Saturday, May 21, 2011

Brooklyn Half: Quick Reax and Random Thoughts

Some highly subjective comments about today's race - as always, feel free to agree/disagree/comment away:

*The volunteers at this race rock. Seriously. Mary Wittenberg said they were on hand at 1 a.m., and the effort showed. From the directions and the organization to the water stops (more on these in a sec) - they did a great job.

*The weather was ... well, as predicted, those who love heat and humidity had a great day. Took me a mile before I was dripping (and that was even before I started dumping cups of water on me). Thankfully, Ocean Parkway was mostly in the shade as I was running down (I'm wondering if the sun had gotten higher though as the race progressed?)

*The past several days of rain had a minimal impact in Prospect Park, though I wouldn't be surprised to hear of some slips and falls - in a few cases, parts of the inside lane really weren't suitable for running, and the puddle at the southern end of the park, while smaller than usual, was very present and made for interesting navigation during the first loop

*I'd be interested to hear people's thoughts on the second loop of the course, when the faster runners and slower intermingled. During the long downhill on mile 6, when people separated, I think it was fine. But mile 5, from GAP to 15th Street? A bit messy.

*No way to back this up, but was mile 6 a tad long? (and I would think that mile 5 possibly a tad short as a result). Until losing it in the final mile of the race, it was my slowest mile by a good 10 seconds (and yes, I realize that part of the run was on Zoo Hill).

*Water stops at every mile (almost) on Ocean Parkway were incredibly helpful. The one quibble I'd have is the very first water stop (at mile 1), which may have been set up there because of the park construction, was a little too soon for most runners (of course it was welcome at mile 4).

*I think I've expressed some doubt about the change to the course a few years back, but I think I'm now a total convert - it's a hassle to finish in Coney Island and get back, but I like getting the hills out of the way early and being able to pound it out (or in today's case hang on) during the flat part for the second half of the race. (For the first time in three years, I wasn't fixated on the alphabet streets, which certainly helped.)

*One wonders whether the MTA and NYRR talked about the date before the race. I completely understand that work has to be done on the tracks, but having the F out of commission (shuttle buses aside) isn't a very smart move. (And, this probably could have been avoided by the people who got burnt by this, but the Brooklyn Bridge was also closed to Brooklyn bound traffic early in the day, which didn't help some folk.) It's never a good thing to see a couple of hundred people sprinting to the start during the national anthem (very beautiful today, btw).

*Part of that may also have to do with the bathrooms. The lines looked really long today. Longer race commute means more bathroom needs, me thinks.

*Is there a way to avoid closing baggage claim at 6:30? I'm sure there are reasons, but it gets messy, especially when folk are getting to the race late.

*Set the Brooklyn Half date now. Saturday, May 19, 2012. Get the speculation out of the way. Just do it.

*The water at Coney Island: a bit chilly, but was definitely worth walking into the surf to soothe some sore muscles.

*Runners are good people. After suffering brain freeze when I checked my bag with my Gu (so much for my perfect pre-race preparation), a friend's friend gave me a strawberry-banana Powergel as I was getting a bit desperate. Without that, my final mile almost-collapse would have happened a) a lot earlier and b) would have been a collapse. So thanks.

*I've got ties with/friends on both clubs, but I'd love to see a North Brooklyn Runners (95 finishers)/Prospect Park Club (89 finishers) showdown (and throw in Brooklyn Road Runners (17 finishers) to boot).


Chase said...

Great recap! The heat almost killed me there at the end, and I was struggling to maintain my focus down Ocean. What was the older route? I loved the finish but the 6 miles down one street was trying my patience (i.e. I wasn't sure I could hold on!).

Chase said...

Oh yeah, the second loop of the course confused the heck out of me for just that reason. I started seeing all these slower people and wondering what I had done wrong and how I'd gotten so far off my pace and wave.

I should have jumped in the ocean.

Anonymous said...

The course was reversed three years ago - it used to start in Coney Island and finish in Prospect Park

Anonymous said...

Love the idea of a BK Club Showdown. Maybe get together at Red Hook track and have a running festival of sorts.

Umi said...

You covered it all! As my first half marathon, this was great. I usually run the Central Park hills, so I felt pretty prepared for Prospect Park. And the run down Ocean Pkway was not as bad as I expected.

It was organized really great (fluid stations and volunteer support was AMAZING), but they really needed more bathrooms in the beginning of the race. I saw the lines and ended up waiting until I started running. :T

A seasoned runner friend advised me that a jump in the surf was a great way to ice my muscles, so I wore bikini bottoms under my running shorts. Needless to say, it was a great idea.

I had a great time. Thanks for your updates leading up to it (when the registrations are open, etc...)

Premshree said...

I was planning on running from Park Slope to Coney Island via Coney Island Ave... is that a reasonable street to run on, you think?