This morning I ran the NYCRuns Frozen Penguin 5K in Riverside Park in Manhattan. Luckily, it was not freezing, nor did I turn into a penguin. In fact, against my better judgment, I pushed hard in the final miles and turned it into a real race, finishing in about 31 minutes, which is the fastest I’ve run anything in a long time.
The last time I ran this race it was called the “NYCRUNS M-m-manhattan Hot Chocolate 5K & 10K,” (which is why I didn’t remember running it before) and it was on February 4th, 2012 (well before I started this blog, and before I got super slow). That time I ran it with a couple friends, who were pretty adamant about not doing the race again this year, despite it being much warmer and 4 years later. I’m hoping it was because the course it pretty hilly, and not because they didn’t want my company specifically.
Lining up at the start all by myself, I looked around and wondered why other people were running this race. It was kinda expensive if all you wanted was to run 3 miles in Riverside Park ($40 for early registration, $50 for normal, and $60 on race-day). So were they running for the swag? The bagels and peanut butter at the end? Because their friends roped them into it? I had signed up thinking maybe my girlfriends would join me, and that at the very least it would force me to run on this random Sunday morning. Ok, and yes, the promise of another medal for only running 3 miles was also pretty tempting.
I started out near the back of the pack of about 360 runners. This kept me honest in the beginning, as my plan was to run easy and steady for the entire 3 miles – but then I ditched that plan around mile 2 when I decided to see what I could do. The first mile is by far the hilliest, but since it is a looped course, for every up there is a down. The second mile sends you down along the Hudson River and around the tennis courts, and the final mile brings you back up to the middle of the park, around a playground, and into the finish.
It was definitely congested over the first mile because of the relatively narrow paths, and occasionally congested at other random spots, but overall it’s a nice race. I’d recommend this race to anyone who likes getting a shirt, medal, and lots of food for a short distance!
I picked up my bib about 15 minutes before the race started (fast and easy with a very short line), but the only shirts they had left were size small, so if you want to make sure to get your shirt size, I’d recommend doing early pick up (which was at Jackrabbit Union Square on the Friday afternoon before the race). Bag check was incredibly fast and you could check whatever bag you wanted (not just those clear bags many races these days supply). They also had plenty of porta potties and medics on hand.
What You Got
You got a chip timed course, with plenty of volunteers to guide your way at the turns. There was one water stop you passed twice on the course, and cups of water at the end. You also got a sleeveless tech top, a nice and very cute medal, and plenty of post-race food (red and yellow apples, strawberries, grapes, and piles of bagels with tubs of both cream cheese and peanut butter). There was a long line for the food, but it was quite a spread for a 5K!
Have you been enjoying the early spring weather these past couple weeks, or are you too busy binge-watching House of Cards? Are you still missing that extra hour of sleep despite changing your clocks Saturday afternoon? Share in the comments! (But no spoilers on House of Cards, I haven’t watched it yet!)