Race Reviews

TCS New York City Marathon Training Series 18M Race Review

Date: Sunday, September 15th 2019

Distance: 18 Miles

Location: New York, NY (Central Park)

Time: 2:44:51

Welp the big training event before the marathon is now officially in the past. I learned a lot about what to expect, what I need to work on, where I am at with my fitness, what kind of runner I am, and how much I dislike central park all in the course of almost three hours early Sunday morning.

First off lets get to the gear. For some reason I can only imagine was due to overstock, the gear for this race was the ever practical arm sleeves. The arm sleeve, as history commonly accepts, was not made cool until Allen Iverson wore one. In of course, as many readers are aware, a sport that involves your arms. So just to get it out of the way, these arm sleeves are wack as hell. They look like bad stained glass windows. I already have tattoos I don’t need fake ones. Of course here they are for reference. Make your own judgement.

Moving on. The race itself went surprisingly well. The start time of 7:00 AM would normally have me throwing a fit, but I actually think with this distance it was a blessing. I had little time to think about the task at hand, as I was mostly focused on staying awake and maneuvering the PATH and subway. I wound up taking an Uber to the start line anyway. But because it was early I just woke up and got right to it.

The weather was great for it, I think it was high 60’s low 70’s for the entire time, if the race started any later it would have been a nightmare, as it crept up to 80’s later on. I had planned on taking my sweet ass time for this, really emphasizing the “training” part of the race, but I think I either got caught up in the moment or just had a good day out there. I am by no means a great runner, I would say for my age I usually sit about average, but I was extraordinarily consistent throughout the course.

Originally I planned on running 10:30-11:00 minute miles in order to focus on just getting the distance in without injury, but around 3 miles in I noticed that I came out the gate faster than I would have liked. I know I have the watch, but I kept trying to do the math every time I passed a timer, which by the way they had at every mile, and I was surprised that I was moving quicker. I thought I actually slowed down at some point but clearly I stayed consistent throughout.

For anyone who has ever done a NYRR race or ran in Central Park in general, they are familiar with the fucking up-and-down nature of NYC’s one redeeming place. The race was three loops around the park, which is not only really unoriginal but also means you know where the hills are and can start dreading them. Now this wasn’t really an issue for me until the 3rd time around, by which point I was working on miles 12 through 18 and knew exactly where every incline was. That third lap was torture, I hit like a physical wall around mile 15 where I honestly questioned if I would be able to go another foot.

My strategy going in was water every 5 miles and some bee goo around the halfway mark. This did not happen, I took water/Gatorade at miles 5, 9, 12, 14, and 16 which shows me that I need to be aware of how necessary hydration is. My fear with water breaks is that as I slow down to grab a cup that I just physically won’t be able to pick it back up, but experience has shown the actual opposite effect. It’s not like when I have to stop for stupid cars that I just collapse, idk what kind of mental block makes me think it is going to happen during a race. I also think I need more of those gel packet things.

Either way, I smoked that last mile finishing nice and strong. Physically the largest challenge I had was in my legs. My groins were killing me, which is surprising as usually my hamstrings are the first thing I feel. I honestly thing doing yoga earlier in the week was the game changer. My quads felt like bricks by mile 16, I am not sure really how that is going to change besides just getting in better running shape, but it has motivated me to keep going to hot yoga torture chambers and get a few more gym sessions in before the big race.

Ultimately I finished and considering I wasn’t “racing” this race I am beyond happy with my times. This was a huge validation of my own ability and the success of sticking with the program. No more races on the agenda until the big one, so it is on me to stay focused. Bonus picture of me looking like human death at the finish line at the end of this.

Final Notes: Same thing as last week about the Giants, I don’t want to hear it.

