This past Saturday I ran the inaugural Rock n Roll Brooklyn Half Marathon.

Shirt and race number: CHECK!

Shirt and race number: CHECK!

I had run their 10k in Brooklyn in 2012 and 2013.

2013 and a shiny new PR

2013 and a shiny new PR

2012!

2012!

Last year they canceled the 10k and let us know they were planning to make it a half for this year, so as soon as registration opened I signed up!

I enjoyed both 10ks and had fast (for me) finish times. My current 10k PR is from the 2013 one. I definitely recall logistical issues each year and also recall saying I was not really too fond of Rock n Roll much anymore but that all went out the window when the half was announced. =)

Here’s a little recap of the day:

I got up super early and got ready pretty quickly despite the fact I was under the weather. I’m still sick as of today. I haven’t been to a doctor but I’m guessing it’s a sinus infection and I might need to get to a doc soon. I was in Brooklyn by 6:00am and 15 minutes later I joined the rest of my running peeps for the 15 minute walk from where I parked to where the start was. Easy peasy.

But then things got ugly. We spent 10 minutes trying to figure out how to get to the corrals. It was now 6:40 and instead of filing into the corrals we were herded in the opposite direction to get on this ridiculously long line that would eventually get us through the security check/metal detectors. Unfortunately since the Boston bombings this has become a norm at many large races and I get that. But what I don’t get is that they had 8 metal detectors for 17,000+ runners. I’m no mathematician but that just seems like a poor ratio.

lots of feet waiting to get thru security

These are our feet waiting to get thru security

Needless to say there was a lot of commotion, crowding and waiting. The 7am start time came and went and we had no idea if the race was starting on time. There wasn’t a single race representative to give us any information.

Eventually we got to the corrals and had to climb through the fence to get to our designated corrals. We then waited and waited until finally 45 minutes after the original start the race had begun. The start was a wave start and we were about the 8th group to go.

Running peeps

Running peeps…mostly the usual suspects but Lisa’s sister Valerie flew in from Texas to join us.

Things did get better. The weather was perfect for starters—a crisp cool autumn morning. And the course was fairly fast (well except for miles 10 and 11 which I’ll get to in a bit).

My plan for this race was to enjoy my updated playlist and new earbuds—and find a nice easy pace and treat this like a long training run. I started out a little too fast. It was hard not to. My first few splits were in the low 10s. But eventually I got closer to 11s. I noticed my hamstring getting tight around mile 5 but it didn’t really become an issue until the later miles. My breathing was perfect. I was so shocked that I never felt winded….especially being sick and all. I had taken a decongestant and some advil before the race. I am not a fan of being medicated during long runs but luckily this all worked out. I’m realizing that while my training is nowhere near as much as I’ve had for other marathons, it’s finally starting to pay off and my lungs are definitely endurance runner lungs again. YAY!

just keep swimming

just keep swimming

Another hiccup….the water stops. I guess I’m spoiled with New York Road Runner events. Gatorade is given in Gatorade cups and water in plain white cups. And Gatorade always comes first followed by water second. You always know where to “fall in” to grab your fluid of choice. This wasn’t the case on Saturday. All fluids were in the same cup and each aid stop was set up differently. You had to make sure to hear what the volunteers were saying. Luckily they were all wonderful. I drank much more Gatorade than I normally do. I was trying to prevent my 18-mile muscle cramp situation again.

Overall the course was crowded but it wasn’t impossible. I never had it prevent me from keeping to my pace. I don’t know if the faster runners had the same experience or not though.

By mile 9 my hamstring was REALLY tight but still manageble. Then came the hills… one at mile 10 and another at mile 11. I slowed/walked a little lot here and also started to become a bit more tentative with my stride so as not to aggravate the hammy any more.

I picked up the pace a little for the last mile and finished in 2:25 with an average pace just over 11 minutes per mile. Perfect! Actually about 20 seconds per mile faster than I had anticipated.

rnr-bk-half-waving

Brooklyn’s course has plenty of spectators and fun signs and there are times where you felt the same energy as the NYC Marathon. That was a huge plus!

I met up with my peeps afterward and we walked the 15 minutes back to where my car was parked. We all parted ways and then it was home to prepare for Sunday’s race. I think the walking post race and the heated seats in my car helped keep my hammy happy. By the time I was home, showered, stretched/foam rolled I was feeling great.

IMG_8531

bottle opener race medals seem to be all the rage.

IMG_8529

the heat sheet brigade

the heat sheet brigade

So pros of this race:

•Fast course with two out and back stretches and some scenic miles in Prospect Park
•Great time of year for optimal weather.
•Lots of spectators
•Easy to get to by public transport
•Plenty of fluids and fuel at the finish

Cons:
•Not enough security equipment for 17k runners
•Poor communication with runners to let them know race was starting late
•Inconsistent water/Gatorade placement at fluid stations.

The logistical hiccups are really all easily fixable will hopefully be addressed for next year.

Have you ever run a large race with logistical issues? Ever run a race where they ran out of water?

3 Comments

  1. I love inaugural races…and I agree, those mishaps will surely be corrected….thanks to bloggers like you and many others who will voice their opinions…

  2. I love inaugural races…and I agree, those mishaps will surely be corrected….thanks to bloggers like you and many others who will voice their opinions…glad you had a good run, now take care of yourself, please

  3. Running while medicated – not great! But finishing your half marathon – the best!

  4. Pingback: Sinus Infections and running -

  5. Pingback: tossing some race shirts but not the memories -

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