Hi, I'm Petra and this is my weight loss/fitness blog.
I used to be on Weight Watchers from January 2011 to October 2012, dropping approximately 45 lbs. I've made the transition from unhealthy and unhappy to athlete and this is my journey to becoming a healthier, happier me. I frequently post about my exercise (mostly running, yoga and lifting), the foods I eat, recipes I liked and my daily struggles. You'll also find the occasional tree hugger post, (travel) photography or anything else I find worth remembering and collecting.
I follow most blogs back that follow me. However, I do stay away from blogs that promote EDs, unhealthy methods of weight loss or negative body image.
Feel free to say hi any time!
Today was the day of the NYRR Brooklyn Half-Marathon, and unlike the More® Magazine/Fitness® Magazine Women’s Half-Marathon, I was excited to go into the race. I had a feeling it was going to be a good one - and not to spoil too much of the story of this post, it was!
Due to an early race start at 7 AM (ugh) and the time it would take me to get there, I had to be up at 4. As usual, I’d done my preparations the night before as much as possible. Only this time I took it further than just packing my bag and laying out my outfit: I even put the coffee in the french press and cut up my slices of bread the night before. I was going to make every minute count!
I had a giant pizza dinner the previous night, so breakfast was light due to lack of appetite (bread with peanut butter - didn’t even eat the banana I had laid out and decided to pack it for later instead). I did make sure to hydrate some more though. I’d done a better job than before the last half in terms of sipping more water in the days leading up to the race. Something I definitely felt today!
Wearing the Lululemon Marathon Skirt. Love it!
I was out the door right on time and had to giggle a little to myself when I was met by plenty of other runners on the subway. Getting to the race was uneventful, but once I was there, I was impressed by the number of people. I was also a little intimidated by the number of people dressed in “fast bibs”. My 8:55 PR pace scored me an orange bib and a number in the 12-hundreds. There were so many people in green bibs with 6,000-numbers. Crazy!
They had set up the baggage area close to the start line, in the parking lot of the Brooklyn Museum. Due to the amount of people, the numbers went all the way up to 20! Bags were then loaded onto trucks and driven to the finish line in Coney Island. It seemed incredibly well organized.
My timing worked out perfectly. Before I handed off my bag, I took a sip of gatorade and considered eating the banana I had brought. I didn’t, but kept wondering whether I should have. I killed some time people watching instead, used the bathroom (twice, I had really hydrated well beforehand) and made my way to the starting line.
So many runners!
On my way to the corrals, I took a moment to stretch and take a few deep breaths. I was getting giddy with excitement and again, unlike last during the last half, the feeling of dread, anxiety and being overwhelmed thankfully never came. I was ready to do this. I was excited. And I was going to rock it.
The race was a big one. I think a total of 17,000 people signed up and about 14,000 finished. It was crazy. I was certainly glad for the broad avenues because despite the amount of runners, the race hardly ever felt crowded. (Fun fact: my Garmin was actually pretty much on par with the official mile markers because I didn’t have to do any/much maneuvering left and right to pass people.)
The gun went off at 7 sharp and it took the field a while to get moving. By the time I crossed the start line, we were already 9 minutes into the race.
We started off on Washington Avenue, turned onto Flatbush Ave, did a little turn and ran back on Flatbush. We then ran around Prospect Park before we finally headed inside to complete one full loop. This brought us to the first 7 miles.
About one mile in, I had a little scare because I felt the sudden urge to use the bathroom and pee. I had no time for bathroom stops! I decided to ignore for now since all the bathrooms along the course had a long line and see how far I could get before I really had to go. After we made it out of Prospect Park that urge had totally vanished and it makes me believe that it was just nerves, nothing else.
Unlike the previous half, I felt great throughout the race. The miles almost seemed to be flying by. By the time I made it to mile two, I thought “I can’t believe we’re already at mile two.” as opposed to last time’s “I can’t believe we’re only at mile two.” I had great energy, I was pacing myself well and most importantly, I was having fun!
It started getting really warm about one hour into the race. It wasn’t as bad as first because we were still inside the park and there was plenty of shade. But once we headed onto Ocean Parkway, there was little shade and it was hard. And hot.
Miles 8, 9, 10 and 11 were difficult due to the heat, but at least they were flat or even slightly downhill. I also made sure to stop at every fluid station. There was one at every mile marker. I stopped worrying about calories and weight loss for a second and picked the Gatorade over the water, until the last 2 stations, where I couldn’t take the sweetness anymore (and felt I still had enough energy to finish without the extra sugar), and drank water instead. My favorite moment probably was seeing this one spectator hand out popsicles to runners.
Finishing was tough! Miles 11.5 - 13.1 seemed to drag on forever. The closer we got to the finish line, the more I wanted to stop, the more I wanted to be done. The only thing that kept me going was that I had had such a strong run until that point that I knew I’d be able to make my goal. I just had to hold on for a little bit longer.
We made one last turn and finished on the boardwalk. Finally. Hallelujah!
I had three goals for this race:
I did all of these. I ended up finishing in 2:13:23, shaving more than 13 minutes off my previous time! I did rough time estimates throughout the race and at one point I realized that finishing in 2:15 was not that unrealistic if only I kept going. That was certainly what pushed me through the last 1.5 miles. I was/still am ecstatic about my time! I had hoped to do this well. But actually achieving it, wow, that’s amazing!
I know that the odds were in my favor. I had managed to eliminate some of the factors that lead to such poor performance in April:
All these factors definitely were in my favor. Most important though was that I was in it mentally. I was having a great time. I didn’t fret about being scared or not wanting to do this. I had great energy and apart from slowing to short walks at the water stations, I didn’t stop running the entire race.
Fuck yeah! Bring on Canada!
I was meant to meet up with some co-workers who also ran the race, but my phone died around mile 12 and I had no chance to get in touch with them. Sadface! So I headed home instead, showered, ate, napped and chilled.