Rock’N’Roll Brooklyn 5 Miler

ashley and zoe rnr brooklyn 5 miler

Yesterday was my first race since giving birth to Katie on June 20th it was so much fun! My goal going into yesterday’s Rock’n’Roll Brooklyn 5 Miler was to run a smart race that would allow me to have fun and finish feeling strong and healthy. Since starting receiving the all-clear to return to working out from my OB-GYN at my 8 week postpartum appointment, my goal has been to ease back into working out in a smart, healthy fashion. For the past few weeks I have been running an average of two days per week, following a walk/run program during which I increase the running by one minute each run.

Based on this approach, I wanted to run the first 16 minutes of yesteday’s race and then switch to intervals, alternating walking and running. If I wasn’t feeling great, I could do 1:1 intervals, but if I was feeling stronger then I’d increase the intervals to either 3 minutes or 4 minutes of running.

rnr brooklyn gear

The race began at 7AM near Grand Army Plaza and the Brooklyn Museum, which meant that I hopped on a Citibike at 6:20 which placed me in the starting area by 6:45.

grand army plazaI had just enough time to make my way through security, use the bathroom and make my way into the corral before the 7AM start. Even before the race started, there were a few things that I really liked about the race setup this year.

  • I appreciated that the 5 mile and half marathon races started at the same time. This allowed people to mingle with their friends running the other distances, as long as you were in the same corral, and enjoy the support and energy of the larger, half marathon race.  There were only 959 people who ran the 5 Miler so the course felt pretty sparse once we split from the 8,500 half marathon runners.
  • I loved that RNR provided water, bananas and portapotties within the starting corrals. This is something I haven’t seen at many race starts and it seemed to be appreciated by everyone. While there were, of course, some lines for the portapotties, they moved very quickly.
  • While the race still started a few minutes late, it started far faster than years past.

Since Zoe and I have become experts at meeting before race starts, we easily spotted each other and discussed our race plan before we heard the annoucer start the race.

zoe

Since she is dealing with a nagging injury, she happily stuck with me during the race. It’s amazing to think that last year, we ran the half marathon together and, halfway during the race, due to increase heart rate, I told her I was pregnant! A lot can change in a year!

Rock'n'Roll Brooklyn 5 Miler Course

Within minutes after the first runners crossed the starting line, Zoe and I were giving each other a high five and starting our run. We both wore headphones for the first 16 minutes while we were running, briefly pointing out sights along the route during these first miles.  When we hit 16 minutes, just short of two miles, we switched to intervals, but since we were both feeling good, we decided to start with longer running intervals – 4 minutes run and 2 minutes walking.

Mile 1 Pace – 10:00

Mile 2 Pace – 10:41

For the first two and a half miles we enjoyed the slight downhill as well as the comraderie of the half marathon runners before we veered off and headed into Prospect Park.  The final 2.5 miles included the rolling hills of Prospect Park as well as the 3/10 mile climb during mile 4.

Mile 3 Pace – 11:38

Mile 4 Pace – 11:48

Mile 5 Pace – 10:33

As you can tell, our running pace increased during that last mile when we knew the finish line was close and we had the benefit of some gradual downhills.

We finished the race in 54:05 or an average pace of 10:49

rnr brooklyn finish

Overall, it was a great return to racing and made me even more excited to wake up for those early morning runs. I’m looking forward to the NYRR Jingle Jog on December 2nd which will hopefully be the first race Katie is at the finish line. We didn’t even try bringing her to yesterday’s race since she’s been pretty fussy this week due to the four month sleep regression. 

In case you’re wondering, here are my recaps from the past two Rock’n’Roll Brooklyn Races:

Thank you to Brooks and Rock’n’Roll for the complimentary bib as part of my Brooks #RunHappy Ambassador partnership.

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Rock’n’Roll Brooklyn Half Marathon Race Recap 2016

rnr-brooklyn-medal

 

Yesterday I had the opportunity to run the Rock’n’Roll Brooklyn Half Marathon for the second year in a row and it was once again a great half marathon right in my own borough.  This years race was even better than last years which says a lot as it was my favorite half marathon that I ran. Admittedly, last year’s inaugural RNR Brooklyn Half Marathon did not go off with a hitch as organizers faced multiple problems including a late start due to issues with ensuring clear roads.  This year it was clear that Rock’n’Roll took all the feedback to heart and did their best to improve.

I headed to the expo on Friday afternoon and while I didn’t love the Manhattan location at Penn Plaza, I will be the first to admit that it was far more convenient than last year’s expo in Greenpoint. The expo was smaller than last year with far fewer vendors, but I also found it to be very easy to navigate. Including the shopping we did in the official race shop, where I picked up a Brooklyn branded Brooks shirt, we were in and out in just 15 minutes.