Race Reviews

New Balance 5th Avenue Mile Race Review

not me…obviously

Date: Sunday, September 8th 2019

Distance: 1 Mile

Location: New York, NY (5th Ave between like 62nd and 83rd St. or something)

Time: 0:05:59

I was looking for the format I used last time for one of these race reviews and realized it has been almost two months since I last ran a race, which for someone who runs consistently seems like a really long time. In actuality doing races is almost getting in the way of the actual training. For example, this race is only one mile (which you probably got from the name of the race). I had to run 10 miles on Sunday, so after finishing the race I would have had to either run before the race or after. If I got a medal for the race or any other swag, I would have had to either run with the stuff or leave it. I keep all this stuff hypothetical because they gave no after race stuff so this didn’t really apply. I also did my long run on Saturday so I had to run 4 after the race which isn’t bad at all. Point is, the races can in theory get in the way of training, or at least force it to take way more planning around, hence why I only signed up for two races during this 16 week thing. One of those is the 18 mile training run, which lines up with my 18-mile run so that is actually great.

Complaining about things that didn’t actually happen at all aside, the New Balance 5th Avenue Mile race is a really cool concept. They do the race in waves (they might call them heats but it’s the same concept) broken up by age so you actually line up with a bunch of people who are in your own age range, as opposed to around your same speed. It definitely has an actual person against person competition feel to it, because you know everyone around you started around the same time as you so anyone you pass you beat. If you care about those things. Which of course I do because I am hyper competitive.

With 9,172 running this thing, broken up into a lot of groups over not a lot of space, it seems like it would be an organizational nightmare, but NYRR does an excellent job of keeping the thing moving. My wave, the 25-29 age group, went at 9:20 AM, if I remember from last year that is an hour later than last year. Last year’s weather was trash, this year it could not have been more perfect. I think it was 60ish and sunny.

This is an awesome race. That being said, I fucking hate it. I easily think it is the hardest race I run. This is entirely my own fault and has no reflection on the race. Last year I flat out sprinted the first quarter mile because I tried to keep up with all the dudes in the front, and after that quarter mile I felt as if death had come for me. I spent like 20 minutes after this thing hacking up a lung.

This year was still not great, though I didn’t feel like death so that’s an improvement. I spent much more time loosening up, stretching actively and statically in an attempt to get my hammys at the minimal working. I also came out much more reserved. This helped a lot, as I cut off 18 seconds from the year prior.

Still though, after I passed the quarter mile timer, I had fleeting thoughts about bailing on running hard. I honestly think I would have if I didn’t think that stopping would have caused me to flat out tear my whole leg. The second quarter of the race is slightly uphill, so all I see in my vision is emptiness, very uninspiring. At least the second half is better, it starts off downhill and I could see the finish line so at least I knew my torture was coming to the end. I felt my hamstrings pulling the entire time though. I tried to kick it up another notch at the 200 meters left sign, as I saw that I was getting close to getting under 6 minutes, but I didn’t realize that I had started like 8 seconds after so the timer at the end line was over 6 minutes I was too deflated to run harder. Good thing I didn’t slow down though because I was literally one second from not being under. That was not intentional at all.

Either way, if you are great at running a mile this race is probably a blast. I mean I came in 408 of 825 in my age group. As I said I am irrationally competitive, so even knowing I am not a great mile runner, the fact that 407 dudes finished ahead of me is infuriating. And on top of that I was basically dead average. I hate this race. At least at other distances I don’t really care as much because I know I suck at it. This one hits harder for some reason.

The gear though for this race is sweeeeeeet. Last year they gave out the wackest hats known to man, I don’t even have mine I threw it out instantly so no picture. This year though they gave out a pair of running shorts, but like really nice ones that have pockets. The women’s shorts don’t have pockets but I am a man so that is zero issue to me. Here they are:

I didn’t take any of my own pictures because I forgot my phone in the car, for some reason bringing my wallet instead, which of course is very useful for running a mile. So my apologies.

So in review, this race is really cool and probably a ton of fun. Unless you are me and find no joy in anything. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that Jenny Simpson won this thing for the 8th time. What a fuckkkkking beast. Who cares about the guys. Also Tiki Barber I think ran this. It infuriates me to no end that this guy is apart of NYRR. Stay tuned for a race review next week!

Final Notes: No comment on the Giants game yesterday. Leave me alone.

