My first halfie! A great race, very fast with the tricky and killing hills of Prospect Park. That park never hated me so much.

The day started quite early. Already awake at 6 because of neighbors fighting and because of pre-race jitters, I enjoyed the fact I hadn’t had to get up at 6 since the race was starting on the Coney Island boardwalk, only twenty minutes from my place in Brooklyn.
After a quick breakfast. Read: last minute for carb intake! I got to the station waiting for the Coney Island-bound train. The train was packed with runners. It was quite a scene. All these runners chatting and (maybe some) feeling the tension.
At the registration tent I got chip, bib and race t-shirt, then stretched a bit while trying to adapt to the quite chilly morning and waiting for Will.
The excitement was in the air: people stretching, jogging, lining up for the port-a-potties.
After a short warm-up run on the boardwalk, we got into the corral waiting for the gun. You see all these people in the corral, no one staying still, all wearing different t-shirts from different races. It was galvanizing.

Route of the Brooklyn Half-Marathon


The first three miles were on the boardwalk. A quite boring run for having to pay too much attention to avoid sprouting boards. I saw a guy falling, turn to look, wanting to help but too late I already passed him.
After those three miles, the race follows Ocean Parkway for seven miles. A very flat and straight avenue. A very fast run. I was very surprised to keep a pace of 7’15” for the entire length to the point of being certain the mile markers were misplaced. On Ocean Parkway I tried to replenish of fluid, but the easy task of drinking was awkwardly hard while keeping the pace. Basically shoot water/Gatorade towards the mouth hoping some will go in.
The easy race was over soon, and then the Park. After ten miles the moderately steep hills in Prospect Park were hell. I was tired, very tired, and my pace slowed down to an average 8’30” for the last three miles. I saw so many people stopping there. And I was so tempted to stop and walk just a mile … sheer will kept me going. My pace was slow, but I didn’t walk. Trying to be focused — to the point that Joanna and Jess thought I was angry because of my stare when they saw me somewhere on mile 12 — and keep running. And the thought wandering around “Why? And a marathon is twice this length …”
And then the finish line. 1:38:53 finished with average pace of 7’32” per mile.

Wow! That was tough … but I loved it and today looking at people running in the park I felt so much like me too! (Obviously running is out of question for the next few days, besides I have to prepare a defense too.)

A word about everything else. Racing in Hasidic neighborhoods is quite an experience. Yesterday was Saturday, or Sabbath, and the race is quite early in the morning. You see all these families lining on the streets looking at you before or after having gone to the Synagogue. It’s probably the most cheered memory I’ll have of this race, plus the great support from everyone standing on the sidewalks … the “Great race, runners! You’re looking good!” will always make me smile. Thanks!