Wednesday, September 12, 2012

A Bronx Weekend: Part II, or My Bronx 10 Mile Race Report

As much as love the Bronx, it's not every weekend I visit NYC's northern-most borough twice. This past weekend, however, I had good reason to return to the Boogie Down after Friday night's festivities*--the Bronx 10 Miler. I had decided several weeks ago (right after the Percy Sutton 5k) that I wouldn't be "racing"** this one, but I was still pretty excited for it. After all, it's not every day you get to turn the Grand Concourse (the "Park Avenue of the Bronx") into your own speedway.

Sunday morning turned out to be perfect. The humidity that nearly killed me during last week's workouts was gone and the temps were down in the 60s. I mapped an easy 3.5 mile warm-up run from my place to the start, a route that took me through St Nicholas and Jackie Robinson Parks, then over the Macombs Dam Bridge and past Yankees Stadium.

The start. Photo credit: NYRR
Even though this wasn't a team points race it was pretty well-attended with over 5,000 runners. Thankfully, I had no trouble tracking down some teammates in the corrals. Almost no one on my team was racing so I started out easy with one of my teammates who actually works in the Bronx. About three miles in, we saw another two teammates a short distance ahead so we caught up with them, keeping an easy pace of just over 7 minutes for a while.

The course was surprisingly great. Along Grand Concourse we passed the Bronx Museum, Paradise Theater (a former movie palace turned concert venue), and the Edgar Allen Poe Cottage, where the author spent several of his last years.

At Mosholu Parkway the course turned west and did a loop through Lehman College (just missing the Jerome Park Reservoir, one of my favorite Bronx running spots), before heading east on the parkway itself. These turn-arounds and loops were great because we got to see and cheer for teammates along the way.  After about a half-mile out on the parkway (just after mile 6), we turned back, discovering a slight uphill, and returned to the Concourse.

Although I was having a great time running with teammates, when we got to mile 8 I realized that if I picked it up a bit, I could finish in under 70 minutes, which sounded like a nice round time. I let myself do the final two miles at around 6:17 pace for a 1:09:16 finish.

After a few minutes to gather our things, a group of us decided to run back to Manhattan. Taking the Grand Concourse to 138th Street and then heading over the Madison Avenue Bridge we got in a few miles of the NYC Marathon course. The infamous 5th Avenue hill didn't feel too bad after 15 or so miles, but I may be singing a different tune when I run it November 4.

Anyway, I had a great weekend in the Bronx and I'm sure I'll be back soon, though I owe a few other boroughs some love too.
*I'm skipping the part of Friday night that involved celebrating my birthday because some things just shouldn't see print in a family-friendly blog.

**It's really hard to explain the not-racing-a-race concept to friends. Here's one typical exchange:

Me: I'm doing the Bronx 10 Miler tomorrow.
Friend: You're racing tomorrow?
Me: No, I'm just running it.
Friend: But it's a race isn't it? So you're racing.
Me: It's a race, yes, but I'm not racing it...I'm just running it.
FriendAcquaintance: I don't know why I bother talking to you..

1 comment:

  1. ha ha - good recap but you could have thrown in some birthday highlights!

    yes, explaining the concept of not racing to a non-runner is painful. the best is to just say you are using the race as a tempo run. then you get a blank stare.