Race Recap: 2021 Women’s Mini

By | June 15, 2021

or as it was actually called this year, the Mastercard Mini 10K.


2021: my ham game is rusty, but the outfit was right

As I mentioned, this is the fourth time I’ve run this race-making it my most-run race along with Frozen Penguin, with Gridiron and Ted Corbitt at three apiece, I think. If you told me this would have become my most-run, I’m not sure I’d have believed you since a) I don’t like summer running and b) I have a love-hate relationship with this race. But 2020 happened and is anything like we would have predicted? Probably not.


Linking up with Coach Debbie Runs, Confessions of a Mother Runner, Mile by Mile, Runs with Pugs , and Laura Norris Running for the #RunnersRoundup to share my thoughts on my personal “Return to Racing”

the true highlight

Before I even get into the recap, it was a treat to see Barbara (also in the 2017 finish above). She is at every NYRR finish, including the virtual marathon last November. There was no high five, but we were able to selfie and I blew her a kiss as I crossed the finish. That was more exciting than the race, because it was a little bit of normal. Spoiler: she’s 90 and is a 30+ year volunteer. If she can, we all can.

I don’t know how helpful this is going to be for future runners since NYRR procedures, like all COVID-related guidelines, are changing by the minute. Overall, NYRR’s “Return to Racing” seems to have gone well given the continued races in the series. The Mini was the largest, with Pride and Achilles’ field sizes to grow further.

you are not an extra large. New Balance, women’s cut doesn’t mean “mini”

At race registration, you also make an appointment for bib pickup. I paired this with a planned museum visit on Friday. Originally we were meant to get our start times via email, but then they switched to issuing them at bib pickup. Because mine was so late in the week, I also received it via email. It was a 10:20 start -penultimate wave-which is what I expected so slower runners (not a knock, I’m a proud turtle!) didn’t impede faster ones.

While I think white shirts are silly because they never stay white, my major issue was the sizing. I usually don’t care for the summer races since they’re tanks that I give away, but this was a tee and I looked forward to running in it — and then I picked it up. I try not to care about the sizes as much as the fit, but there is no reason to wear a men’s small in race shirts, women’s medium in regular tops and a women’s XL in a race shirt. / Rant.

Shakeout Sunday Stroll

ended up wearing the race shirt Sunday for a walk and talk with a friend. It’s comfy and well fitting so I probably will keep it even though the sizing is bonkers.  Grandma was a seamstress and she always told us to try clothes on since if they ran out of a size tag they’d put whichever they had — so I’m just going to pretend it was a misprint.

I did like how the color palette flowed from the bib to the shirt (and later, the medal).

Flat Cari

Somehow I even found a pink mask, although I was glad the mask wasn’t required for the actual race because while it was cool, it was humid. I figured the purple socks were allowed since the heels/toes are pink-ish.

running together is the best

I have no idea what an Instagram filter means in this case, and I don’t use Snap Chat, but this sign made me smile. It was so wonderful to be running with 249 other people in my start. Like most other races, NYRR has gone to an even more staggered start: 250 people starting every 20 minutes. We lined up four across and it felt like recess in the best possible way and every five seconds we heard “and go” as the race announcer sent four of us off.

I actually don’t have any course photos because I had my phone in my belt and wanted to just run. I did miss my favorite weird site: hay bales on Harlem Hill, but I saw them which is all that matters. I wasn’t really looking at my watch other than to see how it aligned with the mile markers since it was my Apple Watch’s first race. It was dead on through 5K and then off by a smidgen from then on, but mostly because I was wiggling some. Overall I was 6.27, so not bad at all.

