was a group of EMTs and an ambulance. On the ground was a younger looking guy, and they were administering CPR, and had an oxygen mask on his face. The group of runners I was with all slowed down, and we sort of creeped along the side of the group, nervously passing them, but I think wanting to know what had happened. 20 seconds prior I was looking at my watch worried about stupid pacing, and here was a guy who was in need of serious medical help. How could that not put things in perspective? I think if I had seen someone I knew at that moment, I would have started crying, it just really shook me up and emotionally hit me hard. I focused on finishing the last 2 miles, but I was really worried about what had happened to the guy. (Note: there isn’t anything online about it, so I am hoping he ended up being ok).

Mile 12 starts winding towards Coney Island, and you can start to see the roller coasters, and the crowds were getting louder. I loved the finish (even though my mind wasn’t quite there), and running across the boardwalk was such a cool view. The fact that I crossed in UNDER 2 HOURS made it even better. When I ran the NYC Half in March I ran 2:04, so with my 6-week Race Pace training plan with Coach Jess, I cut my time by around 6 minutes. Huge! My official time from Saturday was 1:58.

All smiles at the finish

All smiles at the finish

Now comes some complaints. I know that this is one of the larger NYRR races and that is takes an insane amount of logistics to organize a race of this size, BUT:

– How about something other than an apple or a pretzel at the finish?! No bagels? No Gatorade? No water bottles? I wish we had been handed a bag of food, much like the NYC Half. That was disappointing and I was STARVING.

– No one at NYRR told us that we couldn’t leave our parking lot until 11:30am. This made a lot of people VERY angry, as we had finished running by 9:30/9:45 and had to sit and wait, since we were on the same side of the street as the finishing runners. There should have been signs letting us know. Astrid and I grabbed some Grimaldi’s pizza and a Peroni while we waited, because beer and pizza is ALWAYS THE ANSWER at 10am on a race day

Those are my only complaints. Yes, it was crowded. Yes, the parking situation (and overall race logitics) totally sucked coming from Long Island. Yes, I wish I could have chowed down on a bagel or a banana when I crossed the finish line. But the most important thing is that I finished what I started. Another one in the books!

finish cyclone

Week 6 | Brooklyn Half Training – Taper & Goals!

The past six weeks seemed to have FLOWN by. From my first phone call with coach Jess to picking up my bib at the best expo every yesterday, my Brooklyn half training plan was just plain FUN. CrossFit definitely took a backseat as I ramped up to running 4-5x a week, versus just 2 or 3 when I was marathon training. Yes, when I was FULL marathon training I ran less per week. Yikes. Anyway, suffice to say, I am ready for 13.1 miles through Brooklyn tomorrow morning.

Now, for goals. Oh, goals. I love you.

Safety goal – Sub 2:00. I’ve done this before, last year at the NYC Half, and I feel super confident that sub 2:00 is possible tomorrow, even with rain, even if something goes wrong, even if I don’t feel “great”.

Goal-goal – PR! Run faster than a 1:54.

Reach goal – 1:4X ????????? Maybe not tomorrow, but maybe sometime this year?!

Now my taper week re-cap. Running? What running? LOL.

Monday– Last long run! 6 miles through Marsh Landing. Florida is humid and hot, but I was still at my goal-pace of 8:30 for my tempo miles.
Tuesday– Umm. Sat by the pool. And the beach. This was rest to the REST.
Wednesday– Travel day, nothing.
Thursday– Umm, taper? Nothing. Nothing. Traveled out to Brooklyn to the best expo ever. I wish I could have spent more time out on Pier 2 enjoying all of the airbnb and New Balance fun.

love a good bib-pickup-picture

love a good bib-pickup-picture

Friday– Went to CrossFit to roll it out, stretch, row a little and ran one easy, peasy mile.
Saturday– RACE DAY! RACE DAY! HAVE FUN EVERYONE!

Week 5 | Brooklyn Half Training

Week 5 was my last week of real work before taper time and race week! Here’s how it went.

