Learn all about this fun, music-filled run through the best borough with this Rock’n’Roll Brooklyn Half Marathon Race Recap.
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Last weekend, I got to run my very first Rock’n’Roll race, and it did not disappoint! After running a sub-par NYC Half Marathon, having to DNS the Syracuse Half and dealing with a fever throughout the Brooklyn Half, I was kind of looking for redemption with these 13.1 miles. Since this race was going to be part of a marathon training long run, I knew redemption wouldn’t come in the form of a PR. Rather, I was hoping it would redeem my faith in my favorite race distance and remind why I love running and racing.
RACE DAY STRATEGY
I’m in the peak of marathon training, so I had 18 miles on tap. The plan was to run 5 miles at a very easy pace before the race, the first 8 miles of the race easy and the last 5 miles of the race at marathon goal pace. I really wanted to stick to that plan and not go out too fast or try to race the race.
I also wanted to try a new fueling strategy. In the past, I’ve always taken in 4-5 PROBAR Energy Bolt chews (affiliate link) every 45 minutes. I’ve done pretty well with this, but I’ve noticed throughout this training that I get a solid boost about 10 minutes after consuming the chews but then start to fade until I eat more. The night before the race, I met up with Annmarie (more on that below). She said she fuels every 20 minutes, so I figured I’d give that a shot. Instead of 4-5 chews every 45 minutes (or 4.5-5 miles), I’d try 2-3 chews every 2 miles.
THE DAY BEFORE THE RACE
I hit up the expo to pick up my bib. I’m not big on expos, but I figured RNR’s would be fun. I have to say, I was kind of disappointed. That said, I picked up my bib and shirt without a hitch, so while it didn’t turn me into an expo lover, I did appreciate the efficiency.
Then it was back to my apartment to get flat Nicole ready…
…and lights were out by 9:30pm.
My alarm went off at the lovely hour of 4:15am. I made myself some oats with banana and sun butter, did my warm-up routine and was out the door by 5 to get in my 5 pre-race miles.
I was pretty nervous about running alone in the darkness of the morning, so I ran to Prospect Park where I figured people would be setting up the race course.
Before I knew it, my 5 miles were done, and it was time to head to the corrals.
I’d heard from people that ran this race last year that security was a bit of a disaster, resulting in the race starting really late. I wanted to get there early to avoid anything like that happening again.
I entered the corral area at 6am, a good hour before the race was due to start. I was one of the first people there, which didn’t bother me, as I had my choice of porta potties!
I also got to enjoy this gorgeous sunrise over the starting line.
Before we knew it, we were off!
Since Ashley and Zoe were looking to just enjoy the race, and I was looking to run the first 8 miles easy, we decided to keep each other company as long as possible.
We ran, we chatted, we danced to all the music stands along the course, and the first 8 miles of the race flew by. Right after the 8-mile mark, Ashley and Zoe decided to drop back while I picked it up to my goal marathon pace for the final 5 miles.
I was feeling amazing and had so much energy, which I attribute to both taking it easy and my new fueling strategy. There was a big hill right before mile 10 and I powered up it, no problemo. I was feeling so good that I had to actively try to slow down to my goal pace. I entered Prospect Park and knew I was in the home stretch. There was one more big hill just before mile 12. I know that hill like the back of my hand since I’ve run it so many times in training, so getting up it was NBD, even after so many miles.
Then it was time for the last mile! I couldn’t believe how much energy I had 17 miles into the day. My feet weren’t tired. My legs felt strong. I was mentally in the game. On top of all that, my TomTom Spark watch was spot on with the course distance, which NEVER happens (usually it’s off by ¼ of a mile or so by the end of the race).
I crossed the finish line of my 8th half marathon in 2:05:47 and felt proud for having stuck to my strategy and ecstatic about how good I felt. I think this race really gave me the confidence I need to run the marathon in a few weeks.
There was a bit of a runner’s traffic jam right across the finish line as medals were being handed out, but I made my way through and then down the long line of food toward the post-race party. Let me tell you, RNR does not skimp on the food. There were so many snacks and drinks available to runners after the race (pretzels, nuts, bananas, protein bars, Gatorade, chocolate milk, water and more).
I found Annmarie for a quick congrats hug and selfie…
…and then headed to the post-race party with Zoe.
We did a little stretching. Enjoyed some music, and then it was time to head home. The walk home was about a mile and a half. Even though I’d just run 18 miles, I didn’t mind walking a bit so that my legs didn’t stiffen up. I also had the opportunity to take some good pics of the awesome medal.
Once home, I ate, showered, foam rolled and sat with my legs up the wall. The next day, I woke up without a single sore muscle. Major win.
Some overarching pros and cons:
- Easy packet pick-up
- Well organized race start
- Music entertainment throughout
- Relatively flat, easy course
- Awesome race medal
- Tons of post-race fuel
- Fun post-race party
- Disappointing expo
- Big hills at the end of the race (I actually like this, but might be a con for some)
- Some music stations seems to be taking a break when I ran by (bummer)
Overall, I really enjoyed my first RNR experience. I liked having a race as part of my long run, so much so that I signed up for a small half to incorporate into my 20-miler this coming weekend. I also really enjoy running with friends. It helps me get out of my own head and truly enjoy the miles. Hopefully I can find a friend to run the NYC Marathon with!
Have you had any wild workouts lately? Share them in the Wild Workout Wednesday Link Up!
Did you race last weekend?
Have you ever run a Rock’n’Roll race?