Race Reviews

NYRR Queens 10k Race Review

Date: Saturday, June 15th 2019

Distance: 10 km

Location: Queens, NY (Flushing Park)

Time: 0:48:26

With the doldrums of the workweek beginning it’s time to recap the weekend festivities in an ode to reliving the glory days and keeping our minds firmly in the past. I am told looking backwards is the key to progress, it is also a great strategy to do while running. Give it a try and let me know how it goes.

This Saturday I was one of the 11,852 participants in the Queens 10k and I would like to bless you all with my much sought after opinions on the event. After setting the bar way too high by doing my last race report (I want to call these race reports but I think ‘review’ is better SEO practice. IDK though because I didn’t pay for the better version of Wordpress) this is coming a couple of days after. I would offer apologies but I am not offering apologies. I would also like to state on the record the importance of keeping your expectations at the bare minimum required to remain somewhat not miserable, and you will always have your expectations exceeded. This is fundamental to your boss evaluating your job performance, your family asking for help at the family event, and most importantly your significant others expecations for your sexual performance. So strive to get all those people on board with this philosophy and make mediocrity great again!

The Queens 10k took place in lovely Flushing Park, where we were treated to beautiful sites of dying grass in untended fields, the cracked concrete of abandoned parking lots, some weird polluted lake that has a creepy island with a door on it, and that tennis stadium that hangs off of Citi Field like an untreated hemorrhoid. Flushing Park is to Central Park what Queens is to Manhattan, which is the sibling that is just a little sloppier and worse at everything then the golden child. Your parents may say they love all their children the same but in your heart you know the truth.

My goal for the race was to shoot for 47 minutes, and similar to my attempts at writing witty and engrossing race reviews I fell short of the mark. I would like to place all the blame on external factors in order to escape culpability so here are the things that caused me to fail in no particular order:

  1. Global warming. The earth was all hot and shit forcing me to take an extra water break a mere half mile after my first one. This had nothing to do with the fact that I was dehydrated due to poor hydration planning and eating crumb cake a mere 40 minutes before the race. Nor the fact that it actually wasn’t that hot and kind of cloudy. Nope the earth is getting hotter and it messed me up.
  2. The protests in Hong Kong. The extradition policies of the Chinese Special Administrative Region is often on my mind and to see things devolve into such chaos left me no room to calculate my times as I passed the clocks. I simply do not have the mental capacity to do basic math while running and think about why Hong Kong is independent of China. Shame Shame.
  3.  Richard K. Morgan. See my previous blogs for further clarification.

So I think that shows just why I should not be held responsible for not achieving my goals. As for the course itself, despite not being the most eye catching of courses, it is actually relatively flat and though there were some sharp turns and one bridge, it was a solid course for a 10k. There is one part where you run around that giant globe thingy around mile 5 and it blocked out the sun so perfectly. It was such a relief because before that you are in the sun for a bit so when I got too that part it kind of charged me up. That globe is cool as shit, and is also the perfect Instagram spot, as Nathalie was quick to take advantage off. The picture I have is actually of the sunny side, but whatever imagine being on the other side of the thing if you have an issue with it.

The swag bag was pretty standard, the tank is, well here’s a picture of it all so I don’t really need to explain it. The tank is pretty damn comfortable. I would be remiss if I did not mention there were no bee power waffles. Points off for that.

All in all I actually had a great time at the race, I set a PR so while I did fail progress is slow. That’s the motto of the perpetual underachiever. The course was a lot of fun and I didn’t have to take a train there because I got a ride, automatically improving the race. NYRR here is some more unsolicited advice, just give me a ride both ways and I will love the race. 20 weeks to the marathon. Stay working hard everyone. Here the obligatory picture of me. Notice that my head is not peeling like a prisoner of the Boltons.

Final Notes: Noted enemy of the blog Lebron James successfully manipulated another organization into mortgaging their future because Lebron is incapable of winning a championship on his own. How could he not win with noted superstars Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart and 3 first round picks to be named later? Coward.

