Stockadeathon is the only 15k I’ve ever done. I really like the distance — long enough to be a challenge, but ends at about the time I start to get really tired. This year’s race dawned with a dusting of snow, and snow continued to pelt the windshield on the drive to the race, but that’s when it ended and the sun came up, setting us up for a sunny, if chilly race.
Packet pickup is always easy., and this year was no different. Unlike last year, even thoughI signed up very late (Tuesday, I believe) I still got a race shirt, which was a nice long sleeve tech tee.
One of the sole sisters was volunteering at packet pickup and I stopped to chat with her a bit before leaving.
The weather & dressing
I said this about my last half (read about it here), about this race last year — and again, this year! I thought I was overdressed in the beginning. I was definitely warm. When I took off my coat at the end, it was drenched in sweat. But I also got cold towards the end of the race. I probably could have worn a lighter outer layer, but this outfit was okay. At least I didn’t have to drag out the Thermoball to run in like I did last year! It was 36 at the start this year, compared to last year’s 28.
I wore my Skirt Sports Double Take Reversible jacket, my Wonder Wool Tee and Wonder Wool Skirt. Newton Distance on the feet. I also wore a buff around my neck, but I did find that annoying later in the race. I had fleece glittens (convertible mittens) on the first couple of miles, took them off and put them in the back pocket of my coat, but then at the end my hands were so cold! Since I’d lost so much time stuffing everything in there at mile 3, I didn’t want to futz with it again, so I just sucked it up.
My Race Plan
No race plan. No looking at last year’s results, either. When you register they ask you your predicted finish time and I actually guessed fairly close to what I ended up running. I don’t know why they ask as there isn’t a corral start.
I parked at a hotel, as I’ve been doing the last few years. It’s about a 10 minute walk over to the Y, which hosts the runners before and after the race. Even though the Y has real bathrooms, the line for them is usually extremely long. So I use the bathrooms in the hotel, and if there is a line, it’s usually quite short.
I went in at about 8 am to use the bathrooms the first time. Then I chatted up a couple who turned out were actually staying in the hotel, and went to use the bathroom one more time. And then I realized that it was about 8:15 and the race starts at 8:30 and I still needed to drop off stuff at bag check and it was about a 10 minute walk to the Y . . . Oy!
So I got my warmup mile (but no dynamic stretching) done as I ran to the Y, passing the Sole Sisters on the way there. I’m really glad I decided to still drop my sweatshirt and jacket off, because I was very chilled after the race and still had that walk back to the car. I made it to the start with a couple of minutes to spare, but I also ended up lining up closer to the start than I should (pace wise) and apologized to everyone around me.
So how’d that work for me?
- Mile 1: 10:53. You start on a downhill. I do love a downhill, and I didn’t take my first walk break until halfway through this mile because it was too crowded and narrow to stop before then. I briefly saw one of my Sole Sisters running friends (and that was the last time I saw her during the race!).
- Mile 2: 11:14. Most of mile 2 is a long, gradual hill. I was running fast to catch up briefly with a fellow Skirt Sports sister. Miles 1 & 2 were faster than last year . . . but no other mile was.
- Mile 3: 11:49. You’re still going up. I suspect that when I changed out one water bottle for another in mile 3 I did lose a significant amount of time, causing this mile to be slower than it should have been. I was having trouble getting the full water bottle — which, as it turns out, was leaking, so I’m glad I switched them — out of the pocket.
- Mile 4: 11:32. They changed the course this year, and took out the part along the river on the bike path. Which was nice and flat and very scenic. I thought this course was actually hillier, although looking at my stats it wasn’t (it seems to get less hilly each year, and this is the first time since I started running it that the course has changed!); Darlene thought it seemed easier. It seemed to me that every time we made a turn — and there are plenty — we were going uphill.
- Mile 5: 11:00. Relatively flat. I saw a couple of my friends, who were course marshals, midway through this mile — they always give me a boost!
- Mile 6: 11:30. Running around the lake in Central Park. Still relatively flat.
- Mile 7: 11:46. A decent hill at mile 7.5. This was about the only hill that felt not as bad as last year. Yet I still went up it slower.
- Mile 8: 11:45. Through the cemetery and mostly downhill. And yet the same pace as the uphill . . .
- Mile 9: 11:13. The last mile is really downhill; last year I was way faster this mile. This year I wasn’t watching my Garmin.
- Last .41: 9:57. I was hoping the new course wouldn’t run long . . . but it did.
2015: 1:51:32 (an automatic PR — new distance)
2016: 1:49:31 (a most surprising 2 minute PR)
2017: 1:45:09 (crushed it for another PR!)
2018: 1:46:49, 11:28 average pace, 1170 our of 1308, 43 out of ?? F55-59
In 2017 they added the splits for each 5k (probably because you can now run this as part of a relay team), and I had beautiful negative splits:
1st 5K: 35:43
2nd 5k: 35:16
3rd 5k: 34:11 (gotta love a downhill finish)
This year I was just consistent, apparently:
1st 5k: 35:25
2nd 5k: 35:42
3rd 5k: 35:43
I chose to run by feel for the race. On the one hand, I’m glad I did. My piriformis and hamstrings have been complaining for a while. And they were sure sore after the race, too (despite foam rolling before and after and legs up the wall later on).
On the other hand, when I saw I was 1:49 off of my PR . . . I know I could have pushed harder. I know that often when I run by feel, I’m slower (but not always). Could I have pushed hard enough for a PR? Probably. Would it have just aggravated my niggles more than was worth it? Well, we’ll never know, will we. I’m feeling okay the day after.
Was the race well run?
Not enough water stops! I say this every year. I bring my own water. Otherwise this race is a well oiled machine with plenty of direction, course marshals, and lots of food and water for everyone post race. Even foam rollers! I really think having the post race stuff going on in the same building we use before the race — last year was the first year they did that — is very helpful.
What I learned
I can leave later for the race, but pay attention to time and leave from the hotel I park at early enough so that I don’t have to run to the start (yes, it’s chip timed, but who really wants to start at the BOTP if they don’t have to?).
I’m still kind of kicking myself for not paying more attention to my Garmin. It doesn’t make a race “less fun” for me when I do. Last year, however, this race wasn’t just two weeks after a hard half. I had 6 weeks in between my half and this race. I’m sure that played into what went down.
On the other hand, for not paying attention to my Garmin, it was actually a pretty decent pace for me. So maybe there still is something to be said for running by feel.
- Extremely well organized race.
- Hot food inside post race, and enough for all.
- Real bathrooms — I didn’t use the bathrooms at the Y. Darlene said the lines weren’t bad, but my guess is later on they were. I’ve never seen them not be bad.
- Although a hilly course, most (but not all) of the hills are frontloaded into the first half of the race.
- A nice downhill finish.
- Running with friends. Running into friends you haven’t seen in a while.
Of course no race is perfect. The downsides:
- The course runs a little long.
- Challenging course (some might view that as a positive).
- Not enough water stops.
- Although parts of the course are very pretty, much of it just isn’t that interesting to me. And they took out one of my favorite parts this year!