Name of the race: Queens Centers for Progress 10K
Where: Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, Queens, NY
Date: June 14, 2015
Time: 9:00 am
Distance: 10K (a little short)
Terrain: Flat asphalt, except for two small bridges, twice around the lake
Entry fee: $30 race fee until race day. $35 on race day ($10 off with code QDRUNNER10)
Swag: Swag bag
Post-race Food: Donuts from Dunkin Donuts, coffee, water, and Gatorade
Performance: Overall: 29/67; Gender: 3/23; No AG
Weather: 75 degrees, 57% humidity
I finally got to do a race put on by Queens Distance Runners. This is a young running club (only about 2 years old) founded by Kevin Montalvo. Unfortunately when QDR was created, I had moved away from Queens (boo) to Hoboken. Now that I’m back in New York City, Queens is much closer to me. The timing and the distance for the race was just perfect. I wanted to do a longish run of 6 miles at a faster pace. In the heat, I knew I would stick to a 9+ min pace if I ran by myself. I needed a race to push myself to run faster.
Between Google maps and the map schematic that Kevin sent, I figured out where the start/finish line was. By the time I parked my car and walked over the start area, it was 20 mins before race start. Bib pick up was a snap and there was even a real restroom to use. Minutes before the 9 am start, I was ready to go.
The course was fairly simple. We go down a straight pathway, over a bridge, circle lake twice, and then go back over the bridge, and back up the pathway. There was a single water station at the junction right after we crossed the bridge and started going around the lake. We passed by this water station three times on the course.
I wanted to use this race to push myself, so I ran hard. I ran the first mile too hard, but I didn’t mind. It was the first time in many months that I ran a sub 8:00 min mile. It was a hot and humid day, so the heat took its toll on me and my speed. Much of the course has no shade. As the bright sun rays beat down on me, I slogged away. Impressively a mom with a running strolling ran right past me (and into 3rd place for women). I was really glad that I had my Simple Hydration bottle with me. I find racing far more comfortable when I can drink whenever I want to, especially on a hot day, rather than relying on water stations.
For the first lap, I had plenty of company. I could see runners in front of me and there were runners around me. By the time I was doing the second lap around the lake, I lost sight of the front runners, and there was no one around me. I don’t need the company of other runners in a race, but there were a couple spots along the course where I wasn’t a 100% sure of where to go and I would have appreciated having runners to follow. When I finished the second lap, I was ready for the home stretch.
I ran into Kevin on his bike. He rode a short distance with me to tell me where I needed to go for the finish line. I ran around the gigantic Unisphere, an iconic symbol of Queens. Finally I saw the blue finish line. Although I knew with each step that I was getting closer, for a long time it felt as if the finish line was moving away from me and I wasn’t getting any closer. And then at last, I was done. My time of 52:16 is nowhere near my PR and honestly about the same was what I was capable of doing a couple years ago, but I’m still happy with the result. I’m slowly seeing signs of progress. I ran a sub-8:00 min mile, which I was not able to do a few weeks ago. I ran positive splits somewhat intentionally because I just wanted to push myself as hard as I could for as long as I could. At this point in my training, it’s more important to me to push myself to go faster, than to care about my overall race time.
Dunkin Donuts were available for us, but I didn’t feel like eating in the heat and I had plans to go out to brunch at one of my favorite restaurants in Astoria with a friend later.
I was really impressed with the prizes that QDR gives away. There was a raffle giveaway for two Polar watches. The top three male and female winners received Polar watches and gift certificates to Best Buy and a great Mexican restaurant in Queens. For a small race, they have serious quality prizes.
The race was well run. We started on time. Except for a couple places where it took a bit of time to figure out where to go exactly, the course was well marked. They ran out of water toward the end, but they quickly got someone to rush out and buy more water so no one was left thirsty. Kevin is truly a nice guy who cares about putting on quality races in Queens to show everyone what a great borough Queens is. Plus he’s one fast runner! The fact that he’s a runner shows because he puts on races that runners like.
I’m really looking forward to going to my next QDR race, Mexico 5-Miler, in a couple of weeks. Kevin promised that there will be tacos or tamales at the finish line. Who’s in with me?