My daughter Nicole has been living in New York City for the past 14 years. She moved there to attend graduate school at NYU, and after she graduated she stayed on as an English professor. She’s now been at NYU for almost as many years as I was in the ninth grade, but that’s a whole ‘nother blog entry. Last summer while I was visiting, Nicole’s friend Diana took me for a run across the Brooklyn Bridge and down along the Hudson River, which is still my best and most memorable training run ever. You can read about it and see photos that I took along the way by clicking here.
Diana and Nicole both live in Brooklyn and we talked about all of us running the Brooklyn Half Marathon this year. Nicole got a little sidetracked when on Mother’s Day just a couple weeks ago she found out she’s pregnant (yay!), and it was decided that a half marathon might not be the best thing for her right now, which I think was a good decision. We’d never want to look back and regret making a decision to run a race; 13 miles is a long haul and there will always more races that can be run when the time is right. Nicole and husband Cody and my little cutie-pie 18-month-old granddaughter Eva were there to cheer us on at the finish and Diana, Linda, and I all finished smiling (or at least a couple minutes after the finish we were smiling). It was Linda’s first half marathon and she surprised us by finishing about 20 minutes earlier than we thought she would. It was Diana’s first half marathon in eight years and she was just a minute slower than eight years ago despite limited training.
We could have picked up the race packets on the morning of the race at the race site, but what fun is that? So Friday afternoon we headed over to the Upper East Side of Manhattan to pick up our race numbers. No big deal really. A 15-minute walk to the subway, then 20-30 minutes on the subway and another 10-minute walk to what I guess was the NYRR offices (never did see a sign). It was a little time consuming but a nice adventure. Central Park was just a block away and we strolled around there a bit and also stopped by a playground where Eva played for a while, and before you knew it, in less time than it takes to run about two marathons, we were back at Nicole’s house in Brooklyn.
The weather Saturday morning was just about perfect for the race: clear skies and temperature 58 degrees. By North Carolina standards, parking for this race is a nightmare. Luckily we had Nicole there to drive us over to the starting line, which is only a couple miles from her house. Once we were in the area of the race the three of us (Diana, Linda, and me) hopped in the porta potty line then headed for the starting line. There was a corral start with about ten different corrals. Diana and I were in the same corral but Linda was farther back so we left her at her assigned corral and headed up and found a good starting spot in our corral. The race started and after about 30 seconds Diana and I were separated and I didn’t see her or Linda again until the race was over.
The route for the Brooklyn Half Marathon is very straightforward: two loops around Prospect Park then straight down Ocean Parkway to Coney Island, with the race ending on the famous Coney Island boardwalk. As I exited the park on my second loop I checked my Garmin and it was almost exactly 7 miles, so each loop was about 3-1/2 miles. As we entered Ocean Parkway it was nice to see that the entire road going towards Coney Island was closed down for just over 7,000 runners who finished the race. At every mile there were split times and I was a little discouraged by my split times although I wasn’t accounting for the minute or so it took to cross the starting line at the beginning of the race. In the 8th mile I was tired and I caught my heart rate dipping down to 163, which is a 90% of my Maximum Heart Rate (MHR). I try to stay at 92% of my MHR (166 beats per minute) in long races but my legs felt too tired to pick up the pace. I decided to take a short walk break of 20 second and take a GU and some water, which helped some. In the 9th mile the GU still hadn’t kicked in and I decided to take another 20-second walk break. I hit the 10-mile mark at just under 1:13 and there was a guy yelling that we were on pace for a 1:34 race. Of course that’s dependent upon keeping up the current pace. I was feeling a little better by then so I decided to really try for the sub 1:35, although just before I reached the boardwalk I was exhausted and took one more short walk break. A few guys passed me as I was walking, but as we approached the finish I passed several of them and heard one of them yell, “I can’t believe that guy’s gonna beat me! He must be 75 years old!” I just laughed and waved and he didn’t catch me. He caught up with me past the finish line and apologized for his outburst and asked how old I was. I told him I was actually just 58 but I look 75. I can laugh about it but it’s not something I would pick, given the choice. I’d much rather be 75 and look 58, but that’s not how things have worked out for me. Lucky for me I run like a much younger guy. My final time was 1:34:42, which was 7th of 111 in my age group, and I was happy to see that on an age-graded basis I ranked 52nd out of 3,421 males in the race.
9 – 1-10 Website (Information, results, registration, photo links, etc.)
3 – 1-10 Awards (Quality of medals, trophies, etc.) (1 to 10)
8 – 1-10 Awards Presentation (PA system, winning times, etc.) (1 to 10)
5 – 1-10 Food for Race Participants (1 to 10)
9 – 1-10 T-Shirts (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
6 – 4/6 Part of Race Series (Grand Prix, etc.) (6=Yes and 4=No) (NYRR)
5 – 0/5 Professional Photography (5=Yes and 0=No)
6 – 4/6 Chip Timing (6=Yes and 4=No)
7 – 3/7 Certified Course (by USA Track & Field) (7=Yes and 3=No)
9 – 1-10 Course (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
1 – 1-10 Parking (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
9 – 1-10 Entertainment (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
10 – 0-10 Age Groups (10 if 5-year groups; 0 if 10-year groups)
0 – 0/5 Indoor Shelter from Elements (0 if none; 5 if provided)
8 – 1-10 Bathroom Facilities
TOTAL – 95
Age Group: 7 of 111
Overall: 508 of 7006 (7.3%)