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.

Marathon Mike

Marathon Mondays Week 4: Quarter down, much more to go

A quarter of the way through anything has to be one of the most difficult checkpoints to try and rationalize that you are almost done. I mean a quarter the way through the Texans/Chiefs game Bill O’Brien probably thought things were going pretty well. A quarter of the way through a semester you still think you are going to keep up with all the work and not have to pull a few all-nighters just to keep the semblance of a decent GPA. A quarter of the way through Season 8 of Game of Thrones I thought that the season was going well. Just kidding that whole thing was trash. Just like me making that joke a year too late.

Point being it’s Monday and radiating positivity isn’t always the easiest thing. Not that it is my strong point anyway. At least I am getting this out on Monday.

I thought I was in for this nice easy week, and I guess for the most part it wasn’t an overwhelming amount of running, but with two speed days I felt like death. I am sure things would be easier if I actually did the workout the correct way, instead of turning it into an interval workout. Well I didn’t so that is my own fault. Obviously with only four days of running last week there is not much to talk about, but I am concerned at my inability to improve my performance in the 5k distance.

I kept it under 24 minutes which I guess isn’t terrible, but I think I can attribute it to a couple of factors. The first is just poor strategy, I come out the gate wayyyy to hot, I think I ran the first mile in under 7 minutes which set me up for disaster. The second is that on top of this training plan I am doing a decent amount of other exercise, so those rest days are not really rest days they are gym or some other activity days. Meaning that I am fucking gassed. The third is some accountability, I am bad at that distance. If I want some excuses I could tell you I got caught at a light for a minute, but that would be dishonest as I was so happy I got caught at that light. I needed the break and I knew the man in the sky had just provided me with a ready made excuse. If I want to take something positive from it a few minutes after I finished the run I felt fine and ready to go again.

Looking ahead there are really two runs worth taking a look at. The running workout is the murderous tempo run. I am going to do the same thing I did last time, just adding 5 more minutes to the first tempo. I also changed the end of it so the cool down has not set limit. Last time I was far from my apartment and had to stop to make the watch start again. As much as I hate these tempo runs after the last one I recognize how necessary they are. I am sure I will not be this positive halfway through it. The long run is back to mileage building, so I have to bang out a 7-miler. I am also going snowboarding this weekend, so no rest for the weary. Lets get after it

Marathon Mike

The Return of Marathon Mondays

The time for running with no purpose has sadly come to it’s conclusion, as I am pleased to announce the return of the illustrious Marathon Mondays blog series.

With that horrific introduction out of the way let’s talk about what has to happen to hit some goals. The race is the 2020 United Airlines NYC Half, which unless you have poor reading skills or simply glossed over the name of the race, is a half marathon. Once again this may be obvious, but it takes place in the lovely shit hole of New York.

This time I have some goals beyond simply finishing the race. The low end goal is to simply set a new PR, which for me would be under a 1:49. If I don’t hit that goal then its probably time to pick a new activity, because that would mean in the year and some odd days since I ran that, I will have gotten worse. The middle goal is to hit under 1:45, which is what I will be training for. The reach goal is a 1:42.

In order to hit that middle goal I have to average exactly an 8 minute mile for the entire race. While that is definitely a plausible goal for me, it is not something I can just do with no preparation. So in the most roundabout way, that brings us to a new training plan.

The race is on March 15th, and instead of doing a 16 week plan like I did for the marathon, I decided to do a 12 week plan. Part of that was to not have to finish the marathon and immediately start on a new plan, the other part was that I needed to build back up to race shape. I am trying the Hal Higdon Intermediate 2 Half Marathon Training Plan which is a less intense training plan in terms of mileage and workouts then the marathon plan I followed, if you converted that plan for the half distance. That was a mouthful.

My idea behind using a less rigorous training plan is to focus on getting more quality runs in, instead of just simply building up mileage. I don’t really need to build up mileage, so I wanted to focus on speed. With the added rest this plan accounts for I think I will be able to really push it on most of the runs and concentrate on keeping that pace under an 8:00. Hopefully I won’t be too gassed to run hard like I was for the marathon. Since I am probably going to spend a majority of the summer running, I figured with the extra time not running this winter I can indulge in some of my other hobbies. Also it is fucking cold out man I don’t want to be out there like I was all summer.

So without further ado here is the plan!

Marathon Mike

Marathon Mondays Week 9: Halfway Home

Chronicling on a week-to-week basis my progress on this training plan has had nothing but positive effects on the actual training. The old adage “you have to put it out in the world to make it happen” or something along those lines has forced me to hold myself accountable. I am at the start of Week 9 which means I have crossed the halfway point, hence the super clever and original subtitle for this thing.

This week is one of the 3 peak weeks of the training plan with 50-54 miles as the weekly mileage. I already skipped the optional 4-mile run so 50 it is. When I was shopping around for (free) plans, I thought that a week like this looking fucking impossible, now I’m so used to this thing that all I can think of is if I will get home from the 18-mile run in time for the start of the Giants game. No doubt sitting through a Giants/Bills game is going to be a way worse three hours then the run. Probably will be sorer from it as well, as I internally rage and pop a blood vessel or take a kitchen knife and gouge out my eyes to save myself from the misery. If I have to listen to Troy Aikman, Troy fucking Aikman of all god damn people, defend the Giants and Eli Manning against Joe Suck for my Sunday afternoon my ears are going the way of the cameras of Jeffery Epstein’s cell, off. Nailed that joke 3 weeks too late. Man the Giants have a way of getting me off script.

It is a testament of how sticking to a plan and continuing to push yourself can really pay off. I swear when I started this thing I thought the concept of having to run 18 miles sounded impossible. I knew how gassed I was after running half marathons and an additional 5 miles seemed like a worse torture then being a cornerback on the aforementioned Giants last Sunday. Now I’m thinking that after the 5-mile run on Saturday I might hit the gym and get a little extra work in. Crazy.

On the subject of progress, I have to say that taking a week off had noticeable effects on my running last week. I mentioned that my body had felt great after not running which was wonderful, but I feel like I struggled to get through the Wednesday 8-miler and the Thursday 7-miler. Those runs felt absolutely torturous and the only things I can really attribute that too are the weather (maybe?) and the break. Perhaps not for the first time but certainly this was noticeable to me, I actually worried that I would be unable to finish the run. I almost started walking, which to me is equal to quitting. I was fucking gassed after both of those runs. I don’t think it was exhaustion from the interval run, but I definitely was exhausted. Terrible. On a lighter note the rest of the week went great, the Friday tempo run I really cruised through, I ran the 10-miler on Saturday with no issues, and Sunday’s run was torture but for different reasons well documented here: https://swordsandsports.blog/2019/09/10/new-balance-5th-avenue-mile-race-review/

So what am I looking at for this week. I mentioned already that the long run is an 18-miler, which I will be doing the NYRR training run thingy for (review to come). That obviously is an enormous challenge, but after the relatively successful 16-mile run (minus almost drowning and having rain drops assault my bald dome) I hope to cruise through it. I ran the 6-mile Hill run this morning and it was relatively easy. I will see how the 8-mile, 7-mile, 6-mile tempo, and 5-mile runs go but I really don’t foresee any problems. My hamstrings still feel absolutely murdered but that will fade. Alright time to stop talking about it and instead get too it!