There is something special about racing in Harlem, which I don’t get to do very often, unfortunately. I really need to get out of Central Park a bit. All summer (the last few summers) I swore I would over the East River for one of the Wednesday Prospect Park Summer Series 5K, or any Brooklyn race. Or to Roosevelt Island. Or to visit my friends in Hoboken for one of their fun races. I just never do. There’s never enough time. And anytime I look up and I am signed up for some race every weekend 6 months out. It happens.
So when I end up signing up for something that is NOT in Central Park (yes, apparently there is life outside of Central Park), I really look forward to the new courses, experiences, sights and sounds. I used to look at course maps, I used to prep. These days, I just show up. I am barely even tapered!
Race starts at 8:30 am around 136th st, about 2.5 miles from my apartment so I just run there. Perfect warm up! Got there a bit on the late side this time and the party was bopping. There were many things happening. Local officials (including Mayor Di Blasio) speaking, there was kids races, there was a lot to look at. Soon enough I was in the B corral with Patricia ready to take off.
The course is basically a loop around two parks a few very Harlemy streets, and there’s three climbs, one minor, two “interesting” ones.
But… the last mile is SO FAST!!! Last year, my mile 3 was 6:20, and my first mile was 7:08. That is huge. You can’t not run this race well. There is no way anyone can positive split this race… ever.
The first climb starts around 143 or 144, I can’t remember, in the first half mile, there is a left turn, a right turn, and you’re STILL climbing. It also gets a bit narrow here and you HAVE TO watch for potholes and speed bumps. I actually had someone fall a few yards ahead of me. This year, someone was RUNNING BACKWARDS in the first 2-3 blocks of the race and stepped on my foot. SO WEIRD. also, WTF?!?!?! who does that? We were all yelling at him. I just guessed he lost his sunglasses or bib or something and your first instinct is to go back, but HEY… NO! I was just lucky I saw the fellow coming while bumping into everyone and managed to move, but he still stepped on me. This is why it’s important to always stay engaged in the race and keep your music down if you have to have it. It was awful.
I composed myself as I knew the climb was about to start. Patricia peeled off and I was on my own. Up, up, up. Mile 1 was 7:15. Already slower than last year but we knew that! The second mile is quite enjoyable. There’s some people cheering, there was a guy cheering AND smoking (UGH, WTF again) and it’s mostly a straight line in a wide street, hey, so easy. I knew to hold it in, at least until after the climb, 146 to 143 is all up, and then… starts the fun part. Mile 2 was 6:56, slower than last year, yeah, but a good effort! At about 1.83 we were done with the climbing and all of a sudden we are ROLLING DOWN a hill. Let’s see if your hamstrings like THIS! It was craziness. And if you had saved enough, you could really go. Then you make a left, another left, go past a few of the best cheering stations EVER and… around 138 you finish, all flat and fast. Mile 3 was 6:27.
And, I have no pictures… Juan was on the bike. 😉
Finish time: 21:58 Average Pace: 7:05
Previous PR: 21:09 From: 2012?
Overall Place: 798 of 4819
Gender Place: 130 of 2344
Age Place: 10 of 248
Wow that was crappy!! 1 second slower than the Central Park 5K I did a month ago and this was waaaay better weather and a faster course! WTF! and about a minute slower than last year, same course, though yeah, the weather this year was amazing, 63 amazing degrees. But, I sorta am marathon training, which is draining my legs. I did feel it on the downhill. I usually have a lot of kick at the end, mostly if it’s down, and I was flat… I will be peaking soon. Let’s see what happens then!