4:30 or Bust: A Quest for Marathon Mediocrity

Coogan’s Salsa Blues and Shamrock 5k Race Report

with 3 comments

Ran one of my favorite races today, Coogan’s Salsa, Blues & Shamrocks 5k.  It is loads of fun, from getting to tour around and hang out at the amazing Armory on 168th, to the electric atmosphere out on the streets, to the many many kids running on the course.  The only downer on this race are the multiple hills to endure.  Every time I run this race, I forget a bit about how bad the hills are, and then surprise myself how well I perform on them.  This year was no exception!

Last year, I set a PR, finishing in 24:47.  In fact, I also set one on this course in 2007, 25:34.  The reality is that I don’t have many 5k opportunities, and so this being really the only non cross country 5k course I’ve run since 2001, I am able to PR it even though it is very challenging.

This race tends to be on the chilly side, but today was really nice, and warm in the sun, and seemingly no wind.  Perfect conditions for a PR.  I again perfectly executed the race day logistics.  First, was able to find a parking spot on 181, near where I was planning to go to brunch.  Then, made it to the Armory to get my number before it got insane.  Then, used the bathroom and checked my bag before they got insane as well.

Was lined up in my corral by 8:40.  I really hate to complain about anything about this day, but I do have to stop and complain about the corral setup.  First, at 8:40 AM, 20 minutes before race time, they were only just trying to put up the tape that separated one corral from another, while tons of runners were already milling around.  Second, The corral entrances were very confusing, especially at the 2000 and 3000, where I was.  Nobody seemed to know exactly where to go.  Third, there did not seem to be any volunteers at the corrals.  And finally, there was no effort at all to keep slow people out of the up front corrals, and many slow runners were up front, who I had to dodge and weave around in the first mile.

OK, that said, I loved the experience, even with the dodging and weaving necessary in mile 1.  I thought long and hard about my race strategy, even writing up some notes for Michelle as it was her first time on the course, and I even read my blog post from last year to help remind me how it goes, and get myself mentally into the flow.  I was putting everything possible into my own mental preparation to go for the PR.

I’ll just give you the high level blow-by-blow of the race.  For me, the interesting details are in the preparation, and not in the delivery.  That said, in terms of highlights, mile 1 was rough because of the weaving about, but held back a little and tried to stay consistent – 8:00.  In mile 2, the course opened up and I was able to focus on form and pace.  First a long downhill into Fort Tryon park, and then a long downhill uphill out.  Stayed within myself, but pushed the uphill – 7:57.  Mile 3 is where the rubber hits the road.  Uphill continues out of the park, then downhill, then a nasty 4 block uphill halfway through.  Last half mile is downhill, and I gave it all I got – 7:44.  Last .1 was .43, for a finishing time of 24:27, a new PR by 20 seconds!

Afterwards, had a nice brunch with Michelle, and Amy and her husband Dave.  They walked us over afterwards to an amazing overlook of the Hudson River, palisades area, and GW Bridge.  In fact, it is the spot where there was a giant landslide in 2005, almost 5 years ago, and apparently just finally now all fixed up.

Anyway, great race, and looking forward to running it again next year, and bringing my PR time down again!

Time – 24:26

Pace – 7:52

Overall – 1529 / 5629

Age Group – 221 / 502


Written by SCL

March 7, 2010 at 9:11 pm

Posted in Race Report

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3 Responses

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  1. Nice run getting the PR! Sweet with the pure negative splits!

    Run to the beat

    March 8, 2010 at 12:24 am

  2. Congrats on the PR. I’m bummed I couldn’t make it. It’s always nice to run a NYRR race outside of CP.


    March 8, 2010 at 8:50 am

  3. Congrats on your PR. This is one race I will be doing every year. You did great!!!


    March 8, 2010 at 10:50 am

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