Enjoy amazing views of the Manhattan skyline while running this small but awesome race. Learn all about it with this Brooklyn Greenway Half Marathon Race Recap!
Welcome to another great Wild Workout Wednesday Link Up where Annmarie from The Fit Foodie Mama, Jen from Pretty Little Grub, Michelle at Fruition Fitness and I bring you workout ideas, motivation, inspiration and recipes to try. Join us each week by reading along, linking up and grab the button to proudly display on your blog/in your posts!
After making the 13.1 miles of the Rock’n’Roll Brooklyn Half Marathon part of my 18-mile long run, I fell in love with adding races to my marathon-training plan. With a 20-miler on tap for the following weekend, I went online to see if there were any local races I could add to my long run last minute. Luckily, there were still spots left in the 4th Annual Brooklyn Greenway Half Marathon!
The course is a route I run all the time, it’s close to my apartment, you get a race tee and medal and the proceeds go toward finishing and finessing the Brooklyn Greenway (a 14-mile landscaped route for pedestrians, runners and cyclists to enjoy). I’m more than happy to give some money toward enhancing city-running routes!
Race Day Strategy
As I mentioned, I had 20 miles on the race calendar. Since the race wouldn’t be starting until 9:30am, I’d have plenty of time to get in 7 miles before hand. The start of the race was just under 5 miles from my apartment, so I figured I’d run to the race, run a mile past it, a mile back, queue up and run the half for a total of 20 miles.
My goal was to run the first 7 miles at a comfortable, easy pace and then push myself to run the whole half marathon at marathon goal pace. I also wanted to test out the new fueling strategy I implemented during RNR Brooklyn to make sure it was solid.
The Day Before The Race
It was a gorgeous day, so I decided to walk the 2.5 miles to Brooklyn Running Co to pick up my bib, figuring it’d be a good shakeout for my legs. I arrived at the store and had no trouble getting my number and long sleeve tech tee. The race is small, so there wasn’t an expo, which is a.ok by me since I’m not an expo-lover.
I shopped around the store and may or may not have bought myself a new hat. I don’t know if you know this about me, but I have a bit of a baseball hat problem. I have a few that I run with but the non running-friendly ones (which I have at least 10 of) don’t get all that much use. Still, for some reason I love baseball hats. Some girls love shoes. I love hats. I also love shoes… Whatever. The hat is awesome.
I got home and got my carb on with a bombtastic salad from Chipotle, got Flat Nicole ready (note my new hat!)…
… and before I knew it, it was time for bed.
I woke up at 6:55am, which was much better than the 4:15 wake up call I had the week prior. I made my prerace oats…
… got dressed and did my warm up routine. At 7:45, I was out the door and off to tackle my first 7 miles.
As I ran, I came across race volunteers who were already out on the course setting things up and directing people to the start. I pretty much ran the last 1/3 of the course on my way to the race!
After finishing my pre-race miles, it was time to line up for the final 13.1.
The 5K started at 8:30 and the half was supposed to start at 9:30 from the same starting line. 5Kers were still trickling in, so the start of the half was slightly delayed.
There weren’t any corrals, so we all just kind of lined up wherever. I tried to be somewhere in the front of the middle. I crossed the starting line a mere 10 seconds or so after the super speedy speedsters.
The first mile was very crowded. We were all on a side walk and ran a half mile away from the start and then a half mile back toward and across the starting line in the other direction – and we were all on a sidewalk. It was basically two people across. Luckily, I fell in step right behind some other runners and didn’t have to do a lot of dodging and weaving. I was really happy when we were able to spread out a bit more as we neared mile 2, though.
Miles 2-3.5 took us along all the beautiful Brooklyn piers and Brooklyn Bridge Park, which have beautiful views of the Manhattan skyline, the Manhattan Bridge and the Brooklyn Bridge.
Then we ran up through some neighborhoods, through the Brooklyn Navy Yard and into Williamsburg. We were on the sidewalk there, and because the course was out-and-back, it got a little tight again. Fortunately, runners were more spread out at that point.
At mile 7, I turned around and started making my way back. I had 14 miles under my belt and was feeling good. My pace was pretty solid, and my fueling strategy seemed to be working well. My goal was to finish the last 6.1 miles strong and maybe even speed up for the last 4 miles if I could.
When I entered Brooklyn Bridge Park for the last 3 miles of the race, I knew there would have to be a lot more dodging and weaving. It was a gorgeous day and because the course wasn’t closed, the park was getting crowded with people out walking their dogs, pushing strollers or out on tours. At one point, I got stuck behind a wall of tourists. It took me and 2 other runners saying, “Excuse us!” over and over again for what seemed like 2 minutes (but was probably only 10 seconds) for them to realize there was a race going on and move over a bit. Ah the glory of an open course.
Before long, I was in the final stretch. I hauled ass to the finish line and clocked in with an average pace that was 1 second faster than my goal marathon pace. 20-miler for the win!
The post-race party was pretty sweet. They had music playing and an awesome food spread. There was a ton of fresh fruit…
…bagels, bars and gels from CLIF, chocolate milk from Nestle and the thing I was most excited about: COFFEE!!
I hung out for a bit and stretched, I walked up into the nearby neighborhood to shake out my legs and then Ubered it back to my apartment. My Uber driver asked me if I won the race. Ha! At least he thinks I look fast?
I showered, stretched, foam rolled, got my compression socks on and got a massage later that afternoon. Ahhhhh so good.
Now I’m officially in taper mode!
Before we get to the Wild Workout Wednesday link up, a few overall pros and cons:
- Small race so crowds of runners thin out quickly
- Water & Gatorade along the course
- Great volunteers directing runners where to go
- Excellent post race spread (COFFEE!!)
- Sustainable wood medals
- No corrals so the start is a guessing game
- Open course = dodging regular people and traffic
- Headphones are not allowed (though a number of people, included me, ignored this – shhhh!)
- Not a ton of spectators (due to open course and just the general nature of small races)
- No fuel along the course (I always bring my own, so I don’t care too much about this but just a heads up to bring your own fuel if you want to run this in the future)
Overall, I loved this race! I don’t think it’s the best first half for anyone to do (I’d chose a closed-course for that), but it was perfect for tacking onto a longer training run or just to do for fun with a friend.
Alright, my wild workouters, let’s see how you’ve been sweating lately. As always, you can find the link up rules right here.
Have you ever run an open-course race?
What’s the best post-race spread you’ve experienced?