The Airbnb Brooklyn Half Marathon was the most fun I've ever had running a half marathon and here's why: I did it with for all the right reasons. I didn't try to prove anything by running a specific time, I ran with incredible people who wanted to have fun and I got to watch my NYC Mama Carley SLAY her first half marathon. This is one of those events that I wish I could go back in time and do again and again and again! Here are my favorite parts about running the Airbnb Brooklyn Half Marathon:
As I'm standing in line waiting waiting to go through security I heard a man with a European accent joking with his friend. I turned my head to see who was cracking me up when he goes, "Are you the selfie girl?" I told him I was and it turned out that he was one of the first original hotties from #HottGuysOfTheNYCHalf! One of the questions I am always asked is whether any of the guys I take selfies with are offended. I took the opportunity to ask him and he thought it was hilarious and loved being apart of it. He told me he still has people he knows sending the articles to him. We grabbed a picture and wished each other luck before parting ways but it was a total highlight of the day. It's a small world after all isn't it?
Want to know the secret of having fun while running? Surround yourself with motivated, fun, spunky and wonderful people. I've run half marathons where I started with friends and separated about 5-6 miles in, but I've never actually run an entire race, start to finish, with someone. I've always opted to separate early on so I can chase my personal best time but during our pre-race carb party, I decided that nothing would be more rewarding and fun than running with this group.
Looking for an incredibly flat and easy course? Look no further because The Airbnb Brooklyn Half is almost 100% flat. There's a gradual incline and one tiny hill in Prospect Park that will make you feel like a total boss but otherwise it's completely flat and almost a straight shot. AND you get to end on the Coney Island boardwalk which is one of the most fun finish lines ever. The crowd is fun and supportive and everyone is there to have a good time.
The best part about Brooklyn in May is that it's not to hot and it's not to cold! Sure it rained a few miles but it was the type of rain that felt refreshing! And who doesn't feel like a total badass running a half marathon in the rain? Like the old saying goes, when life gives you rain -- DANCE (I mean run?) IN IT!
It's A Family Affair!
Only on very rare occasions can I convince my sister Samantha to put the hilarious spectator signs down and take part in the action. I LOVE when I get to run with my sister because we always spend the entire time laughing. I am so proud of her for running the Airbnb Brooklyn Half. She totally rocked it.
The Selfless Brooklynites Who Made The Half Delicious!
The rain kept most of the spectators away but around mile 9 or 10 that I heard a woman yelling, "DOES ANYONE WANT CHOCOLATE!?" They always say don't take candy from strangers but I don't think the rule applies when you're running a half marathon. Thank you kind stranger for the Twix!
The fun didn't end with chocolate, at mile 12 there were more wonderful Brooklynites handing out beer! And when a handsome man hands you a beer, you don't say no! So I housed it like a champ and sprinted to catch up with Carley who kept gunning it..which in hindsight may have been Carley trying to run ffar away from the crazy pants following her around with an iphone.
It's a Race Within a Race!
Do you ever run on a treadmill and find yourself racing the person next to you? (NO? That's probably because you, like me, would rather light yourself on fire than run on a treadmill...But you get the picture.) Just because I wasn't running for time doesn't mean I didn't get to race people. They may not know we're racing but if someone's matching my pace, you better believe I'm going to pick it up and speed away from them. It's a race after all! GOTTA GO FAST!
The Finish Line!
This was hands down the best part of the race, watching my NYC Mama Carley cross the finish line of her first half marathon ever. She ran an AMAZING race with incredible splits. We went slow and steady at first and gradually knocked minutes off our pace. She gunned the final half mile of the race and catching this moment still gives me goosebumps. She's one of the reasons this race was so rewarding. Watching her kill her first half marathon was absolutely inspiring.
Last week I wrote about what it means to pursue your personal best because it drives me crazy when I meet these runners who are consumed by their times. Personal best isn't just the time it takes you to go from a start line to a finish line. Personal best is a state of being you push yourself towards every single day and can only be measured by the smile you wear at the end. If you're not having fun, then why do you bother?
Take a second to look at Carley's face as she approaches the finish line. The arms go up, the smile lights up her face and she takes off towards the finish line with sheer determination and delight. That's how we all need to run every single race. Every single race needs to feel exciting and magical. Do the work but let yourself have fun. Never lose sight of the finish line but don't forget to enjoy the mile you're in.
The After Party!
Airbnb went above and beyond on making this half marathon feel ridiculously cool and special. From the pre-race party to the post race party, everything about the Airbnb Brooklyn Half was visually stunning and fun. A hard part about the finish line is that there's no cell phone service. I don't know if it's because there are thousands of people partying in MCU Park or what but if you didn't plan ahead you're going to have a hard time finding people. We luckily planned ahead and hung out for a while after the race drinking delicious Coney Island Brewing Company beers and sunshine because just like the finish line says, "The Race Is Over But The Party Is Just Warming Up".
It's really great seeing Airbnb sponsor a race like the Brooklyn Half because Airbnb is a perfect resource for runners. We are constantly on the go traveling domestically and internationally to different races and it's almost always cheaper than a hotel. The best way to see a city is to run it and Airbnb is making Run-cations easier and much more feasible. No longer do you need to throw a bunch of money down the drain on a hotel room you're only going to sleep in. Airbnb is perfect for runners and quite frankly they knocked this half marathon out of the park.
We got into some major shenanigans at Brooklyn this year and it's a race I'll never forget. What you see above is only the tip of the iceberg, see for yourself!
I think I've once and for all debunked the myth that running isn't fun. I don't know if there ever will be a race to top this one. Until next time, #RunSelfieRepeat.