Name of the race: Coney Island 5K
Where: Coney Island, Brooklyn, NY
Date: June 26, 2016
Time: 9:30 am
Distance: 3.1 miles
Terrain: Out-and-back, boardwalk
Entry fee: $25 + fees, $30 on race day
Swag: Tech singlet and finishers medal
Post-race Food: Water, Gatorade, nectarines, oranges, bananas, and plums
Performance: [race results aren’t posted up so I’ll update this later]
Weather: 77 degrees, 47% humidity
We signed up for this race a few weeks ago because I saw the ad promised on-course entertainment and it was on the Coney Island boardwalk. As much as Ben and I love Prospect Park, we’re a little tired of racing in it, so an opportunity to race in Brooklyn away from the park was welcomed. Plus, I never had entertainment along a course for a 5K before.
It was a beautiful sunny day with low humidity. This is unseasonably mild for New York in late June. We drove down to Coney Island and street parking was easy. We took Bandit with us because after the race we had to go out to Long Island for a house party. The bib pick-up took 2 seconds. We had plenty of time to go use the restroom. We still had time to kill so we strolled on the beach to introduce Bandit to the beach and the ocean. Bandit’s verdict: sand = fun, waves/water = no fun. Then we walked back to the start line to wait for the race to start.
The race was a super low-key with no chip timing. There were about 150 participants, I think. Because of the lack of chip timing, there were a ton of people pressed up front and chaos once the horn blared. For a small race, I never experienced such race rudeness. As soon as the horn went off, someone who was behind me grabbed my upper arm in order to shove me aside. I immediately jerked my arm away and elbowed that person in retaliation without thinking. If anyone grabs me like that, be prepared to be attacked by me. I’m not above defending myself. Recently Sarah of Running on Healthy wrote about basic race etiquette and number 3 was don’t push. Other than that moment of unpleasantness, the rest of the race was great.
Running on the boardwalk was neat. There were people strolling, but on an early Sunday morning it was not crowded. Plenty of space to dodge pedestrians. The Brooklyn Half Marathon ends at Coney Island, so the last 100 meters you run on the boardwalk. Because the boardwalk portion is so short in the BK Half, I never noticed before that running on the boardwalk isn’t easy. There’s a lot of give in the wood, so you don’t get a good push off with each step. Plus there were some loose boards that we had to be careful of. Regardless, it was fun to run next to the ocean.
As promised there was entertainment along the course. At about Mile 1.25, there were musicians and Flamenco dancers. Because it was an out-and-back course, I saw them twice. I saw Ben and Bandit running happily (well, Bandit was running happily, Ben looked like he was dying) just before I reached the turnaround point. There were also music and singers at the finish area for post-race entertainment.
I haven’t had very good races at 5Ks lately. My only goal for this race was to run it as hard as I was capable of running. The first mile was at 7:26. The pace felt very good. I didn’t feel like I was running too hard for a 5K. This time last year, I would have freaked out at seeing a 7:30’ish pace and I would have feared that I was going to implode soon. This year, the pace feels manageable. It doesn’t scare me to run this fast.
The second mile I slowed to 7:52. I would have liked to have kept it to 7:30’ish pace, but it wasn’t in the books for me yesterday. After Mile 2, mild cramps starting building up. I breathed deeply and focused on running as fast as I could. I was tempted to slow down even more, but I breathed and told myself that this was good training for learning to run with pain. The cramps were annoying but not painful. I told myself, “Just a few more minutes of this pain. You can do it.” The last mile I completed it in 8:05. For the last .11, I pushed myself and ran it in 7:20 pace. My total time was 24:21.
I was thrilled. This was the first good 5K I’ve had in a long time. It’s far from my PR, but the time is faster than what I ran for a 5K this time last year.
Ben had a decent race, but his Achilles tendon has been sore the last couple of weeks. After the race, the tendon got painfully sore and he hobbled to the ocean to soak his feet for a while. It’s pretty clear that Ben needs to lay off running until his Achilles gets better.
Bandit was our usual super pup. Everyone was amazed that she ran the 5K. It’s not a problem for her to run a 5K at all and she can run a lot faster than we can. We’re actually holding her back.
The awards for this race are amazing. The first overall men and women winners get a HUGE trophy (it comes up almost to your waist) and the first place age group winners get smaller, but solid trophies. Unfortunately there were no prizes for anyone other than those who came in first. Ben and I both came in second in our age group, so we came away with nothing, but our finishers medals and fun, which is fine with us.
We munched on fresh fruit (the nectarines were sweet and juicy) while waiting for the award ceremony. A PPTC member came in as the overall first place winner for the women and we wanted to stay to cheer for her.
Coney Island 5K was fun race and we’d love to do this again next year. Minus the shoving.