Monday – CrossFit – easy 2K recovery row after the Long Island 10K (PR!), some back squats and push-ups.
Tuesday – Fartlek run: 2 mins on, 2 mins off times FOUR. This was a tough workout for me. I warmed up, and when I was hitting the “on” two mins, I was pacing around 7:45/7:50. When I was “off”, a few times I had to walk for 15/20 seconds to get my breathing back under control. ~4 miles of work
Wednesday – REST
Thursday – Tempo Thursday! My splits were 9:39/9:17,8:49, 8:53, 8:45/9:22. This was a pretty hilly morning run, and my last “long” tempo run until the race.

love my driveway art!

love my driveway art!

Friday – Flew down to Florida for vacation, so Friday became an unplanned rest day, even though I was supposed to do around 4 miles of workout. Ya win some, ya lose some!
Saturday – The Players at Sawgrass. No running!

17th Hole at Sawgrass

17th Hole at Sawgrass

Sunday – Mother’s Day run with my mom straight to the best diner in Florida! ~ 4.5 miles

Happy Mother's Day to us!

Happy Mother’s Day to us!

 

Week 4 | Brooklyn Half Marathon Training

Monday – At-home WOD of 10 rounds: 10 push-ups, 10 sit-ups, 10 squats
Tuesday – 6 mile Tempo Run in the evening in my new favorite pants, Brooks ombre capri

sorry for cheating on you, lululemon

sorry for cheating on you, lululemon

Wednesday – Rest. And eat! All the foods. I am always MOST hungry on mid-week rest days, wtf?
Thursday – Unplanned rest day, just couldn’t fit it in this day! Did a home WOD instead to get sweaty, but nothing to write home about. Some days its just HARD!
Friday – 40 min run for time with strides
Saturday – Rest, the Kentucky Derby AND The Fight!
Sunday – Practice race day! Ran the Long Island Festival of Races 10K (11 miles total for my long run of the week)

Total Weekly Mileage: 21

winna winna chicken dinna

winna winna chicken dinna

Race Recap | Long Island Festival of Races 10K

I do a fair amount of traveling for races, so its always nice when there is a great one right in my own backyard. This was my third time running in the Long Island Festival of Races, and my second time running the 10K as part of Team WSA. We have a big group of CrossFit516’ers that run, and the weather is always perfect (I might have just jinxed us for next year!).  I ran the half-marathon last year, but it was only 3 weeks after Boston and I was in a lot of pain still. This year, since I am training for the Brooklyn Half on May 16th, the 10K was the perfect distance and fit into my training program really well. My coach, Race Pace Jess, had an 11 mile run on the plan for that day, and its always nice to get a big chunk of the mileage done in a race setting to practice for the “real deal”.

We picked up our bibs Friday night, and its really such an easy process there. The expo is pretty small, so I was in and out in 5 minutes. I always run better when I have pizza the night before, so we headed to Borelli’s for some delicious pie.

I set my alarm for 5:30, and ran 2 easy peasy miles before we even left Manhasset to start cutting into the 11 miles I was supposed to do that day. Ideally I could have run 2 miles straight into the starting line of the race, but due to security in that area, it really wasn’t possible. This was the best I could do! We got a few group pics, and we were off!

Team WSA!

Team WSA!

The start of the 10K race was REALLY crowded. I stuck to the left side of the overpass and just tried to get around as many people. I was already warmed up, and I could feel that the 3 miles I had already put in were helping me out. Typically my first two miles of any run are my worst, so I was able to settle into a faster pace right from the start. Lesson learned; this is why people warm up before races!! It really works!!

The course takes you around the outside of Eisenhower Park, past the beautiful golf course, and a neighborhood with some cheering fans. Its relatively flat, with a few rollers on the 4th and 5th mile. Nothing too crazy though. I felt like I was holding a really strong pace throughout, and actually didn’t stop at a single water station (probably not smart). I just didn’t want to get out of sync. Going into this race, my PR was 53:41, so I wanted to beat that. I also had a stretch STRETCH goal of being a sub 50 minute 10K-er one day, but didn’t think I was actually trained up enough to get that close. When I crossed the finish line in 51:11, I was SHOCKED and really proud. That is a PR for me, and its not even THAT far off from 49:49!

