Monday, June 9, 2014

Race Report: Brooklyn Half 2014 - WARNING: Monstrously Texty

Ah, yes. The Brooklyn Half. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: this race is one of my favorites of the year. It's true for a number of reasons, which I probably enumerate every year in a post just like this one. Nevertheless, I am going to do it again.

Obviously one reason is that it's my favorite race distance. I've spoken to many people at length about my race distance preferences and the half marathon is just the perfect number of miles. Not so many that you feel destroyed after finishing, but enough that it still feels like a feat and worthy of post race waffles (or beer, in this case). So there's that. Additionally, this race takes place at a pivotal time in the year, the beginning of summer. It's even more true this year than it has been in years past because the winter was brutal. I have been waiting for this weather for months and months and months, and it was in full force on May 18, the day of the Brooklyn Half.

In the last two years, NYRR has done a stellar job of stepping up the experience for the Brooklyn Half, transforming it from a friendly, local race to an iconic, enormous, still friendly, still local race. The size of it has also ballooned, going from around 10,000 in 2009 to 14,000 in 2012 to 21,000 in 2013 to a whopping 25,000 this year (these are years I ran it, explaining missing numbers from 2010 and 2011). In the last two years, they've begun holding a "Pre-Party" which I suppose is a cooler way of saying "expo." This was a fun affair in both 2013 and 2014, although the weather when we went this year was less than desirable.

I met Amortya and Jeremy at the pre-party this year on Friday, the day immediately before the race itself. I'd hoped to avoid this, but was unable to because my comedy group has its meetings on Thursday and I couldn't make it on Wednesday. No matter, it was fun even in spite of the rain. Jeremy and I enjoyed pre-party beers and Morty got pre-party whoopee pies. Afterward, I had dinner with Morty and our friend Shweta before heading home for my pre-race sleep.

As usual, I didn't get much sleep before the race. I think I went to sleep at 1 or 1:30 and had to wake up around 4:30 because my wave started at 7:00 on the dot and I wanted to make sure I got there with plenty of time, after my experience this year at the NYC Half. Mission accomplished on that front, I managed to get into the corrals by 6:20, which is some kind of record for me.

In terms of expectations, mine for this one were not great. I didn't do the training I'd hoped to do at all. I didn't even manage to do the very small amount of speedwork I did in preparation for the NYC Half in March. Having low expectations is always something of a self-fulfilling prophecy for me and this was no exception.

The race itself was fine. I struggled more than I should have for the time I ran (1:50 and change) but chalked it up to exactly the things I imagined would get in my way from the beginning. It took me longer than usual to find my pace for this race, though once I'd found it I kept it up until around mile 10, when I started to struggle. The day was warm and sunny, but I didn't consider that to be much of an issue.

I wasn't especially proud of my performance, but I was proud that I never completely gave up on the race. It would have been so easy to do, since my expectations were low and completely blowing the thing would have just fit right into the crummy way I felt about my training. See how it is? If I had given up, it would have been easy to explain away the terrible result. But I was determined to fight for whatever mediocre result I could. I feel like I'm not explaining this well. Bottom line: giving up and failing is an easier pill to swallow than trying really hard and failing (albeit less spectacularly).

After I finished, I met up with Amortya and Jeremy. We dilly-dallied for a bit because we were slightly apprehensive about drinking beer before 10:00am. At around 10:30, though, we caved and headed to a bar called Peggy O'Neil's for post race booze. I saw a number of people from my running team, the Hudson Dusters and also hoped to meet up with Michelle, Jessica, Jessica, Allison and Elana but we didn't end up getting together. At some point after Jeremy and I had consumed some large beers, Amortya left and my friends Monica, Dirk and Helen arrived. We hung out on the beach until about 4:30. All in all, it was a very good day.


  1. Looks like I missed a great post race gathering too! Bummer

  2. You always run away too fast after the Brooklyn Half!