Sunday, October 18, 2015

Race Recap: Inaugural Rock 'n Roll Brooklyn

October 10, 2015

Leading up to the race, you can check out my NYC adventure + expo/VIP experiences!

Having VIP on race morning seemed to really make all the difference on my pre- (and majority of) race experience. I wasn't stuck in a security line and was chillin' in the corral by 6:50 for a 7:00 am start. For as much emphasis as there was on security and for every runner to go through the security gates, there whould have been some additional personnel and/or gates available. I did hear that there was a security gate back by the later corrals that was practically empty, so perhaps there should have been better communication about that.

Because of the traffic jams at security, the race was delayed until 7:30. They made all of one announcement (just after 7) about the delay and I don't remember being able to hear anything else about that after until we all realized it was 7:30 and we still really hadn't gotten moving. 

It was at this point that I was really glad I had my jacket on still - I knew that Andi would be at mile 4 and considering I was shivering (I mean, mind you, it was 55 at the start and this girl ran in 100+ all summer), I knew that I'd be okay come mile 4 and could ditch the jacket with her then. Finally - finally - we were headed out! 

The first mile and a half or so were super congested - I also ended up starting in corral 3 or so, even though I was assigned 7. I had gotten in so early no one noticed! Oh well. So the course was a little packed as we left Grand Army Plaza and out across the first 'arm' of the course. Lots of great cheering in here, as when you first leave the park there was just a tunnel of people with posters and cowbells and noise. I wish that had been the case the entire course!

My legs were frozen through nearly mile 4. I knew it was coming and knew my sister was almost exactly at the 4 marker, and I was almost hesitant to take off my jacket. I mean, here I was in shorts and a tank while even the locals were in long sleeves and capris. I must look like a fool. 

Down the east side of the park was beautiful, as you still get all the trees, past the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens and still tons of support - folks on stilts, supporters still with posters and all kinds of noisemakers. 

1 - 4: Congested, but expected. Lots of course support in this stretch, which makes the next bit quite lonely! 

5 - 9: This stretch was beautiful, past the park still and some classic brownstones. Super cute area for the most part, but quiet in terms of support. It seemed to mostly be neighborhood folks who just happened to be out and about and weren't actually intending on cheering - glad they did anyway! Volunteers out here at water stops were aaaaamazing - super energetic, fun, helpful and clearly enjoying their morning too!
We basically run half way to Coney Island. Hot dog, please?
10 - Finish - About 9.5, you head up the ramp to the top of the road again that leads you back into the park. I walked this, because I was a) not intending on going all out that b) I had another 13.1 the next morning and as I was trucking along pretty good anyway! 

The last stretch into the park gets super crowded with support again, which is awesome given that heading into the park is a pretty gradual hill too. I walked most of this too because again, not going hard. My sister was at mile 11 again and I was excited to get through the last stretch! 

Prospect Park is seriously gorgeous and I only wish there were a way to get more miles in around the property. Great paths, trees, open spaces - it turned out to be a beautiful morning and I couldn't have asked for any better for a run through New York. 

After the race, I headed to VIP to change and hang out while my sister and Jaime waited for Jansen to come through. My sister also spotted my uncle who was visiting his mom in New Jersey for a few weeks and decided to come up (dude doesn't run with his phone so we never actually got to meet up with him!). I got a great breakfast, listened to Nate Ruess for a bit, and got a fabulous post-race massage before I boarded the plane. Wins all around. 

Team Rock 'n Blog throwing up the big 3-0 for half marathon number 30 for birthday number 30!
All in all, a really great race for an inaugural event -- and what is later announced as the largest inaugural half marathon ever with over 13,000 finishers. 

Race Pros:
- Overall, awesome course
- Volunteers are fantastic
- One of my fave race shirts ever - love the ode to New York!
-  Post-race concert

Race Cons:
- Expo - I know space is tight, but there's gotta be something, somewhere 
- More on-course entertainment - there was entertainment but the bands were lacking (the ones that were there were great, so no diss to them!)
- No fault to RnR but the post-race festival was a total cell-phone-service-suck so messages couldn't go in or out and folks were having trouble finding their runners

For an inaugural event, I really have no major complaints but things that will work itself. While local support was lacking, I think being that the Staten Island half was the next morning, most local run clubs, groups, and even local supporters were more focused on that. After a year with no Rock 'n Roll race (this was the old Brooklyn 10K, reincarnated), it'll take some time to build back the support and tradition around this race. I hope it does come back and hopefully doesn't interfere with Staten Island in the future, as it really has the potential to be fantastic!

Hauled butt  back to my sister's, changed, re-packed and bolted for the airport. On to the next adventure!

Did you run this inaugural race? What'd you think?

You can also check out Briana's recap here

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