Countdown to Race Day

It’s four more days till my favorite race–the Brooklyn Half, and I couldn’t be more excited! As promised, I’m here for a final checkin to report my progress and also share with you my goals for Saturday.

The hubs and I ran our final long training run together yesterday–an 11 miler that took us over the Brooklyn Bridge, back over the Manhattan, then across and back over the Williamsburg Bridge. It was a route my husband made up while he was training for the marathon last year, we used it because he was pretty sure it was 11 miles. Turns out it’s closer to 12.5, but we stopped at 11 and stretched out our legs walking the rest of the way home. It was a real treat. I had forgotten how much I love running with my husband. He is such a strong and patient runner–he really teaches me not to get ahead of myself and just take one step at a time. Because of our schedules, we have not been able to fit in a run together in quite some time, so yesterday brought quite a bit of nostalgia. The first few years of our relationship we spent hours running around Brooklyn and Manhattan and really getting to know each other. Somehow the time we spent jogging felt even more intimate than dinner or movie dates There were no distractions. It was just us, running and talking and encouraging each other as we needed it. Getting back to that yesterday felt amazing. Also, on a side-note, I forgot how much conversation helps regulate my breathing, it felt so easy to get into a groove!

Admittedly, I didn’t find my stride on this run right away. At about mile 3, crossing over the Manhattan Bridge, I was having a lot of trouble. Another thing I forgot I love about running with a partner is having someone to bitch to. About a quarter of the way over the bridge I glanced to my right and looked out over Chinatown, then I looked back at him and yelled, “Dude, this really sucks, I have no idea how I am going to run a full marathon!” He laughed, told me he understood, and reminded me I didn’t have to run a marathon today (keeping me in the moment, one step at a time!). Then we talked about how bipolar running can be–one minute you’re flying, the next you kind of want to die. I think every distance runner has varying amounts of crazy flowing through their veins.

Speaking of crazy, the Williamsburg Bridge is no joke. My hubs thought it would be good for me to get some more hill practice in–and it was, my legs actually enjoyed the challenge and variance. Conversely though, the long stretches of downhill were brutal. My knees have felt great the past couple weeks but they got pretty sore during that lengthy, repetitive descent down the walkway. I was pretty ecstatic when we were back over the bridge and ending our run on 3 miles of flat straightaway.

Credit:Chris Ozer

At the 11th mile, I felt like I could have gone for 4–5 more. That’s really the best feeling, especially after struggling so much during the middle of the run. Keep going–that is one of the many things that running is continuously teaching me. We averaged a 9:43/ min pace yesterday. While that is slower than I will need to run to reach my goal on Saturday, I feel confident the speed I need is in the tank and am excited to let the crowd and other runners bring it out of me. Speaking of goals…

  • Finish under 2:00. My current PR for the half is 2:01 (exactly!). I am not a fast runner, but I think this is a reasonable goal that if accomplished will make me feel really proud.
  • Finish without injury. My two trouble spots–my knees and hamstrings have been feeling really good lately so I am hopeful.
  • Enjoy the week, and the day–really take it all in. The passed two years I have watched with a bit of heartache as during this week runners walked passed my apartment building–coming from Brooklyn Bridge Park with all of their Brooklyn Half swag. I feel so grateful and happy to get to be a part of this race again–I want to make sure I look around and enjoy it all, and acknowledge my appreciation for my health, for my community, and for all the joy that running continues to bring to my life.
  • Help somebody! I’ve yet to run a race where someone didn’t encourage me. Whether it’s been another runner or family, or friend, or a stranger in the crowd, someone’s voice or smile has always given me a push. I want to make sure I return that kindness to someone else on Saturday. Rather than be so focused on my own goal, I want to make sure I can see my fellows around me and capitalize on any and every opportunity to support, lift, inspire, and strengthen another runner.

All that’s left is to complete the rest of my workouts this week (I’ve listed them below just cause I always like to see how other people are training as well!), fuel up, rest, and hope for the best on Saturday. I’ll let you know how it goes! Wish me luck!

Today: 2 mile run/60 min yoga class

Tuesday: Strength train/ 3 mile run/ 90 min yoga class

Wednesday: 90 min yoga class

Thursday: Strength train/ 2–4 mile run

Friday: REST!

Saturday: RACE!

Anyone else running the BK Half on Saturday? I’d love to hear from you!

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Originally published at cathbradley.com on May 16, 2017.