For me, signing up for races is the best way to stay motivated while marathon training. I only found out that I would be running the NYC Marathon two weeks ago, so I’ve been scrambling a little bit trying to fill in some weekends with training runs. I find it so much easier to do 13.1 miles as part of an official half-marathon, rather than attempt to run a solo 13 miles. Yes, there is the obvious cost of running races, but (in most cases) the entry fee is easily justified with the amount of water stops, support and camaraderie from other runners.
The first NYCRuns race that I ran was back in February for the Brr-ooklyn Half. Even though it was FREEZING, Roo and I really loved that race. The post-race hot chocoloate, yummm….. I was psyched when I saw last week after buying my new sneaks, that NYCRuns was partnering with JackRabbit Sports for a Battle of Brooklyn 10-Miler in Prospect Park. I signed up as soon as I got back to my desk (and prayed for relatively cool weather!). There were a couple of really appealing things about this race off the bat:
1) The packet pick-up on Thursday was at JackRabbit Sports in Union Square, just a couple blocks from my office. Easy, breezy.
2) Instead of another random race shirt that I’ll never wear again, they gave us pint glasses and really cool re-usable bags. I’ve already had a nice beer in my pint glass (spoiler alert: I finished the race and had a beer).
3) The start time was 8am. I have two little kids, and the weekends are totally all about family time. The earlier the race begins (and the faster I run), the more time I get to spend with my family. Not to mention, it was pretty cool and overcast that early in the morning, which is key for summer marathon training.
I set my alarm for 6am on race day, and gave myself 45 minutes to get everything together at home. Breakfast was toast with peanut butter and a banana, and I chugged some coffee. I had packed my bag the night before, so there wasn’t too much to do other than pin on my number and lace up my sneaks. It takes about 35 minutes to get from Manhasset to Prospect Park, and I knew I wanted to park on Prospect Park West so that I could get 2 extra training miles in (one mile to the start, one mile back to my car from the finish). There were a ton of open spots, so I threw my GuChomps in my back pocket, and ran a nice, easy 10:00 mile to the start line.
NYCRuns had signs up in the park pointing us in the right direction, so it was really easy to find them. I wanted to bag check my car keys and iPhone, but I forgot to bring a bag. No worries, someone at NYCRuns just gave me an extra yellow re-usable bag to use, and bag check was a breeze. I ran 3 or 4 minutes, stretched while I was in line for the bathrooms, and then it was time to start.
The first 3 miles I used as warm-up miles. I really wanted to NOT go out too fast, which is usually my demise in any type of race. If anyone has run Prospect Park before, you’ll know that there is really just one long-ish hill. We hit that hill around mile 2, so I was pretty warm and powered up it for the first lap of the park. Miles 3-6 felt pretty strong, especially coming off the downhill side of the park, and at mile 5.5, I had two GuChomps and some water.
The last lap felt tougher than it probably should have, but I just kept my feet moving and thought about all the fun things I would get to do after the race (eat a bagel, enjoy ShakeShack custard courtesy of JackRabbit Sports, and then spend a beach day with the fam). Anything to keep the time passing! At mile 8 I finished my last two GuChomps and turned my focus to finishing the race. I really loved that the last two miles didn’t really have any hills. Nothing better than finishing a race fast!
The race volunteers were helping people head in to the finish line (versus heading out on one more lap), so I was so thankful to finally be getting the wave in to the finish line! 10 miles in the books! My official time was 1:35:58 (9:36 pace). This was actually my first time doing a 10 miler, so hello PR! 😉
NYCRuns had tons of water available, along with bagels and bananas and ShakeShack was set up giving out custards and water. I didn’t really feel like waiting in line for the custard, but gladly grabbed a water, and found a spot on the grass to stretch it out. I ran my one mile (very slowly) back to my car, and headed on home to Manhasset.
Overall, this was a fantastic race, and I continue to be a huge fan of NYCRuns!