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St. Pat’s Half Marathon Race Review: The last race in America

Date: Saturday, March 14th, 2020

Distance: 13.1 Miles

Location: Rockaway Park, New York

Time: 1:41:06

Presented by RockapulcoRun

HELLLLLLO I know everyone was waiting with bated breath for how I was going to handle the cancellation of the United Airlines NYC Half Marathon and I am here to tell you I handled it real well. When I found out Tuesday that the race was no longer happening, I quickly scrambled to find another race. Lo and behold there was another race! RockapulcoRun happened to be putting on a St. Pattys day half that saturday, and it was still going to happen so I quickly signed up. Crises averted.

When the race coordinator was explaining the course to the runners, someone shouted out something like “Thanks for hosting the last race of America.” I would love to take credit for that as I take pride in my big crowd shoutout jokes, but in good faith I can not.

There were certainly some last minute concerns with this. First, it was Saturday instead of Sunday, meaning I had to cut out the final two mile run out. Prob not an important run anyway. Second, it was about an hour drive from me. Despite some closures I got there relatively easily. There were a lot of people there that had done what I did, so it’s good that RockapulcoRun was still putting on the event, I think there were maybe 200 people there?

As for the race itself, no real fancy packet pickup, simply a stand at the race start where they were safely handing out the race stuff.

As for the gear, let me tell you I was taken for a loop on this one. I have gotten a bunch of different swag, mostly shitty t-shirts (this race included), but never ever have I received a loaf of Irish soda bread. Let me tell you it was fantastic. There also was a medal and a solid looking bib, take a look for yourself.

Okay it is race talk time. Funny enough, this course was the first half marathon course I had ever run. I think in 2017 I did a different RockapulcaRun half marathon, so I already knew what I was in for. Two loops of 6.5ish miles, all flat course and a view of a very grey boardwalk. In terms of sights to see, not my favorite course though running along a boardwalk isn’t to bad. A little windy.

I had a goal for this race, well not exactly this one but whatever. I wanted to run it in 1:45:00 and had followed the Hal Higdon Intermediate something training plan to try and hit that goal. Let me tell you, based on my time, I destroyed that goal. It was fuckkkkking painful though, for real I almost debated dropping out at the half way mark as I was exhausted and felt I had nothing left. The only reason I kept running was I realized that I had smoked the first half of the race and even if I had a poor second half I would crush my previous PR of 1:49:10.

This feeling of death happened for a few reasons. I came out the gate wayyyy to hot and this almost cost me the race. A 7 minute mile was not the way I was supposed to start this race. I tried to maintain a 7:30 pace and for a while I was doing alright, but I started to fluctuate around 5th mile and kept a 7:40 to 8:00 pace. I took a gel at like mile 5, and every couple miles I had a little more of it. I also took water at mile 7 and mile 10. This pace truly pushed me to the limit, I had been training intensely to be able to run faster miles, but I think that maintaining that speed for a full 13 miles was something that I am going to need to work on. I am not going to say I felt undertrained, because obviously I did a great job on beating my goal, but I think that my race strategy is really shit and it is costing me precious minutes. I make it much more difficult on my self because of my inability to set a good pace from the beginning. Whatever, I am fucking jacked up that I was able to beat my goal by that much. I already can’t wait to get started on another one.

Race Reviews

NYCRUNS FROZEN PENGUIN 5K & 10K Race Review

Date: Saturday, February 1st, 2020

Distance: 10k (6.2 miles)

Location: New York, NY (Riverside Park)

Time: 44.42

I know that says Coco Classic but they must have changed the name of the race and not updated the image because that is certainly the course I ran. There was hot chocolate at the end so at least that part is correct.

In a a beautiful tribute to global warming, I participated in the not-so-Frozen Penguin 5K & 10K last Saturday in order to prep for the United Airlines NYC Half Marathon in March. That sentence was complicated and took way to much thinking. The race took place in Riverside Park which is somewhere in NYC, to be honest with you I really don’t know where I was but the park itself was pretty cool. The race was on the smaller side, there were 547 participants for the 10k portion, which took place a 1:15 after the 5k. This was a good thing as I don’t really think this race could have handled many more people. There were a few parts where the path was pretty narrow and the pavement in typical New York fashion was torn up, so if there were a lot more people I think this could have been a nightmare.

