I asked my coach for a pacing strategy prior to the race to avoid my usual go all out at the start and crash at the end approach. The plan was: Miles 1-6 - 8:30/mile; Miles 6-10 - 8:15/mile; Miles 10-13.1 - 8:00/mile and if I felt good with 1.5 miles or less to go, run as fast as I could. Here's how I did:
- Miles 1-6: I started out good even though it was incredibly crowded - nearly 12,000 runners. I hit close to my goal pace on just about every mile, most around 8:21-8:24 with one just around 8 so I had a bit of a cushion built up. The more conservative start was perfect since this entire stretch was in Prospect Park with the only hills I'd see on the course.
- Miles 6-10: I'm no good at sensing pace so when it was time to speed up I just ran faster and figured I'd sort it out after a mile. My first split was 7:49. Oops. I backed off and hovered right around 8:15 where I was supposed to be. We exited the park and hit Ocean Parkway. I love running on closed streets instead of in the park, it makes the race so much more interesting. We were headed straight to Coney Island.
- Miles 10-13.1: Despite my hopes of having tons of energy at the end, I was fading. Ocean Parkway felt and looked like a false flat. I'd swear there was just enough grade to make your legs tired or perhaps my legs were just tired. I started skipping fluid stations to avoid stomach cramps and save time. I wasn't able to get to an 8:00 pace, instead I remained around 8:15 pretty consistently up until Mile 12. Coming into this fluid station I made a decision. I'd grab a Gatorade and take as many walking steps as needed to drink the small cup, then start to run again. I hoped it would act as a mini rest interval and give me that final kick I needed to come in under 1:50:00. It was a gamble because I lost about 30 seconds, but luckily it paid off. I ran the next mile in 7:54 and did the final .1 at a 7:20 pace, finishing in 1:48:53.
We did a stealth clothing change on the boardwalk, got hot coffee and headed home where we had an impromptu BBQ and lounged outside all afternoon. My optional swim didn't happen. Instead I drank summery wine and went for homemade ice cream before coming home and relaxing some more. Sometimes you just need to be lazy after a race.
Distance - 13.1 miles
Time - 1:48:53