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Brooklyn Half-Marathon 2012 Recap: My First Half

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This morning, I ran my first-ever half-marathon, and it was a hell of an experience. The Brooklyn Half-Marathon was well-executed by the New York Road Runners, allowing a record number of runners into the fold while still retaining a uniquely Brooklyn flair to the proceedings.

Over 14,000 participants managed to finish the race at Coney Island with a picturesque boardwalk finish.

To hear about my experience, follow the jump!

The beginning of the race was at Grand Army Plaza, which is only a few blocks away from where my brother lives. This was extremely convenient, as we were able to get up at 5:05 AM and take our time preparing for the 7:00 AM race.

Grand_army

He's a big fan of GU Energy gels, and he always has some new flavors for me to try whenever we see each other. Today, he gave me three for the race: lemon-lime, tri-berry and espresso love. I'm not used to eating three packets of performance gel, but they certainly gave me a boost at regular intervals.

Enough about the gels, though: this was my first half-marathon, and I was anxious to get going. Heading into the run, I didn't have a fully-defined plan; I just wanted to finish in a reasonable time. My brother did not agree, pointing out that without a plan, I didn't know what I was aiming for.

He was right, as I planned at that time to run 8:15 per mile for the first ten miles, and then finish up at a 5K pace. Having never run 13.1 miles before, that was a bold plan.

What was even wilder was that my pace far exceeded my expectations. Finishing the first mile in 7:55, I realized that I wasn't doing anything out of line with my normal running pace. At five miles, I crossed at exactly 40 minutes. I knew then that my paradigm had shifted and a memorable finish time was within my reach.

The race took some interesting twists and turns, including an entire loop of Prospect Park and a lengthy jaunt down Ocean Parkway to Coney Island. You can see the map (and read some nerdy Brooklyn historical facts) here.

Without dragging this out, here are my splits:

Screen_shot_2012-05-19_at_12

Things felt good the whole time. I was shocked at how well my body responded to the brutal punishment I put it through, but I felt quite driven by all the support I received from onlookers and from my friends and family.

At the 12 mile marker, I was feeling fantastic. I believe my time was 1:34 and I was aiming to finish around 1:42 at that time. I did run into some bad side-splitting cramps with 800 meters to go and struggled to the finish line. The most important thing is that I beat my goal of 1:45 and have a feeling of tremendous accomplishment.

Postrace, I had my first Coney Island Nathan's hot dog and a humongous Coke. Then, we headed to the beach and I decided to test out the icy Atlantic by fully submerging my body in the ocean.

Oh, and the water felt fine, thank you.

Coney_water

For all the results from the 2012 Brooklyn Half-Marathon, head over to the official NYRR page.