My return to racing was, thankfully, uneventful. The most stressful part of the Brooklyn Half Marathon was getting to the start. Thanks to NYRR disorganization, I walked 45 minutes until arriving at registration. Then they didn't have my number. Then it was back another half mile to the start, barely in time. The day was pretty warm, even at 8am, mostly because the sun was strong. That made me even more cautious, since I don't have a good track record with the heat and I drank a couple glasses of wine the night before.
I'd forgotten my HRM, so I decided to go purely on feel. My guess was around the 7:30 mark would be pretty good. That's quite a bit slower than I've run before, but I'm only running twice a week now and frankly still getting over the Achilles injury. Thanks to the number snafu, I farther back that I should have been. This was a mixed blessing. It kept me from going out too fast, but I gave up time the first couple miles.
Mile 1: 8:07
Mile 2: 7:44
Mile 3: 7:32
The Brooklyn Half began in Prospect Park, which we'd circle twice for about seven miles. The first three miles brought us around to the top of the park. I was weaving through people the first couple miles but soon settled into a nice pace. It didn't feel too stressful.
Mile 4: 7:22
Mile 5: 7:42
Mile 6: 7:30
One of those miles is not like the other. Again, the NYRR came up small. At mile 5, I was on my second loop. I came around to the second water station to find no water. Now I'm not in the back of the pack or anything. The volunteers were doing what they could, but the race had 12,000 runners. I ended up grabbing a cup and scooping out my own water.
Mile 7: 7:33
Mile 8: 7:15
Mile 9: 7:24
These are the miles of a half I consider the middle miles. They're typically where I try to be strongest. This was doubly so because the course exited the hills of Prospect Park for a straight shot down Ocean Parkway to Coney Island. I felt pretty good and tempted to pick up the pace. But I held back because I could tell I wasn't as well-trained as I'd like. It wasn't a fitness thing, just a running thing. My body wasn't used to exerting that much running effort. Cardio-wise, I was fine.
Mile 10: 7:28
Mile 11: 7:31
Mile 12: 7:25
Mile 13.1: 8:14
Overall, I'm pretty pleased with how I finished the race. I started feeling tired at the end but never had any real problems. My effort was moderate enough to have a brief conversation with another runner on the boardwalk as we looked for the finish line.
Final result: 1:38:53, 7:32 pace. Leaving out the first two miles and the cup fiasco, my miles were all at 7:33 or below. That strikes me as about right. One thing I noticed that pleased me is I was a little stronger on the hills in Prospect Park thanks to a little extra upper body strength from swimming. Still, I doubt I can run fast again while training equally, if not more, in cycling and swimming. I'm just happy I can still run a decent half marathon.