Yesterday was the Brooklyn Half Marathon aka my goal race. I have been training for this race for a few months with Jess of Race Pace Wellness. It is the first time I have trained for a half marathon. And I trained hard with a great trainer! I was able to reach my sub-2 goal two weeks early at the New Jersey Long Branch Half. I had a plan to treat it more as a training run, but I went out too fast and managed to hold on until the finish line.
After that PR of 1:59:30, I felt both more and less stress. I had already reached my goal so I knew I could do it… Or was it a fluke and do I need to do it again to prove it to myself.
With all that in my mind, I got up on race day and tried not to think that far ahead. I thought about my race plan, which already seemed scary on paper and just tried to stay calm. Jess knew what I could and couldn’t do, even if I didn’t believe it.
Here’s what actually happened:
I got to the start with my friends, Marion and Nurys and we looked for some others. Due to some confusion, I wound up starting in a slower corral than was planned. It wasn’t a huge deal (corral 28 instead of 23), but I definitely wasted some energy trying to get around people in the first few miles. Lesson learned.
The first few miles are an out and back on the outside of Prospect Park. I dislike an out-and-back course because I unconsciously seem to sped up to get to the other side. This happened here. I was trying to find and hold a safe <9 minute mile speed. I wound up speeding up too much. I saw 8:47 on my Garmin and knew I had to stop the madness. I slowed down and tried not to stress out about it. I only needed to focus on the miles that I was in. When I was heading around Prospect Park, I thought about the upcoming hill. I had worried about it before but realized that I was doing fine. However, I was now slower than I hoped, but maintaining. When I got out of Prospect and onto Ocean Parkway, I knew that I had to get my speed up or I was going to lose the sub-2 possibility. I found a 8:45-8:55 pace that was doable. It wasn’t easy, but I could stay there if nothing slowed me down or got in the way. I knew that my friend Amy and her husband would be around mile 8-9 so I used them to break up the miles that were left. I knew that Amy and Christian would give me a boost (spectators do that for me), and then I would just have to make my way to Coney Island. I saw Amy and she ran a few meters with me and transferred some good vibes. Thanks Amy! I did however face a few “demons” in the last few miles. Having run this course so many times, I have seen and experienced things that are tough to forget. Two years ago, I saw a woman fall to the ground at mile 12.5 and the visual has always stuck with me. That same year, I fell on the boardwalk so now I always pay attention to the ground for loose nails. Of course, this is not the issue this year as the boardwalk has been repaired post-Sandy. When I turned to head up onto the boardwalk, I used so much energy to get up the ramp that I didn’t know if I could keep my speed to the finish. I was thrilled to see the 400 meters to go sign. I just maintained my speed until I got through the “Finish” arch. I was thrilled to be done. And just as thrilled to see Mary Wittenberg, president of the New York Road Runners Club just beyond the finish line. As you may remember, her and I are BFFs so I stole a hug.
I walked straight down the boardwalk, no in pain, but definitely tired. I got my water and some pretzel and then ran into a few friends and bloggers who had just PRed.
|Great job, Leticia!|
Cell service was spotted, but I managed to pick up a tweet from my coach, Jess. It made me so happy!
I immediately texted her to find out if I actually PRed. My Garmin said yes, but it also said that I ran 13.23 miles so I needed to be sure.
I celebrated with some lunch at my favorite Broklyn spot, Salty Dog with my mom, sister and the kids. And an ice cold HoeGaarden. 🙂
I have accomplished my goal and I am officially not training. I may run today, or I may not. It is all up to me. Is that a good thing? Hmm, I guess we’ll see.