Archive for the ‘Coogan's 5k 2010’ Category

Coogan’s 5K Race Report and Race Commute Stories

March 7, 2010 2 comments

Feels good to be back 🙂  My first real race since December.  I feel like I am in decent shape, but not great shape.  At least not great running shape.  All this cross training during my knee issue and training for the indoor triathlons has kept me in pretty good shape.  And at a pretty good weight.  Actually my new job leaves little time to eat.  Imagine that, a chef that doesn’t eat.  I eat, just not that often.  Plus it is an open kitchen (meaning the guests can see you), so I can’t just whip together a sandwich and chow down.

Back to the race…I woke up at 6:50 AM.  Ate 1/2 a banana, threw some last minute things in my back and was out the door by 7:10 AM.  The race started at 9AM but the subway trip to get there is a brutal one.  As I was starting the subway trek I was thinking back to different “crazy commutes” that I have subjected myself to for a race.

I think the coolest place I’ve driven to a race was recently was when I was living in Philly, I drove out to Stone Harbor, NJ, which is on the shore.  It was an early start to my day to get out there, but it was a beautiful day and course, plus I got to hang out with some friends at the beach after.

Once I drove from Philly to Reading PA in a blizzard in February, only to find out they canceled the race that they advertise “never cancel”.  Needless to say me and several hundred people were a little upset.  We should have formed an informal bandit race since we were all there anyway 🙂

Since the subway system is so unpredictable in NY especially on the weekends and I like to be at a race 1 hour early to warmup and mentally prepare, I have had some pretty early mornings.

The cross country races they have at Van Courtland Park are great but the subway you have to take runs “local” which means it stops at every stop possible (as opposed to the “express” which stops to popular stops).  It literally takes me 1.5 hours to get to Van Courtland from Brooklyn…run a 20 minute race and then repeat the trip.  At least its not driving, so it is a little more relaxing.

The Nike NYC 1/2 Marathon back in 07 was a crazy one.  The race started at 7am, if I remember correctly, so, I wanted to be there by 6AM, but since I am crazy and paranoid 🙂 and didn’t know what the NY subway system had in store for me, I ended up leaving my house at 4AM.  Well, as “luck” would have it, I got the station and immediately a train arrived.  And not the train I thought I would get, a better train that took my straight to the race, no transfer needed.  I arrived at the race at 4:45AM, so early they thought I was a volunteer that was there to set up the course.  Nice.  I tried to catch a nap on a park bench but to no avail.  I ended up running my best race in NY with a 1:23:05 half marathon.

I have since learned to just take a taxi to early races. They usually cost about 25 bucks and that is usually split with Nate, so it is well worth the money to save the stress and get a few extra minutes of precious sleep.

OK.  The race.  It was a far commute.  With 1 transfer.  The transfer is always the wildcard.  I caught the first train, no problem.  Then it got to 96th st where we had to transfer.  I say we because I was sharing the train with several hundred other runners.  I always get a chuckle looking at the non-runners on the train in the early AM who are either going to work, church, or coming back from Saturday night partying.  I know they think us runners are insane.

At least 8 trains came and left the 96th st station, none of which were the one that “we” needed.  The “we” has now grown to at least 500 people.  FINALLY, after about 25 minutes, which seemed like 25 years, the train comes (this is cutting into my warm up time)  and of course…it’s packed.  We all manage to squeeze in, like sardines and we are off.  But now, every stop, 3 normal people get off the train, and 25 runners get on.  Ridiculous.  I’m not as bothered by some other, it’s just a fact of life in NY, deal with it.

I always have to pick up my number and chip on race day since I don’t work a schedule that allows me time to go pick up my number during the week.  Not a big deal, but I always need a few extra minutes to get my number, shirt, etc.  Not a big deal when races are in Central Park, but the check in for this race is at the Armory Indoor Track, which always seems to be chaotic.  And even more so today because they are hosting a High School Track championship.  Surprisingly, I got in and out relatively quickly.

Time:  8:30AM.  Nice.  I check my bag and get into my race outfit.  Due to the great weather, I am able to warm up without “warmups”  about 45*F at start time.  So I get about a mile warm up in, stretch, do strides and I’m good to go.  Knee feels good.  Let’s see what happens.

I was in the front corral, but choose not to worm my way to the front part of it since I wouldn’t be hammering out.   I figured if I start a little back, I will pass some people and it will feel better than being passed 🙂

That was a bit of a mistake…my first mile was slower than I wanted it to be and it was REALLY hard to find a groove with it being so crowded.  The course itself is an out and back loop with 2 good sized hills going out, and obviously, the reverse coming back.  It’s a tough course.

Mile 1–6:34

Not too bad, but I would have liked to be 6:20

Since it is an out and back there was a volunteer every 25 meters telling us to stay to the right (since the leaders would be coming down the other side soon).  It made for a very crowded 2nd mile.  I slid outside when I could to get some open space and started to find a little rhythm and I was passing a ton of people.

Mile 2–6:09

Feeling good.  It was a club points race, so I was very aware of the other clubs that were in front of me and tried to focus on catching them.

One more hill to go, then downhill and flat to the finish.  I was feeling the burn, but made it up pretty smooth.

Mile 3–6:06

.1– :33

Finished 306th out of 5600.  3rd on my team.

Final time 19:23.  I really don’t like seeing the 19, but surprisingly I ran 20 seconds faster than last year.  So I’m happy with that.  I haven’t been training at all and I finished the race feeling good and healthy.  All good things.

AND, I found some other Brooklyn Road Runners after that gave me a ride home.  One less smelly runner on the subway 🙂

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