Race Reviews

NYRR 1 for You 1 for Youth 5K Race Review

Date: Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Distance: 5 km

Location: New York, NY (Central Park)

Time: IDK like 30 minutes

First and foremost I would like to say Happy Global Running Day to all my fellow runners. In a society that glorifies made up holidays sometimes it’s easier to just give in and go with it. Looks good on social media and honestly isn’t that the only thing we all care about? It didn’t occur to me why this race was on a Wednesday until that guy with the silky smooth voice on the PA system mentioned it while we were waiting for the thing to start in our race corral. That whole thing had me super confused but I thought this would be an easy way to get my Wednesday morning run in and add another 1 to the 9 + 1 NYRR scheme. I have used Wednesday four times in this paragraph, not once have I spelled it correctly on the first try. Shout out to spell check you a real one.

So made up holiday aside, the point of this race was to promote New Balance, I mean to do some charity work. What that terrible name for a race is supposed to imply is that everyone who signed up for the race got a pair of New Balance Fresh Foam Zante Pursuit’s and New Balance donated a pair of sneakers to kids in need. I may make fun of a lot of things, including this, but it is really cool that they gave those kids sneakers. The sneakers are awesome too, I added them to my three sneaker rotation as my light run sneaker and so far they have been great. Not sure if they would hold up on a long run, but fuck it they look good which for a short run is all that matters.

As for the race, it didn’t seem to be a particularly crowded race which was a nice change of pace for a typical NYRR race. Since the thing started at 7am and was only a 5K, I imagine that unless you lived in Manhattan this wasn’t really worth it. I may have bitched about this before, but I don’t live in Manhattan so as usual it was not very convenient. I did hop on the ol’ PATH and take a subway to Bryant Park where I ran to the race start on 83rd so at least I was able to parlay the race into a good training day. I may have been gassed, but I have no complaints it was my choice to do a race before work.

 The race itself was a breeze, the whole course seemed like it was going downhill. Apparently we ran up the notorious Harlem hill but it didn’t seem bad. At the end of the race I was saying that I thought the whole thing was downhill and some old British lady overheard (i.e. eavesdropped) and gave me her thoughts on it. She did not agree with my assessment to say the least. Suck it up it was 3.2 miles. It’s that type of attitude that lost you the states in the first place. Even our fat guys whip up on the soft ass English, look at Andy Ruiz. He might be my new obsession, if I was a young decently attractive 18 to 21 year old with insecurities about my ability to have a social life and wanted to pay for a friend group, I would even go so far as to look and Andy Ruiz and give my thoughts on him with the ever so poignant #Goals.

I didn’t eat breakfast (meaning not a big breakfast) so the after race snacks were a life saver. Grabbed myself a bagel, an apple, and some of those bee Belgium waffle things and started hauling ass down 7th Ave. If you saw a jackass running with a race bib on through one of the most crowded streets in the country around 8am with a giant bulge in his pocket eating a bagel, congrats you saw me! The bulge was an apple don’t be a perv. Its 2019 though so even if I was aroused don’t dick shame me.

All in all pretty happy I woke up for this. I don’t smell like shit at work and left clothes here yesterday so that’s a plus. Didn’t bring a belt though. Let’s hope for the best.

I went the entire blog without mentioning how brave and strong I am for writing this the same day I did the race. I am not looking for applause or to be lauded for this achievement. But recognize greatness when you see it. O yea obligatory race picture will appear at the end. Thanks Nat for always managing to look great even drenched in sweat looking like you just carried a jug of water on your head through the fields. And also for looking at the camera instead of at the button like my dumbass.

Final Notes: No idea who is going to win tonight. Don’t even know the spread, but I am thinking of going against what I have been doing and betting on the Raptors. I can’t stop laughing thinking about that story of Kawhi’s trash talk. Not going to link it so if you made it this far just go look it up. Such a fucking weirdo. I think I am going to incorporate his style into my running, so every time I run past someone I’ll mumble “pass” or “pace man gets paid.”

