Name of the race: Prospect Park Track Club Cherry Tree 10-Miler
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.
Doing races in training is so awesome. In NYC there are enough races to make this realistic which is one of the few great positives for running / training in New York.
Yes, not to mention races are of various lengths so you can almost always find a race that’ll fit in with your training.
Great job in your race! I think your time is still good, but you probably just had a bad day. That’s cool that you live close by and have many great places to run!
Thanks! I love racing so I travel quite a bit for them, so it’s nice when once in a while I can take my time and roll out of bed straight to the starting line.
Hey!! Great job!! Sounds like a fabulous race!! You should be proud of yourself!! I’m sure you’ll PR your next one!! XOXO
You’re so sweet and so positive. Thanks for your belief in me, girl.
Great job with your race! I think racing in the middle of marathon training is hard because you’re never really rested like you would be for a goal race. You did great – don’t let that doubt creep in!
Yes, it’s about not letting the normal fluctuations of training derail you mentally. I ran hard and I can feel it in my legs. That’s what matters.
Nice job! I have learned to enjoy hills in training, but haaaate them in races. It really does mess with you. Way to push through it!
I always pick races with a net downhill as my big PR races. I like small rolling hills in races – those are fun.
Still a great race! It’s tough to make that transition back to outside after a very cold winter and with those hills I think you did awesomely. 🙂 Get a few more runs outside under your belt and your pace will be right back where it was for your PR!
Now that the weather is warmer, I’ll be more incline to run outside. I’m really a fair weather runner.
Yeah, I’d have to go with A and C there. Running outside after a long time of not is definitely going to change things up and then throw hills in there? Yep, that’ll do it. You’re going to be fine and you got this “bad” run out of the way so that the BIG day will have zero snags! 🙂
I hope so! I have an 11-mile run for an 8:03 pace scheduled for this weekend, so I’m curious to see how I’ll do.
I’d chalk it up to A and C, with a heavy emphasis on A. Running outside is so different and Prospect Park is no joke! Those hills kill me every time I run it. It’s a huge difference from the flats of Hoboken and Jersey City. Just wait til you train there a bit more, your legs and lungs will get so much better on hills. Still a great run! I’d call anything w/in 5 mins of your PR at that distance a win!
Thanks. Haven’t been running or blogging much lately. Busy with work and the house. I keep reminding myself that this will all be worth it . . . one day.