Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Running Festival of Lights: Oy Vey, What a Windy 10K!

Short Version:

Race Time: 57:11
Overall Place: 85/243
Gender Place: 46/174
Division Place: 27/100

Long Version

I hadn't seriously raced a road 10K since the NYRR Mini 10K almost a year and a half ago, where I had achieved my still current PR of 50:45 in Central Park. One of my goals this year was to achieve a sub-50 minute 10K, and I figured that capitalizing off of my marathon fitness would be the best bet. 

So when I heard that NYCRuns was holding a new Chanukkah themed set of races on one of the flattest courses I have ever seen a few weeks after the marathon, I thought that this would be my chance. This was the first Chanukkah themed race that I had ever heard of, and it was a very refreshing option among the several Jingle Bell jogs held in the area every year. 

The course is an out and back by the water-front in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, and although I have never run it myself, almost everyone I knew who had done it had gotten their best time there. It seemed like all of the stars were aligned to make my sub-50 dreams a reality. 

The course map. I felt very nostalgic running by the
Verrazano as I remembered my marathon experience.
However, I didn't fully understand how long it would take to recover from racing my first marathon. Although I had started running again, it took weeks until I felt like I was running normally. I doubted that I was in race shape at this point, but I decided to play it by ear and see how I felt that day.

The final decision was ultimately taken out of my hands by Mother Nature. According to my Garmin, it was 25 degrees out, but felt like 13. The winds were extremely brutal, especially right by the water. Although I spent an hour and fifteen minutes travelling to get to the race, I didn't truly start questioning my sanity until I took of my winter coat. Although my long sleeved Patagonia running shirt was the warmest I had, it wasn't enough, so I took out the extra fleece sweater I had and put it in. Even then, waiting for the race to start was still a miserable experience. 

The tech shirt actually fit well considering -
it was slightly loose for a small but not significantly.
I ran into my friend, Rebecca, at the start, but shortly before the start, she encouraged me to move up towards the front a little bit. As the race started promptly on time, I unzipped my sweater as I crossed the start line so that my bib could be registered, then started running and promptly zipped it back up. 

The first half of the race wasn't too bad. Although it was freezing and windy, the wind was at my back for most of the time, so it gave me a boost. According to my Garmin, my first three miles were 9:13, 8:46, and 8:38. At some point, I saw the winners pass by, heading in the opposite direction. I wasn't paying attention to my watch since it was underneath my jacket, but I probably would have kept speeding up if we didn't have to turn around and run in the other direction.

I am not really napping or standing still -
even if that is what it looks like... 
The moment I turned around to head back, I realized that the second half was going to be much harder. Despite my efforts, I felt like I was hardly moving, and I didn't even want to think about what my pace must have been by this point. I didn't bother stopping for water, but I felt badly for the volunteers who had to pour each cup individually as a runner came by - otherwise, they would have blown away. I kept myself entertained by focusing on landmarks and boats in the distance and having the determination to reach each one. 

The only indication of what mile I was on was the faint ping of my watch as I passed what would have been each mile marker. Any attempts by NYCRuns to put mile markers on the course would have been futile as they would have blown away in seconds. After hearing the faint "ping" for the fifth time, I put in all of my efforts to have a strong final 1.2 miles.

Over the last couple of miles, the water blew over the path, and I was splashed a few times, but eventually, I saw the finish, unzipped my jacket once more, and smiled at the photographers as I approached the finish. Immediately, one of the volunteers hopping up and down in a valiant attempt to stay warm handed me a pretty medal. It took me a while to be able to stop my Garmin


After the race, I went to check with NYCRuns to see whether they needed any help with the half marathon. Since they didn't, I warmed up by drinking some hot chocolate and having something to eat. I also got to hang out with Leiba, who was dreading the idea of taking off her jacket while waiting for the half-marathon to start. NYCRuns has had much better hot chocolate in the past, but it was so cold out that I drank it anyway. After a while, I finally braved the windy weather once again and headed back towards the subway station. 

Although I really don't see the point of receiving
a medal for doing a 10K, I'm hardly going to refuse
one when it's given!
NYCRuns did an amazing job putting the race together, and it took a team of insane dedicated volunteers to ensure that things ran as smoothly as possible. Obviously conditions weren't ideal, and a couple of the porta-potties almost blew away, but all things considered, I had a great time, even if I spent most of the race regretting not signing up for the 5K instead.  My splits and course elevation are below. I hope that I get the chance to return to this course on a nicer day and conquer my sub-50 goal once and for all! 

Yep, it's pretty obvious which half was run
facing the winds...


  1. Ouch! I was racing in Central Park on Sunday (to finish my 9+1) and the conditions were far from fun, I can only imagine how much worse you had it down by the water. Let me know when your next attempt will be-- I think we're both more or less sub-50 shape, we just need to make it happen!

    1. Definitely! I will see when this location is offered next year. Hopefully we can drag each other .... I mean pace each other to a sub-50!

  2. Great job, Dahlia! I know you are disappointed but I predict huge PRs come Spring. You'll see.

  3. Oh my goodness, I did the half marathon. It was brutal. NYCRuns does another running festival in the spring at that same location. Weather-wise, it's much better.