Race Reviews

City Manager’s 10-Mile Race to Remember Race Review

Date: Sunday May 26th, 2019

Distance: 10 Miles

Location: Long Beach, NY

Time: 1:34:42

Fresh off the heels of the Brooklyn Half I ran the City Manager’s 10-Mile Race to Remember in the beautiful city? (I mean a city in the Long Island sense of the term) of Long Beach for a nice 10 miler. No goal in mind which was a good thing because it was at least 400 degrees and I am not sure PRing was going to happen. I was still also feeling the damage of having done the Brooklyn Half. Not damage in terms of soreness, but if posting a picture of myself last race review revealed anything besides the fact that I’m looking low key jacked up, I am also bald as a cue ball. My dome got torchhhhed. Like peeling all week torched. Like wear a hat to work torched because the three seconds of sun I see on the walk from Herald Square to my job is too much. Like I wore my tank top as a durag for a solid 3 miles before I gave up on even trying. Always thought it looked gross when old dudes had bald skulls with different colored skin. Well I learned that it is not that hard to have happen. Not a great look.

There is a reason for it. First poor planning. But second is that I hate running with a hat. Style wise it looks way better, and while normally I only care about looking good, my head just starts overheating. Same reason I hate using sunscreen on my egg head. Clogs my pores, or at least I think that is what happens, and I overheat and sweat straight sunscreen into my eyes. I think my biggest injury from the race on Sunday was my eyes were stinging. Point being, this is way too long to complain about being bald.

This was my third time doing this race so I am really familiar with it. In fact this was the first race me and my gf ran together, yes you are allowed to go “Awwwww” here. It also was the longest I had ran at that point of my life. As a local race goes the course itself is not too original. It kind of zig zags back and forth, but Long Beach is a cool, gorgeous area so that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The highlight of the race is the two miles of boardwalk between miles 3 to 5. You get to experience one of the best boardwalks on Long Island with an incredible view of the water without having to look over the gross ass people that go to Jones Beach. The rest of the race winds through neighborhoods, some of the roads are pretty narrow but I kind of liked that. Though there were a few people biking on those streets, you got to be a real loser to bike on a narrow street that a bunch of people are running on, there are 8 million different roads you can take your bike and you choose to weave through people.

In terms of amenities, the end of the race has an awesome, all time spread. Easily one of my favorites. There are no swag bags at the end, instead at the end there is a million bakery goods, some hotdogs, Gatorades and water bottles. I might be missing some stuff, but any race that has baked goods at the end is already an amazing race. I grabbed myself a blue Gatorade and glazed doughnut and was instantly a significantly happier person. TAKE NOTE have bakery goods at the end of your race. The shirt was a change from the prior years, it fit me a little weird but I think that it probably fits the general population better. It’s a hard cotton shirt but the design is cool, a good blogger would have a picture of the shirt ready to go, so I will do my best next time. It was blue so use your imagination.

So the part no one cares about, my performance. I ran it in 1:34:42. Nat and I were running with another couple, who were running their first race together (can you believe the coincidence!!!!!!!!!!!! So cute I’m going to regurgitate that glazed doughnut) so we stuck with them for a little bit and I went solo dolo around mile 3. I hung out with my sister who was nice enough to come watch, nothing to do with her also going to the beach, for a few minutes. Lots of excuses for this run. Might as well mention again it was as hot as the Seven Cities in MBotF. For reference I ran this race in 1:25 during a monsoon last year. Haters going to hate.

FINAL NOTES: Keep your hair. Warriors in 6.

Race Reviews

Popular Brooklyn Half Marathon Race Review

It’s funny, when I originally took up running I figured that it was going to be a quick and efficient way to get a workout in. I was tired of spending an hour in the gym every day, the injuries from lifting and sports were starting to add up, and it was just getting boring. Sure there are options like Crossfit (yuck) or other HIIT type classes but those are neither cost efficient nor time saving. They do get results though gotta give credit where it is due. Point is, I figured I would run, it would take 30 or so minutes, and I would get cut up. In typical obsessive fashion it now consumes my life and is probably the number one thing I spend my time on that doesn’t involve work or reading.

