Brooklyn Half Marathon 2014 – PR Baby!!

You know you ran a good race when you’re still sore two days later. I can’t remember ever being this sore after a half marathon. In fact, the last time I felt this way was after running 26.2 miles.

Brooklyn Half Marathon 2014 - the highs and lows of the NYRR Brooklyn Half. The course, the spectators, what to expect and how my PR attempt in 2014 panned out!

In the last week, after I decided to attempt 1:45 at the Brooklyn Half Marathon, I thought a lot about how I would feel if I didn’t make my goal. My coach talked to me about setting an A goal, B goal, and C goal, so I could decide what I wanted to try for on the day, depending on how I felt, the weather, all the things I couldn’t predict. But come on, you know all I wanted was the A goal. I thought I was coming down with a cold a few days before the race, then the day before I went out for a 20 minute shakeout run. I ran it at goal pace and felt fantastic. It really put me in the right frame of mind to race.

I was super nervous heading to the start line. It was early, but I’m lucky to live so close to the starting line. I ate my usual pre-race PB&J toast en route and sipped at water – it was supposed to be a warm day and I wasn’t sure how quickly it would heat up.

Brooklyn Half Marathon 2014In the crowd of just over 25,000 people, I actually saw my friend Erich – the same friend I randomly spotted around mile 6 while we were running the NYC Marathon last year! We talked about how oddly nervous we both felt for the race – because, as he pointed out, we were both putting pressure on ourselves with big goals. (FYI, Erich ROCKED the race with an awesome time of 1:36:40!)

Brooklyn Half Marathon 2014Here’s what I was going for:

A GOAL: 1:45 or under

B GOAL: 1:48 or under

C GOAL: 1:52 or under

So, a PR or bust, since my PR going into the race was 1:53:24. I’d also come up with a pacing plan, based on the course route and taking advantage of the downhills and flats. Brooklyn is a fast course – there’s only one significant hill and the second half of the course is a downhill to start, then all flat and straight all the way down Ocean Parkway to Coney Island.

Brooklyn Half Marathon 2014

I wanted to run the first 5 miles just under 8:15, then mile 6 and 7 at around 7:40 – 7:45, then 8-12 at around 7:55 and see what I had left for the last 1.1.

And here’s how it broke down:

Splits miles 1 – 5: 8:24, 8:02,  7:50,  8:05, 8:16. The start was crowded, more so than last year, I thought. The first mile was slow, but I tried not to go overboard trying to make up time – that’s the nice thing about a half marathon, you have a little more leeway with pacing at the start. One stop for water.Brooklyn Half Marathon 2014

Splits miles 6 – 7: 8:07, 7:43. I didn’t realize part of the hill was included in mile 6, so I was way off my goal of 7:40 to 7:45 for that split. It worried me a little, but I still felt like I had enough time to make that up.

Fuel at 50 minutes: Clif Shot Bloks, half a packet.

Splits miles 8 – 12: 7:55, 8:01, 8:02, 8:03, 8:12. And here’s where (I thought) it all went horribly wrong. Mile 8 was perfect, mile 9 was fine because I stopped for water, but then I just couldn’t get myself sub 8 for the next couple of miles. Partially I think it’s the mental block for me of Ocean Parkway being a long, wide, boring stretch. There weren’t a lot of spectators, the crowd of runners thinned out a lot and so there wasn’t a lot to distract from the fact that I was beginning to hurt.

On top of that, I spotted the 1:45 finish pace group just ahead of me. I was pretty sure they had started a couple of corrals ahead of mine, so I knew I was probably about 3 minutes behind them. I did manage to catch up to them, but mentally it was tough to push through, especially thinking I was probably at about 1:48 pace. By mile 12 I was physically hurting. I not only stopped for water, I walked through the water station.

Splits mile 13 (and change): 8:13, then the last quarter mile at 8:08 pace. (I ended up running 13.24 miles). This was as fast as I could push, and I was pushing, especially that last quarter mile.

Final time: 1:46:41

Brooklyn Half Marathon 2014

So, how do I feel, not having made my A goal (and coming THISCLOSE)?

I couldn’t be happier. I took nearly 7 minutes off my PR. I gave it everything. There’s nothing I would change about my pacing strategy. I really think the only thing that held me back was the mental challenges of the last few miles.

Brooklyn Half Marathon 2014My two main men, Fran and Roman, were at the end cheering with my friends Mandy and Gabe (Mandy made a kick-ass sign for me. It had Care Bears on it). I was offered beer and hot dogs from all of them until I explained I felt pretty nauseous so please stop mentioning hot dogs and beer.

Brooklyn Half Marathon 2014

Brooklyn Half Marathon 2014

I texted my coach, Scott Fishman, after the race to thank him for coaching me to such an awesome PR. This week is all about recovery – I used the elliptical yesterday and I’ve been foam rolling like it’s my job. I’m also definitely coming down with a cold, which sucks, because the training effects of the race will kick in right as I attempt the Covered Bridges Half Marathon, where I’ll have another chance to try for the 1:45. It’s not looking good, but I am revelling in this 1:46. It’s a nice, even number. 😉

Thank you to everyone who texted, commented, tweeted, facebooked and emailed me for support! You guys ROCK – I am lucky to have such a fantastic, supportive online community. 🙂

Stay tuned for my next 13.1 adventure…



  1. Awesome job Carly!! I am so excited for you 🙂 I know how I felt after my 3.7 miles on Sunday, I can’t imagine 13.1. I can’t wait to hear how the covered bridge half goes!
    Susan Fishback recently posted…First race of the season…My Profile

