The title of my story shall be “It’s a Family Affair” for a number of reasons, mainly that 7 of my family members were running the race. There were also countless others running, not related to my blood line, that I would consider family.
The night before the race was quiet and calculated. Abbe made a delicious pasta that incorporated shrimp, a key requisite for my pre race fueling.
Abbe woke up at 4:30, but I opted for another 30 minutes of slumber. I only needed 30 minutes flat to drink some coffee, dress and depart. We left at 5:30, caught a cab and picked up my brother Jeff a few minutes away before heading to the borough known as Brooklyn, or as I often think ‘Breuckelen’ the original town in the Netherlands it is named for. We were right on time.
We arrived at Grand Army Plaza around 6:10 and had 30 minutes to get to our corrals, piece of cake.
Security was a breeze and we soon met up with Dougie and Danika followed by Josh, Allison, Randi and Amy of Gotham City Runner fame. We all soon departed for corrals as the start time neared.
Josh, Leslie, Sam, Evan, Riley and I were all kind of intermingling and waiting for the gun to go off. We would all finish the race within a few minutes of each other, something I hadn’t experienced in a race before.
As the gun went off the six of us (plus many more runners) took off with Evan in the lead. We had a little bit of fun banter the first mile or two, but it soon tapered off as we all individually began to focus.
I had broken the course up into three parts…
Sector I: 5K straightaways at the start
Sector II: 5K Prospect Park (hilly)
Sector III: 10K Ocean Parkway straightaway to Coney
I hit the first part in 6:12, 6:09 and 5:57.
As we entered Sector II, Prospect Park as some would call it, we were more or less in single file race formation hitting the tangents. I still felt great but felt as if I could have pushed it more. I think being specifically trained for a marathon and not a half marathon slowed me down ever so slightly. Evan was out of sight by now and Josh was 20 seconds in the distance plugging along at a similar pace. As a team we looked pretty legit, especially with our new singlets.
The miles in Prospect Park were run in 6:17, 6:26, 6:23, 5:58. Now it was time for the ever boring Ocean Parkway straightaway.
As we exited the park I saw Aunt Margie cruising into the park and we gave a shout to each other. What are the odds of that happening!?
Still feeling good I knew that I had to hold it together for the last 10K and keep the pace steady. I grabbed a Gu at mile 8 and unfortunately got some kind of bullshit Orange flavor. I like Gu’s flavored like candy… Espresso Love, Vanilla Bean, Salted Caramel, Chocolate anything, not fruit flavors. I guess it helped.
Leslie was passing me now and I yelled over, “Go get Josh!” to which she responded, “Yea it’s been pissing me off, I’m going to catch him dammit.” Josh and Leslie are husband and wife for those of you curious about the household rivalry.
8, 9 and 10 were hit at 6:12, 6:20 and 6:21. I wasn’t on pace to PR, but it was looking like a good race in general.
At Mile 11 I saw Josh stretching and yelled if he was okay. He was having some glute issues but jumped back in behind me, determined. I thought I could help, “I will pull Josh along to the finish.” Whether that’s what he was thinking I have no idea, but we were making steady ground together and were passing many people. I felt like we were two fighter planes.
I saw my coworker Melissa at mile 12 cheering (her brother was running) and she snapped a few good pics of us.
GCR bitches. Move over.
We powered into the finish where I saw my sister-in-law Ali cheering, and finished in a 1:22:04.
Evan, Josh and I all met up right at the end and had finished in a two minute span, Evan taking the team win. The skies looked ominous so I headed right to Peggy O’Neils, the after party location, to take shelter. Once there I grabbed one of the few picnic tables available and waited for the gang to roll in.
The Brooklyn Half may be a boring course, but it makes up for it with the best after party in NYC. At Peggy O’Neils all of the local teams gather and start drinking immediately. There are open barbeque pits and a live band, not to mention the local NYC running family holding it down. I saw all of my friends there and we all melded into one giant running community no matter what team affiliation.
One-by-one my family members and my team members streamed in, needing beer and in some rare cases water. My Aunt Margie, Charla, cousins Tommy, Phyllis, Gillian, and Cat, brother Jeff and my wife Abbe (friends Dougie and Danika) all finished in pretty amazing times! The Gotham City Runner crew also all finished with some pretty sick times. What else can you do after that but celebrate your accomplishments.
As the day wore on we got very hungry. There is this place Dougie and I go to down on Brighton Beach after open water swims (my athletes take note) where we get awesome Russian food. We decided to head there. After some solid nourishment our camp deiced it best to head back to mighty Manhattan.
It really makes me proud to say that a large number of my family ran this race. I have been bragging about all of them to anyone that asks me about the Brooklyn Half. I respect each and every one of you for your accomplishment. I wouldn’t choose any other family but ours if I had a choice.
Speaking of family, I am also so proud to be a part of the Gotham City Runners AND the larger NYC running community. I have so many friends on so many teams and you are all ridiculously great. The Runner Army is real.
To my athletes who ran this race (you know who you are), you killed it. You are all limitless.