I didn’t have a race plan other than to have fun. I figured I’d have the first race Zoomies and that when they met Harlem Hill they’d even out. Nope. I was pleasantly surprised to see 11xx on the first mile. If you’re new here since February 2020 and we’re not Strava friends–I’m a proud turtle. I was dead on shocked to see an 11:03 for mile two, which included Harlem Hill. Who am I? Hi, Zoomies and a side of strength training since Harlem Hill didn’t feel as hellacious as I expected.

negative splits-ish

I also know I was getting a little competitive, which is not usual. If they’re running, then I am too. And I kept getting irrationally irritated when a woman who would stop for selfies then passed me. So I found my next gear. The cool temperatures and overcast skies made all that doable as this would not happen in a normal Mini. I was pleasantly surprised that I kept it in the 11s over the Three Sisters which I haven’t run in months and then I turned it on because I could smell the finish. Mile 5 was 11:12, mile 6 was 10:40 and the finish was 9:51. I think that’s likely a little off, but still, thrilled.

um, where the hell did that come from?

I did not train for this race. I talked about it when I signed up, but then life and my hammy happened, so I had zero expectations. Somehow it was good for my second best NYRR 10K. I somehow can’t find my time for the 2019 Frozen Penguin, so possible this is my second best 10K race. I don’t think I realized the Mini was my 10K PR. If you asked me, I’d have guessed Grete, maybe?

what does Runkeeper have to say?

I can’t figure out how to see it on Strava, but on Runkeeper, the first two are treadmill runs, the 3rd is the 2018 Mini, 4th is Grete (hi, weaving) and fifth was the 2021 Mini.

Pride is a 6K, which will be an automatic PR and after that I don’t have anything on the calendar until fall, but will be interesting to see where my next 10K lands, whenever that is. The hammy was good on the hills and my right knee was only a little twingy. I’ll take it on both counts. Although I ran to the start, I walked home because 7.5 was just fine and the swag bag was heavy: ice packs, Gatorade, Biofreeze patches, water and pretzels.


obligatory medal photo

I generally don’t see the point of a medal on a 10K, and love races like Cherry Blossom where they unbundle medals and shirts, but with such a long hiatus from racing it was nice to have this tangible proof of racing being back. I actually didn’t realize until I looked that the medal doesn’t refer to women at all. Interesting given the race’s history.

Curious what this race, and racing in general, looks like in 2022.

28 thoughts on “Race Recap: 2021 Women’s Mini

  1. Darlene S Cardillo

    I loved reading this recap.

    I don’t train either for most of my races. Sometimes I surprise myself. I think consistency in ST or running is better than a training plan IMO.

    I’ve run in CP numerous with Lebow and Grete as my favorites so I know exactly what you are referring to. I think I’ve even met Barbara.

    I understand your shirt rant. I was gifted a new shirt form the recent 5 miler because a large barely fit me.

    Again congrats on a great run. Hope read more recaps.

    If I ever travel to NYC for work and get hotel pts, you’ll see me at a nyc race.

    1. cari Post author

      You’ve most definitely met Barbara. She was at the Lebow you ran and probably Grete too. Short of one really hot summer one (Pride, I think, or maybe Queens) she’s at them all.
      Can’t wait for you to be racing here. Is there one the August weekend?

  2. Deborah Brooks

    Congrats on your race! I do love a 10k distance. Just enough to make you feel like it was worth the race logistics to get there. I am loving seeing everyone get back to racing again. Hope to see you at the end of the summer in NYC

    1. cari Post author

      Thank you! And too funny re: race logistics. I never thought I’d say it, but I was talking to a friend about how 5Ks aren’t necessarily worth getting out of bed for if they’re not special.
      Looking forward to your visit!

  3. Catrina

    Wow, Cari, that’s fantastic!
    Without training for the race, you were only 22 seconds slower than in your PR year 2018? You crushed it!

    I love reading race recaps. It gives me the feeling of being there with you.

    And Barbara is 90 years old?! She looks amazing – I want to be her when I’m 90.

