Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Race Report: Mmmmanhattan Hot Chocolate 10k

When I last left off with the lunch blogging, I was juuust about to be caught up with my race reports. Due to a very fortunate (for my running, not so much for my blogging) turn of events, I fell behind again. So now I'm a few weeks behind on the race reports. Fortunately, though, I haven't run any races since then so I'm still only just as behind as I was before.

But that's all neither here nor there. This race report is about the NYCRUNS Mmmmanhattan Hot Chocolate 10k. As you may recall, I ran another race similar in nature to this one. There was hot chocolate and it was a 10k. The difference, though, is that this race took place in my home borough of Manhattan. You would think that since this race was significantly closer and in Manhattan versus Brooklyn, I would have gotten to the start in good time, right? Wrong. So, so wrong. Thus, lateness was the theme not only for this race, but for my entire weekend of racing (let's be serious, it's my theme for everything).

This was actually the less egregious of my two late starts. The race was set to begin at 10 and I think I left my apartment at 9:30ish. I'd like to give background to this situation by explaining that there are a number of ways to get to Riverside Park from my apartment. I should also note that, while this race was in Manhattan, it wasn't terribly close to me. Riverside Park is sandwiched between the West Side Highway on the west and city on the right. It stretches from 72nd street to about 125, but the race was taking place around 108. You know what would be a great way to convey this? A delightful mspaint creation:

I still had a long way to go. I had a few options, though: 1. Subway route involving the B and walking, 2. Subway route involving walking and the 1, and 3. a cab. I had just enough time to not need a cab, so I decided on subway option 2. I think I arrived at the 110th street station at around 9:59am. Naturally, I sprinted the one block over and two blocks down to the race start. Between that and getting directions from a bystander, I got to the start about four minutes into the race. Fortunately for me, the mats were still down so I crossed them and started, you guessed it, dead last.

Despite that, however, I gained ground on the back of the pack pretty quickly. I think I caught up to the first person about a quarter of a mile in, right after this really steep hill toward the back of Riverside Park. From that point on I only passed people, which is an interesting race perspective. I know the course well, as I did a series of NYCRUNS races last summer. It consists of two 5k loops around Riverside and is surprisingly scenic and hilly. The hills come at the beginning of the loop and, while they seemed much less daunting this time around, they were relentless during my first race there.

The scenic part comes about halfway through the loop, when runners follow a path down to a boardwalk that stretches down the Hudson River. The view is lovely and this section is an out-and-back, so runners get to enjoy it for a decent stretch of the loop.

I ran at a nice clip and passed a bunch of people, which was exciting. Unfortunately, I realized later that the start mats must have been switched off by the time I crossed because my gun time is the same as my chip time in the online results. Ah, well. Maybe some day I'll learn not to be late (stay tuned for another story about that bad habit). After the race, there was delicious hot chocolate. Props to NYCRUNS for another race well organized!

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