Pre-race preparation: So I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t prepare very well for this race.
Part of it is because I treated it like a training run and the other part (the reason why I treated it like a training run) is because I wasn’t able to train the best for this (you know, the whole getting married and going on a honeymoon thing got in the way). The night before, instead of my usual Chipotle, we went to one of our friend’s Diwali party which was SO fun (we went last year too) and the food was amazing. I figured since it has rice in it, close enough, right?!
This morning, I woke up around 7 a.m. and it was tough to get out of bed (especially after Jax snuck in and cuddled up right next to me) and scarfed down some leftover pancakes from yesterday and headed over to the park around 7:30. And was ready to go! Woo!
After walking for about 20 minutes, I made it to the start. Enough time to stretch, chat with some other runners and just acclimate to the weather. Mid-30s, in my opinion, is the best race weather EVER.
Actual race: The horn went off and it was time to go. I had memorized the number of loops before the race and quickly forgot the whole jazz once I started running. Luckily there were mile markers so I just started concentrating on those. By mile 7, I finally started feeling like I was warmed up and ready to go. It was nice because they had water stops on both sides of the park — about every 1.75 miles — and I tried to alter between the two of drinking water and drinking gatorade.
My original plan was to have a gel every 5 miles or so. (Note: this was part of my bad planning, I just grabbed some random stuff in the fridge… yeah, next time I’ll stick with my favorites) I had a gel around miles 5, 11, 17 and 21.
Unfortunately, I had to stop at the bathroom around mile 15 (boo) which I think added a few minutes to my time. I felt like my mind was focused on making up lost time from having to stop and my legs really kicked into gear.
I must say that the spectators along the course were pretty amazing. I was wearing mostly all pink (thanks to PRO Compression socks with Sweat Pink tee) and was called “Lady in Pink,” the “Pink Lady” and just simply “pink” throughout the race. Everytime, it brought a smile to my face.
If you can believe it, I NEVER HIT THE WALL. This has never happened. I always hit a wall at some point. But mile 20 ticked by, and 21, 22, 23… and suddenly we were at 24 and I still felt strong… I couldn’t believe it. The last .2 of course felt like a mile in itself but that’s the usual… suddenly I saw the finish line and for the first time in the race, saw my time! The clock was at 3:39:00… and I was stunned.
What I loved:
- I loved the whole getting up and walking to the race part. It was nice to sleep in a little later and still be there early enough!
- While there weren’t a TON of spectators, the spectators that were there were absolutely amazing. They were the type of people that knew how to cheer and knew exactly what to say. I didn’t hear any of the “you’re almost there” at mile 4 and saw amazing sings like “you thought they said rum, didn’t you?”
- I was a little skeptical about the whole running laps around a park thing, but it turned out to be really good for my mind. Focusing on the miles kept me in focus and I think is why the race went so fast.
- The medal is pretty amazing. It lights up! Enough said.
Bottom line: I don’t think I would recommend this race to the first-time marathoner. It is definitely a no-frills marathon and I feel like the first-timer needs the frills to fall in love with the aspect of marathoning. Maybe that’s just me.
I think this is a great race for the experienced marathoner who is either looking for a good marathon to run as a training race or to complement an already-full marathon. This course requires some experience in marathoning in order to run it well, in my opinion.
Because of the hills in Prospect Park, the chances of PRing here are slim. You won’t see a lot of spectator support, but the spectators you do see are amazing. If you can handle running miles on top of miles on the same couple of miles, you’ll do great here.
For those who do run here, some advice:
- Be open to going with the flow… the course organizers are more “go with the flow” that other race organizers. The start time changed a few days before and the morning before the race was very lax.
- Bring your own water… if you like to drink more as you get closer to the finish or are set on having liquids with gels/or at certain times, think about bringing your own liquids.
- Run hills… Prospect Park is hilly and if you don’t have a chance to run the park before the race, make sure you at least do your hill work. Your legs will think you.
Overall rating (4 out of 5 ups):
The race was fun and I think it would be something I would run again. However, it would be nice if the converse was a little more diverse (rumor is that might happen next year) and if the race organizers were a little more Type A.
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