Rocked it. – Brooklyn Rock ‘n’ Roll 10K Recap

Kristen Henkels - Rock n Roll 10K Brooklyn

Hey all!

I successfully completed my first 10K run this past Saturday – it was my my first official race since finals at the NCAA Rowing Championships in 2010. Talk about a long hiatus! The race was a lot of fun and I’m pretty happy with my results. I finished the 10K in 47:25 with an average pace of 7:38/mile. Based on my training this is about the pace I was expecting, however there were a heck of a lot more hills in Prospect Park than I anticipated. I probably should have checked out the course beforehand…but hey, it all worked out.

Here is a recap of the race:

5:20AMI woke up to the sweet, sweet sounds of Nicki Minaj’s “Pound the Alarm”, a song that is aptly named.

5:30AMAte a small breakfast, chugged some coffee, showered, and ineptly pinned my bib# onto my shirt. Also did some jumping jacks because…why not?

6:10AMTook the 6 train to Union Square and switched to the Q train, which took forever to arrive before inexplicably stopping halfway in between Manhattan and Brooklyn. The only reason I didn’t get too nervous about being late is that the entire subway was filled with 10K runners heading to the race. They couldn’t start the race without ALL of us…right?

7:10AMArrived at Prospect Park, Brooklyn and merged into the sea of runners all walking towards the starting line. I did a short, light jog to wake up my muscles and get them warm (it was pretty chilly out despite the sunny weather). I also nervously fumbled a bit with my Garmin watch to get satellite connection.

7:25 AMThe race start was delayed by 5 minutes so I did a bit more stretching on the grass next to Corral #2. It’s a good thing too, because I had the opportunity to meet a nationally-acclaimed celebrity:

NesQuick Bunny - Refuel with Chocolate Milk

7:30AM: I made my way to Corral #2 to ready myself for the start. The announcer asked if this was anyone’s first time racing a 10K – I tentatively raised my hand along with the rest of the newbies. At this point, the girl next to me started talking:

  • Random girl: “Have you ever run in Prospect Park before?”
  • Me: “No…but I heard there were a few hills?”
  • Random girl: “Ooh yeah. They make you run the big hill twice too when the course loops around. Good luck”

I couldn’t tell if she was genuinely concerned or just scoffing at my newbie running status, but either way I figured I’d beat her ass, hills or not.

7:35AM: The elite runners in Corral #1 were off! All of us in Corral #2 shuffled up closer to the starting line. I was excited, a little nervous, and definitely in race mode. After about a minute, the announcer spoke again into the microphone – “3-2-1 GO!” I started my Garmin and trotted past the line.

Rock 'N' Roll 10K start - Corral #2

Rock 'n' Roll 10K - past the starting line

You may be wondering at this point who the heck is taking all of these pictures? Thankfully my rockstar-of-a-sister Mary decided to cheer me on and she’s pretty handy with a camera too. Mary’s boyfriend, Zach, competes in a ton of triathlons, so she is very adept at navigating race courses. I saw her 5 times during my entire race, it was awesome!

Rock 'n' Roll 10K Route Map
Mary strategizing HER race plan.
Mary the Rockstar Cheerleader
Iron Calves – and proud of it.

Ok, now back to the race (I’m switching to recapping based on mileage now because that’s how I was thinking).

Mile 0.0-0.5: With the adrenaline pumping and the crowd of runners all around me I was feeling good – a little bit too good maybe. I glanced down at my watch and saw that I was running at a sub-7 min/mile pace. I pulled in the reins and tried to fall into a more natural rhythm because I knew I had a long road ahead of me until I crossed the finish line.

Mile 0.5-1.0: “Oh well hello there Mr. Hill – nice to meet you… psych.” I encountered the first hill a little bit after the start. Since my legs were still fresh I had little problem scaling the incline but I could see how this was going to be killer the second time around. But you know the great thing about hills, right? Once you reach the top, you get to run DOWNHILL. I really tried to take advantage of any of the downhill portions of the race to pick up some speed without exerting as much energy.

Mile 1.0: A little before the 1 mile mark the runners were directed to exit the park and follow the course around Grand Army Plaza for a nice change of scenery. Tres jolie, non?

