Saturday, May 12, 2012

Brooklyn Half Course Analysis

A friend of mine ran the first part of the Brooklyn Half course last weekend: Her verdict?  "It's a fast course."

I did the same thing this morning and have to agree. It's not the most exciting course in the world (though the alternative was running two loops in Prospect Park, instead of one). But the fact is, you don't have to pay attention to the undulating parts of the park, you get three serious downhills (including two in the first three miles of the race) and only one bout with Zoo hill.

Yeah, it's definitely a PR course if the weather cooperates. (And right now it looks like probably low 60s with very mild wind from the East.)

Let me break the race into three components: Pre-Prospect Park, the Park loop, and Ocean Parkway/Coney Island.

*Pre Prospect Park - about 3.75 miles.  Starting on Washington, you get a nice downhill for the first half mile-plus. The turn back up Flatbush is steadily uphill - but it's an easy uphill. Running Union Street to the Park, or running the Brooklyn/Manhattan/Williamsburgh bridges are a lot tougher.  And then you get to run it downhill., before it turns into a flat route heading into the park. I gotta say - I was definitely able to zone out on these parts. One part of the course is in the shade pretty much the whole time -- I can actually see folk running this part too fast.

*Prospect Park - about 3.3 miles. You've done the loop before, you'll do it again. Don't kill yourself on Zoo Hill, remember to run the tangents (especially on the hills - both up and down). Use the 1/4 mile marks spread out at various parts in the park to keep your pacing under control - in my run today, the mile that included Zoo Hill was 23 seconds slower than the second mile (which included the downhill) - and I thought my effort for both miles was about the same.

*Ocean Parkway/Coney Island. It's about 5.5 miles to the Coney Island boardwalk, there won't be much shade, and it's boring as heck.  And these are the good things I have to say. I hate training on this stretch anyway, but it's a necessary evil. So keep focused on the fact that it's be a good day to take a dip in the water afterward/fixate on your favorite fantasy/start giving yourself Harry Potter quizzes. Oh, and if it's windy, find someone tall to run behind.

The last time I was on the boardwalk (about 6 weeks ago), the boards were in the usual terrible condition. It may have improved, but something to watch out for. At that point, you've got tired legs, but your adrenaline pumping and you can see the finish. Just don't think about Nathan's Hot Dogs at this point.

And then you're done!

1 comment:

Chicken Underwear said...

There is going to be a big problem at mile 13.

To get from W 10th St to the boardwalk the runners must choose one of two 9 foot wide ramps.

They are going to get backed up.

The density of runners in the front wont be affected and those finishing in over 3 hours won't care, but those wanting to break 2 hours will have their day ruined.

I hope I am wrong.