I was not particularly excited about today's race. First and foremost, the 5k is not my favorite race distance. I very rarely race the distance well. As soon as the horn sounds, it's pedal to the medal. No time to settle into a groove. Racing in the rain in the also didn't get me excited. It wasn't a torrential downpour, but just enough to annoy me. If it weren't raining, I would have warmed up with a run over the George Washington Bridge but I didn't want to be soaked before the race even started. Instead I got a ride with a friend. I got to the race about 30 minutes before the start. Just enough time to get my race bib from Joe and say hi to some familiar faces.
The horn went off and there was a mad dash of runners jockeying for position, elbows were flying, and runners were tripping after getting cut off. If that wasn't enough, there were potholes to deal with. I didn't want to spend the whole race looking down but I also didn't want to roll an ankle or trip and fall. Because it was so crowded and I moving along at a pretty fast clip, I didn't have a chance to take in the sights. I heard the bands but didn't see them, I knew there were several vacant synagogues along Ft. Washington, and I didn't have time to appreciate the view from Fort Tryon Park. I dealt with the hills the same way as I always do, increase my turnover, use my arms, and recover at the crest. I picked up the pace for the down hill finish and crossed the line in 22:08 (7:08 average pace), 13 seconds off my PR. I'm happy with the effort considering the rain, hills, crowds, and potholes.
Coogan's is one of the few New York Runners races not held in Central Park. Many of us on the New York Running Show mentioned that we would like to see more races outside of Central Park. After today's race I understand and appreciate why it's so difficult to do so.