Below photo is my preparation for the big event. 15,000 spots and all was sold out in about 10 hours! I happened to be near a computer at the 9th hour and got in just in time. The picture is somewhat misleading as I did not run in the race shirt. Instead, I debuted the team singlet I just got in the mail mere days before the event.
Weekend races are usually made more challenging thanks to the MTA's ongoing subway repair schedule. There was no work done on the D line so I took it from home to Pacific Street. I should have taken another subway to get to the starting area, Washington Avenue and Eastern Parkway, near the Brooklyn Museum. I knew very well that my corral, the 18000, won't be anywhere near the start. I incorrectly assumed that the corrals would stretch along Washington Avenue so a walk from Pacific Street may actually get me to my corral faster. It turned out the corrals stretched along Eastern Parkway. No problem, us long-distance runners don't mind a few miles of walking to get to our corrals.
I envy those people who have a running partner. My life schedule only allows me to run real early in the morning, like 5 a.m. or 7 a.m., and no one I know can accommodate that schedule. I made some good friends on DailyMile.com, social media for runners, and have great interactions with others on Facebook. Still, I think to advance to the next level I need to run in a group, somehow. The group I decided to become a paid member was the Prospect Park Track Club (PPTC). I've seen their banner and table at some races then joined their FB group and learned more about them. I should be able to join one of their weekend group runs one of these days. For the Brooklyn Half, I debuted the PPTC team singlet.
I knew that there would be a PPTC cheering squad at the entrance to the park where Coney Island Avenue meets Prospect Park West etc. The new course for the BHM went down Washington Avenue, up Flatbush Avenue and around the Grand Army Plaza, back down Flatbush again and along Prospect Park's perimeter to enter the park Coney Island Avenue. One big loop of the park then exit at the same place to get to Ocean Parkway then all the way down to Coney Island. I think even before I got to the PPTC cheering squad I already got some cheering from those who recognized the PPTC shirt. At the park entrance I thought I recognize Michael from PPTC but without glasses I was not that sure. I waved at the group and Michael gave me some words/sounds of encouragement. I worried that by the time I got back to that spot, to exit the park, the cheering squad would not be there any more, as I understood they had to rush to Coney Island to cheer the team leading runners. Luckily, they were still there when I exited the park and I even got a few photos taken of me. What a perk for being a member! Thank you Patty and PPTC!
One thing I remember from the 2011 BHM was that there was little cheering along the way on Ocean Parkway. The 2012 race, from my perspective, had more spectator support along the Parkway. Maybe it was a result of better publicity, or the earlier start time of the race somehow fitted better with spectators' schedules.
I was hoping for a new PR but it did not happen. I avoided the mistake I made with the Verrazano Half and did not run any extra, sweat-laden pieces of clothes. Just the shorts and singlet, but it did not help. The finish time of 2:26:21 is actually worse than the Verrazano Half's 2:25:30, but of course the course for the BHM was hillier. It was also a hotter day, that's for sure. I did experience the onset of cramping during the BHM, but it happened at almost the very end, with about 200 meters to go. Again I could not sprint for the finish line but then I did not walk either. The finish line was just around the corner and then within sight, it would look really bad to walk to it, so I just kept running and hoped for the best.
PPTC cheers and photos made the BHM extra nice. The other nice thing with the race was medal award. With NYRR, as far as I know, runners get medals only for THE Marathon in November and the NYC Half Marathon in March. Both cost an arm and a leg these days. The Brooklyn Half is the only other race that offer medals. From the list of available volunteer positions, runners learned about "medal distributors" and much excitement was generated before the race. I don't recall seeing any official confirmation from NYRR about medals for the BHM, so as I saw finishers walking in the opposite direction on Ocean Parkway, I tried to see that they had medals around their necks. No one I saw seemed to have a medal, but a finisher answered in the affirmative when I asked about the medal as I ran past him. I only have a few sports awards so medals are great mementos for me.