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

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.