Here are my splits:

8:36
8:11
8:06
8:09
8:21 (hills, dammit!)
8:01
2:01 (last .2)
51:11. PR!

When we got back to Manhasset, I finished off the day with the last 3 miles of my training plan to bring my daily mileage to 11. Like I said before, its not the ideal way to do a long run (by breaking it up) but it was the best I could do to get in all the miles.

 

Week 3 | Brooklyn Half-Marathon Training

I had to shuffle my running schedule around this week as we headed down to Florida for a wedding. Here is how the week looked:

Monday – CrossFit: 1 mile run for a warm-up, back squat progression, and then:

12 minute AMRAP
7 thrusters with a 1 sec pause at the top of each rep (95/65)
7 burpees
14 lateral hops

Tuesday – Tempo Tuesday! This was probably my best run of April. I ran 1 warm up mile, 3×8:20, 1 cool down mile and saw the most gorgeous rainbow.

if this isn't a good sign, I don't know what is!

if this isn’t a good sign, I don’t know what is!

Wednesday – REST. Between the squats on Monday, and the hilly tempo run on Tuesday, my quads were SCREAMING. It hurt to just walk. I foam-rolled and stretched as much as possible.

Thursday – 4×4 Deadlifts, then

For time:
10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 of:
strict pull ups
sumo dead lift high pull

Friday – Unexpected rest day, which should have been a run but we were traveling in the morning and then had to get right to the rehearsal for the wedding weekend.

Saturday – When I travel, one of my favorite things to do is go for a nice long run to check out the area. All week i was looking forward to a nice long Florida run, and Saturday morning did not disappoint. My only regret is sleeping in, because I didn’t actually start running until 10am. It was already getting a little too humid for my liking, and I didn’t bring my fuel belt to carry water. Luckily there were a bunch of public water fountains along my beach route. The run was 8 sunny, Florida miles!

sandy sneaks, thumbs up!

sandy sneaks, thumbs up!

Sunday – Rest and recover from the best wedding ever. Congrats Matt & Esther!

best flower girls ever

best flower girls ever

Week 2 | Brooklyn Half-Marathon Training

I decided to take this year OFF from the 26.2 distance, and focus more on 13.1. The half-marathon distance is by far my favorite, because it is a significant distant but the training doesn’t completely consume my life. So far this year I’ve run two half-marathons, Disney and New York City, both with fairly little training. I was CrossFitting 4-5 days a week, but the harsh winter conditions kept me off the road. I had been following Jess Underhill on Twitter and reading her blog for a while, and when she started posting about her 6-week Brooklyn Half training program, I was intrigued. Even though I’ve trained for races in the past, I’ve never had individual 1:1 programming that was based off of ME as a runner, and not just a pre-planned weekly marathon training plan that worked for all novice runners. I emailed Jess, and after our first phone conversation, I knew I wanted to be on her team of #racepacerunners. I was all in! The programming includes CrossFit two days a week, but as we get closer to Brooklyn, I’m going to drop that to one day. Everyone knows I absolutely love CrossFit, but for the next six weeks I want to spend more time running and see if I can actually achieve my goal on May 16th at the Brooklyn Half.

Week 2 – April 13-19

Monday – CrossFit – 1RM back squat (150#), then 15-12-9-6-3 of: toes to bar & push-ups
Tuesday – 5 mile tempo run in my brand new New Balance 890s. I wore the 890s from last year during the NYC Marathon, and really loved them so wanted to get another pair to rotate through mileage. These are the v5 model and I am in love.

New Balance 890 V5

New Balance 890 V5

Wednesday – Rest
Thursday – CrossFit: Ladies’ Night WOD at CrossFit Port Washington.

CrossFit Port Washington WOD + Wine

CrossFit Port Washington WOD + Wine

Friday – 35 minute run, including some stride work (came out to just over 4 miles)
Saturday – Long run – 7 hilly sister-run miles with my Roo Roo and a FAST FINISH!

USA!

USA!

Sunday – Rest

Weekly Mileage – 16