Well it was bound to happen and I am surprised it didn’t sooner — it rained on my race day. It was low 40s and rainy as I headed to Roosevelt Island for the Girls Prep Ultimate Pi Day 5K. I considered not going, but since there is always a chance it could rain on marathon day, I decided it was better to get the experience in now than then. So I suited up for the weather with a trucker hat and rain shell and headed out the door.
This was also the first time that I have done race day pick-up for a NYCruns race so I got there pretty early to ensure I would get everything done in time–bib and swag pickup, pit stop, stripping layers, dropping bag, and a warm-up. I overshot by about 30 minutes and spent those huddled under a covered sidewalk trying to stay warm and dry. I managed to at least stay dry. About 10 minutes before the race, I headed out into the rain for an easy warm-up.
The race started promptly at 9:26:53. I haven’t been doing any speed or threshold work since last October before my injury and Winter base training so I knew I wasn’t going to PR. I really just wanted to see what I could do, where I am at, without the top end training. I felt good for the first mile (10:27), a little less good the second mile (10:31), and was hurting by the third mile (10:30). I’ve never felt strained to push my finishing kick, but I certainly did at the end of this race. I managed to pull out a 7:54 pace for the last .14 of the race, though, which I am super proud of given I was struggling so much. My Garmin clocked me at 32:50 for the race, but chip time said 33:30. More on that in a bit. Garmin distance said 3.17 (actual race distance was 3.14) which I am sure was from all of the Frogger I was playing along with some GPS drift.
After the race, I had some mid-back pain on my right side, but otherwise felt okay. I wandered over to the snack table and wasn’t surprised that I couldn’t eat anything on it. Headed over to grab my bag which had my own snacks in it then wandered back over to the covered sidewalk to change into dry clothes. Got stripped down to my bra and someone started yelling behind me for everyone to leave. I turned around it was some lady with a “Roosevelt Island Security” slicker on. She continued to yell and ridiculously harass all of the runners. I just kept changing clothes and eventually walked off when I finished. Stretched a bit on the platform then headed home. Coffee from my favorite shop on the way home has never tasted so good or so warm!
Thoughts on the race and road racing in general (Warning: Rant-y)
Okay, so back to the chip time and some more details about my feelings about the race. Back when I first started racing in 2011-2012, I loved NYCruns races. They were small, cheap, and there were plenty of back of the packers to keep me company. I didn’t care that there weren’t water stops or highly visible mile markers. I was slightly annoyed by the swag–mostly coffee cups (like I need more of those) or oversized shirts that I ended up not being able to wear. But as newbie runner, the races had everything I was looking for including not feeling like less-than because I was so slow and sometimes needed walk breaks.
Things are pretty much the same with NYCruns except now I have more race experience under my belt and I expect certain things for my money. Like, I had forgotten how freaking narrow the course is around Roosevelt Island. Aside from being relatively flat, it is kind of a horrible place to race. You run on roads part of the time, but a lot of the time you are running on a narrow walk path that circles the island. If you are running middle of pack, it is just way too cramped. Add to that water puddles and runners who act like a cartoon elephant that just saw a mouse, and you get some considerable frustration. My shoes are actually covered in mud because there were several times that I ran next to the sidewalk in the muddy grass because people kept stopping and getting jammed up. Another thing was the mile markers were the equivalent of a realty sign. So if you didn’t happen to be looking for them at the exact moment you were coming up on them or weren’t on the same side as they were placed, you missed them. It was cold and wet and having to pull my hand and wrist out of my jacket to check my mileage was annoying. And what is up with putting the only water/snacks for the entire race a gazillion feet from the finish?! I literally had to back track on the course and walk across a muddy lawn to get a drink. Add to all of this the fact that I now have yet another oversized tech tee that I will get little use of and the fact that their chip clocked me at 40 seconds longer than my Garmin did. There is absolutely no way my watch was 40 seconds off. I started it just before crossing the start line and a few seconds after crossing the finish (I was sprinting and slowed to a walk before hitting stop). There is no way I was off by almost a minute. The only explanation is that the start sensor caught my chip while I was waiting to start. All of this may seem like whining, but if I am going to pay to run a timed race with support and a souvenir I actually want those done properly. I mean, I could just run around Roosevelt Island in the rain my damn self with a water bottle and a shirt that actually fits and get an accurate time FOR FREE and without annoying people who for some reason feel the need to pass me within inches then run directly in front of me so close that I have to move because I may step on them. Anywho, long story short, I don’t think I will being doing any more NYCruns races and probably won’t be doing any other road races besides the two that I am already signed up for–Brooklyn Half Marathon and NYC Marathon. I just don’t see the benefit in them anymore. I’ll stick to enjoying the road by myself and in fun runs with friends. Definitely not upset about spending more time on the trails, either!