Brooklyn Marathon Race Report

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On November 20th I completed the Brooklyn Marathon, my second time joggling this race and fifth marathon overall. I had a decent race experience overall, even if I finished slower than the first time. My training and just about everything leading up to the big day were pretty much flawless, except that I may have over-trained. This time I ran as part of Team Humane, to help raise money for the Humane League. I admit it feels a little different joggling as part of a team. I felt like I wasn’t just doing it for me anymore, and that my first 4 marathons were warm-ups for this race.

Part of me is surprised I’ve completed 5 marathons; it wasn’t so long ago that I thought I would never be able to complete 1 marathon as a runner. Yes, while just running, not joggling! The pre-marathon me seems like a different person. I’m not sure who he was, but he disappeared when I crossed the finish line of my first marathon. Now let’s explore marathon #5.

Race day was cold, cloudy and brutally windy. The weather forecast said there was a chance of rain, but I increasingly find weather forecasters about as reliable as astrologers or worse yet, political pollsters. So I wasn’t surprised that it didn’t rain at all. It was about 40 when I first arrived at Prospect Park at 8 AM, but the fierce, howling wind made it feel like the low 30s. I was conspicuously under-dressed(only shorts, and 2 shirts on), so before the race I was shivering and trying to warm myself up by juggling, which only helped a little.

I simply wanted to complete in less than 4 hours and I wasn’t optimistic about not dropping the balls due to the cold and wind. Last year at the Yonkers marathon I started out a little too fast and that may be why I injured myself. So when the race started I took it very slow for the first 2 miles; I didn’t mind looking like a juggling slug. After mile 2, channeling my inner vegan cheetah, I started picking up the pace, doing sub-8 minute miles until I got to mile 9. By then it was also a little warmer; I had no trouble with the cold air during this race except when the wind picked up.

The Brooklyn marathon isn’t especially hilly. The marathon is a series of loops around Prospect Park, and some parts are hilly, particularly the approach to the northern section. At first the hills didn’t slow me down that much, but after several miles of this my legs started to feel fatigued. I drank Gatorade for the first time at mile 7, and did this about every 2.5 miles. My pace after mile 10 gradually slowed down. After mile 20 I was doing 10, then 12 minute miles.

The crowd support was tremendous. Thank you so much people of Brooklyn, especially my fellow vegan Brooklynites! A lot of laughs, lots of cheering, and some people were very supportive of me because of the cause I represent. I finished in 4:16, which means my average pace was 9:47. This was my slowest marathon ever. My fastest marathon was in 3:40. At least I didn’t injure myself like I did last year(in spite of injuring myself I was faster then). This was my 3rd dropless marathon in a row. This means the majority of the marathons I’ve joggled have been dropless. Even I am astonished. Here’s the proof! Here I am at what I think may be mile 16. Thank you Denise! Ok, that’s less than 1% of the race, but it’s still something!

So why was I so slow? I think the cold weather and wind were partly responsible. And I also suspect I may have been overdoing it with the unicycling during training. Riding on a unicycle, especially backwards, isn’t a good way to improve marathon performance. Not that I was expecting it would help, but I shouldn’t have done so much backwards unicycling in the weeks leading up to this event. Though it wasn’t helpful, it sure is fun!

A big thank you to everyone who has contributed to the Humane League and also those who’ve provided encouragement and training tips. Wishing everyone luck with their training, fund-raiding or whatever you’re doing.

So what’s next? Stay tuned!

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6 responses to “Brooklyn Marathon Race Report

  1. You’re inspiring! Congrats, Chris!

  2. You are so awesome! This is my fourth Brooklyn Marathon and I’ve vowed to do it every year. It was the first marathon I ran that sparked the love of distance running in me and I also BQd there. That hill kills my pace every time, I can’t imagine have to juggle at the same time!
    Oh, and I had no idea you were Vegan! Hell yeah!

    • Hi Lisa!

      Nice to see you again and thanks for your support. So you did this race 4 times, that’s pretty impressive. Congrats on the BQ! I really hope they get permission to run this race through the streets of Brooklyn one of these years. I remember a few years ago the organizers said they were pursuing this but this event doesn’t attract enough people to justify this. Still, we can dream of a race that winds its way from Cony Island to the Brooklyn Bridge some day.

      I’m so used to juggling while running that it feels weird when I just run. I’m sure you could do it with enough practice. It’s pretty cool that when word spreads about this and people realize the joggler at this event was vegan. Are you vegan too? Good luck with your next race Lisa! Thanks for coming by.

      • I went vegan in September 2014 to clean up my eating to become a more fine tuned runner. I had always been interested in keeping my diet refined before then but really had no idea exactly how to do it. I just did it the typical way of “chicken and veggies” like a lot of people did and then I suddenly wanted to Boston Qualify. I decided I needed to change the quality of my diet to improve the quality of my running. First I attempted the high Protien low carb for about two weeks and had terrible results with feeling awful and my pace only getting significantly slower. After much research I came upon the high carb plant based vegan diet being a great option for distance running. Just in the first 48 hours I felt amazing and was running PR miles while training. About the time I went vegan the mass wild mustang roundups were occurring to create more grazing land for cattle and all the atrocities happening to those horses solidified my veganism permanently. That next Brooklyn Marathon as a vegan I had reduced my time by 30 minutes.
        Hope to see you at another race some time! Next time I’ll come by and say hi.

  3. So happy to hear that you’re vegan, Lisa!

    Hearing about your amazing running accomplishments more than makes up for my lackluster performance at the Brooklyn Marathon. I’m so inspired, you set such a good example for vegans and non-vegans to follow.

    I’m pretty sure we’ll run/joggle into each other one of these days. I just hope it doesn’t snow too much this winter See you around!

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