Detour through Paris
They were handing out pieces of baguettes and red wine at the water stations here…ok no they weren’t, but that would be pretty cool.

Miles 1.0-2.0: At this point I was still going strong and was hovering between a 7:30 and 7:45 min/mile split. It was a straight shot down Flatbush Avenue and I kept a steady pace. I saw Mary for the second time getting her photography on. Apparently she looked uber-professional because a ton of the runners around me smiled for her too.

RnR 10K - Flatbush Ave

Miles 2.0-3.0: I was still feeling good at this point but knew that fatigue would be setting in shortly. My pace was jumping around a bit between 7:10-7:40/mile.

Photobomber - Kristen HenkelsPhotobomb 2 - Kristen Henkels

As you can see, inadvertent photobombing abounded. Round #1 went to me. Round #2 went to two guys who apparently love to flash gang signs/rock out.

Mile 3.0-4.0: At this point I was thinking about how thankful I was to be halfway done however I knew that my quick pace was going to be a bit difficult to maintain during the next few miles. Meanwhile, Mary decided to document a few of the more eccentric 10K participants:

Blonde Afro runner
Interesting choice.
Orange hair runner
I saw this guy on the subway on the way to Brooklyn. Made me smile 🙂
Running Big Bird
Big Bird. I like to call this picture “Running from Romney”.

Mile 4.0: I officially arrived in STRUGGLETOWN. My pace was frequently jumping up to around 8:10/mile, but I fought hard to keep it closer to 7:45/mile. Right after mile 4, I ran past the starting line for the second time. This could only mean one thing – the Hills were fast approaching.

RnR 10K - Second Loop

Miles 4.0-5.0“Legs. So. Heavy.” This was the hardest part of the race for me. I had to get through one more set of hills until I reached the last part of the race and it was tough. I saw my pace jump up to 8:40/mile while trudging up the incline, but I stayed positive and finally reached the summit.

Miles 5.0-6.0: At this point I switched my brain onto auto-pilot and just let my body take over. A little over a mile was left and I had enough energy to push my pace and finish strong.

Hair Flip
Hair flip, naturally.

6.0-6.2: The last stretch of the race was awesome. There was a tiny hill I had to climb, but then I flew down it and sprinted to the finish. I was done!!! I knew I finished with a pretty solid time but forgot to stop my watch when I crossed the finish line so did not know my final results until I checked online later. I collected my hardcore medal, grabbed as much free food as I could carry, and hobbled off the course – out of breath, pretty sweaty, but beaming from ear to ear. Racing – how I’ve missed thee!

Brooklyn RnR 10K Medal - BlingI gave my sister a hug and we walked a bit so I could cool down and stretch out. We then checked out all of the vendors and grabbed some free swag. The headliner band was just warming up on the big stage and some of the runners were already drinking their complimentary beer. I just stuck with some complimentary chocolate milk.

Brooklyn RnR 10K - Band

Brooklyn RnR 10K - Centerstage

Overall, the 10K was a great experience and the perfect way to get back into racing mode. It was much easier for me to commit to working out with a longterm goal in mind and the electric atmosphere of the 10K race made it all worth while. I will definitely be looking to run a few more races in the coming months.

Nike Frees & Fall

Mary and IronCalves

Celebrating Lactic Acid Buildup
Celebrating Fall…and the lactic acid build-up in my legs.

While I haven’t caught the full-on running bug yet, I hear that it’s going around this Fall and it may be pretty tough to avoid. Darn it.

Sometimes running but…

Forever wandering,

– Kristen

Rocked it. – Brooklyn Rock ‘n’ Roll 10K Recap

51 thoughts on “Rocked it. – Brooklyn Rock ‘n’ Roll 10K Recap

  1. Way to go! You look awesome for having just zoomed 6.2!

    God bless Big Bird, chocolate milk and iron calves! Great recap, this was a fun read.

