It has taken me a while to get around to doing this, but here's the race report for the Brooklyn Half.
Short version is that it went a lot better than I expected. Indeed, it went better than I had hoped. The day was perfect for running (though not the best beach day ever). I went over with the SBRC gang, and we did a pretty good job of timing our arrival. The Brooklyn Half is now the biggest half marathon in the world (says the NYRR). At around 27,000 runners, who am I to argue. This has led to logistic nightmares in the past. The last time I ran it, in 2014, we did not anticipate the delay associated with metal detectors, fences, etc. and ended up running to the start, missing the closing of baggage, etc. This time NYRR did a great job of handling the crowds. Baggage claim was outside security. This was an interesting choice, but incredibly helpful in terms of timing. So, we got off the subway, dropped our bags, and then went through the metal detectors. Because bags were dropped, the security was quick, and we were in our corrals in plenty of time. The most important NYRR innovation (they've been doing it for a while) is to have the port-o-potties in the corrals. So, you could line up, take care of whatever, while already lined up. All, in all, a non-stressful start to the day.
I was toward the back of the first wave (E of A-F), which was fine. NYRR has changed its method for calculating corrals. Instead of using your fastest 5k, they normalize your fastest pace to a 10K, and then use that. It took me a while to figure out how the they'd come up with 8:08 as a predicted pace, but it was consistent with the 8:30ish paces I ran in Grete's Gallop in the Fall. Anyway, it worked pretty well. I started with E's and mostly finished with E's.
The Brooklyn Half starts hilly and ends up flat, so it's important not to blow up in the beginning. The start line is at the Brooklyn Museum, at the top of Prospect Park. The first 1/2 mile is downhill on Washington Avenue. The second 1/2 mile is uphill on Flatbush, then then you turn around and run back down Flatbush, continue around the bottom of the park, run up the same damned hill again, inside the park, and then back down it on the other side of the park. The mind game is that you carry a lot of adrenaline speed down the first hill, and then have to moderate your pace goals as you head back up. Also, it's a deceptive hill. Particularly the second time up, in the park, there's a false summit, and then a steeper pitch to the top. So you have to be careful not to redline too early. I did a pretty good job. I watched my heart rate. It got a bit high near the top both times, but came down nicely once the course turned down again.
First 5 K went by at about an 8:15 pace. Second 5K a bit slower. 8:50ish, then picked it back up for the last two, 8:35-40. I had a couple of bad water stops, that cost about 10-15 seconds, but otherwise everything went smoothly. I felt comfortable the whole way, and, if anything felt like I had a bit left in the tank at the end. So, 1:53.06 feels great for an early season result.
Big shout outs go to the South Brooklyn Half cheer squad, who gave key lifts at Grand Army Plaza and on Ocean Parkway, as well as Martin and Martha at the top of Prospect Park Hill.
I will post a few photos that will show (1) that I am not in peak racing form; (2) that I have aged a lot this winter; and (3) that, without noticing it, I finished alongside a former student and SBRC running buddy.