Sunday, March 6, 2011

Coogan's 5K Recap

I never know what to expect the first weekend in March each year, the weather changes drastically from year to year and so does my fitness depending upon where I am in a training cycle. This year called for light rain, temps around 50 degrees and "in a lull" fitness-wise. I was okay with all of those things, though I could have done without the rain. You won't hear me complaining though, I've nearly frozen my toes off many years in a row at Coogan's so I'd take this cool drizzle ANY DAY.
I have no real reasons for why I didn't race today in my favorite race of the year, I could have told you 6 weeks ago that I wouldn't be racing, I just am not at a "race ready" point in training. That is OKAY too because I have a really big year ahead and I cannot get started this early and expect to last until October 2nd (see here my plans for that day). All that aside, here's how today went:
I love Coogan's for one reason: I can roll out of bed and trot down to the start on foot in less than 10 minutes. This morning I had company for the first time, EG spent the night at my apt (we're practically a B&B) and we trotted down together to pick up our race goodies. I knew that Coogan's was going to be a BIG race this year because it is the first race of the NYRR club points series, but I think I was in denial about how crowded it would be. In '06 when I started doing this race there were ~2700 people in the race but this year there were 5370. Wow, big change. I know if I'd wanted to race today I would have been fine by moving to the front of the red corral, but instead I just ducked in somewhere nearish to the start and hoped for the best. It was crowded but I was ready for that and had no intentions of weaving my way through the crowds so I settled into a comfortable pace and trotted along, waving to my husband and good friend SF along the way. I avoided big puddles as well as I could and stayed steady up the first round of hills. This was my turf, I know these hills like the back of my hand. The course runs by my apartment twice so it is fair to say I would have had "home field advantage" had I chosen to race.

Mile 1 flashed on my watch at 8:46 and I gently chided myself for slacking off as much as I was (My PR is at a sub-7 pace in the 5K) and I decided it might be fun to do a little progression run today. I entered the park and got distracted looking for Joe, Julie, Robert and anyone else I knew. I spotted my friend Kevin S-S from VCTC who looked really strong, as usual and I finally spotted Joe as well, shouting out some encouragement to them both. I scanned the crowd for Julie, but couldn't see her and gave up as the crowd of returning runners got thicker. I thought I saw a friend up ahead and picked up my pace to catch him, but as I pulled up next to him I realized that it was a doppelganger. Oh well, I figured I might as well keep up the quicker pace and I started to look for other friends as we finished the loop around the Cloisters. I spotted LW and her crew as well as a few other familiar faces, but I missed most of the people I was looking for. I continued my progression run as I hit 8:01 for mile 2. Perfect, nice and easy. I waved again to SF and hubby along Fort Washington as we headed back down to the finish and hubby snapped a few quick photos of me smiling and waving. I brought it home with a 7:46 final mile and would have kept on running right to baggage if it weren't for the crowds. I ran into a few friends that I went to grad school with at Columbia as well as Inwood Runner JS who was getting ready to cheer on his daughter in the 4-yr old race. In the end, it turned out to be a rather social day. Oh and I ran a 25:15 or so and while that's nowhere near a PR for me, it felt great and I had fun!

After the race EG and I ran back to my apartment (yep, back up the hills) which helped us stay warm and we went out for a nice little brunch with the Inwood Hill crew. What a great day in the Heights. The heavy rain held off until later the day when I was home, curled up on the couch with a few cats and my Kindle.

Be sure to catch the NY Running Show tonight live at 8pm where we'll definitely be chatting about Coogan's and other NYC running tidbits.

Cats make great handwarmers after a wet,cool race. They're thrilled about it too..


  1. Sounds like you had fun. I'm glad you were able to enjoy your favorite race without actually racing it. Sometimes those fun runs are the best.

  2. Cool blog, Amy! Dude, 25 min is still pretty frickin fast for "not" racing :). This is the first comment I have ever written on a blog. Probably because you are the first blogger I have ever met...yes, some people are that old. I found you on the IHR webpage. I can't seem to leave comments on that page, so it's not as fun as your page...don't tell Tamara :). I like that your handwarmers have eyes! Also, happy belated b-day!