Well internet, I did it again – I neglected to consult my calender when signing up for races, and got myself into another two-race weekend, this time with a particularly early morning. My weekend of racing started with another “weekly” race with the New York Road runners, the 4-mile Retro Run.
This particular road runners event has been on my “to do” list for the last two years, as I love an excuse to dress up for a race. I had signed up for it in 2017 but then had a family obligation, and was similarly out of town for the 2018 rendition of the event. But this year I was finally able to don the vintage 1987 road runners event shirt that Dad had surprised me with in 2017, before we realized I wouldn’t be able to participate.
The morning started with a 5:50 alarm, and by 6:15 one of my teammates from the Merrick Bicycles Tri Team, Michal, had arrived at my apartment. Her, Mike and I were car pooling to the city, and we hopped into my car and headed to pick up Mike. The weather was nice for July running, with temps in the 70’s and a slightly overcast sky. I managed to navigate us to the city without any tolls, which sounds simple, and ultimately is simple, but that doesn’t mean we haven’t messed it up in the past. I again opted to pre-purchase parking through the spot hero app, and got a garage spot on 67th street, just outside of central park. When participating in Road Runner events it is easy to find street parking if the event occurs on a Sunday, as parking regulations are more relaxed, but on Saturdays there are more rules, and street parking can be hard to come by. The $20 charge that the three of us split was worth not feeling rushed before the race.
We all needed to pick up our bibs, so we headed to race day central to grab them. After a quick scan of our QR codes, we were good to go. We found Carson near bib pickup, and she joined our group of runners. As a chronic over-packer, I of course had a bag I wanted to check, so our next stop was the drop-off location. On the way there we ran into another MBTT teammate, and stopped for a quick pre-race selfie. The final start before it was time to run? The porter potties, of course!
We climbed into the corrals just before 8 am, when the race was scheduled to begin. I wasn’t planning on racing, so I dropped back so that I could run with everyone else. As we waited in the corrals we sang along to the “retro” tunes that they were pumping into the corrals, really breaking it down to ABBA’s “Dancing Queen.” As the corrals ahead of us were released, we shuffled closer to the start line.
Eventually it was our turn to start running, and this time the four of us managed to stay together through the crowded start. Admittedly, it was a smaller field than the pride run had been, so it was less congested. We pushed the pace a little as we weaved through the crowd, looking for a area big enough for the four of us. Some of the runners that we spotted had great costumes, and we even spotted a few wigs that had us wondering if they were real or not.
When we got to the first mile marker, in lieu of the standard timing clock there was a man on a raised chair yelling out the race clock time – they had really committed to this retro thing! As we approached the north end of the park Mike and I began to wonder aloud if we were going to have to face Harlem hill that day – neither of us had checked the course map. But just before mile two the course turned, avoiding it. Instead, we headed into the rolling hills known as the three sisters, and it was during the third mile of the race that in these hills our group of four split in half to pairs. Carson wasn’t feeling great, and wanted to incorporate some walk breaks, and Mike decided to stay with her as Michal and I kept running. We chatted our way through the final mile, and after crossing the finish line we pulled to the side and asked a volunteer to take our photo. As we posed, Mike and Carson hopped in, having finished just a moment later.
We were happy to have water at the finish line, and accepted our post race bagels and apples from volunteers. Carson was a little run-drunk, and was very concerned that she couldn’t spot any raisins in her cinnamon-raisin bagel, but thankfully they were discovered once she started eating it.
We picked up our event shirts, which were teal and made of a more “retro” looking material than the standard shirt that the road runners gives out. I was a fan of them, as they were soft and the logo looked good on the front of the shirt. There was a band playing, and roller skaters putting on a show near the bandshell, and a vintage good humor truck was giving out popsicles to runners. I went and picked up my checked bag while my friends waited in line. Our last stop before heading home was the photo booth, which was setup in a old Volkswagen van. We climbed into the back of it and posed together, sweaty post-run faces and all. If you’d like to see the video from the race, you it is posted on my youtube page, or you can click the photo of us with the race shirts.
It was a fun event, made better by running it with friends. We hit some traffic going home, but it at least gave Mike some time to try my r-8 recovery roller, or as he called it, the Bear Trap. When I did get home, I spent most of Saturday preparing for Sunday’s event: My first Triathlon.