It's been kind of fun seeing this race evolve each year. I've run it since it's inaugural and I can say it's leaps and bonds from what it started out to be.
We can start with the non-existent expo the first year. I volunteered to give out bibs and it was literally in a running store in midtown Manhattan. No room for anything. Last year, they actually had a pretty decent pickup area upstairs at the 18th st. Pavilion. This year, they made the ground floor with a healthy amount of vendors AND. . . .wait for it. . . .
I was super excited, but I'm also a sucker for anything that says Brooklyn :) Sadly, I passed on those because my bank account was going to boycott me if I didn't- but I'm hoping they had left-overs and they pop up on the website soon. I was a little bummed they did not have the medal pins or magnets to add to my RNR collection, but maybe next year?
Along with all the expo improvements, the course has changed each year. The original course was 2 loops of the park, this year's course took you out of the park longer which I thought was awesome.
As I've said previously, this was supposed to be my 20 mile week. I registered for the race thinking I wouldn't be training for the marathon again and it would be a nice 6.2 miles followed by a great post-race concert. That was definitely not the case. Since I already had a few races lined up before I finally settled on marathon training again, this weekend was the only weekend I could fit my 20 in again. Last year, I ran with someone which made it so much easier. This year? No one. Not gonna lie, the thought of running 20 miles solo AND with a race was extremely daunting. I wasn't sure I was going to do it until I actually woke up that morning and I was still praying for rain- it was the only thing I would allow myself to get out of it.
Grand Army Plaza
I decided getting 4 miles in before the RNR Brooklyn would give me the push to do it- I figured I'd be half way through at the end of the race and that sounded a lot better than I have 14 more miles to run. That was a genius plan if I do say so myself. I was so proud of myself for getting those miles in and making it back to the corrals in time.
Around mile 3 of the race, I noticed the ball of my foot was developing a hot spot, so I pulled over to the med tent and used the vaseline trick Pam taught me at Dumbo. I had too many miles to go to worry about stopping. The med volunteers were super great, too! Apparently, since it's such a short race, they hadn't had many visitors.
The last 3 miles went by quickly. I will admit it was a great course, even if it did include that killer hill. But what's a prospect park run/ race without it?
I crossed the finish line, got my medal and some gatorade and chocolate milk and was on my way again. To finish the 2nd half of my long run, I did half of a loop inside the park (roughly 2 miles) and decided to do 2 loops of the exterior of the park (4 miles each). The path inside the park was too banked for my knee to handle. For not running in Prospect Park often, I was proud of myself for remembering where the landmarks were and even better- water fountains and bathrooms!
The weather was perfect and the only complaint I had was my darn knee pain. It would come and go and I took way too many stretch breaks, but hey! Whatever it takes, right? I knew towards the end it was going to get pretty dark mentally, especially considering I was alone and didn't have anyone to take my mind off of all the pain. I decided to focus on the fact that I needed to enjoy the run for what it was: my last 20 mile run. That seemed to work well and even though the run didn't go as well as I would've like physically, I believe it was a success mentally.
Next year, I'm sticking to just 6.2 miles!