Friday, May 23, 2014

Race #254 - Brooklyn Half Marathon - Brooklyn, NY - 05/17/14

Wow... Just when I thought my best running days were over, this one has me thinking that maybe there are still a few all-time Personal Records waiting to be set with these old legs. Over the past month I've added about 10 extra miles per week to my training regimen and I think that made the difference. I had been running 10-12 miles for a long run each week, but I've bumped it up to 15, 16, and 17 miles over the past three weeks as I begin training for my first full marathon in four years, which will be coming up in September.

I'm feeling great right now so I thought I'd do okay, but I was shocked when I found out my chip time was 1:32:13, only 16 seconds slower than my all-time PR that I ran three years ago, the fall of 2011, when I ran all of my all-time PR's. I didn't win my age group but I didn't expect to since New York City is one of the most competitive racing communities in the world. My goal was to finish in the top 10 in my age group and I finished fifth, so I was pleased with where I placed but actually more like thrilled with my time. It was the first time that my age grade percentage was over 80% (Nationally Competitive) and on an age-graded basis I finished 55th among the more than 10,000 male finishers in the race.

Pros:


  • One of the largest half marathons in the world (25,587 finishers). It was spectacular!
  • Great course with only a couple hills in the first half. Virtually flat in the second half.
  • Fantastic crowd support -- Kind of like a mini New York City Marathon.
  • The finish on the Coney Island Boardwalk is the greatest race finish line I've ever seen.
  • Too many great things to name. I'll include some photos below.


Cons:


  • Being one of the largest half marathons in the world. it was a little crowded to say the least. Because of the congestion up front, I hit the 1-mile mark at exactly 9 minutes, which is more than 2 minutes slower than I'd normally reach it.
  • As far as I can tell, there were no age group awards. The top 10 in each age group is listed on what they call the "Honor Roll" for big races in NYC, and my name is listed there but that's it. I would think some type of award for the accomplishment would be given, at least to the top 3 in each group if not all ten listed.
  • The logistics of just getting from one place to another in New York City (or Brooklyn) are a nightmare if you're not familiar with the area. Fortunately my daughter lives in Brooklyn so we're able to get around, but it's never easy compared to getting around in North Carolina.


I was about a block behind these elite runners at the beginning of the race.

The race began in front of the Brooklyn Museum of Art and just a couple miles into the race we ran around
the huge traffic circle at the Grand Army Plaza.

The race circled around Prospect Park, a beautiful 585-acre park designed by the same two architects
who designed Central Park in Manhattan.

After exiting Prospect Park the race route went to Ocean Boulevard for the journey to Coney Island.
It was nice and flat for the last half of the race.


On the way to the boardwalk we ran past the historic Cyclone roller coaster.

The last half mile runs past the cheering crowds on the Coney Island Boardwalk.
Best. Finish. Ever.

Click Here for Race Results

Click Here for Race Photos

I haven't checked any of my other half marathon stats,
but I'm pretty sure these are the best splits I've ever
had in a half marathon. I was especially happy
with the last 3 miles all being under 7 minutes.
My Stats:

Time:  1:32:13 (chip time)
Pace:  7:03
Age Group:  5 of  183  (2.7%)
Overall:  1154 of  25,587 (4.5%)
Average Heart Rate:  163
Age Graded Equivalent Time:  1:13:13 (80.89%)



***************
* RACE RATING *
***************

RACE COURSE
3 - Chip Timing: (3 points if yes)
2 - Starting Mat: (2 points if yes)
5 - Water Stops: (0)none  (2)normal  (5)extras [Gu, sports drink, etc.]
1 - Course Marking:  (0)bad  (1)good
5 - Course Scenery:  (0)bad  (2)pleasant  (5)extraordinary
2 - Mile Markers: (0)poor or none  (1)normal  (2)with clocks or time called out
2 - Volunteers:  (0)too few  (2)good
7 - Finish line: (0)mediocre  (2)not bad  (5)very good  (7)spectacular!
2 - Certified Course: (0)no  (2) yes
2 - Correct Distance: (0)no  (2)yes
1 - Partly or fully on unpaved roads:  (0)yes  (1)no

REGISTRATION
2 - Cost:  (0)expensive  (2)reasonable  (5)cheap!
0 - Race Day Registration:  (0)no  (3)yes

RESULTS
2 - Posted promptly online:  (0)no  (2)yes
1 - Clear link on website:  (0)no  (1)yes

AGE GROUPS
0 - 3 deep awards: (2)yes (0 for anything less)  (*No awards at all as far as I can tell)
5 - 5-year age groups (5 points) (0 for anything less)
0 - 14 and under group (1)
1 - 65+ group (1)
1 - 70+ group (1)
2 - Top Overall M/F:  (0)none or first only  (2)top 3 or better
0 - Masters Category(40+): (0)no  (2)yes
0 - Grand Masters Category (50+):  (0)no  (3)yes
0 - Senior Grand Masters Category: (0)no  (5)yes

AWARDS
5 - Overall Winner Awards: (0)none  (2)yes  (5)excellent (Money for the top winners)
0 - Age Group Awards: (0)none  (2)yes  (5)excellent
0 - Door Prizes or Drawing: (0)no  (2)yes   (5-9)fabulous door prizes!
5 - Finisher Medals for All Finishers: (0)no  (3)yes  (5)really cool medals

POST RACE
7 - Food for Race Participants: (0-10 with 5 being average)
9 - Entertainment:  (0)no  (1-9)yes
0 - Finisher times posted after race:  (0)no  (2)yes

REST ROOMS
2 - Porta Potties:  (0)no  (1)limited, long lines  (2)plentiful
0 - Indoor Restrooms: (0)no  (1)limited, long lines  (2)plentiful

T-SHIRTS
2 - T-Shirts: (0)no  (2)yes
2 - Design: (0)not good  (1)not bad  (2)nice  (5)beautiful!
2 - Material: (0)cotton  (2)technical fabric
0 - Discount for no-shirt option:  (0)no (2)yes

PHOTOGRAPHY
5 - Professional Photography: (0)no  (5)yes
0 - Prices: (0)expensive  (2)reasonable  (5)cheap!
2 - Free Photographs (newspaper, etc.):  (0)no  (2)yes  (5)lots of free pics!

PARKING
0 - Close to Start:  (2)yes  (0)no
2 - Close to Finish:  (2)yes  (0)no (Some parking available at finish)
0 - Plenty of spaces:  (2)yes  (0)no
0 - Free Parking:  (2)yes  (0)no

OTHER
0 - Shelter from Inclement Weather (needed or not): (0)no  (2)yes
2 - Swag (free socks, water bottles, etc.): (0)no  (2)yes, some  (5)excellent
2 - Part of race series or Grand Prix:  (0)no  (2)yes (NYRR)


TOTAL:  93