Name of the race: Kings Park 15K
Where: Kings Park, NY
Date: March 11, 2017
Time: 9:00 am
Distance: 9.3 miles
Entry fee: $25 + processing fee
Swag: Excellent quality hooded sweatshirt and free race photos
Post-race Food: Smithtown bagels, Italian cookies, brownies, coffee cake, donuts, cupcakes, bananas, hot coffee, soda, and water
Performance: Overall 245/454; Gender 95/281; Age (35-39) 19/30
Weather: 19 degrees, 45% humidity, winds 15 mph
I signed up for this race because I knew if I didn’t have a race, I wasn’t going to do a long run. I could have run a half instead, but the half was on a course that I still haven’t been able to recover from (the race from hell). I chose this race for a few different reasons. It was a cheaper than the half that would have been my other choice. I had to do a long run. This race would force me to do some more hill training. And I could just focus on running without freaking out about pace because of the hills.
I’ve been focusing more on speed work than on tempo runs and long runs. As a consequence, I’ve gotten speedier at the 5K distance, but I’ve slowed a bit in the longer distances. I’m not concerned about this in the long run because a few weeks of long tempo runs would get me back up to speed at those distances. I knew if I did a flat race, I would irrationally be worried about running at a slower pace than what I did last fall, so I deliberately chose a hilly race.
I knew I had to dress warmly, so I wore my warmest long-sleeved tech shirt from InknBurn. I wore a fleece headband that I got from the Little Cow Harbor 4-Miler last week. It worked perfectly in keeping my ears and head warm, while not too warm, and keeping sweat away from my eyes. I also wore my favorite cheap throwaway gloves that I’ve never thrown away. The running tights had bright blue flowery print on the sides. Underneath I had on neon pink compression socks. When I asked Ben how I looked right before I left, he paused before answering, “You look colorful.”
When the wind wasn’t blowing, the weather was fine, but the sharp gusts of wind cut right through you. As extra insurance, I decided to run with my running jacket tied around my waist. I never needed the jacket, but I was still glad to have it. Better safe than sorry!
The race is hilly. Pretty much the entire time, you’re either running uphill or downhill. The two big hills in this race are found in Mile 3 and 6. My favorite section of the race is Mile 5, where there’s a tiny uphill and then a long, long, long gentle decline. I felt amazing as I ran down that section. I remember running down and thinking, “Life is wonderful.”
Normally for runs under 10 miles, I don’t take any calories during the run either in the form of Gatorade or gels. For whatever reason, I thought it wouldn’t hurt if I tucked in a Huma gel (cafe mocha flavor) in the FlipBelt. This turned out to be a very good decision because I got very hungry at Mile 6. I think running in the cold burned extra calories because this doesn’t normally happen to me.
Mile 7 was the worst section because it was 1) uphill, 2) covered in snow, and 3) very windy.
When I saw the Mile 9 marker, I decided to sprint to the finish line. Because I had been running comfortably for 9 miles, I had a lot left in the tank. I passed a handful of people, including an elderly gentleman who gently slapped my shoulder and said sweetly, “I hope you’re proud of yourself for passing a 68-year old man,” when he saw me in the gym afterward. I laughed. I hadn’t really noticed him because I was intent on passing a certain lady. We had been leapfrogging each other all throughout the race and I was determined to beat her to the finish line. (I did).
Things I loved about this race
The start and finish of the race took place at an elementary school, which meant that we had indoor bathrooms. The restrooms were pretty funny because they were scaled down for little children. I felt like a giant in there.
This race had a TON of food. I took home a lot of goodies.
They advertised a high quality hooded sweatshirt and they truly delivered. It’s really warm and wonderful. Unfortunately they ran out of the small size, so I got a medium. I hope I can shrink it quite a bit when I wash it with hot water and dry it in high heat.
Free race photos!
If you’re fast, they have lots of money prizes that you could possibly win. If you’re lucky, they have a ton of raffle prizes.
Cheap race entry fee – I don’t feel guilty about using a race for a training run.
Areas for Improvement
They should order more small sweatshirts and fewer large sweatshirts.
Have bags for the food. I had much difficulty carrying all of my food.
If you like hilly winter races, this is a good one to do. It’s a well-run race with lots of post-race goodies to eat.