There's nothing like a half marathon to inspire you to lace up your sneakers and hit the streets for a run. Not even a strong cup of coffee can beat the energy of 25,000+ runners, all united in one goal, packing the subways and streaming down the streets at the crack of dawn. That was the scene on Saturday morning, following our 5 a.m. wake up call and commute to Brooklyn for the 2014 NYRR Brookyn Half Marathon.
After three months of training, I was anxious to get it all over with. I had never felt more prepared for a race in my life, and I couldn't wait to cross that finish line in Coney Island. We were also blessed with the most perfect weather, especially with the crackling thunderstorm that had still been going strong just hours before.
But when I left Wesley at the security checkpoint and headed over to my start corral, which was located in the shadows of the beautiful Brooklyn Museum, I finally began to take it all in. I reflected on all of the hard work that I put into this race, soaked in the positive energy from the crowds around me, and breathed in the fresh and crisp morning air.
The race itself was equally ideal. During the first half, we passed the arch at Grand Army Plaza, sped through Prospect Park, and were entertained by the amazing spectators who gathered at nearly every corner to cheer us on. Despite all of the excitement, I managed to pace myself and prevent any burn out.
Once we neared the end of the park, I picked up a little speed and prepared to race my way through the flat roads of Ocean Parkway.
To be honest, this portion of the course was tortuously dull. The roads were wide, the path was straight, the houses were short, there were no landmarks, and the crowds were sparse. Thankfully, I was jamming to iTunes radio (the Top 50 Dance playlist is perfect for running) and I appreciated the shade from the trees along the way. But if I wasn't feeling as physically confident, I could definitely see myself hitting the wall during this stretch.
After many long miles, I really started sprinting around the 15K mark. My legs, lungs and heart still felt fresh, and I just went for it.
A short while later, we turned a corner and saw the ocean in sight. Hallelujah!!! A fast sprint down the boardwalk, and our 13.1 miles were behind us.
Thanks to NYRR for an absolutely flawless race--the course was clean and clear, there were plenty of volunteers manning the water and fuel stations at every mile marker, the wait time for restrooms at the start line were short, and the finish was picture perfect. I highly recommend this race and will definitely consider signing up again next year.
A HUGE thank you also goes out to Wesley, who agreed to wake up extra early to cheer me on, plus take photos so that I could remember this day forever.