18 on the 18th: Brooklyn Half Recap

You guys, that whole turning 30 thing? J/K.

I turned 18 today on the 18th. Or…I ran my 18th half-marathon. I’ll spare you and just link to my recaps page rather than each recap.

I actually signed up for Brooklyn when I was in Puerto Rico, sitting with a cocktail in hand with a little Twitter FOMO as I saw everyone else I know registering. I’d heard before that people loved this race, and I didn’t want to miss out this year.

2013-05-17 18.23.59.jpg

Since the race was in Brooklyn, so was the packet pickup, at the Old Tobacco Warehouse.

2013-05-17 18.24.04.jpg

NYRR is awful for making us have to see all these terrible views to get our bibs.

2013-05-17 18.25.09.jpg

2013-05-17 18.25.16.jpg

They had a little “pre-race party” going on, but I was flying solo and had dinner plans to get back for, so I took a few pics and headed back for said dinner.

2013-05-17 18.20.49.jpg

They had this alert system sign up. I saw this at the Chicago Marathon, but have never seen it in NYC before, but it makes sense, given the events in Boston last month. Thankfully, the few times I saw the alerts on the course, they were at green.

HERE’S WHERE THINGS STARTED GOING WRONG. I grabbed pizza with Ashley and Bo. My stomach issues have been so much better lately, and I’ve been able to eat a bit more dairy, so I didn’t think much about ordering pizza instead of my regular pasta, even though I don’t usually have pizza or dairy before a race.

It was delicious, but it was filling. After the pizza and a few glasses of wine, I was in bed by 10 for my early wake-up call.

2013-05-18 05.30.39.jpg

Not all of us wanted to wake up early.

2013-05-18 06.31.12.jpg

2013-05-18 06.32.22.jpg

Good morning, Brooklyn.

I was in the first wave (yes, this race was so large – 30,000 runners – that it had waves). The corrals allegedly closed at 6:30 and I figured the subway schedule that early might be messed up, so I took a cab and got near the start around 6:25. I ran into Beth and a few other runners who were in the second wave and thought I might start with them. I was standing there until Steph said hi. We don’t see nearly enough of each other, and we run around the same pace, so I decided to jump into the corrals with her and start off with her.

She’s running Vermont next weekend, so she wanted to go relatively conservatively. I didn’t really train for this race, so I wanted to do the same. We started out at a 9:10 pace, and held anywhere between an 8:40 pace to a 9:20 pace…until mile 8. I’d felt kinda gassy the entire time and had that feeling of a bubble in my stomach, and I’d taken a few short walking breaks in hope of the feeling passing.

Until mile 8, I was loosely targeting a sub-2 race. Considering how hard I worked to originally break sub-2, it’s crazy to me that this is now something that is basically in reach so long as I’m having an okay day.

But I was not having an okay day. I stopped at a bathroom at mile 8.2. I looked at my watch then, and I was around 1:15. If I kept around the 9:00 pace I’d been keeping, I could still do sub-2. But with that stop and walking, that mile ended up being a smooth 13:24. The next two miles were back on track at 8:59 and 9:10, but another bathroom stop at mile 12 and an 11:39 and 11:47 last two miles as I ran/walked my upset stomach in got me across the finish line in 2:09.

2013-05-18 09.35.53.jpg

As for the course, I wasn’t crazy about it. The first few miles on the streets of Brooklyn were kind of cool, but then we went into Prospect Park and its hills. The stretch from the park to Coney Island seemed interminable, although that probably had to do with my upset stomach, but reaching Coney Island was an awesome end to the race.

As I saw the ocean to my left at the finish, I considered moving to Florida or California or somewhere where every race could end at the ocean.

2013-05-18 09.36.21-1.jpg

Shaya and I look super-hot, no?

2013-05-18 09.41.24.jpg

I love this picture.

2013-05-18 12.22.49.jpg

Afterwards, I met some friends at Okeanos for brunch. We’d decided to head away from Coney Island for brunch to avoid the crowds a bit, and given my still-somewhat upset stomach, I’m glad we did. I got this French toast, and it was delish.

What have you learned from not-so-good races? Today, I learned to accept that I was still happy to have finished this race, despite my stomach issues. I did start beating myself up that I’d stopped for the bathroom and run a slower-than-usual race, but I’m going to choose to move forward and just accept that although Pizza Envy is a very real thing, I just need to avoid it if I want a decent run. Also, what’s your fave pre-race dinner?

22 comments on “18 on the 18th: Brooklyn Half Recap

  1. Melissa

    Congrats on the finish! Slower than normal or not, you rocked it out there! I also ran it, but around mile 3, my hip starting killing me (it does this whenever I try to run faster than normal). I hobbled along for a few more miles until DNFing at mile 5. It wasn’t worth it to me – to risk furthering my injury and to have to schlep through 8 more miles of the course (especially that stretch along Ocean Ave). I know it’s just one race, and I’ll have others, but I can’t help but feel bummed. Thanks for sharing your story – it sounds like quote a few of us struggled today!