    I’m sure Concerned Corral Girl was just being nice and making conversation. Runners are awesome at that. And photo bombing! 🙂

    1. Hey Runningonsober – thanks for checking out my post and I’m glad you enjoyed it! I think you’re probably right about Concerned Corral Girl – I find that most runners are pretty awesome people 😉

      – Kristen

      P.S. Long live photobombing!

  2. pickyrunner says:

    That is an AWESOME time for your first 10K! I think it’s one of the most perfect distances… besides the half marathon, of course. If you haven’t caught the running bug yet, it’s definitely coming with that speed 🙂
    Chocolate milk is my favorite refuel too!
    If I saw Big Bird when I was starting to get tired, that would put a smile on my face and motivate me to pass him!

    1. Thank you pickyrunner! 10K is a great distance – but I do have my eye on a half marathon too. Darn the running bug, it’s so contagious!

      And Big Bird hunting is definitely a great mid-race motivator 😉

      – Kristen

    1. Thank you Carrie! I can’t take credit for the pictures – my sister was the rockstar in that regard. I haven’t committed to my next race yet but I’m thinking about signing up for the “Dash to the Finish” 5K on Nov. 3rd. The NYC marathon madness is a bit too epic to resist. Do you recommend any other upcoming races?

      – Kristen

      1. That’s my thought exactly! Since I’m not tackling the 26.2 this year, I might as well hop on the marathon excitement bandwagon. 🙂 I’ve also heard something about a hot chocolate run in December, which sounds like fun.

      2. I’m not sure … doing some research now, lol. There’s also a Jingle Bell Jog that does involve costumes and Christmas cheer. 🙂 I need to write a post about these races.

  3. This is the most complete description of a 10 K I think I’ve ever read! Good for you for going out strong and hanging in there, for a very good result. Nice job!

    1. Thanks Frank! I definitely went out strong – but next time I run a 10K I want to plan out my race a bit smarter – and train a bit more for the hills! Can’t complain though, I was happy with my time and had a ton of fun.

      – Kristen

  4. Congratulations on your first 10K, Kristen! Way to rock it out. The 10K is a tricky race – too long to go balls out (or whatever) but too short to pace it much. And learn to love the hills. Hills are your friends – they make you faster.

    And thanks for checking out my blog! I will add you to my blogroll.


  5. Great work, faster than any 10K I ever did, you rock! I know all about that one hill in Prospect park that lasts for 2-3 minutes or so, lol. Perhaps I should start doing 5k and 10k races; all I’ve ever done is half marathons. Thanks for the idea.

    1. Thanks sephiroth! I’m sure if you trained for a speedy 5K or 10K you would be very fast. I have my eye on training for a half marathon in the near future but am a bit nervous to commit haha. I will keep you updated!

      – Kristen

  6. Congrats on your time, you did great! AND it was your first 10K, totally Amazing. It was a fun race, wasn’t it? Did you hear them playing Gangham Style around the halfway point? 😀

    I guess I’m gonna have to watch out for you now, speedy! My BF and I are going to be at Dash to the Finish Line. We also have one 4M and 5M coming up before the year is out. Prospect Park’s Jingle Bell Jog is nice, they give you bells for your shoes and it sounds so festive! The hot chocolate is quality stuff too. I don’t think I will make it to that one but I hope you enjoy!

    Great recap, it’s amazing how much fun a girl can have waking up at 5am and then running her butt off!

    1. Thanks Blackfoot Running! Your backstory is pretty inspiring, and not only are you back on your feet and running but you are SUPER fast! Gangham Style was my FAVORITE part…I couldn’t resist doing a little bit of the lasso dance as I ran by.

      All of those races sound intriguing, I def need to check out Prospect Park’s Jingle Bell Jog – the sound of the bells must be pretty wild.

      Thanks for reading and maybe I will see you at an NYC race sometime – speedy!

      – Kristen

  7. Hey Kristen, thanks for stopping by my blog. Just read through your 10K and damn if that wasn’t a great pace for, what, your first? Quite impressive. The sport is definitely for you. Keep it up. Look forward to keeping up with your races.

    And by the way, as a native South Texan, I’m incredibly jealous if the fact that you get to experience real Fall running with the leaves changing colors and all! Hopefully I can experience that soon!

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