    1. cari Post author

      Thank you! I think the biggest difference maker was I’m running more consistently, which I’m determined to keep up even when we go back to “normal” work schedule. 10K wasn’t a push the way it might have been.
      And yes, me too. Love seeing everyone’s races

  4. Jenny

    Yay! Congratulations! What a great way to get back to racing. And I love the medal! Although I would replace the Matercard logo with something about women… but that’s life.

    1. cari Post author

      me too. I feel like both could have been done, but maybe just not in the short time that it was approved

  5. Liz Dexter

    Great recap and it is nice to have a medal to commemorate the come-back. You did so well – all that strength stuff etc is paying off. Hooray!

  6. Rachel

    Congrats! It’s funny you say that about having a medal. I don’t normally like medals all that much either, but you’re totally right — it’s nice to have a piece of normal back.

    Sounds like a great experience!

    1. cari Post author

      Yep. I’ve given away many of my medals. My niece and nephew get way more enjoyment than I do, and small space — but thins one I’ll hang on to along with the NYC borough Halfs, NYC Half and of course the marathon

  7. Lisa @ Mile by Mile

    Congrats on your return to racing! It must have been so fun to be back out there. Glad you got a medal for your first race back. Race shirts can be so frustrating. I hope you get to do another race soon!

    1. cari Post author

      I hope you do too! It’s just so much silyl fun

  8. Coco

    Sizing of all women’s clothing is unpredictable, but race shirts seem to be the worst. I’m sure I’ve had to order L when I usually wear a S. So, you like it when bling is coordinate but you don’t like to dress coordinated yourself? 😉

    Glad you were able to run this race!

    1. cari Post author

      Hah, busted re: matching. Let’s just say I think it’s an interesting phenomenon when they’re that coordinated.

  9. Kimberly Hatting

    Very well done, Cari!! Do you think it’s possible you did so well (pacing, etc.) because you weren’t “trying” to? For myself, I tend to do better (in terms of overall “racing” when I’m not OCD’ing on my performance LOL). The medal is cute (love the ribbon), and it’s a nice touch when the bib and shirt also coordinate together.

    1. cari Post author

      I think that is very much the case. I went in with zero expectations: seriously my ABC goals were have fun/more fun. Couple that with some zoomies and it was the recipe for a good race. Not being in pain was also a good help factor

  10. Shathiso

    Wow! I loved reading this Cari! I’ve missed racing so much so every time someone posts a race-recap I get so excited knowing normal is around the corner! We get medals here for everything, even the 5Ks, and I love it! Can’t wait to start building my rack again 🙂

    1. cari Post author

      isn’t it amazing? I signed up for this because Kim, Darlene and I think Jenn or Wendy had races and I wanted to have a recap too. Funny how race organizers handle them all differently

  11. Debbie @ Deb Runs

    I’m so happy to be reading race recaps again! Congrats on your race and I’m not surprised that race directors are giving out medals for shorter races after we’ve been deprived of races for almost a year.

    I love the race shirt and I’m always happy to see a white one since they’re so few and far between.

    1. cari Post author

      We don’t have many white ones here either. I think Achilles was one before going beige. Gridiron was for sure as I sacrificed that when I attended a Holi celebration. The only one other than this that I still had was Italy but that’s a laundry back up.

  12. Michelle D.

    Great recap! Congrats on your return to racing!

    Cute medal and given that long lapse in racing, nice to see them handing them out for a 10K. How bizarre on the shirt sizing, but I will say it’s nice to see a white shirt for a change.

    And, seriously Barbara cannot be 90! Wow!

    1. cari Post author

      Thank you! She is definitely who I want to be when I grow up in terms of NYRR. Such amazing legacy of giving back.

  13. Debbie

    It’s so great to be back to racing! I agree about race shirts. Why are they always sized so small? Annoying.

    1. cari Post author

      So weird that they’re a universal problem that manufacturers haven’t figured out how to address

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  15. Laura

    It’s great to be back racing! Race shirt sizes seem so arbitrary. Some are so small, others are large. Congrats on a great race!


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