  2. Gianna

    I’ve had oh so many bad races due to stomach issues that I can consider one with just one stop a victory! I have been strapped with them this whole season and finishing Asbury in 2:12 or so with no bathroom issues (but an aching hip) was a victory for me as was the NJ Marathon with only 1 stop even though I wasn’t happy with the 4:26 time. I went from hitting the low 1:50’s this past fall to not being able to get under 2 this spring due to issues. My collection of bad races makes me appreciate every single good run with all my heart.
    For me it’s all diet so I’ve (for the most part) been so so strict which has help immensely. If I am being good pre race dinner is simply whole wheat pasta totally plain. Boring but works.

  3. Barbara

    This is so funny that you posed this, because pizza is ALWAYS my pre-half and pre-marathon diinner! I order it light on the cheese and with lots of veggies, except broccoli, which upsets my stomach!

    1. Theodora Post author

      Aw lucky! I wish I could have pizza before races…but I need to learn to avoid that Pizza Envy, apparently.

  4. Cecilia @ MommiesRun

    I’m a big fan Of pizza pre races! Hell I like pizza after races. But I can see how it can be rough on your stomach. I know it wasn’t the time you had hoped for but I think you did awesome!

  5. Sam

    Congratulations on completing your 18th half marathon! If I were having the trouble you experienced in the race I would have given up. So great job on persevering! 🙂

  6. Kashi@ Cape Island Runners

    nicely done! very curious about this race as my in-laws lie in brooklyn and it would be fun to do a half there.

    not-so-good races for me are generally because of something i know i’ve done wrong (not enough water, bad nutrition are high on the list) so i mainly learn (again and again!) to stop thinking i can skim through without paying attention to what my body needs most!

    night beofre half or full is always whole grain pasta, red sause, broccoli (it doesn’t bloat me up) and some sort of protein, usually chicken or a veggie alternative. if it is an extra sepcial race my hubby will whip a batch of his magic turkey sauce which has never led me astray! we even froze a batch of it and took it to chicago when i did my marathon there 🙂

  7. Kim

    Congrats on your 18th half! I ran the Brooklyn Half too and I actually saw you walking to the corrals. I was going to say something but I felt funny.

    1. Theodora Post author

      aw, you should have said hello! When I just saw the preview of this comment in my WordPress dashboard, I thought it was going to say you saw me walking to the Port-a-Potty…which would have been far more awkward. How was your race??

      1. Kim

        @Theodora: Lol! We were both walking quickly to the start so I didn’t want to bother you. I had a good race. I got a PR. Finished in 2:10. I’m running the Mini 10k in 3 weeks as well. Are you running that race? If I ever see you again I will be sure to say hello. 🙂

  8. kristin miller

    Congrats on your finish and sorry about your stomach. I generally eat pasta with light sauce and chicken. I also had pizza Friday night! I succumbed to the envy 😉

  9. Jane @ Not Plain So Jane

    So much is learned from not-so-good races. I had a tough 1/2 a couple weeks ago with stomach issues as well. It just makes me realize how important it is to really figure out what works and what doesn’t while training and to not try anything new. The body is very picky when under that much stress!

  10. Renee

    I had a rough half in Pittsburgh a few week ago: http://bit.ly/18Y9nEZ.

    I also have IBS, so I’m super, super careful about what I eat. I always have spaghetti with a little sauce the night before the race, and then in the morning, a bagel with peanut butter and a banana. I only eat Honey Stingers during the race.

  11. Patricia

    I had the same problem throughout the whole race. It was a nightmare but I made until the finish line. I did not stop, I had to walk sometimes, but I finished in 2:11. I was proud of myself and you should be also!

  12. Stephanie

    Yo! So much fun to run together even if we missed our victory lap. Let’s frolic again soon. . . perhaps a 3:xx:xx marathon is in our future this fall?

    The Wineglass FOMO is strong!!

  13. Patty(reach-yourpeak.com)

    I ran brooklyn too as you know. I was very disappointed because I really wanted to finish around 2:03 but finished 2:10. I just keep telling myself it wasn’t my day and it was still an impressive feat by my body!

    I also did not like the course. The stretch to Coney Island was WAY TOO LONG. That’s where mentally I started to check out. It was humid, I was sweating SO much and that road was never ending. I don’t think I’ll be doing this race again, but the end of it was definitely cool. Though the ramp upto the boardwalk got packed with runners so we had to really slow down…did that happen for your wave?

    Anyways, awesome race despite your stomach issues! We need to meet up at a NYRR race soon!

  14. Jen

    Congrats on the finish! Tough races are as important as great ones, right? Or at least that’s what I tell myself. And yes, finishing races at the beach sounds like a great way of doing things so California needs to happen…

  15. Nicole

    From the Brooklyn 1/2 I learned that I should get there early otherwise I end up lost and running uphill in Prospect Park to get to the start line. I appreciated how flat and straight Ocean Parkway was, though, and how open it was so I didn’t have to dodge and weave all the time… That was something.
    Before a race I like spaghetti and squash-just fry some zucchini in olive oil and then mix that and the oil with the pasta of your choice. Carbo-licious.

  16. Cate

    I totally looked up this race recap as I decided I wanted to run the Brooklyn Half in 2014. Since the requirements for the NYCM have changed, the only way (other than through a charity) I can run NYCM is if I do the 9+1 for an entry. SO, I am planning my nine races for the year and this is one of them. 🙂

    Hope you’re still feeling great after your amazing PR his weekend!


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.