The course was two loops, something that I typically don’t really enjoy but for this it worked out alright. About half of the course was hilly, with a monster hill right before the first mile, so that was not to fun, especially the second time around. The second half of the race had a .25 out and back along the waterfront. I’m mentioning these things with zero elaboration because I found the whole thing a little scrunched together, really forcing you to run past a lot of people at a few different points. Things were kept pretty organized at least. My picture of the start line is a little misleading, as that was the widest part of the course. Altogether if I was not trying to PR this would have been a pretty little stroll through the park. Since I was trying too, I would have liked a less challenging race. But it is the beginning of February so I am happy I even had the option.

The shirt for the race was the kind of shirt Mac from Always Sunny in Philadelphia would love. A sleeveless t shirt with a pretty standard logo. I actually find the logo solidly cute, but as to the design of the shirt I hate it. Unless I am a 60-year-old man going to hoop at the local YMCA or Mac, I doubt I will ever wear this. The women got tank tops, which would have been nice. I like the race bib though. At the end of the race there were some solid bagels, hot chocolate, and some fruits. Pretty good spread.

I am doing an astronomical amount of complaining for a race I actually set a PR in. I knew I was off to a good start when I saw 22:30 after the first loop. My prior PR was set in the Queens 10k back in like June, if you want to read all about that click here. The old PR was 48:26 so this was an almost 4 minute improvement. I was really happy that I was able to keep a 7:13 minute mile for the entire race, I really didn’t fluctuate that much. That large an improvement is a testimony to how much better a runner I have become and I felt really thankful that I have seen results of all the hard work I put in.

Hopefully this translates to a solid Half in March. If I stick with this training plan I think it will happen. Obligatory post-race picture below, notice my awesome bright orange condom hat. In a little slice of humble pie, god that expression is fucking terrible, I sat next to the winner of the race on the PATH ride home. That little fucker ran it in like 33 minutes and had the audacity to tell me it was his first ever competitive 10k. TBH he was a super humble ass kid. That’s a review everybody.

Final Notes: It took me almost as long to find that old blog as it did to write this entire review. Don’t ever say I am not dedicated.

Race Reviews

9th Annual Memorial Cardiac & Vascular Institute Fort Lauderdale Turkey Trot Race Review

Date: Thursday, November 28th, 2019

Distance: 3.1 Miles

Location: Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

Time: Who cares?

Every time I run a turkey trot I always think about that stupid meme that shames people just trying to better themselves and give back to great causes. What do you hate fitness? Do you hate charity? Don’t fit shame me.

For real though as someone whose blog is 50% about his own runs it is obvious that I would be a participant in a turkey trot. What I was pleasantly surprised with this year was that I was joined by my two sisters. For my older sister this was her first race, and she specifically started running just for it. This shows that I am slowly morphing the people around me into doing the things that I enjoy. Or that my sister took on an awesome challenge and did a great job. Either way I ran it.

Lets talk about the gear briefly. In short, I am unimpressed. The t-shirt is ass. Why anyone gives a white t-shirt for anything always blows my mind but as a running shirt there could not be a lower effort more useless piece of swag. I mean the race is in fucking Florida, if I wore that shirt for 15 seconds outside you would see every follicle of nipple hair on my masculine, animalistic (gross) chest. Though cartoon turkeys make me laugh so I guess it isn’t all bad. As I write this I am also realizing that for like 5 more dollars I could have gotten a dri-fit shirt and then maybe I would not be complaining. That’s on me dog.

I have lamented in the past about the misery that is Florida running but in this case the race was so early that it really wasn’t an issue. It also helps that it was a short run but whatever. What was hot in both the heat sense and the sexually attractive sense were these fire ass turkey hats we wore.

As you can see from the lovely picture above I have a hella ugly family. Also that the race took place on the street that is right on the beach, so we were treated to a great view. The race itself was solidly organized, they had day of registration and had water at the 1 mile and 2.5 mile marks. The race was willlllld packed, if you look at the picture below you can see where the race was supposed to start, and how many people were just swarming the start line. I actually thought that was kind of funny.

To wrap up this semi boring review I will say that I had a blast running this thing. I was on vacation in Florida and traded 30 degree shit weather for 80 degree glory so no matter what that was a win. The race itself, while a little on the disorganized side was a nice relaxing run with excellent energy that didn’t take itself serious at all. I mean its a fucking turkey trot, if you can’t have fun doing that your friends prob hate you. Shout out to Jenna for running this thing, she literally started running just to do this with me and my younger sister. My younger sister finishing the whole thing with that fucking hat on was equal parts impressive and possible serial killer. That was pretty cool.

Final Notes: Got into the American Airlines Half-Marathon so expect a revival of the (Half) Marathon Mondays blog series.

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.