As one of my top three NYRR races to run, this year’s edition of the 2023 Brooklyn Half Marathon did not disappoint. While a little bit cooler than the previous year, this race will always welcome in the summer season for me. Coming off a surprising 5k personal record of 16:32 from the Newport 5k in Jersey City two weeks before, I wanted to test my half marathon fitness before I start my marathon training block in July for the New York City Marathon.
I knew a PR wasn’t in the cards early on during the race. Realistically though, I knew I could finish high 1:15 to mid-high 1:16. I made an executive decision at mile five to use the bathroom (too hydrated; I’m still working on my marathon fueling and nutrition.) I knew I had enough leg speed to catch up and negative split the course. I also wanted to mentally reset and practice what it might feel like to not have the full marathon go to plan come November.
I finished 1:16:55 to run an average of 5:52 mile pace for the 13.1 distance. Despite the slow segment after the first 5k, I settled back into a rhythm to negative split the race once exiting Prospect Park. While I didn’t meet my A goal of finishing with a PR, I walked away with confidence knowing I have the knowledge, experience and ability to run smart races. Further, I know my strengths as well as my weaknesses. I will continue to work on those throughout this year to arrive at a good place in the fall.
The RBC Brooklyn Half provided me with some good affirmations as I continue to develop as a runner. Mainly, focusing on controlling my own race, especially early on. In my own experience, many of us start out too fast. I believe there is a time and place to test the waters, but running fitness doesn’t lie. Unless you are up in front competing for the win, there is plenty of time to make up for in the later stages of a race.
Also, staying in the moment while focusing on how you move and cover ground helps tremendously. Long distance races rewards efficiency and how you move matters. Yes, developing aerobic capacity is paramount, but we also need our muscles to fire in the correct way to achieve our true potential. Furthermore, developing leg speed is important. The ability to shift between different speeds is a great way to compete and set a new personal best.
I’m excited to start my marathon training block this summer for the New York City Marathon. Until then, it’s time to strengthen my body in the gym to handle the demands of the training. Thank you for reading!