Saturday morning I woke up at 5:30, got dressed, sipped coffee and made peanut butter and banana sandwiches which I ate while heading to the starting area at Grand Army Plaza. I took an Uber since I was running a few minutes behind schedule, and found myself at the VIP security entrance at the Brooklyn Library just 10 minutes later! I met Zoe minutes later and we quickly checked our bags and then head over to our corral, just in time to find Nicole and stretch before the race began. While we chatted, I made sure to do my pre-race stretching routine which I’ve done during each of my long runs over the past five weeks.

rnr-brooklyn-sunrise

Check out the gorgeous sunrise the 17,500 runners were treated to as we waited for the 7 AM start? I know the race directors couldn’t plan this but man was it a perfect way to start the race. The weather at the start was 65 degrees, overcast and slightly humid. My only goal for the race was to enjoy the 13.1 miles with Nicole and Zoe for as long as possible. They are both training for the New York City Marathon and therefore our pace would be around their long run pace. As I had a far shorter training cycle than normal for this half marathon, I told them that I would drop back if my glute started giving me any pain or I found it tough to maintain their pace.

rnr-brooklyn-pre-race

At 7:01 the three of us crossed the starting line together, each with one ear bud in our ear and smiles on our faces ready for a great race. As Zoe lives on the Upper West Side, we pointed out local landmarks and navigate the course as we ran through this year’s course. I prefer this course over the May NYRR Brooklyn Half as it includes a shorter stint on the very boring, monotonous Ocean Parkway.

rnr-brooklyn-2016-course

The first eight miles flew by as we talked about marathon training, favorite races and injuries. We kept a 9:55 pace, exactly on target with their long run training plans.  There were multiple water stops along the way as well as small bands and local cheerleading groups motivating the runners.  At mile 8.5 as we headed back towards Prospect Park following the turnaround point on Ocean Avenue,  Zoe and I urged Nicole to run ahead as she was having an especially strong race. The next five miles weren’t easy but as we turned back towards the park I just kept focusing on the massage waiting for us in the VIP area.

rnr-brooklyn

When we entered Prospect Park at Mile 10 we were greeted by amazing cheerleaders, family members and supporters as well as the first signs of Fall. During those final miles I walked a 1/4 mile and ran 3/4 a mile to ensure that I was smart considering I only did 3 long runs in preparation for this half marathon.

I finished my 22nd half marathon in 2:14:14 and couldn’t have been more thankful. After fighting through injuries these past few months any day that my legs and body can carry me 13.1 miles is a great day, no to mention the wonderful conversations and laughter that Nicole, Zoe and I shared on the course.

After crossing the finish line we spent the next hour relaxing with fellow runners in the Westin Rock’n’Blog VIP experience which was the perfect way to end the morning. Zoe and I each enjoyed 10-minute massages, freshened up and dove into fruit and food before heading back towards the subway.

rnr-brooklyn-post-race-pic-with-zoe
rnr-brooklyn-with-dani

Thank you to Brooklyn and Rock’n’Roll for such a wonderful race and great half marathon!

Your turn – If you raced this weekend, how did it go? 

I was provided a bib and VIP entry as part of my partnership with Run Rock’n’Roll but as always the opinions in this post are my own. 

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JP Morgan Corporate Challenge Race Recap

jp morgan corporate challenge 2

On Wednesday night, I ran the JP Morgan Corporate Challenge with 14,999 other runners and walkers. While I’ve heard about the event for years, this was my first time participating. While I had a blast running with Meaghan and Ashley, this event unfortunately lived up to the rumors I’ve heard for years.

  • Too crowded
  • Takes forever to cross the starting line
  • Chaos in Central Park with people EVERYWHERE 

The race started at 7pm but we didn’t cross the starting line until 7:17, even though we were in one of the closer corrals. I have no idea how corrals were decided though it seemed that they were based on company versus pace so people could spend time with their co-workers while they waited for the race to begin.

jp morgan corporate challenge 1

The 3.2 mile course was the bottom loop, starting right at the Loeb Boathouse and finishing on the west side of the park, avoiding the park’s largest hills. Regardless of the wonderful course, this is not a PR course due to the huge crowds and the fact that many of the participants are first time racers. I loved seeing the people of all shapes and sizes out their with their co-workers but when people were walking in the first few minutes of the course – five people across – it made things pretty crowded and cramped.

jp morgan corporate challenge race route

Luckily, our plan for the race was to chat and enjoy ourselves. I knew that my legs would be tired from running the Brooks 5k just 12 hours earlier after a month long running hiatus. Due to the crowds in our corrals and on the course, we were only able to keep around a 10-minute pace. As we dodged people we passed the time by laughing at team t-shirts, taking in the sights and enjoying a warm, Summer evening in Central Park.

We finished in 31:05 (9:42 mins/mile) – a far cry from a PR or even typical pace for me pre-injury. But, as you can see from the picture below, the crazy course crowds didn’t stop us from having fun together!

jp morgan corporate challenge 3

If you’re trying to decide whether to run this race with your company, I would suggest that you do so but know what to expect. Focus on the time with colleagues more than the workout or race pace and you should have a great time! Some companies rented out area bars or restaurants for after parties which sounds like the ingredients for a perfect evening – a run in Central Park followed by beers!

Thank you to JPMorgan for the complimentary bib and VIP wrist band. All experiences and thoughts are my own.

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