Sunday, February 3, 2013

Race Report: NYCRuns Riverside Park Hot Chocolate 5K

A while ago I convinced Woody to run the NYCRuns Riverside Park Hot Chocolate 5K with me, knowing full well that it would likely be cold and he would likely finish way before me.

I was right on the second one but had no idea how right I’d be on the first one! We woke up yesterday to 19’ temps and 8’ wind chills. Brrrr! I haven’t spent much time running in the cold this year and definitely not in cold like this.

We bundled up and headed uptown, getting there a bit earlier than we expected so we took refuge in a Starbucks for a few minutes where several other runners had decided to do the same thing!

This was my first time running a NYCRuns race, although I have volunteered for a few and was able to get a free race entry for this one because of my volunteer credits!

When we got to the start there were a lot of people milling about all bundled up trying to stay warm. In usual fashion, we dropped our bags at the baggage corral where a smiling volunteer was helping to organize all the bags and random coats.


The race started without much fanfare and we were off just after 9am. Woody went ahead and all 525 of us navigated a small pathway. I don’t know this park at all and I didn’t know to expect a rather long and steep hill within the first half mile. Nice. I kept a really good pace at the start but the cold was pretty bitter and breathing the frigid air was tough.

Throughout the race breathing was my problem. How my sinuses will decide to function during a race is always a mystery but I knew going into this one, because of the low temps, breathing wasn’t going to be too easy. I was right but I tried not to think of it much, rather focus on the course I’d never run before, making sure I didn’t take the wrong turn, and keeping a relatively good pace. There were a few loops and when we were down right along the Hudson River, Woody passed me going the other way and I gave him a cheer. We were lucky to see each other because he was taking a turn and we could have easily missed each other. After the turnaround, and somewhere around mile 2 I was heading up another really steep hill and I had to slow to a walk just as I was hitting the top of the hill and saw Woody on another loop back. He could tell it wasn’t going well and gave me a cheer of encouragement. I didn’t even think about walking, it just happened. I slowed down for less than a minute till I could breathe again then didn’t walk again till I had crossed the finish line.

There were some great volunteers along the entire route that kept people on course and provided encouragement. They were so awesome for coming out to volunteer on such a cold day! I think I was able to squeak out ‘thank you!’ to just about all of them. The race would not have gone as smoothly without them.

I finally made it to the finish line (downhill to the end rather than an uphill like many NYRR races) and walked around a bit as I tried desperately to catch my breath. It was very, very cold but by the first mile mark my core was pretty warm. Fingers and toes were not though! There was a great mix of people running, including a few little kids. Not much in the way of spectators but that’s to be expected on such a cold day. A great touch at the end was the post-race food. There were apples, bagels – even peanut butter – and frozen water, but also strawberries and as the race name would imply, hot chocolate!


Woody and I posed for a post-race photo before we bundled up and headed out.


It’s safe to say I wasn’t happy with my finish time (29:28) but I learned that I just need to avoid races in such cold weather. My tip to all of you today, is that if you ever have to have sinus surgery – and I sincerely hope that you don’t - make sure you have a real conversation with your ENT to find out exactly how it will affect the rest of your life. It’s not as simple as some of them might like to make it out to be.

Post-race we headed to Trader Joe’s then home. Since we only got in a 5k run we decided to hit the gym. I spent some time on the elliptical and the rowing machine then did some core work and a lot of serious stretching. While not my best race, it was a fun race and great to see so many people braving the cold! I hope to run a few more NYCRuns races in the future!

Oh, in case you’re wondering, Woody finished in 24:27. He’s speedy.


  • How cold is too cold for you to run?
  • What helps you to get through a cold weather run?
  • Are you watching the Super Bowl tonight? Do you watch for the game or the commercials?


Today’s workout -

  • 65min elliptical
  • 25min stationary bike
  • 3x12 lat pull down
  • 3x10 hammer curl
  • 3x10 upright row
  • ab exercises
  • stretching


Redhead Running said...

Brrr!!!!!! Good job fighting through the cold chica!

Holly said...

Love that Woody was representing MSU in NYC!

J (Morning Runner) said...

Great to see you back racing and enjoying it! I run in pretty much any weather but when the wind chill gets down to below 0F thats when I usually stay inside or hit the treadmill. It just depends on the day and how it feels outside. Winter running is usually a day by day thing and its harder to plan outdoor workouts in advance.