Name of the race: PPTC Cherry Tree 10-Miler
Where: Prospect Park, Brooklyn, NY
Date: Feb 19, 2017
Time: 10:00 am
Distance: 10 Miles
Terrain: Rolling hills
Entry fee: $35 (15% off discount if PPTC member)
Post-race Food: Bagels, cream cheese, hot chocolate, and water (there might have been other food, like fruit, but I didn’t actually go to the food line and sent Ben instead)
Performance: Overall 277/711; Gender 78/344; Age (35-39) 18/61
Weather: 57 degrees, 44% humidity
What a difference a year makes! Last year Ben and I skipped this race altogether because it fell on the coldest weekend of 2016. This year, the weather was positively balmy in comparison! I actually worried slightly about overheating because I was used to the warmer temps.
Having a 10 am start was really nice because it meant a relaxed easy morning of getting up at my usual time, having some coffee, reading the paper and then getting dressed, instead the typical race morning of groaning at the too-early alarm and wondering why I subject myself to this insanity.
Ben chose not to run, so we were able to take Bandit out with us. She was happy to go out to the park with us until she saw all the runners and realized that there was a race going on. Then she went nuts because Bandit is very competitive. She trash talked/barked at the other runners (I do think she’s trash talking and telling them that she’s faster). When the race started and I left, I heard Bandit’s howls of protest that she was being left behind all the way up Zoo Hill.
A 10-mile race in Prospect Park means 3 loops and 3 loops means 3 times going up Zoo Hill, which is the big main hill in the park. Normally I wouldn’t be excited about running 10 miles in the park, but being that this was PPTC’s race, it meant that the race was filled with my peeps. Every mile, every step, I was surrounded by fellow PPTCers either running the race with me, volunteering, or standing and cheering. Every mile I had someone cheering for me, yelling my name, or even better, once I got, “Go, Bandit’s mom!” It was amazing and made the miles fly! Of course, I tried to return the favor whenever I could by acknowledging the support or offering my own cheer when I passed a teammate or was passed by a teammate.
The key to running Prospect Park well is knowing when the hills and gentle turns are. Despite what Runner’s World says about Prospect Park, it’s not a flat park (unless you come from a very hilly area like San Francisco or Vermont). As with any hilly course, even pacing is out the window and it’s about even effort. I was super pleased when I got my splits from NYC Runs that I ran each of the three loops with the same average split of 8:30.
One maddening thing that happened to me during the race was when a runner gave me (bad) unsolicited advice. As we were charging up Zoo Hill for the second time, she turned to me and said, “You shouldn’t breathe with an open mouth.” WHAT! Had she continued running, I might have said something snarky back at her, but she stopped to walk up the hill and I was still running. And who the hell ever races with a closed mouth!?!?! I don’t know anyone who gets enough oxygen breathing solely through the nose while racing.
There is no shame in walking up hills. I’ve done it myself many times. BUT YOU DO NOT EVER GIVE UNSOLICITED ADVICE!!!!!!!!! (Caveats: the person is about to seriously injure or kill themselves or someone else, so yelling, “Look out!” is perfectly fine.)
I was absolutely fuming and zoomed up Zoo Hill. I run best when I run angry (just hope I have no underlying heart condition). So, thanks, I guess, to the girl who had no business saying anything to me?
After the race, we had brunch with Jake (Ben’s old running buddy from Jersey City who now lives upstate) and his friends. I was hoping to run into Paddy at the race, but didn’t spot him. Another time, old friend!