I had been concerned about traveling to the NYCRuns Spring Fling 10k on Roosevelt Island. I was on the island once when I was very small. My family and another family took the cable car over from Manhattan. I vaguely remember the ride over. I don't think we even spent any real time there once we arrived, we just did it for the cable car experience. My only other memory of Roosevelt Island is the "famous" cable car scene from the 1981 thriller Nighthawks. I say famous lightly because I'm not sure how many people have actually seen this movie. I loved it because gritty NYC action thrillers from the 70s and 80s are some of my absolute favorites. Anyway, there's a brilliant hostage scene with Sylvester Stallone and Rutger Hauer in the cable car. Back to the race, I didn't know how difficult it would be to get to the cable cars and how often they ran, so I just drove to Queens and hopped on the F train. Three stops later and I was on Roosevelt Island. Super easy.
Now the Roosevelt Island subway station reminded me of another movie:
Scene from An American Werewolf in London
Scene from A Long Island Runner
on Roosevelt Island
I followed a couple of people dressed like runners to the starting area which was a small park. There was a DJ playing great music (Beastie Boys, yo!) and a ton of people dancing and milling around. I picked up my number and decided to go for a ten minute run to warm up. The temperature was a breezy 43 degrees on the water. I ran down the road and immediately noticed how pretty this place was. The island is small. A 10k is two loops of the perimeter. The streets were narrow and the buildings not too tall. There was even a cute little church. One disappointment was many business spaces were vacant. Perhaps the outrageous NYC rent should be adjusted to consider the population of this tiny, limited access area.
There was even a farmer's market!
I got back to the starting area and waited around for a half hour before lining up. One of the NYCRuns staff commented on my Mohawk Hudson River Marathon shirt. We briefly chatted. I recognized him from the Narrows Half Marathon I ran last September. I have to say I really like NYCRuns. Their emails and Facebook updates are plentiful with chock full of information, updates, and humor. Their races always feel intimate, I imagine the opposite of the New York Road Runners club. The NYCRuns staff is very approachable. They'll even delay the start so everyone can go to the bathroom (which can either be annoying if you've waited a long time in the cold or extremely thoughtful because sometimes when you gotta go, you gotta go...and I should have went when I had the chance....)
The race started and we first did a short out and back at the tip of the island. I hit the One Mile marker at 7:15. Oooh this is nice! I felt good. The nice thing about out and backs is that when you're up front, you're so happy you're on your side of the cones when passing the other runners. I don't mean to sound obnoxious. It's only because I know this from experience of being on both sides of those cones! Roosevelt Island is in the East River. We were able to get a gorgeous view of Manhattan, as well as Queens. I hit Mile Two in 14:45. I slowed down in my second mile, but not irreparably. And then it hit. I had to go the bathroom. I had eaten an apple cinnamon Quaker oatmeal packet at 7:15 that morning. I usually don't eat before races (except marathons) for this reason, but I was hungry and thought it best since I wouldn't be back home until around noon. Bad decision. I slowed down because if I pushed myself, I might actually be pushing myself. Ew! Okay, I know TMI, but I'm just being honest. It happens to the best of us, right? I got to the 5k mat which was back at the starting area. I knew if I didn't go now, I might regret it. I jumped off course, ran to the icky porta potties, and that was the end of my race. I could have gone back in, but really the only reason I was running this was to get a handle on my fitness. DNF. Second this year (if you count the ridiculous Huntington St. Patrick's Day 5k. I blame that on my daughter, of course!), second ever!
Back at the field, I saw a guy wearing the official 2014 Boston Marathon jacket. It was easy to spot since it is neon HEREIAM orange. I went over to chat a little about Boston with him and his friend. After, I hopped back onto the F train and headed home...in search of a redemption race.
Kings Park 15k, here I come!