Rock’n’Roll Brooklyn Half Marathon Race Recap 2016



Yesterday I had the opportunity to run the Rock’n’Roll Brooklyn Half Marathon for the second year in a row and it was once again a great half marathon right in my own borough.  This years race was even better than last years which says a lot as it was my favorite half marathon that I ran. Admittedly, last year’s inaugural RNR Brooklyn Half Marathon did not go off with a hitch as organizers faced multiple problems including a late start due to issues with ensuring clear roads.  This year it was clear that Rock’n’Roll took all the feedback to heart and did their best to improve.

I headed to the expo on Friday afternoon and while I didn’t love the Manhattan location at Penn Plaza, I will be the first to admit that it was far more convenient than last year’s expo in Greenpoint. The expo was smaller than last year with far fewer vendors, but I also found it to be very easy to navigate. Including the shopping we did in the official race shop, where I picked up a Brooklyn branded Brooks shirt, we were in and out in just 15 minutes.

Saturday morning I woke up at 5:30, got dressed, sipped coffee and made peanut butter and banana sandwiches which I ate while heading to the starting area at Grand Army Plaza. I took an Uber since I was running a few minutes behind schedule, and found myself at the VIP security entrance at the Brooklyn Library just 10 minutes later! I met Zoe minutes later and we quickly checked our bags and then head over to our corral, just in time to find Nicole and stretch before the race began. While we chatted, I made sure to do my pre-race stretching routine which I’ve done during each of my long runs over the past five weeks.


Check out the gorgeous sunrise the 17,500 runners were treated to as we waited for the 7 AM start? I know the race directors couldn’t plan this but man was it a perfect way to start the race. The weather at the start was 65 degrees, overcast and slightly humid. My only goal for the race was to enjoy the 13.1 miles with Nicole and Zoe for as long as possible. They are both training for the New York City Marathon and therefore our pace would be around their long run pace. As I had a far shorter training cycle than normal for this half marathon, I told them that I would drop back if my glute started giving me any pain or I found it tough to maintain their pace.


At 7:01 the three of us crossed the starting line together, each with one ear bud in our ear and smiles on our faces ready for a great race. As Zoe lives on the Upper West Side, we pointed out local landmarks and navigate the course as we ran through this year’s course. I prefer this course over the May NYRR Brooklyn Half as it includes a shorter stint on the very boring, monotonous Ocean Parkway.


The first eight miles flew by as we talked about marathon training, favorite races and injuries. We kept a 9:55 pace, exactly on target with their long run training plans.  There were multiple water stops along the way as well as small bands and local cheerleading groups motivating the runners.  At mile 8.5 as we headed back towards Prospect Park following the turnaround point on Ocean Avenue,  Zoe and I urged Nicole to run ahead as she was having an especially strong race. The next five miles weren’t easy but as we turned back towards the park I just kept focusing on the massage waiting for us in the VIP area.


When we entered Prospect Park at Mile 10 we were greeted by amazing cheerleaders, family members and supporters as well as the first signs of Fall. During those final miles I walked a 1/4 mile and ran 3/4 a mile to ensure that I was smart considering I only did 3 long runs in preparation for this half marathon.

I finished my 22nd half marathon in 2:14:14 and couldn’t have been more thankful. After fighting through injuries these past few months any day that my legs and body can carry me 13.1 miles is a great day, no to mention the wonderful conversations and laughter that Nicole, Zoe and I shared on the course.

After crossing the finish line we spent the next hour relaxing with fellow runners in the Westin Rock’n’Blog VIP experience which was the perfect way to end the morning. Zoe and I each enjoyed 10-minute massages, freshened up and dove into fruit and food before heading back towards the subway.


Thank you to Brooklyn and Rock’n’Roll for such a wonderful race and great half marathon!

Your turn – If you raced this weekend, how did it go? 

I was provided a bib and VIP entry as part of my partnership with Run Rock’n’Roll but as always the opinions in this post are my own. 


