Where: Prospect Park, Brooklyn, NY
Date: March 8, 2015
Time: 10:00 am
Distance: 10 miles
Terrain: 3 loops of Prospect Park (mildly hilly)
Entry fee: $45
Post-race Food: Bagels with cream cheese, strawberries, apples, and hot chocolate
Performance:Overall 169/457; Gender 47/220; Age (35-39) 10/39
Weather: 41 degrees, 52% humidity, light winds (4 mph)
Officially this is the second race of the year, but I really think of it as the start to the 2015 spring racing season. MyASICS Half Marathon training plan had an 11-mile training run to be run at 8:03 pace (an excellent steady state pace) on store for me for Saturday. When I discovered at NYCRuns and the Prospect Park Track Club were hosting a 10-mile race on Sunday, I thought it was perfect. The training run was going to be challenging and I tend to do better in races than in training runs. Also I was excited to do my first Brooklyn race as a Brooklyn resident.
We live fairly close to the park, so I was able to leave the house a 1/2 hour before the start time, and still have enough time to register for the race, pin on my bib, throw my stuff at the bag check-in, and find a spot to stand seconds before the start gun went off.
The race was three loops around Prospect Park, which is a smaller park than its more famous sibling, Central Park. I’ve ran in Prospect Park before when I did the Brooklyn Half in 2012 and 2014. The first mile was downhill, so I went nice and fast without even trying. A sub-8 mile! It felt so easy. Confidence swelled in my bosom and I thought I was going to kill this race. Mile 2 was the start of the hill. Naturally I slowed a little, but with the fast first mile, my average pace was right on target. One thing that I’ve gotten from this race is that I’ve grown soft. Being from SF, I scoffed at runners who complained about Harlem and Cat Hills. As I ran the second mile, I thought the effin’ hill was never going to end. I climbed and climbed. Just when I thought it was over, I realize that it was a short reprieve in the form of a plateau and another effin’ climb was waiting for me. On my second lap, I measured how long that climb was – .9 mile. Close to a mile of hill climbing. The hills in Central Park are steeper, but they’re over much faster. The hill in Prospect Park is less steep, but the climb is longer. Despite running Brooklyn Half twice, I don’t remember the hill at all.
I remember it now. As I huff and puff up the neverending hill, the only thought in my head was, “Oh, gosh, this is my neighborhood park. This is my new running route. I’m going to run this for the rest of my life.”
Yeah, I whimper whenever I see any incline now. I’m soft. So soft.
The three loops are bearable. The first loop is fine, but the signs for Mile 4-9 mock you by saying not yet. The second loop is a bit repetitive, but it’s only the second time around, so it’s okay. The final loop, I’m tired of running around, but excited about seeing signs for Mile 7, 8, & 9 knowing that they’re for me.
We lucked out with weather. The race was originally supposed to be in February, but it got canceled due to inclement weather. The weather was nice and cool at 41 degrees. Cold, but very bearable and very much welcomed after so many sub-freezing days. I wore my long-sleeved SwirlGear shirt and thin long pants. My hands were cold and a bit numb for a few miles, but it was okay. I was happy to be out there representing Headsweats and Simple Hydration by wearing my Simple Hydration Headsweats visor. Of course, I ran with my Simple Hydration bottle tucked into a Spibelt running belt. I love my bottle so much whenever I bypass a water station. I can feel the time being saved.
As I rounded the corner to sprint to the finish line, Ben cheered for me. I saw the finish line and clock ticking away to 1:25. The only thing I could think was to beat the clock before it reached 1:25.
My chip final time was 1:24:25, which is far off my PR of 1:20:38 (8:13 pace). I don’t know how I feel about this race. It wasn’t a big race. In fact, I decided to enter this at the last minute. I wasn’t sure until a few days before that I would probably enter. The Cherry Tree 10-Miler was definitely more of a training run than a A-Goal race for me. If I PR’ed or came close to my PR, I would have been stoked and brimming with confidence for my big goal race, later this month in Philly. If I had come in under 1:22, I would have chalked up the slightly slower time to the fact that there were hills that I had to deal with and would have still been fine with the time. But a 1:24:25? I sincerely perplexed about how I should treat this.
Should I be thinking: A) I’m fine and the slower time is because of hills and running outside for the first time in a long while; B) MyASICS Training Plan with its lack of speed work isn’t working for me and I’m slowing down; C) I had a slightly bad day and one bad run isn’t going to kill me; D) I haven’t been training as religiously as MyASICS has been telling me and this is what happens when you do that.
So yeah, I was puzzled after the race and one day later, I’m still puzzled.
As always, NYCRuns puts on a nice event. It’s a low key bare bones type of race, but the post-race food is always so good. The BEST bagels that I’ve ever had after a race with REAL cream cheese, plus they gave us FRESH strawberries (very impressive for this time of year). The cups of hot chocolate were much appreciated after the race when the sweat rapidly starts cooling you off.