14 March 2011

Coogan's Salsa, Blues & Shamrocks 5K

I like long-distance running and usually sign up for half-marathon or 15K races.  I am not sure now why I joined the Coogan 5K race (Sunday, March 6).  Perhap I welcomed the change of location.  After the Manhattan Half, the Midnight Run 4M, and the Ted Corbitt 15K, I have seen enough of Central Park.  What was more, Washington Height was an area I visit occasionally, to see a relative, so I looked forward to exploring The Height better, on foot.

I hate driving but NYC subway did not make the trip easier.  Coogan 5K  was the first race for which I picked up bib and T-shirt on the day of the event.  I left home early to allow time for waiting on line to get the T-shirt and such.  I knew the D train was running to Coney Island on the N line, but I was surprised to find an N train going to Manhattan stopping at my D's 25th Avenue station.  Not a problem, since I knew that I could transfer to the 1 train at Times Square.  The only thing was there seemed to be some issue on the 1/2/3 line.  A #2 (or #3) pulled into the station but then it just sat there. Times Square is a large station with many other subway lines passing through it.  The A and C trains also go to Washington Height but it is a long walk from the 1/2/3 to A/C platform.  Luckily, I was dressed up for the race and simply ran there and caught some train just in time.

I thought I knew the Washington Heights area but only recently that I noticed the building near the hospital was a Track and Field Hall of Fame.  No wonder on nice day there were these kids running short races on the sidewalk on that block.  With the Coogan race, I got a glimpse inside and it was very nice-looking.  Too bad I didn't have time to read the many plaques lining the stairwell, to see if I recognize any names.  It was a somewhat rushed ascend to the third floor to pick up our bibs.

The race itself was so-so.  At barely over 3 miles, it was a very short run.  With 7,000+ people and being at the end of that crowd, it took some time for the crowd to separate too, even if I am not that fast a runner.  Thankfully, the light rain and the hills added to the challenge.  Before long, the finish line was in sight, much sooner than I expected so I didn't do my usual sprint.  I finished with 10:22 minutes/mile but it does not mean much because, again, it was such a short race.

I usually run on an empty stomach and did so for the Coogan.  After the race, I wolfed down a bagel, a slice of orange, and an apple while walking to the Riverside Drive.  Some weeks earlier I discovered that there is no running trail alongside the West Side Highway.  The highway actually rises almost to the height of the ridge on which Washington Height sits on.  For that occasion, I ran north of the skating rink.  This time is my chance to see what's south of the rink.  After the quick and healthy breakfast, I walked along Riverside Drive to the rink.  I was disappointed to learn that there simply was no riverside path south of the rink.  There was no exit, period, out of the rink area that would go along the water.  There seems to be some street exit whereby you would have to run on the sidewalk.  In the end, I went along Riverside Drive all the way down to 94th Street then to the 1/2/3 subway for the trip home.  It was disappointing that there was no "green way" going all around Manhattan Island but I still put in 12 kilometers for the day.

1 comment:

  1. Glad to read that you just completed another race. I was a bit worry reading about your left foot. Got to be in good shape, Qap. ready for April 10th :)
    I signed up for 1 mile walk in June. For a geezer, I have to start slow and small steps. I might even sprint the last few yards - haa haa
    It is sunny and in the upper 70s here. Can't wait till April 8th :)