A Pair of Second Places

First race of the year!

Name of the race: Team SSC 5K

Where: Marine Park, Brooklyn, NY

Time: 9:45 am (official); 10:15 am (actual)

Distance: 5K (official); 3.3 miles (actual)

Entry fee: $26 before March 3rd, $36 after (plus mandatory $10 donation)

Swag: Cotton t-shirt, drawstring bag, 2 pairs of Puma technical socks, plastic water bottle (and four lip glosses for women only)

Performance: 26:52 (2nd place overall)

Prize: $50 gift certificate for Cafe Renaissance

Weather: 39 degrees, a little chilly

I was looking for a 5K to do in early March to prepare for racing season. I found this inaugural 5K from Team SSC (Shehebar Sephardic Center). It was in Marine Park in Brooklyn, which wasn’t far away from us and the course was flat. Therefore, we decided to enter this race.

We were a little annoyed by the mandatory donation. We know the race is a fundraiser, but if the donation is mandatory, then it’s no longer a donation and it begs the question  why they didn’t just include the “donation” as a part of the race entry fee. Also the mandatory donation wasn’t disclosed up front. After we finished registering and we were on our way to paying, that’s when you found out about it.

Marine Park was very easy to go to. There was lots of parking inside the park and the start/finish line for the race was right by the parking lot. The bathroom was rather far away, but we had plenty of time.

The schedule that they sent us was that 8 am was check in, the kids fun run started at 9 am, and the 5K race started at 9:45 am. We doubted that they would start on time because inaugural races rarely go smoothly. We were prepared that they would start late. We arrived at 9:15 and we had plenty of time to use the facilities and warm up.


The race was old school with their timing chip. It was the first time that I had ever raced with a timing chip wrapped around my ankle. It was quite retro.

The organization was disorganized, which could be expected since this was the first time they were running this event. They were running behind schedule. First they told us that we had to run three laps around the athletic field. Then they told us that we had to run four laps because each lap was .8 miles. Ben pointed out that four laps would result in a long race because it would be longer than 3.1 miles. The guy said that the start line would be moved up a little. The race was supposed to start at 9:45, but we actually started at 10:15. There was a slight chill in the air, so I was glad to be wearing my running jacket while standing around and waiting. The guy said that we were going to go on “one,” and then all of the a sudden without any warning, he said, “One!” So we all took off and then we hear him say, “Oh, no, wait.” I and the other runners around me slowed down uncertain if we should go back, but we hear him continuing, “No, go run. Yes, start!” The forerunners had ignored his hesitations and were still going, so we chased after them.

Ben warned me (again) not to start too fast. This time I actually listened, but I think it was more of an artifact that I was so cold that I couldn’t run fast to begin with. I knew I was running too easy, but I was with the front group of runners (except for the super speedy people). I wasn’t worried because I knew I was in a good position.

There were about five other girls/women in front of me. Most of them were young girls and I knew they would start out too fast, so I wasn’t concerned about them. Within a quarter mile, I passed those female runners except for two. I was about 20 seconds behind them. Then by about the half mile mark, I passed one of the former female front runners so there was only one in front. I noticed that the lone female front runner was running a good pace for me (just about 8:00 min), so I decided to use her to pace me. I realized at around 1.5 miles that I wouldn’t be able to beat her because she was running easily, while I was working hard. I was grateful to have her in front of me because it was much easier using her to pace, rather than worrying about it myself. Running four loops was a bit boring, but at least I knew exactly how much I had left to run.

My final time was 26:52, which makes it seem as if I ran really slowly. The race was actually long. Ben’s Garmin (and another runner’s) came in at 3.3 and my Runtastastic said 3.4. I don’t run the tangents as well as Ben, so the distance was probably 3.3. Ben calculated what my actual 5K time would have been (25:20 ish), which seems about right. Originally I wanted to do a sub-25 and set a new PR, but it didn’t happen. I’m still happy with my effort. I know I could have ran faster and harder,  but it was a good effort on a cold day that I put in.

Ben and I both came in 2nd overall. Ben was 2nd overall outright and I was 2nd overall for women. Not 2nd for my age group, but second overall. I was really excited at winning an overall award. The fun of being in a small race is winning awards. This would never happen at a larger NYRR race.

We anxiously hung around waiting for the results to come in. There was some confusion because some racers’ sex was miscategorized and the same day registered racers didn’t have their ages in, so that had to be manually entered. Based on our past race fiasco experience with Walk for Wishes, we kept a sharp eye on the results. We told the woman, Connie, who came in first that she needed to look out as well. Ben and I saw that the original race results had me in third and Connie in second. When we told her, Connie was really confused because no woman was ahead of her. We all protested and the race official went through to see how many laps the supposed winner did. The race official found that she had only done three, so she got disqualified, and Connie and I moved up a spot.

They tried to announce the age group awards first, but Ben let them know that the overall winners were announced before the age group. They didn’t have enough awards, so they only gave awards out to the racers who came in first and second.

I won a $50 gift certificate to Cafe Renaissance in BK and Ben won four tickets to Cyclone, a roller coaster in Coney Island. We’re quite pleased with our awards. After the race, we went to Buttermilk Channel in Carroll Gardens for brunch.


Cheddar waffles at Buttermilk Channel

Buttermilk Channel is one of my favorite places for brunch. I ordered homemade sausage and cheddar waffles. They were delicious.


Astoria Bier and Cheese

In the afternoon we hung out at Astoria Bier and Cheese for guess what, well-deserved beer and cheese. We ordered a large cheese platter with five different cheeses. I really enjoyed my passion fruit wheat beer, which was light and summery. Ben doesn’t normally eat cheese, but even he enjoyed the cheese platter. We got a table right by the window, so we got to people watch while enjoying our treat.

It was a great Sunday.

2 thoughts on “A Pair of Second Places

  1. That’s so cool! What a way to start the season and sounds like you have to make a date of Coney Island. I’ve never been there but I’m guessing you’ll have to have a Nathan’s dog and go on the Coaster (probaby eat the dog after!) Way to rock it! 🙂

    • Thanks. Yup, we’ll be going to Coney Island. Too bad I won’t be participating in the BK Half because the finish line is at Coney Island. I did it last year and I loved it, but my little sister is graduating this year, so I’ll be at her graduation.

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