Running Forward


Wearing: Sweaty Betty 7/8 Power LeggingSweaty Betty Pace Setter Run TankBrooks Ghost 9

This weekend I made a conscious effort to disconnect from social media, especially on Sunday. There were many running friends racing their hearts out in Montreal, New York, Berlin and beyond. Once upon a time, each of those races, Berlin Marathon, Bronx 10 Miler and Montreal Half Marathon,  were my goal race. The Berlin Marathon was the last time I laced up my shoes and ran 26.2 miles, crossing the finish line in tears. The Bronx 10 Miler was a great race for me last year, after training hard during my first Summer back in New York. This year, I hoped that Montreal would be my opportunity to run a sub two-hour half marathon after multiple attempts.  Training hard was not a priority this Summer and instead here I sit in late September, trying to figure out what my goal is this Fall. As I have mentioned previously, after giving my body a few months of rest I am ready to train again for a goal.

I spent a few hours this weekend outlining plans and have set my sights and goals on the following races:

  • Rock’n’Roll Brooklyn Half Marathon – October 8th – Goal: Run a strong, smart half marathon. I have no expectation of setting a PR based on my training, so instead am going to run with my friend Mary and focus on a consistent pace, possibly increasing my pace if I feel strong enough during the final miles. The four long runs leading up to the race have given me the confidence to know I can run 13-miles.
  • Prospect Park Turkey Trot – November 24th – Goal: Run a sub 42:00 race which would be a PR versus last years 42:36 time (8:31 pace).  Since I have a solid two months to train for this race, I believe it is feasible.
  • NYRR Jingle Bell Jog – Each year, this race continues to be a favorite due to the cool weather, festive atmosphere and Prospect Park location. Four years ago, I ran a personal best in this race, keeping an 8:57 pace per mile. Based on my training for the Turkey Trot, my goal is going to be an 8:31 pace.

Over the coming months I am going to share weekly training recaps with you guys since many people find them beneficial. I am also going to do more research and speak with some of my coaching friends to ensure I’m training for these shorter distances properly. I am most familiar with the half marathon type of training which includes three key runs per week, so I know I need to figure out the training plan that works best for shorter distances.

So, who wants to join me at some of these races? 

Thank you to Lydia Hudgens for her magic behind the lens in bringing this image to life. 



My New Pre-Run Routine


As you guys know, for multiple reasons, running has been a challenge for me over the past couple of months. What was once a workout and time on the road that I savored, became an exercise that stressed me out, caused me pain and left me feeling burnt out and frustrated. Luckily, after taking a step back this Summer, I am once again craving running. Over the past week each of my four runs left me smiling, happy from endorphins, strong and powerful.  As I started running again, I took three steps to help ensure that my first few runs back would be successful. Right now, success does not mean fast paces. Instead, I use that term to describe my goal of finishing my run feeling strong and accomplished.  Since I’ve felt such a difference during my recent runs, I wanted to share my new pre-run routine with you all in case this provides inspiration to help you start the Fall running strong.

  • Sip Vega Clean Energy
    • Twenty minutes before my run I sip a glass of water that is mixed with a serving of Vega Clean Energy. This “magic juice” provides me energy before my run without lots of questionable ingredients.  I like that I can easily read and understand this tasty mixture’s ingredient list. While I know many people can run or workout without this extra ingredient, I’ve found that the caffeine and electrolytes have helped me during the hot, humid Summer runs.
  • I’ll Have Another Podcast
    • After drinking my pre-run fuel, I ensure that I have the latest I’ll Have Another podcast downloaded on my phone. After years of running to music, this podcast series is helping motivate me through the miles. Over 60-90 minutes Lindsey interviews a runner, talking about everything from their paces and training habits to their personal life. By the end of the podcast I feel as if I know the runner and find myself wishing I could meet them in person. The womens’ stories and the casual manner of the podcast immediately hook me and make me often want to run longer just to get to the end of the episode.  So far I have “run with” Dorothy Beal, Abby Beales, and Ashley Fizzarotti!
  • Pre-Run Dynamic Warm-Up
    • Last but not least, I spend 10 minutes warming up. My PT or any of my previous running coaches would laugh at this sentence as they know that historically I’ve slacked on the warm-up. After fighting tendonitis and other injuries, I realized that this dynamic warm-up is one of the most important parts of a run. Starting a run with loose muscles that are ready to engage and fire on all cylinders is key for a successful run. My warm-up takes place in the kitchen and consists of these five simple Runner’s World exercises, one minute of planks and finally my PT exercises to engage my glute muscles.

Your turn: I love learning from everyone who is reading. What is your pre-run ritual?

Photography by Lydia Hudgens and wearing Old Navy Active.