Earlier this year, NYRR announced their first race in New Jersey, likely in answer to NYC Runs taking over the Newport Half. I was on the fence about doing this race as it was slated for the same day as the Great Saunter, one of my favorite days. Eventually, common sense about not walking ~20+ miles (I’ve never finished) on a healing Achilles won out and I signed up for this Star Wars meets Cinco de Mayo race.
Bib pick up was still in NY at the RunCenter, if it wasn’t I probably wouldn’t have done the race. I am all about convenience. With a 5P start, getting to NJ wasn’t going to be too hard. I left plenty of time because I wasn’t exactly sure how the PATH was running, nor how to get from Newport or Hoboken PATHs to the start.
I hate having to check a bag, but you know what I hate more? Transportation without reading materials! So in my gear bag:
- sneakers (more on that later)
- two issues of Runner’s World
- my Aftershokz case which also contains: iPod, Garmin and in this case, battery pack and cable for my phone/iPod.
- snack bar
I won’t lie, that was a little heavy and I wish NYRR had the backpack clear bags like 9/11 uses for their race. I arrived at a little after 3 and made my way to Newport Green Park via a scenic tour of Hoboken by 3:30. My first takeaway was that it was mighty muggy. Official race temperature per NYRR was 62 degrees, 84% humidity. Luckily there was a bit of a breeze.
Actually the last time I was in Hoboken the line was way longer because it was peak Cake Boss popularity.
While the women’s room doors are nowhere near as pretty, it was so nice to have an option that wasn’t a porta potty, although there were plenty of those.
There was, alas, not enough water for as warm as the day ended up being.
The best thing about an afternoon race? You (OK, I) am awake enough to appreciate the pre-race festival. Usually with morning races it’s all I can do to stumble to the start. And heaven help the silly pep rally, turn and high five your neighbor stuff. Illegal before coffee!
I had arranged to meet a friend and after we checked our bags, we puttered around and he was the photographer for the unicorn antics. Actually, he dared me. That took no selling on his end as I regularly let the inner ham out. It’s actually my Facebook profile at the moment, because we all need a little silly. The original plan was to jog a warmup on the river, but with it being so warm & muggy, I opted not to.
The start line was about 10m walk from Newport Green and we meandered that way with about 30m to start only to realize the corrals weren’t quite open as the course was on a main drag. Oops. When they opened, it was a fairly quick process only to turn into a bit of hurry up and wait as they awaited clearance on the roadway. Downside of running on roads vs. in the parks. I am not the biggest fan of Bruce Springsteen, but something about Born to Run on the speakers in the corrals was awesome. I won’t lie though, I was even more jazzed when it turned into Miley Cyrus’ Party in the USA, which is one of my favorite running songs.
Within about ten minutes, we were off. The course (PDF) was an out and back “L” that was so flat my Garmin registered three feet of elevation total. I think that might have been a slight underestimate. The only particularly challenging part was crossing the old streetcar lines, which were covered but still not flat.
The last half mile was torture and if it hadn’t been a race, I’d have walked. I was overheating and having trouble finding the next gear, although Strava claims (and RunKeeper agrees) that I dropped below 10m for the last 1.2.My watch was having a moment with some of the tall buildings, so I’m not sure whether I believe that. I thought I saw the finish line and realized the clock was mile three (my watch was off by that point due to the turns) and that last tenth felt like a mile.
Did I go out too quick? I don’t think so. I just haven’t raced a 5K ever and well, I think I know what my 5K pace is — and it isn’t the one I run as a matter of course except occasionally with the office run group. Fueling for afternoon races is hard too. I like flat courses!
On the PR question:
- According to NYRR, 32:49 for 10:34. According to my Garmin, 3.19 and 32:54/10:18. I know I hit it a smidgen early and holy crap, six turns I am the worst with tangents. Bizarrely, Runkeeper doesn’t even see it as a 5K to be in the top, but:
- It’s a 3+ minute NYRR 5K PR because the other one was a run/walk on a hot, sweaty night.
- My actual 5K race times (i.e. not ones like 9/11 where it isn’t timed) are: 33:22 for the second frozen penguin and 40+ for the first and both Damon Runyons.
- My 5K run PR was last July, 32:11/10:18 with a side of wonky GPS.
So it’s a race PR that tied my run PR? Considering my planned speed work went mostly out the window due to the Achilles, I’m calling this a personal BEST
The finish festival was in the same place as the start and they had beer and food trucks. I was too hot for either, but was oh so glad to have these Dr. Scholls’ sandals to change into. It wasn’t quite FitFlop weather, but these were perfect for my sore/overheated feet. Never had that for a short race, but they were a nice treat. I spent just a few minutes at the finish festival before heading back toward the PATH along the riverfront path.
- I’d do this race again if it’s afternoon/evening. Hassle of getting to NJ, even though I now know my way to the start, is likely not worth it for an 8a start. This isn’t a NY/NJ rivalry thing, it’s the same reason I’m not doing the Queens 10K again. I’ll travel for a Half, not so much for shorter.
- Although I wasn’t hungry enough to take part, I loved the finish festival food. PSA to those who normally just use Road ID, you need actual ID to claim your free beer at race’s end.
- I’d love to run the riverfront pathway sometime. I need to look into it to see the start, end and how far it goes, but I think it would be a fun one to explore. I’d have to put the phone away or I’d be taking all the photos.
- A fun day, and one I’d recommend to Manhattan/NJ folks. Is it worth coming over from Brooklyn, Queens? I’m not sure. Maybe if you drive.