Coogan’s Salsa, Blues, and Shamrocks Run 5K

March 2, 2008

Coogan’s Salsa, Blues and Shamrocks Run 5K/3.1M (Q)
Washington Heights, New York, NY
Sunday, March 2, 2008

Official time
22:06 (7:08 pace)

Mile marker: lap/split *
Mile 1: 7:30/7:30
Mile 2: 7:17/14:47
Mile 3: 6:45/21:32
Finish: 0:37/22:09

It was a bit chilly for a run, so before I left home I took a lap around my block to make sure I wasn’t over- or under-dressed, taped my foot, bought a croissant and apple, drank a little Gatorade, and headed uptown.

I arrived at the starting area around 8:30am, 30 minutes before the race start. I wasn’t sure how you warm up for a 5K, so I walked around a bit. All I really wanted was a tissue (I settled for my sleeves). By my quick survey there were far fewer people than I had become accustomed to seeing at Central Park races (confirmed by the NYRR race summary). I lined up at the 8:00 minute/mile marker, but in the antsy minutes leading up to the race the runners compressed forward.

Just as in previous races, the first mile was a maze of runners. I think some people line up how they dream of running, not what they’re actually capable of; it’s an interesting strategy that I should consider in the future. A few weeks ago NYRR announced that starting corrals will be preassigned based on previous times at races beginning April 20, 2008. It’s one thing when you pass someone running a minute or so behind pace, but when you’re passing walkers in the first mile, something’s not right.

Washington Heights is an ever-gentrifying neighborhood near the northern tip of Manhattan. The route followed narrow Fort Washington Avenue heading north toward The Cloisters (a branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art) and then looped back around the other side of the street. In this area the buildings are all about 6 floors high and the common architecture blends streets together. There are very few storefronts along Fort Washington Avenue, just one residential building after another.

A nice bonus to this race were the bands playing music along the route. It wasn’t booming spin class music, but I can appreciate an Irish jig. How ingrained are my city skills — it took me a few blocks before I stopped paying attention to red stoplights!

It was relatively flat course with small rolling hills at first but then the route plunged toward the halfway mark. The run back up the hill went better than I expected and mentally made the rest of the course that much easier.

Just as with previous races, I couldn’t help wondering whether I gave it my all. I have no doubt I am capable of a better time than what I ran today, with or without the slow start.

* This race was debut of my new Timex Ironman watch, which I used to time my split times listed at top. The chronograph is the only function I’ve had an opportunity to test.

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3 Responses to “Coogan’s Salsa, Blues, and Shamrocks Run 5K”

  1. MarathonAl said

    Wow, you call that race relatively flat with small rolling hills? I do Central and Prospect Parks all the time, and I found this much more hilly and a much tougher course.

    I found your blog, actually, while trying to look up the elevation. I start at the back of the pack, as I am a walker, but I was also amazed in this one where people lined up. I was passing people left and right in the beginning. I think a lot of them must not have made it because I didn’t notice a lot of people still coming once I rounded the bend at the halfway mark. I am usually towards the back and not passing anyone.

    What race are you training for?

  2. Michael said

    Hi there. Thanks for the comment.

    Right now I’m training to run 26.2 miles — still shopping around for my first marathon this fall!

    Perhaps “relatively” flat is a poor description; I was probably more concerned about getting picked off by a side view mirror than the terrain.

    I imagine that there were quite a few newbies who were attracted to this first 5K of the year. Maybe the purpose of the pace markers wasn’t obvious? Certainly part of the problem was my own — I could have justifiably lined up closer to the front as well.

  3. […] set a new PR time today which I fully expected since my only previous 5K was the far more hilly Coogan’s Run in March. Diana Run was really the essence of a community race. There were inside jokes, […]

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