Brooklyn Half Marathon—Check!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

It was crazy and maybe a little stupid, but I did it. I finished the Brooklyn Half Marathon.

After crossing the 2010 New York City Marathon finish line, I turned into a massive slacker of a runner. So massive that I traded in my spot at the 2011 Brooklyn Half Marathon for the pleasure of slugging a mezcal-soaked worm on the eve of my 30th birthday. So massive that I ran no races and so few miles, in fact, that I used the same running shoes I ran the marathon in until March of this year.

In the hope of pulling myself out of the rut, I signed up for the 2012 Brooklyn Half Marathon. It was my last unconquered outer borough, after all, so it had to be done. The thought of a looming race did get me back to running—though not as frequently as training for a half marathon requires. With my time and attention taken up by moving and getting settled in, my training plan was left unfollowed. So when the day came to toe the line, I was quaking in my running shoes.

But somehow, I did pull through. The odds were in my favor: we were blessed with perfect weather and a lovely (and fast) course that started at the Brooklyn Museum, wound through Prospect Park, soldiered on down Ocean Parkway, and culminated on the Coney Island boardwalk.
The run was equal parts punishing and amazing. I really enjoyed the earlier part of the race: the constantly changing scenery was lovely, the hills and turns gave the run variety, and the crowd support ranged from a cheerleading squad to a lady who had me laughing with a sign that read, "Run like you stole something!" And of course, it's just nice running on a full tank of gas.

The five miler down Ocean Parkway was when my demons started to appear. Running down a completely straight road, there wasn't much to distract me from the fact that I was pretty damn exhausted. I refueled with Gatorade at every stop to get a sugar kick and splashed water on my face, neck and head to hit the reset button on my rising body temperature. But still, at about mile 10, I started to doubt that I could make it. I was so tired and undertrained, and my body made sure I knew it.

But what I've noticed from my little running experience is that distance running entails both training and a stubborn disposition. If you're someone who simply refuses to quit, you will make it past that finish line eventually. Thankfully, I have great reserves of obstinacy, so I tapped in and talked myself into putting one foot after another until I finally crossed the finish line. Surprisingly, I didn't just survive. I actually made decent time—well within the neighborhood of my previous half marathon times.

That said, I don't plan on tempting fate again. I was lucky to make it to the end without getting injured or altogether fainting, and I recognize that this was a free pass from the running gods. But it was good to get out there again and be reminded of how much I enjoy it all: setting a crazy goal, going for it, and actually achieving it against all odds—it never loses its sweet taste.

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  1. Love those pics, colorful. Thanks for sharing this to us and looking forward always for more updates. Great job well done, Congratulations !