I left very early Friday morning by bus. I arrived in NYC and decided that since it was a beautiful warm day I would walk from Manhattan to Brooklyn. That means I took the subway to the bridge and walked over it. (That meant I had to carry the bag pictured above.)
It was so awesome and worth every step.
The views were breathtaking.
It was getting late so I quickly hopped a bus to get to the apartment that I rented thru AirBnB.
As you can see from the pictures, it was pretty nice and my host Sylvie was great.
She was French and didn’t speak much English so as a former French teacher I got to practice my French with her. Loved it!!!
After she left for work, I quickly hopped onto a subway to get to the expo.
I got my bib & tech shirt.
It was one of the worst expos I’ve ever attended. There was nothing there. So I wound up getting a shirt (only cuz I got $10 off by test driving a Toyota) and having something to eat. Got to Carbload, right?
When I was done with the expo, I still had time to kill so I hopped another subway and took a ride to Prospect Park. (I met a nice girl on the train who was from Mexico, a triathloner and planning to run the Great Wall of China Marathon.)
Finally it was time to head back to the apartment and I arrived just as a thunderstorm hit.
Happily the rain had stopped by the next morning but it was a lot cooler. I got up at the crack of dawn (I couldn’t sleep anyway), had my oatmeal and tea and called a cab to get to the race start. (I didn’t want to deal with buses and subways in the dark.)
I arrived around 6 am with no problems.
But here’s where running an inaugural race is not a good idea. (I seem to have a knack for picking them. It’s my 5th – Lake George, Fall Foliage, Love Run, Saratoga).
It was VERY poorly planned and so unorganized. A lot of inaccurate information given out, if any.
I heard that they overbooked the parking lots so people had nowhere to park and had to miss the race.
There were no signs and thousands of runners aimlessly wandering around.
I took a cab to Grand Army Plaza per directions but then had to walk a mile to gear check (I had lots of keys and a jacket to check.) I finally found a long row of 25 trucks labeled alphabetically (starting with Z – I had to walk to the 3rd from the beginning since my last name begins with Ca.)
Then we had to figure out how to get to security to enter the corrals. You guessed it. Another mile walk. After passing through airport like security, you had to walk to arrive at corral 20. I was in corral 10. Believe it or not, there were 4 porta potties for each 4 corrals!! That means 16 porta potties for 16,500 runners. (Good thing the 27,000 projected runners didn’t sign up. I also heard that it was so backed up that they let runners in without going through security – how comforting!)
The porta potty lines were miles long. I kept walking until I got to my corral and waited online for a while. But it was almost 7 am so I got off the line (Luckily I didn’t have to go that bad. many runners waited in a line over an hour.)
I moved up to stay warm and ended up standing with runners in corral 7. And we waited and we waited and we waited. I guess the roads weren’t cleared so the race started a half hour late. I was freezing. At least I had my DIY arm warmers on and a throw away long sleeved shirt but my teeth were chattering i was so cold.
Eventually, it was time to move. It took about 15 more minutes for my corral to pass the starting line.
It was very crowded, of course, and very hard to get going. You had to weave in and out. First, my shoe which was double knotted got untied. (A bad omen, I guess.)
But at least, it was warming up outside. Next I ditched my throw away shirt. By mile 2, I had also thrown away my arm warmers. It was sunny but there was a nice breeze which kept you cool.
The best thing about the race was the PERFECT weather. (All that worrying for nothing.)
My plan for the race was to race the first half conservatively. I always crash and burn. To do this, I would walk through ALL the water stops and have Gu at mile 4, 8 and 12. (I wasn’t hungry and only had one at mile 5 and 10 but did drink water at every stop.)
That’s one good thing (and maybe the only) about the race. There were water stops at every mile. Toward the end, they even gave out GU.
As you can see from the map below, the race started with was an out and back running through Brooklyn Heights. I liked seeing the other runners ahead and behind me.
Next came running along Flatbush Ave and then on Ocean Ave for a very long time.
You would think that for a Rock N Roll race, there would be music – NOPE. Just one lonely guitar player.
Things were going well until the turn around. My feet did not hurt (a miracle). My even pace kept a 2:15 finish in sight. (That was my real goal. No delusional PR hopes)
Then around mile 8-9, things started going south. My lower back started to ache. It bothers me when I sit too long but never while running. (Usually it’s my upper back & shoulders if I am tense.)
The pain got worse. I was running and massaging my back at the same time. My pace got slower and my water walks longer.
At mile 10, I saw the 2:15 pacer go by and mentally, I think I gave up.
This was also when I met the first big hill. I ran up most of it because I was looking forward to running in the park.
The park was the nicest part of the course. I would have enjoyed it more, of course, if I was in pain. There was even a small band.
Then came mile 12….the very long unending hill. I just walked most of this mile. My back hurt so much that I thought for a second about quitting.
But I forced myself to run despite the pain. I told myself that there was no way I was finishing slower than 2:30.
And I didn’t 🙂
If you want to run the course virtually, watch it here:
After I got my medal, I found some chocolate milk. There were also bananas and power bars. That’s it. Food fail!
I took my obligatory medal pic.
Believe it or not, I then bumped into a student that I taught 20 years ago.
We chatted for a long time and then I went to search for my checked gear. I skipped the free beer and decided to find my way out of the park and to a subway.
I asked runners but no one seemed to really know so I just followed the crowd.
What was interesting was that it was after 12 pm and there were still runners out there. They were all happy. It put it all into perspective. I didn’t finish in my goal time but I did run 13.1 miles!!
mile 1 – 10:15
mile 2 – 10:21
mile 3 – 10:48
mile 4 – 10:18
mile 5 – 10:52
mile 6 – 10:35
mile 7 – 10:55
mile 8 – 11:18 (pain begins)
mile 9 – 11:29
mile 10 – 11:56
mile 11 – 11:24
mile 12 – 12:38 (I want to quit)
mile 13 – 10:53
.19 – 8:58
I’m not going to analyze what I did and should have done in the race. I’ll leave that to a later post.
It ended up being a mile walk to the subway. But it was cool being on the subway and everyone is wearing their medals.
After changing my clothes and packing up, I decided that it was a beautiful day and I was going to spend it outside. So I took the subway to Coney Island.
I had never been and it was great.
I walked along the Boardwalk.
strolled along the beach
sat in the sun and relaxed
Of course, I had to eat…
Finally, it was time to head back to Manhattan to catch a bus home.
It definitely was an experience to remember.
After 28 miles in 2 days, I did rest on Sunday.
I’m linking this one up with Jessica at The Silvah Lining–she hosts a Race Recap linkup every Tuesday. Please head over and linkup a race recap you’ve written, new or old. And check out some of the other posts!