Sunday, May 31, 2009

No sleep til Brooklyn

Yesterday was the Brooklyn half. This has always been a popular race. Most years it starts in Coney Island on the boardwalk and ends in Prospect Park where 4 miles or so of hills wait for you. It's an ugly way to end a race. Well, this year, they started it in Prospect park and ended in Coney Island. The course was set up so we did about 6.5 miles in the park, so like a loop and a 3/4. Front loading the hills which is fine for me.
Except there were 9400 people running this race. Last year there were 5800. And it's a big difference having all those people start in the park rather than finish there.  See course map here. It was insane. When I got around to mile 1, I could see down the transverse of the start. There were still people standing there waiting to cross the start. It took me close to 3 minutes so these poor folks stood there for at least 15 minutes before they even started.
So my goals for this race: well...I've still be recovering from NJ. I got 1 10 miler in last weekend. I've done some speed, the xc race last week, an 8 miler this week with 4 at sub 8 pace. I wanted to run well but wasn't sure how I was going to feel just starting to get back in the swing of it. I was hoping to run a 1:45 which is 8 minute pace. 
Mile 1 7:52 . A little fast. Really, just trying to get through this crowd.
Mile 2 8:04. Not bad. Mile 2 has the hill for the first time. Luckily, it's followed by a mostly down hill rolling section.
Mile 3 7:40 A touch fast but no worries. Had some gatorade just before mile 3, good thing too.
Mile 4 7:36 This mile is mostly down hill which is nice since we're about to go up that hill again.
Mile 5 8:06 Yup, there's that hill again. Not only that, but I'm lapping people on their first lap. At this point, it's not too bad. Oh BUT WAIT!
Mile 6 7:58 Back to the rollers. The crowd approaching mile 3 is getting thick as is the crowd hitting 6 miles. There's 1 water station for both groups which is totally out of cups and complete chaos. Really poor planning on such a warm, crowded day. I bypass the hellishness thinking I'll get fluids at the next stop and take my Clif shot. 
At about 6.5 miles, we exit the park to head on to Ocean Parkway. It is not at all clear what lane who is suppose to be in, with people lapping people, people leaving the park, people going on there other lap of the park, and a partridge in a pear tree.  We get a nice down hill to head out of the park.
Mile 7 7:38 On to Ocean Parkway. NO WATER at mile 7. Not even an aid station. So now I've gone several miles with no fluids. This isn't a huge problem, I do that all the time in training. It does kinda suck however.  There's a bit of a climb up to mile 8
Mile 8 7:53 Finally, fluids. And someone with a hose. Ahhhh. I take my clif shot. I heard that later on, they ran out of fluids as well. Doesn't surprise me since I went almost 5 miles with out. This long stretch of road kinda sucks. It's hot. It's a false flat. I can't really see what's ahead of me but roadway and runners.
Mile 9 7:55 I'm on pace. I'm hot. I'm looking at my watch too much because I'm not really comfortable. I know, however, that Marty will be at mile 10 in a green man costume (google it) and a FRNY singlet. Holy crap did that make me laugh when I saw her. It was so needed at that point. I want her out at every race in that thing.
Mile 10 8:00 ok, I'm on pace. I'm ahead of pace. I just have to hold it for 3 more miles. UUUGGGHHHHHHHH
Mile 11 8:00 I'm really starting to do math. Mostly because I want to be done running. Somewhere around 11.5 Donna, long time FRNY member, is standing alone cheering. I love it when people are in the perfect spot. Ok, mile and a half to go.
Mile 12 8:04 Ah, a breeze off the ocean...wait...that's a headwind off the ocean. Damn it. 
We make a slight turn in the road, still head wind, before making a turn up to the boardwalk. Sandi is in the perfect cheering spot going completely mad when she sees me. Then I see it. 
A fucking ramp. 
We have to run up this short steep ramp to get on to the boardwalk. The ramp is also made of boardwalk. Running on this stuff kinda sucks.
I'm trying to pick it up but really, there's not much left. I have no idea how long we're running on this. It seems like forever. I can't see the finish since it's totally flat. There's just masses of people. I pass the aquarium, Astroland (RIP), Nathans. Holy crap it has to be soon! 
Mile 13 8:06 Ok, .1 to go. Seeming endless. Kick with what's left which isn't much. I've known for a few miles I'd go under 1:45 so I started aiming for 1:44. I cross the line and hit my watch:
Last .1 43 seconds. 
Ugh. I've thrilled with my time. It's exactly 6 minutes faster than I ran the Bronx in Feb. And it's a lot hotter. As I move to baggage I feel like a baking potato. 
I find Rachel and we make our way to the freezing cold ocean and stick out legs in. It feels so good. It reminds me of sitting in the creak post run when I lived in Big Sur. 
We hung out for a while and watched other team mates finished then headed out for a Big Girl Brunch ( a women of FRNY tradition!)
I was pretty pooped when I got home. I have a knot in my calf, that's new. I think it just needs to be worked out. I'm pretty tired today.
I still can not believe I had such a huge PR. In the fall, I hope to take it down below 1:40.
Next week I have the women's mini 10, a points race. And the FRNY Pride run is the end of the month. After that, I'm going to limit my racing over the summer and focus on marathon training for NYC (oh and the going sub 1:40 in the half). I need a bit of a break, I've had some hard running in the last 6 weeks and I dont want to beat my body up any more than I have to.


Nugent said...

Nice race out there, it certainly was a mess in Prospect Park. Glad you were able to persevere through it and PR. Only problem is I can't use my "I just ran Jersey" excuse now for why I didn't PR myself!

I think I may be heading in the opposite direction as you and start to do a lot of shorter racing over the summer, enough of this marathon training!

Girl In Motion said...

That is fantastic!! Such a huge PR and on a hotter course. You're going to tear it up this fall. Can't wait to see what happens.

L.A. Runner said...

PR on a hot day??!!! Great job! Maybe you need to move down south, since you run so well in the heat. Your progress is amazing, especially considering you're still recovering! Excellent!

Anonymous said...

Dog, Wow! is all I have to say. That was an awesome race in the heat earning a huge PR. I am so proud of you. Off to McMillan calculator....Jackie(HG)

DogPound said...

Jackie, it doesn't give me a 3:35 :P

Jim E said...

Congratulations on the massive PR. In the heat, too! That sounds like a mess in the early miles. I don't like boardwalks either. Bumpy enough to catch my feet, but not bumpy enough to put me in trail mode. Ick.

jesslover said...

fantastic work!