Name of the race: Tracktown Summer Series 5K
Where: Randall’s Island, Manhattan, NY
Date: July 6, 2017
Time: 6:30 pm
Distance: 3.1 miles
Terrain: Variable terrain (wood chip, grass, cinder, asphalt, track)
Entry fee: $30 + fee (a promo code was available, which knocked down the fee to $22 altogether)
Post-race Food: I think there was food. Not entirely sure. Water for sure.
Swag: Cotton t-shirt
Performance: Overall: 352/624; Gender: 115/288; Age (35-39): 13/unknown number
Weather: 79 degrees, 39% humidity
TrackTown Summer Series are a series of road 5Ks for the community and track events the elites occurring in San Francisco, Portland, and New York. The community does the road race first and then stays to cheer on the elites for their events. It’s a nice way of getting crowds to see professional track events that attract little attention in the US out of the Olympic years.
Ben and I heard about this event months ago, but we both decided to not do this race. Then I kept hearing different PPTC teammates entering and FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) bit me hard, so I jumped in and signed up. I was really glad to have done this race because it was a great bonding experience with my teammates.
All day it was overcast, so I was relieved that for a July race, we were going to have decent weather. Of course, right before the race starts, the sun burst through the clouds so we have bright sunlight shining upon us. You have no idea how much I hate sunny days when I’m running. I want it grey and gloomy.
The course was basically an out-and-back. We started on the famous blue track of Icahn stadium. It was super crowded and no one seeded themselves properly, nor did the race officials try to make us. At the last minute, I left my friends to go find a spot where I didn’t see as many slower runners in front of me.
The start was incredibly congested, but no worse than a typical NYRR start. After a half mile, people were spread out enough that I got to run unimpeded. I found myself behind a guy whom I recognized from Open Run. I pretty much tailed him the entire time.
Because the day was warm and humid (despite the weather report stating it was less humid than July 4th, it felt way more humid) I wanted to run tempo miles between 7:45-8:00 pace. Secretly I was hoping to do closer to 7:45. The first mile was completed in 8:02, which is not bad considering the congestion and the amazing wood chip path up a hill that we encountered shortly after leaving the stadium. Thankfully we didn’t have to run it again on the back to the stadium.
The second mile I went out too hard (7:34). I felt good and it didn’t feel too hard to me, but I felt like I paid for it in the third mile (7:55). I struggled to keep the pace under 8:00. The last half mile of the race, I got a tiny stomach cramp (I only had 5 hours to digest my lunch and I need 6) but I ignored it the best I could.
As we approached the final .1 mile in the stadium, I resigned myself to finishing behind the guy from Open Run. I had been chasing him for almost 3 miles and every time I thought I was about to catch him, he sped away. Just as that thought seeped into my mind, I heard loud and power cheers, “Go, Elle!” from my teammates who had chosen to spectate up in the stands. That was the motivation I needed. I gritted my teeth, told myself to suck up the pain, and then sprinted as hard as I could down to the finish line. I blasted past the Open Run guy. I really needed those cheers from my team because I wouldn’t have gutted it out like that without them.
I caught up to my teammates who finished ahead of me. We chatted about our races for a few minutes and then I went off with one of the team captains to go back to the stands. I’m used to races having post-race massages available, which I think is always a nice perk, but the wait times are way too long for me usually. The captain and I skipped the massage line. We were about to exit the finish area altogether, when I spotted three empty chairs for the Normatec Recovery Boots. We were going to be the first ones to try those boots. I told the captain that we had to stop and do this. He looked dubious at my suggestion, but my look of determination steered him onto a chair.
I had heard about recovery boots that provide far stronger compression for faster recovery. Everyone who used them raved about them, so I was pleased that I got to try them.
They were blissful! I think I had about five minutes with them and during that time I felt the air filling up the boots and squeezing my feet and legs. Normatec has different settings so you can change how much compression you want and what type (bottom up, all at once, etc). I was sad when my time was over because I could have sat there all day. As we got out, we both remarked how fresh our legs felt. I kept telling people that my legs felt like they hadn’t raced at all and I was ready to go out and run again, which NEVER happens after a hard 5K. I’m totally in love with those boots, but they cost about $1500 for the system. Ben won’t let me spend money like that. People, I would like to put it out here for the record that Ben does not support my dreams to become an Olympian.* How can I train harder if I can’t get the tools I need for recovery?
Afterward I sat with my friends to watch the elites do their track events. It was super cool to see these incredible athletes performing at such high levels.
*I’m being facetious. If I had an actual talent and even a remote capability of becoming one, he would be my number one supporter, but being that I’m “genetically challenged” in athletics he is always the voice of reality.