After doing over a dozen halfs and a full marathon, the RnR Brooklyn 10K was my first ever 10K. Julie and I headed out towards New Haven early on Friday morning to catch the Metro North train to Grand Central. The two hour train ride isn't the quickest way to NYC, but it sure beats driving the whole way, and gave me some time to read and listen to some music.
We arrived downtown just before two and headed down to Bryant Park so Julie could make a quick work call and I could grab a spare set of keys from my Buddy Dave who we were staying with this weekend. Once Julie was done with her call we made our way down to 12th to drop our stuff off and head over to Brooklyn to grab our packets (East River crossing #1).
We jumped on the F and headed out to the Bryant Park stop as Google maps told us. Unfortunately I wasn't very specific about where in Bryant Park I wanted to go, so I ended up at the opposite end of the park from where I wanted to be. A 20 minute walk which let us preview the race course brought us over to the Grand Army Plaza where packet pick up was taking place. Being just a 10K there was no expo, just a couple of tents holding the bibs, shirts (which look like they were developed on the set of 'In Living Color' back in the early 90's) and event guides so we didn't spend much time there. We grabbed our stuff and jumped on the 3 train (which was much closer) and headed uptown so Julie could do some shopping (East River crossing #2).
|Packet pickup was pretty low key|
|Grand Army Plaza at Bryant Park|
|The 1991's Brooklyn 10K Tech Shirt|
On our way to 71st street we were cruising along just as rush hour was approaching, 1 stop from our destination when the train we were on went out of service crowding the platform with even more people. A couple of minutes later a local train came by and we jumped on since it was closer than the express stop anyways and made our way to Columbus Circle. I went to grab some wine while Julie went to try on a vest.
The wine store like every building in New York is small and crowded. When I interned in NYC I didn't think much of it and it didn't bother me. Now that I'm older I've realized that I like things normal sized as opposed to
kiddie apartment sized. It took me a while to find what I was looking for (since it was under the stairs) but finally I was able to get a couple of bottles and check out $500 later (it wasn't really $500 I'm just making a point that things are also very expensive in NYC which is also a bit strange because it's so much smaller). I met up with Julie and we headed back downtown to meet up with Dave and his fiancée Kaitlyn.
After a bit of catching up we headed out to take advantage of something you can't get in Massachusetts, happy hour. We bar hopped our way around the area, including one which drew an large police response just outside before we ended up at I Sodi for dinner. This place was great (Dave picks great restaurants) offering up some different meals and specials. Julie and I started with some fried artichokes before going into to main course of rabbit wrapped in bacon for me and some portobello ravioli's for Julie. Great dinner and conversation all around.
For dessert we headed to a Big Gay Ice Cream which is exactly what it sounds like. Colorful names and combinations (see the picture below) matching the flag of equality. As we entered we were greeted by "Brenda" who loved my pink shirt and gave us the lay of the land. Julie and I split the Salty Pimp, which was soft serve ice cream with salt and then covered in chocolate. A great snack at an all-around fun place.
|Colorful names and combinations, this place has a lot to choose from|
|Salty Pimps for all!|
The 10K was much smaller than most of the other RnR races which made it feel a bit more intimate but for some reason it was also a bit more unorganized. The corrals weren't manned so just before the start of the race everyone just started walking forward so there were no longer corrals. As we got closer to the start line though RnR personnel jumped in and divided people into corals to keep everyone from starting at once. Either way the corrals seemed a bit mixed, and I had to do a lot of weaving between people throughout the race.
Once we got started the course heads out from the park along a street that runs just outside it and takes you down a hill and around the Grand Army Plaza for the first mile before heading back up the hill and past the park entrance. The course stays just outside of the park until the 5K mark. Once back in the park the views get nicer running through the tree lines street and along the pong in the park.
After reentering the park you head back towards the start line at mile 4. By this time I thought I was in good shape to make my hour goal being more than 90 seconds ahead per my watch, but just after you pass the start line the course starts climbing a hill which lasts almost the entire 4th mile. By the time I had hit mile 5 I was just barely under my 9:40 per mile pace. Fortunately what goes up must come down and most of mile 5 was downhill along the west side of the park, and once you hit mile 6 it's a pretty good downhill run around one last hill to the finish line. I looked at my watch and I was sure I had made my sub-hour goal (which prompted Dave to say the key to running fast is eating a fast animal the night before)!
I waited a bit and Julie joined me at the finish and I we headed back to Manhattan but not without a bit of a detour. The Manhattan bound train didn't stop at our stop so we had to take a train outbound a few stops before going over to the other side and taking the train back to into Manhattan (East River crossing #4). On the way we met a young woman named Marie who we chatted with about the other RnR races (this being her first) and she told us about doing triathlons and giving us some good pointers.
Once back in the city we showered up and headed over to Madison Square Eats which is an outdoor market open late September and October and has food stands from all over the city. We started out with an arancini the size of a baseball. Pesto and cheese for me and red sauce and eggplant for Julie. Julie was smitten with the aranchini but unfortunately Aranchini Brothers don't yet ship, but if you're in town try to find them they are great! We then headed over to the salami booth and grabbed some panninis.
After lunch we headed back to Brooklyn (East River crossing #5) for the Brooklyn Pour beer fest.
|Lower Manhattan from East River crossing #5|
We arrived 45 minutes early but there was already quite a line so we decided to wait. At 3 those of us who didn't want to pay an extra $30 for an additional hour of drinking time we allowed in and it filled up pretty quickly. We grabbed some beers as we made our way back to the Pyramid/Magic Hat table. There was a large selection of pumpkin beers (I tried all of them but Pumpkinhead is still the best) as well as a large selection of the stouts for the soon to come winter season.
|It can get a bit crowed when beer is involved|
|They are serious about security!|
|Photo Op at Grand Central|