From now on I’m delegating all my important decisions to Tumblr; you guys were so helpful and thoughtful with my extra mileage question. Whoever said the Internet was mean and cruel clearly hasn’t been reading you all.
So, yesterday I ran the Narrows Half, a small half in far south Brooklyn near the Verrazano-Narrows bridge (and by extension the marathon start!) The friend I was going to meet there bailed on me in the morning, but oh well. I ended up choosing to do my miles before and then tackle the race, largely for timing: The race didn’t start till 9am, so I had plenty of time to run down to the start. The first five were uneventful; I focused on using as little energy as possible to conserve for the race ahead and, on the downhills, letting gravity pull me faster.
The course consisted of 2 out-and-back loops of 5 and 8 miles along the shoreline. It reminded me a lot of my first half marathon (Asbury Park), between the wind resistance on the way back, the ocean-side sights and the use of an open pedestrian path for the course. (The pedestrians weren’t a problem, except the one guy biking on the running path who snarled at another runner, “Don’t tell ME where to bleeping ride!”) The biggest challenge for me was staying mentally in it and not dwelling on how much further I had to go; whenever I thought about where I was in the race, I started to lose it, especially keeping in mind last week’s run where I did 8 great miles and then bombed. My pace slowed down a little, but I was able to finish strong and even passed a few people at the end.
The Narrows Half organizer is gradually picking up speed as an alternative to New York Road Runners and I thought they did a fine job. (The same company organized the Firecracker 10K on Roosevelt Island I did on the 4th of July, when there was no NYRR race or other competing race in New York.) The shirt they gave out was spiffy and the course instructions were fairly clear. There were plenty of volunteers and the water stops were still open AND staffed when I came through near the end. Also, they had donuts at the finish line!
When I was approaching the finish I could see a ton of people standing around, which I thought was strange, and when I got close I could see there were TONS of bikers. I walked through the crowd reluctantly (I have this fear of knocking over someone’s motorcycle and owing him zillions of dollars) on my shaky post-run legs, and just as I was about to leave the park I spotted their banner: MOTORCYCLISTS FOR ST JUDE’S CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL. It was a charity motorbike meetup! And heck, why not.