Why do I like the Brooklyn Half? Because I break the course up into three distinct sections.
Section 1 (Miles 1-3): Straightaways with acute angle turns.
Section 2 (Miles 4-7): The rolling hills of Prospect Park.
Section 3 (Miles 8-13.1): The flat, straight shot, direct injection into the beach.
Dougie, Danika and Maddie met Abbe and I at our place and the 5 of us jumped a cab to Brooklyn. Once there we found Battalion teammate Jenn, who was rarin’ to go. The others were already corralled up. Up in Corral A as usual I ran into my friend Evan and rocked a high five.
A very strange rendition of the National Anthem took place. I had no expectations except to just being present in the moment and running hard. It was overcast, maybe 55 degrees and slightly humid. It was also the 5 year anniversary of my father’s passing to the day. We all had some remembrance toasts to make and we were already late to Coney Island.
The gun went off and within seconds I was across the mat and cooking down the street. Section 1 had begun and I immediately became parched. I saw Maura and Kate from GCR at Mile 1.5 cheering like banshee queens. Then, at Mile 3 I saw Abbe, Danika and Maddie. I veered over hard left for some high five action. Mile splits were 6:17, 6:18, and 6:14 and I felt great… I guess just keep doing what you’re doing Baker.
It was great hitting Prospect Park as things opened up a bit. I was now with a solid group of 3-4 people in race formation playing leapfrog. One of them happened to have a yellow GCR shirt on. I yelled. “Hey GCR! Right on man!” He laughed and said that he had thought we had met. His name was Pablo and I would see him later at the after party.
We hit the big hill on the east side and I knew my pace would suffer, it’s a doozy. At the top was Maura and Kate again!
Dropping back into the lower part of Prospect I knew we were about to exit Section 2 and I was excited. It was also the halfway mark and I still felt great! Mile splits were 6:19, 6:29, 6:32 and 6:10.
Exiting onto Ocean Parkway I ran right towards Elyssa waving! She is a Whippet and so probably wasn’t expecting me. I love the artsy shot.
On the highway I was thankful that the clouds had stayed in place as there is no shade. I slowly passed Grace from CPTC and had a quick ‘hello how ya doin.’ (Grace is way fast!)
Miles 8, 9 and 10 started to click off faster than I actually wanted them to. I was having such a good time I wanted to really enjoy it. Somewhere around Mile 8 I saw Bojana, who didn’t run because she BQ’d last weekend and her feet hurt. She looked so fresh in her civilian clothes! I ran over and high fived her before pushing ahead.
It was also somewhere around this point that I heard from behind a loud distant scream. It sounded like “Go Chris Baker!” I later found out that it was Abbe who had gotten to the cheer point just after I had passed.
I saw Dani from CPTC at Mile 11 (also looking fresh) cheering as I went by. Right around now is when Grace caught back up to me. Her and I along with a few others held together and brought home the final miles. It was tough, but very epic at the same time. Those final 800 meters seem to last forever on this course and you really have to fight to hold on.
I cruised down the boardwalk and finished in 1:23:41, not a PR, but my 4th best half marathon (out of 18) finish.
I headed right to Peggy O’Neils to begin the after party. I saw Sam and met Brad and Pablo. Josh, Alex and the rest of the GCR crew started rolling in right before the Battalion arrived. Battalion had a different location to get to though so I said my goodbyes and headed to Ruby’s by the finish.
Cat, Gillian and Tia had secured a big table for us so Abbe, Danika, Dougie, Maddie, Aunt Margie, Jenn, Brianna, Charla, Nikki, Lindsey, Bojo, and Brian (along with a few other new friends) had a good home base.
All of us gave a big toast to my Dad, Bruce, and I was hit with a serious wave of emotion.
Then, out of nowhere my name gets yelled it it turns out to be Elizabeth and Juan! Fun times!
Speaking of fun, our youngest Battalion member Maddie (Dougie and Danika’s 10 year old) was running the kid’s mile race. We all went out to the boardwalk to cheer her on. She did fantastic coming in with an 8:01 mile pace, impressive!
We continued the day at a few more places before ending it with our traditional Cyclone ride followed by dinner at El Paso… my favorite and I think one of Beyonce’s as well.
It was an epic double header PR weekend for The Battalion.
Bojana – 15 minute PR + BQ
Abbe – 15 minute PR
Noah – 1 minute PR
Cat – 2 minute PR
Jenn – 3 minute PR
Brianna – 2 minute PR
We should all be very proud at what was accomplished in such a short period of time. Well done Battalion.
I look forward to calling Battle Stations and seeing what you all will throw down next.