Race Report: Coogan’s 5K

I still hate 5Ks. But I hate them a little less after this race. Maybe the Gridiron 4 Miler a month ago helped to prepare me for this. Or maybe it’s the fact that I still have no real race endurance (meaning I know that trying to race, say, a 15K would be infinitely more painful and embarrassing than any 5K at this point). But this was okay.

Fun stuff: This was my first race wearing a New York Harriers shirt. There were unexpected benefits. Well, at least one, which was getting acknowledgments (running the gamut from staid nods to frenetic thumbs up) from fellow Harriers. It also meant I could tap a fellow Harrier (as I did today) and say, “Good luck!” without the action being confusing.

Also, I started the race a few feet away from Gary Muhrcke, known by marathon history nerds as the winner of the inaugural New York City Marathon, and by watchers of the YES! Network as the enthusiastic man on the commercials for Super Runners Shop, which Muhrcke founded.

Minor annoyances: NYRR was not enforcing its corral system today. I started the race surrounded by people in bibs with numbers 5,000 and above. They should have been two or three corrals back. I spent the first third of a mile fighting my way through slower runners. Boo. Also, they started the race three minutes early. Bizarre. Finally, the finish line was not marked with a banner. So what I thought was the finish mat was actually the final start mat. I hit Stop and started jogging after hitting it. Later, my results would reflect this: I lost about 6 seconds due to not knowing where the finish actually was. Grr.

The deets: Allowing for the initial crowding problem (and my theory that the course is slightly harder than the 4 miler course in Central Park), I think I’ve improved slightly since last month. I was careful not to kill myself in the first mile, and I was good about motoring on the downhills, as I passed a lot of people.

The big hill from 1.9-2.6 was not that terrible. Once I crested it, I recovered pretty quickly and was able to roll pretty well through the last half mile. Although that was a treacherous stretch, as it was Pothole City, especially under the bridge. Although I am told by Amy, who calls Washington Heights home, that they did a lot of work to fill those holes before the race, so I should be grateful.

I have no memory whatsoever of the bands or the actual scenery on the course.

Also, it was raining steadily and there were numerous puddles. My favorite racing shoes — the Asics Hyperspeeds — are equipped with drainage holes in the bottom. These are great when it’s pouring rain because it’s like wearing colanders on your feet — the water drains right out. On a day like today it just means your socks get wet during the warmup. But it’s a 5K. It’s not a marathon. Wet feet: not an issue.

The stats: 22:13 (to my watch’s 22:06, dammit), 11th in my AG, 2nd F40+ Harrier. Yay.

The whole point: I know why you join a club now. For the post-race drinks! Think about it. Go drinking at 11AM alone and you’re a sad lush. Go drinking with other people at 11AM and you’re being sociable and festive. I met up with around 30 of my black-clad teammates at Amsterdam Ale House (they wisely avoided the clusterfuck at Coogan’s; I knew there was a reason I joined this club) for Newcastle and chitchat. Urp.

14 Responses

  1. I did the same exact thing with the “fake” finish mat. I started jogging and realized that there were people still zooming by…oops. Solid race today!

  2. “I could tap a fellow Harrier”

    *Snicker* I would have.

    Nice effort. Those little pains-in-the-ass add up quickly to something sufficient to ruin concentration, especially in an off-label race distance, and you sallied forth, nutted up, and tarried on like a trooper anyway!

  3. Nice race! I totally agree about the corral enforcing. I hopped into what I thought was my corral (blue) only to be surrounded on all sides by red. Red people who were annoyed by my trying to get in front of them. No point in classifying us if they’re not going to stand by their system.

  4. That’s not bad. Would have been worse if you’d stopped your watch at 21:55 on the fake mat. Go the Greg Meyer and race more — you’ll hate them less.

  5. Glad you had a good run. My official time was slower than my watch time too and I thought I had been conservative with it. But after reading this, I’m realizing that I probably hit it while crossing the first set of mats. Whoops. That is frustrating.

  6. “Go drinking at 11AM alone and you’re a sad lush. Go drinking with other people at 11AM and you’re being sociable and festive.”

    Haha, this is why I always wait until after noon to start drinking! Erm, most of the time.

    Congrats on a solid race!

  7. Now you’re making me want to join a running club :)

    Congrats on the nice race.

  8. Thats good!!!!, this is the begin, you do better, wait yes you can…
    I like the amsterdam house, nice beer to drink ;-).
    Next time i run with you in centralparks, that a nice place to run.
    ga je ooit eens zien Jullie.

  9. […] runners are worse people, but if you’re going to have a system, you should enforce the system. Julie touched on this in her post, but because she finished her race, she is in better spirits about it […]

  10. Ooh, the sneaky decoy finish mat would’ve gotten me too — that’s happened to me TWICE. Very cool about the drainage holes in your racers. Do you happen to know of any training shoes that have this feature? (I do a lot of running in the rain and would be interested in checking ‘em out).

    Congrats on the race! The Harriers sound like a blast!

    • I usually see this feature on racing flats, but take a look at the Zoot shoes. I believe they have at least one trainer that has drainage. Or, perhaps better (and certainly more economical), just take a hand drill to the sole on a pair that works for you now.

  11. I keep thinking that you need to race a flat course some day…see how the other half lives.

    • Actually, the 5K I did last year, and PR’d on, was along a flat course. But it was windy! And my best race ever, the one in which I felt I’d gotten to borrow someone else’s body for the day, was on a pancake flat course in New Jersey. I’m not always a glutton for punishment.

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