Race Report: Valentines Day Half Marathon

Date: February 14; 10:00 am

Distance: 13.1 mi / 21.2 km

Place: Beach 116th street, Rockaway Beach, Queens, NY

Weather:  19 F

Finishers: 69  

Offical time / pace: 2:11 / 10:01min/mi

Rockapulco Half Marathon

As some may know, I made a New Year’s resolution to run a half marathon every month during 2020. We have half marathon 2 out of 12 now completed. Yay me. I’m proud of myself for finishing because boy this was a cold one. 

One can clearly see that this was a super small marathon, which had a different type of vibe compared to the regular races that I run with the New York Road Runners. Also, it was very low key; the runners met at a bar, headed over to the boardwalk, and the organizer (after explaining the prizes) was like AND, GO!

Rockapulco Half Marathon
The pack

Getting there was a complete sh*t show. A subway ride that’s supposed to take about 1.5 hrs ended up being a little over 2 hours. 

Rockapulco Half Marathon
The commute
  • I almost missed the start. 
  • I had to pee for the last 40 minutes of the subway ride. I’m so lucky that there are restrooms in the subway station in the Rockaways. 

Internal Race Goals:

  • Run 2 miles of fartleks
  • Run at least one mile at a sub 9:45 min/mi pace

Miles 1 – 4 

The beginning of the race:

Rockapulco Run

A mile into the race:

Rockapulco Run

For this portion of the half, I was more or less trying to get my sh*t together. Since I arrived at the bar after all the folks were escorted to the start, I had to stop for a little bit to get my music going, put things in the correct pockets (I’m very particular which pockets hold which things), and have a quick stretch session. 

During the third mile, I felt a weird burning sensation in my right hand. This has happened once before while running an outdoor track workout in 18 F weather. It was kind of concerning because this happened only in my right hand. I actually feared that I would not be able to finish the race because of this. I was not wearing gloves the first time this happened a couple of weeks ago. For this half, I wore TWO pairs of gloves and an athletic sweatshirt with sleeves covering my hands.  I rubbed my fingers together like I was trying to get some money, and that seemed to work.Phew giphy (2)

Yay. I would not get a DNF . . . at least for this reason. But . . . yeah, I need to figure out what’s going on with the circulation in my right hand. 

Miles 5 – 8

Since the course was two loops around a section of the boardwalk and my hand issue was behind me, I really got into my groove.  I managed to do my two-mile fartleks during this portion of the race and started to catch up to and overtake some folks. 


Miles 9 – 13.1

Maybe I was getting tired or maybe I was hungry, but I slowed up during Miles 8 and 9. Not really sure what happened. Perhaps, I was saving myself for the final push or maybe I was distracted by taking pictures or getting the right music going. At least during Mile 10, I managed to push hard and ran that mile in 9’30”. I have it in me to run faster; I just have to push myself (and maybe do more speed work). At mile 11, I really wanted to catch up to one more person because I think she was running and walking. During this point, I noticed that someone was passing me (more on this below) so I wanted to give myself one last push to stay with him. Well . . . that did not happen until mile 13 with a 9’21” mile. Although I did not catch the two people (I finished about 10 seconds behind them), I was glad that I was able to make myself push twice in the last third of a half marathon. 

All in all, I had a nice race experience. And, I finished this one about 8 minutes faster than the Fred Lebow Half in January. The improvement was not super exciting for me because the Fred Lebow Half is a bit hilly, and this half marathon was very flat. 


Postrace Stuff: 

There was a little post-race celebration. Registration included a small brunch and a free drink at Rogers Irish Tavern.

Rockapulco Half Marathon

I ended hanging out at the bar for about 2 hours drinking and chatting with some other finishers and folks who live on the Rockaways.

Ok, I do not mean to sound like a hater, but I’m going to hate a little bit. 

Although I cannot prove this, I think a couple of people cut the course. Since the course was two loops B116th street -> B120th street -> B57 street -> B120th, you could see other runners to and from B120th and B57th.

Rockapulco Half Marathon
The course

Ok, there were several people who were far behind me after the first loop, and I know they did not pass me during the second loop. Could someone explain how these few folks arrived at bar WITH medals before I did? It’s not like this race really had course marshalls. There were trash cans at B120th and B57 streets, which indicated where we had to turn. I take that back because there was someone at B57th street for the first loop, but he was not there during my second loop. Ok, I don’t mind if folks cut the course. I was a bit annoyed because there wasn’t much food left at the bar when I arrived to the post-race brunch. Y’all know that I’m serious about my feedings. The brunch was self serve so the faster runners (or the course cutters) had first dibs. Eh, such is life . . . I guess.

After signing up for this race, I was a bit annoyed because there was not much information about the race itself, e.g. the course, the fluid stations (if any), or what the brunch actually included. Now that I have experienced my first Rockapulco-organized race and know what to expect, I would definitely run another one. The organizers have several races during the year, and the end of summer half (8/29/2020) looks kind of interesting. Plus, I could go swimming at the beach after the half . . . or drink at the bar. Wait? Running a half marathon in NYC, adjacent to a beach, with NO shade, in late August might literally be hell on Earth. 

At least the trip back home was not super intense. I guess it was not super intense because I did not have to be anywhere at a specific time. I even took my first trip on the NYC ferry back to Manhattan and met up with a friend to have a couple of drinks.

I was “primed” (my way of saying buzzed or semi-drunk) and wanted to keep the “celebration’ going. 

The Jeffrey NYC
Whiskey flights with chocolate. My kind of “dinner”.

Planned March half marathon: 

Lantern Run NYC, NY, NY


    • Let’s just said that I said some not so nice words near the end of my commute. Fortunately for me, the race’s start was near the last stop on the train so I was the only person on the train. Actually, my freak out was mainly due to needing to pee … badly.

      Liked by 1 person

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