    • Carly Pizzani says:

      Thank you!!! 🙂 See, now you’ve been sucked in to the running bug, that 13.1 will start calling for you…! 😉

  2. The whole time I was reading this post I was rooted for your A goal. Even though you didn’t make it. You still had an awesome time. Congrats! Goodluck on your next race!
    lacey@fairytalesandfitness recently posted…Summer Run Scavenger HuntMy Profile

    • Carly Pizzani says:

      Thanks, Lacey! I am so happy with my time, especially because I was so close to the A goal. I know it’ll happen soon! 🙂

  3. Omg CONGRATS Carly! That is a massive PR! Since I’m still hurting a bit from my half, just reading this I can feel how hard you were pushing. Halfs definitely hurt, especially in those last miles. Well done!
    Marcia recently posted…Chicago Spring Half MarathonMy Profile

    • Carly Pizzani says:

      Thanks Marcia! I’m finally feeling normal again now. I really do love the half distance, though. 🙂

  4. Congratulations!!!! Such an incredible PR! I aspire to those paces someday…my PR is 1:56:24 so my next goal will be sub-1:55, although I don’t think I’ll be attempting that before the marathon. Will be rooting for you when you run the Covered Bridges Half!!
    Gabby @ Marathons and Macarons recently posted…Birthday Fun and Brooklyn Half ExpoMy Profile

    • Carly Pizzani says:

      Thanks, Gabby! It took me a long time to get this fast at this distance, you’re right on track, lady. I’m so excited for you for the marathon! It will be such an amazing experience!! Especially because it’s your hometown.

  5. AMAZING!! You have worked so hard, you SHOULD be happy with that time! 🙂 Congratulations!
    Cori @ recently posted….confessions.My Profile

  6. SO SO SO happy for you, and proud of you!!!!
    Lindsay @ Lindsay Weighs In recently posted…Treat Yourself Tuesday – Wish ListMy Profile

  7. WooHoo!! Supe big congratulations!! You trained hard, dealt with a few issues near the end and still went out there and busted a huge PR!!! Awesome job!! So super happy for you!!!
    Kim recently posted…The Truth about BloggingMy Profile

    • Carly Pizzani says:

      Thanks, Kim! It was rough in parts, but I am so happy in the end with my time. 🙂

  8. Congratulations!!! That is amazing! i am so excited for you! That is an amazing time and you should be so proud! Seven minutes off your previous PR is HUGE! What a great race!
    Britt@MyOwnBalance recently posted…The 99 Days of SummerMy Profile

  9. Great job on a huge PR!!
    I use Clif Shot Bloks too–do you chew them or suck on them? I still haven’t figured out the best way to consume them..
    Karen recently posted…taper weekMy Profile

    • Carly Pizzani says:

      Thanks, Karen! I chew them – I’d never thought of sucking them but I think I’m going to try that. The texture is not great, so maybe that will help. I’ll let you know! 😉

  10. Wow! Awesome job! I can only imagine you’d be a little sick to your stomach after flying like that.
    Carla recently posted…The Space Above the Kitchen CabinetsMy Profile

  11. Congrats Carly! I had no idea you were there as well!!!! That is so crazy! We could have met up after if I knew! That is fantastic that you knocked 7 minutes off! I know how you feel about the long stretch, I really struggled to maintain motivation too, but you finished giving it your all, and thats all you can really ask for! Be proud 🙂
    Tina Muir recently posted…3rd Place Finish at the Brooklyn Half MarathonMy Profile

    • Carly Pizzani says:

      Oh, I wish I had realized! I would have loved to meet you! I just read your recap and was oddly comforted that an elite runner finds that second half of the race tough as well. I really need to catch up on my blog reading so I know when bloggy friends are in the same races as me. 🙂 If you’re doing the Mini 10K let me know!!

  12. Amazing, Carly!!! I knew you could PR!!! So proud of you:)
    Heidi @ Idlehide recently posted…Top 6 Baby ThingsMy Profile

    • Carly Pizzani says:

      Thank you, dear Heidi! I was actually thinking of you when I picked up my bib for this race, because I walked right by that ice cream place on the Brooklyn Promenade there. 😉

  13. When I saw that picture on Instagram, I knew you had DONE IT!!!! Of course, I could smell it coming 🙂 I hope you bask in the glow of a freakin’ 7 minute PR for months!!! That is amazing my friend. You are amazing. Great job!
    Allie recently posted…Ten Penny Ale Duathlon! Race RecapMy Profile

    • Carly Pizzani says:

      There is a great deal of basking going on, don’t worry. 😉 If nothing else, this has well and truly proved to me that age and motherhood only improve you as an endurance athlete, so I have no doubt that 1:45 will fall in the future. Then I’ll sink my teeth into the marathon again.

  14. you DID IT!!! Congrats to you Carly!! I know you put a lot of hard work into your new PR and you totally deserve it. SOOOO proud of you!
    Nellie @ Brooklyn Active Mama recently posted…Littlest Pet Shop Premiere & A Fun Day In Times SquareMy Profile


  1. […] a difference a year makes. This time last year, I was killing it in the Brooklyn Half Marathon, running a PR I’d been training for months to nail. This year? Not so much with the speed, or […]

  2. […] thought I was capable of, so the confidence boost I got from completing them was massive. And yes, I broke my old PR by a lot. All in all, it was a great […]