What does this have to do with the race? NOTHING. But I did run it. Previously I have mentioned how I have been working on increasing my mileage, I don’t know if I set a hard goal but I eventually want to work up to 40-45 miles a week by the time the TCS New York City Marathon comes around early November. This training has kind of been the driving action of me starting my first audiobook, hence the Eye of the World Audiobook Update series. Right now I have been running 36 miles a week consistently for the last 3-4? weeks. It hasn’t been too difficult, the hardest parts have been when the training plan calls for different kinds of runs such as tempo runs, fartlek’s, and intervals. I honestly have had no experience with these kinds of running, wayyyyy back when I was playing meaningful sports I just did sprints and shit. It has been an interesting experience, I think I have gotten used to arranging my schedule to allow the time to run the necessary mileage as well as planning the extra runs to work around the training plan. My body has held up well, just seem to be in a state of constant soreness. Yoga has been really helpful for keeping me sort of loose. Not sure what I am going to have to do to get up to 40 though, just haven’t really felt capable at this point as I have been balancing different races.

Back to the race. I had never ran this race before, can’t say I was jumping out the gym excited for it. This isn’t the fault of the race, I just don’t feel like going to Brooklyn from Hoboken. That’s on me, I signed up for a race called the Brooklyn Half Marathon, can’t get mad when that takes place in Brooklyn. I was extremely happy that the race was on Saturday though, I can’t express enough how much better this is. Probably a good idea to throw the actual date of the event in this blog, it was Saturday May 18th. There was a pre-race party for the packet pick-up in Dumbo, which is an absolutely gorgeous area. I thought that it was going to be a pain in the ass to get too, but that was based on my own experience of interning at Melville House Publishing last year, when I had to drive from Glen Cove to get there. Turns out, subways from Manhattan get you there way quicker. WHO KNEW!

The race starts in Prospect Park. I am sure the image I am going to use for this blog is going to be blurry so maybe I will attempt to add a map here. As an aside, I realllllly need to learn how to get the header images to work correctly, it looks terrible. Having never been to Prospect Park before, I had zero expectations. My wave was supposed to start at 7, so we got there around 6:30. Everything was well organized, bag check was right next to where we were supposed to enter the corral, always love that. The bathroom situation is a nightmare, the porta potties are only in the corral waiting area and the lines were ridiculous, it took 25 minutes to use one and by then the race had already kind of started.

What is there to say about the race course itself. It was an absolutely awesome course and it was an absolutely gorgeous day. Honestly my favorite half marathon course to date. The first half of the half (haha) was all in the park, I was worried the roads were going to be over crowded but they were not at all. All the hills were in the park portion of the race, and they were not too steep or long. Still felt more downhill than uphill. Eventually you get out of the park and the last 6-7 miles are on some highway, but it’s all the lanes so there is a lot of space. NYRR does a really great job with the water/Gatorade stations, I believe there was one at every mile along with a clock to play mental math with. At about the halfway mark there was some bee goo things that tasted pretty solid. I will say that it’s tough with all the packets not to step on one and get that stuff all over your sneakers. Had sticky sneakers for a while until I ran through a sprinkler.

The end of the race is in Coney Island. Lots of excitement and people around, which is always encouraging. The finish line was on the boardwalk, it was a little tight getting up the ramp to get on, but overall a minor complaint. The post-race festivities were like a beer festival in whatever stadium that is, cool enough. The post race bag had some pretzels, a Gatorade, water bottle, and some delicious bar. The lack of name-brands are not due to my no free ads policy, I just legit don’t remember.

If for some odd reason you stuck it out until the end, the goal for this race was to help Nathalie run under a 2 hour half. She has been working crazy hard and it paid off. We finished in 1:58:15. Couldn’t be more happy or proud.

That wraps up my first race review. Can’t tell if this was fun to write or not. It certainly isn’t fun to read or edit. No final notes on this one. Hopefully I can find a way to make these funny. If you did wind up reading this whole thing, here is a pic of me, no idea how Nat didn’t make it into this picture, which sucks because she is the way more attractive half of the couple.