I ran my last half-marathon in July 2004, and descended into a summer of physical therapy afterwards to tame my rebellious IT band. My physical therapist had me stop running for close to two months, and I gradually built my mileage back up again once he had massaged and stretched my IT band back into submission, and I had built up the muscles around my knees to prevent more pain. To this day, I still do special stretches and use a foam roller to soften my IT band after every run.
But this post is not about my knee problems — it’s about the Brooklyn Half-Marathon that I ran this morning! Three years ago I thought I’d never be able to run that distance again without pain, and it was difficult to overcome my anxiety and decide to do it again. But what better race to do it with, in my home borough and ending in my own neighborhood?
The race started at 8am on the Coney Island boardwalk, with a three mile out-and-back along the water. At that time of the morning, the beach is empty and absolutely beautiful. Then we ran six miles north along Ocean Parkway, a long, flat straight-away, through a cool array of Brooklyn neighborhoods (like Brighton Beach, Sheepshead Bay, Bensonhurst, Midwood, and Borough Park). Loved the neighborhoods, but was so happy to see Prospect Park at Mile 9. The park is home turf for me, and the energy of the crowd and the runners noticeably picked up as we entered, so it was easy to pull myself through the last four miles.
Overall, I would say that I was pushing myself for most of the race, and totally running on fumes by the end — neither of which are my favorite running tactics — but this time around, I was just happy to break the three-year dry spell and put myself back out into half-marathon competition again!
P.S. Thanks Cari and Debi for pulling me through, and congratulations on a well-run race!