Thursday, December 17, 2015
Brooklyn Inaugural Half Marathon, Saturday, October 10, 2015
It is not my trait to do things in half. But doing Half of a marathon was a compromise between the longest distance that I usually participate in, a 10 kilometer race, and a full length marathon, 26.2 miles. This year, having participated in numerous racing events, from "boring" 5 kilometer races, to a cold and rained soaked Kings Park 15 kilometer race in March, and three sprint-distance triathlons, I knew that I have achieved a the best physical conditioning without lifting weights or other means of physical endurance, that I could attempt a Half Marathon.
My nameless childhood friend earlier this year stunned me when he participated in a Queens County Half Marathon. For someone who hasn't done anything close to being athletic, and yet, slim, to jump into this distance left me asking myself - what am I waiting for? I felt the call to a personal challenge. I told my nameless friend that I would join him in the Brooklyn Half Marathon. Why not? Although I have lived most of my life in New York, Brooklyn is a borough to drive to/from Manhattan and Queens. I signed up some time in May for the October event.
I began to read some advise articles from Runner's World magazine, and from a friend who has done three HMs to date. I didn't want to participate just to end up embarrassing myself by walking or quitting before the finish line. Months to add distance to my running repertoire became weeks to accomplish being conditioned for 13 plus miles. Weeks before October, I managed to run between 8 and 9 miles, tops. I've read that the last few miles would come easy with the crowd cheering you on.
This week on Thursday, I went to Brooklyn to pick up the race bib and complimentary t-shirt. On Friday, at lunch I carbed-up on pasta. Saturday morning, the day of, I got out of bed at 3:30 a.m. I didn't want to close my eyes and sleep past the time allotted to head to Brooklyn. I had everything set up last night, and all I had to do was to put my gear in the car. I brewed coffee around 4:20 a.m., two scrambled eggs with a slice of American cheese.
I left house at 5:00 a.m., took Route 27 all the way into Brooklyn. Curious note that any Route 27 Westbound road signs, were behind trees or completely removed. I presumed that Linden Blvd in Brooklyn was still Route 27. Driving towards Prospect Part, every traffic light at every corner was red. Start, go, stop. Repeat at every intersection. I second guessed if I should have taken the Belt Parkway. I didn't want to alter the planned driving directions. I relied on a printed, large 11 by 17 sheet, as a map focused around Prospect Park, to find street parking. As I arrived at my destination, the I looked for a legal, non-ticketable, spot for my mechanical carriage. I circled the streets, and found a pattern of 4 parked cars, a drive, 3 parked car, fire hydrant and a driveway. Any open space appeared as a gift, only to be disappointed with finding a driveway and/or fire hydrant. I saw an elderly black man and his son standing outside a car, and I asked them if they were leaving with their car. They were surprised at my question. Luckily, I found a legal parking lot right away.
The streets were coming alive with commercial activity.