Posts Tagged ‘manhattan


Race Report: 2011 NYRR Coogan’s Salsa, Blues, and Shamrocks 5K

What’s this? A New York Road Runners race that isn’t in a park? Surely it must be something like a half marathon, right? Wait, it’s a 5k? The Road Runners almost never do 5Ks. Where is it? Fort Washington? Where the heck is that? Wait, Manhattan goes up that far? Wow.

Thus was my thought process for Coogan’s. It’s been a long time since I ran a timed 5k race. I also realized it’s been a long time since I ran a race this big. I had no idea what to expect. Even the weather forecast wasn’t cooperating. Would it be warm or cold? What about rain? Ughh. Too many decisions. In the end I made the decision to do shorts and long sleeve tech shirt. Wasn’t a bad choice, but it was so warm I could have easily done with a short sleeve shirt.

I arrived at The New Balance Armory to pick up my number around 8am after leaving at 7am. This was a pleasant change from the Al Gordon 4M last week when I had to catch the 5:11am train. It hadn’t started to rain yet, but you could tell it would soon. You could also tell the race was going to be big. Much bigger than I expected. I told myself this because I had been half demoted to a yellow bib instead of my normal red. People were lounging all over the place inside of the armory and on the streets outside killing time before the race which helped restore some of my confidence.

Keeping me humble: I'm not used to this many heads in front of me.

While doing some quick runs for a warmup it started to rain. Not really hard, but certainly enough to be annoying. I think this might have led them to start the race a few minutes early. The course was a pretty simple route along Fort Washington Ave: up a medium hill, down a small hill, up a small hill, down a big hill, around The Cloisters, up the big hill, down a small hill, up a small hill, down a medium hill. This wasn’t a course that was built for speed. The road surface also had potholes. Did I also mention there were more than 5300 people on the course along a two lane road? Elbowtastic.

It took me about 50 seconds to cross the starting line. Slower than last week in Prospect Park. The first mile felt slow. I think it was somewhere around 8:40 when I hit the marker, for a 7:50mile. It was cramped and people were making due. I got bumped a few times, but nothing big. It’s expected in large races. As we approached the split the lead runners came around. I looked at them and half thought “They don’t look so fast”, then I thought some more and realized, yes, they’re very fast. The loop around the Cloisters was beautiful as usual, then back to the chaos of runners in both directions.

I hit mile 2 and estimated my time at about 7:30/mile. I wasn’t really going for super speed. Just to have a good time, but man, these hills were dragging on me. The last mile was kinda a blur. I remember thinking it smelled under the GW, but that’s about it. I crossed the line and knew that I was under 24:00 for total. Final time: 23:00 even. Much better than expected.

Official Results: 23:00. Not too bad. Officially 1:58 off my 5k PR. Unofficially, I hadn't run a time 5k in a few years.

My RunKeeper results turned out to be pretty accurate this time. I don’t doubt that I ran an extra 0.1 miles during the race. Lots of weaving in and out of people and taking some curves very wide to avoid folks running 2-3 abreast. No biggie. I managed to pull off negative splits (ignore the 1st mile, there’s a GPS jitter there that had me leaping around), which made me feel good. In short, everything was much better than expected.

Whee! Look at those Hills and that magically steady pace I ran. Okay, I lied, I slowed down some on the uphill.

After the race I headed down to Chinatown to meet some friends for vegetarian dim sum at Buddha Bodai. It’s nice when you go to a vegetarian place and don’t realize the food it vegetarian. However, the real highlight was checking out the Nutropolitan Museum of Art after. If there’s one thing that fuels runners like nothing else, it’s peanut butter. Interesting Peanut Butter art, make your own sandwiches, plus freebies. Oh yeah, and an awesome photo of me with a monkey.

What's there to explain? It's me in an apron and chef's hat hugging a monkey who is trying to sell me peanut butter. It's not that complicated.


2010 New York Road Runners Manhattan Half Marathon

When I laid out my 2010 running goals I said that I wanted to run in two different half marathons this year and have at least one of those half marathons with a sub 1:50:00 time.  At the time I made the post, I was unaware of the New York Road Runners Manhattan Half Marathon — two and a half gruelling laps up and down the hills of Central Park at the end of January.  Naturally, I registered for the race.

It was brisk this morning, but not cold.  The air was about 35 degrees, cold enough that most people were wearing tights, gloves, and hats.  I warmed up by running to the starting line around West 62nd St at about a 10 minute/mile pace.  As usual, the NYRR staff were on the ball on made it incredibly easy to get started with the race.  I found my corral, which was a bit further back than normal due to the larger number of runners in this race, about 5500.

Although my training runs have been floating around 8:10/mi for runs around 7 miles, I felt like I wanted to take this run a bit easier.  I knew I couldn’t overrun and spend the rest of the day in bed.  Also, Central Park is tough, there’s a nasty hill on the northwest side of the park that I dreaded climbing twice.  I set my goal to finish under 2 hours.  The 1:50:00 goal would wait for another race that wasn’t so bad.

I got into my corral, turned on RunKeeper, and prepared myself for a leisurely couple of laps around the park.  My first mile was slow, about 9 minutes, largely because of the large number of runners in the park.  After that point I was able to pick up the pace some.  Familiarity with the park definitely helped out.  I’ve run enough around Central Park that I know every turn and hill in the park.

As I continued I kept up a good pace and RunKeeper dutifully chatted in my ear once every five minutes to let me know my approximate time, distance, and pace.  10:02, 9:25, 8:50, 8:40, 8:35, 8:30.  I was now at considerably under my 2:00:00 overall pace and feeling great.  I decided to try and stick with that pace.  But I was feeling great.  My pace hovered around 8:30, but then began to drop some more.  Even on tough miles, like mile 10 which faced the dreaded hill, I continued to do well.  In the end I crossed the finish line at 1:48:26, an 8:16 min/mi.

Split Times for Manhattan Half Marathon

RunKeeper Estimated Splits for the Manhattan Half Marathon. The Big Hill was Mile 4 and Mile 10.

The race was great.  A completely unexpected find, and even more unexpected that I would do so well.  Two weeks ago I had my first race with a sub 8 minute overall pace, and today I ran an unexpected half marathon and finished faster than I thought I could.  Interesting things await for the NYC Half Marathon in March.  It’s a considerably easier course with considerably more people.  Should I push down to 1:45?  I think I should.

Pace, Elevation, and Distance for the Manhattan Half Marathon

Pace, Elevation, and Distance for the Manhattan Half Marathon

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Marathon Times

2011 NYC Marathon3:57:45
2011 Hartford Marathon3:58:17
2011 Chicago Marathon4:20:16
2011 Grandma's Marathon4:07:43
2010 Big Sur International Marathon4:22:49
2009 NYC Marathon4:37:05
2009 Twin Cities Marathon4:43:28
2009 Pittsburgh Marathon4:14:38
2008 Erie Marathon5:11:40

Upcoming Races

  • Nov 6 - New York City Marathon, New York, NY
For previous races, check out my Race Log