I like being sporadic. I think we all need to be more sporadic. I decided last minute to pop a train down to my alma mater (MICA) and hang with my friends Alex and Will for something called Artwalk. It’s a blast. Just envision the largest art opening you can, paired with food and booze campus-wide. If you are a creative, it will inspire you tenfold.
But where was Abbe during all of these adventures?! She is in Chicago for work so she is missing out on Brooklyn/Baltimore things. I hear it’s warm there right now.
I crashed at Alex and Lisa’s and got to spend some time with my godson Jackson and his new baby brother.
Friday I departed on an early afternoon train, excited and dreading the prospect of running a half marathon the next day. The distance and race in general didn’t scare me, the logistics of getting there did!
Back on Manhattan soil, I met my cousins for happy hour instead of going home and resting. We only stayed out til 9:30. I decided at 10PM that I needed carbs, so I made some Mac-n-Cheese and not even the Kraft brand, some random bodega brand! Was it still amazingly tasty? You bet.
After a horrible night’s sleep and a dream in which I showed up like an hour late to a race I decided to get this party started. Waking up for a Half Marathon at 5AM ain’t pretty, but at least it wasn’t an Ironman.
I was in a cab headed down Park Ave by 5:30. I love my neighborhood early on weekends, it’s so peaceful. It’s like the calm before the storm, that storm which is New York City.
I had a thermos of coffee that I was sipping on in the cab which in retrospect I will never do again. I was quite gassy and so I gave my driver a nice tip. “Don’t ever pick up someone wearing a race bib!” No seriously, I tipped in cash, runners are nice.
Sam rolled up on me as we neared the security gates. We were not looking forward to the security screening but it was pretty smooth. Probably like 5 times faster than getting screened at the airport.
We were supposed to meet the team (Gotham City Runners) but we were a little late. I did run into Tara, Kate and Jonathan warming up. We found Maura soon after. I also ran into my friend Patricia, running her first big race since being a mom!
I jumped in my corral and waited. We had 20 minutes to go so I just kinda spaced out for a bit.
As it got closer they moved us around this bend (that messed up a lot of people who started timing it from here) and down to the start line. I was about 50 feet back from the start and kind of thought it was close enough. I wasn’t feeling particularly competitive for some reason.
I saw my friend Alex who happened to be next to me. He and I have been running similar paces for the last 4 years and always finish close together. We chatted for a bit as the race was delayed. I told him I would be happy with a 1:25. Oh, and big ups to the National Anthem performer. He was awesome and I got goosebumps at one point. Well done.
Finally we were off.
It was a bit of a speedy cluster for the first mile going down the narrow roadway. I imagined it must have felt like this if you were Luke’s crew doing the final Death Star run. If anyone tripped up it would have been a domino effect disaster.
Photo credit: Ben Ko (thanks Ben!)
I saw a lot of friends and teammates as we looped up around Grand Army Plaza and came back down along the Park.
I was running naked (no Garmin) and so had no idea what my pace was. I love doing races like this as you tend to not focus on pace, but feel. I was feeling sluggish, or at least I felt that way. Based on the timing clocks I thought I must be running 6:30’s or something close. Not a PR day.
We entered Prospect Park after mile 3. I was still feeling heavy. The route was starting to thin out now and it was much easier to run tangents.
The one thing I don’t like about running Prospect Park is simply that I am not familiar with it. I could probably draw Central Park’s elevation profile by heart if I had to or run it blindfolded. Something about not knowing the turns messed me up.
We exited after Mile 6 and headed out onto Ocean Parkway. From here it was a straight shot down to Coney Island. It is also unshaded, so can get treacherous as the sun gets higher.
As I was cruisin down Ocean I was feeling a bit winded and was like, “Where the hell is the Mile 7 marker!” As soon as I thought about it I saw it, but no, it was Mile 8! This happens every now and again where I miss a marker and it is such a great feeling! I actually got kinda fired up and increased my speed.
I started slowing passing people and my mind and my body kind of separated from each other. My legs just went.
This race picture was a mystery to me, then I remembered seeing Dougie and running over to high five him! All caught on camera!
The miles ticked off really quickly now. At Mile 11 the clock said like 1:09 or something. Doing some quick math (something I am not good at) I thought, “Hey, I’m not doing quite as bad as I thought!”
As we neared the finish on teh boardwalk I saw my friend Alex up ahead! As I cruised up along side, with 100M to go I waved and said, “C’mon! Let’s go!” and we sprinted.
I ran a 1:22:46! I was very happy as I hadn’t run a good Half in awhile. We (Alex and I) high fived and then moved on to get water.
Then, I hear from the sidelines, “Hey Baker!” It was my friends Mandy and Gabe! They were headed out to cheer on some friends who were running. Great to see you both!
I chilled out in the parking lot outside of the finish basking in the sun barefoot for a little while.
Abbe called me and said I was a metronome. This confused me because I thought I started off bad and finished faster. She sent me my splits and sure enough I was running super consistent withing 2-3 seconds! Strange indeed.
Next up… Peggy O’Neils for the after party. Holy smokes! When I got there it was just me, Sam her boyfriend, Daniel and Leslie but within 30 minutes the place was packed!
Not only did our whole team takeover an are outside, but almost all the other local teams did as well. It was a giant runner party complete with a live cover band! Score!
Doug and Danika popped over to say hi early on. Danika ran a great race!
So many people came by it’s hard to keep straight. I hung out with Beganics and Katie, Eissa and Nick, the whole Gotham Team (and Susan) and so many more. I even found Patricio!
We all hung out for quite some time. At 11 my cousins showed up and revealed an interesting fact. They said that when they got off the train they could smell us, like all 20,000 of us, sweaty and taking over Coney Island. We just didn’t realize it because we were part of it.
At noon we went in search of Nathan’s Hot Dogs. It wasn’t hard as we were right next to Nathan’s BUT the line was insane.
Maura and I decided to leave everyone as we couldn’t handle the line. Walking to the subway she said, “Baker, you look hungry, shouldn’t we get something to eat?” Good call. We went in search of a place with no line and came up very successful. Unfortunately our friends thought we had left and so they dipped as well. Sorry Bojana, Brian and Jodi!
My cousins found us again and we hopped around Coney. I told them that it was a New Yorker’s duty to ride the Cyclone at least once if you live here. We did just that and it was just as awesome as it has been since 1927!
Back to Peggy’s for one last drink and then we headed out. We were not only celebrating the race, but Maura had PR’d so we were being extra festive.
What a day! Congrats to all my friends and teammates who ran!