Sunday, June 5, 2011

Race report: 2011 New Hyde Park 8K

An 8K PR for the ER
Today's run (New Hyde Park 8K): 5 miles at 8:40/mile

As they say, the third time's the charm and that was the case for me after today's race. I had hopes of beating my prior finish time of 44:42 that I ran in both 2009 and 2010 and I certainly did that. Last year I went out much slower than the prior year and picked up my pace later in the race. That resulted in a better experience than 2009 (when I went into energy debt by mile 4) but my time ended up exactly the same. But that's ancient history -- the better story is today's race.

TEAM EMERGING RUNNER
Form doesn't always follow fashion
Although my wife and kids try to join me at every race, for some reason they could not attend prior to this year. It was a great psychological bonus to have them with me today. We arrived early and were able to park at the school, unlike last year when I needed to park some blocks away. I saw many familiar faces, this is very much a running club race, and I knew that it would be a fast field. The scene was familiar and, per tradition, the race tee was, umm, aesthetically interesting. But it is 100% polyester so I can run in it.

Registration was well organized, as usual
PRE-RACE PREP
We watched the mini run for kids and then made our way towards the starting line. I was feeling good and my Hattori's felt light on my feet and ready to race. What had started out as a cool and cloudy morning had turned sunny. Thankfully, it still wasn't all that hot. I took a GU Roctane gel 30 minutes before the start. I also carried a small bottle of water in case I needed to refuel near the end of the race and wanted some hydration along with the gel.

Off and running
START
We started on time with a field of almost 300 runners. I hit start on the Garmin 210 and took off quickly, happy to see my family on the sidelines. I felt good knowing that I'd see them again in about 45 minutes. I had prepared well for this race -- two day's prior rest, a reasonable taper, core exercises the day before, my favorite gel in my system and adequate hydration before the start. Plus my excellent Craft running shirt and those Hattori's.

THE RACE
When my Garmin chirped at mile one it took me by surprise. Interestingly, the FR 210 indicated that mile a few 100ths sooner than the official mile station. I've been a little suspicious of the measurement of this course because my Garmin FR 50 and 60 always over counted and my prior mapping of the course on Google Earth put it a tick longer than 5 miles. Since the GPS never over counts it makes me wonder a bit.

More importantly, I felt great after mile one and that continued as we headed north on New Hyde Park Road. Mile two comes along the service road on the LIE and I found myself passing people instead of being passed (as was my experience last year). I was still feeling strong at the third mile and decided that I didn't need an additional gel to get me through the duration. By mile four I knew I was on track to beat my prior time but knew I still had another mile to cover. I went against instinct and surged on the uphills, surprised to find I still had energy when I got to the top.

When we turned into the neighborhood that backs the school I knew I just needed to maintain a decent pace to finish under nine minutes a mile. I was feeling good until a race volunteer yelled "Just over half a mile to the finish!" For some reason that made it seem like I had more distance to run than was in my head but I knew that soon it would be less than a half a mile.

THE FINISH
I finally saw the yellow street sign and green lawn of the school a few hundred feet ahead. At that point a young woman pulled beside me and said "This is it" before dropping into gear and leaving me in the dust. I kept up my charge and when I hit the lawn I sprinted toward the finish line. I noticed my son and daughter running on the sidelines in my direction and I looked for my wife who was getting ready to photograph me crossing the line. It was the first time I ever got a picture of me finishing that race (top photo).

My Garmin recorded the race as 5.05 miles and I'll take a look at the route it captured when I upload it on Garmin Connect. I knew I beat my prior time and was really happy to see that I achieved a pace that I'd even consider good for a 5K. After grabbing some water and walking off some post race energy I checked the posted times and verified that I had a new PR.


EMERGING RUNNER COMMUNITY
I was very happy to meet another runner, Paul (below right), who told me that he's an Emerging Runner reader. Paul was running in Saucony Mirages and they worked for him, helping him to a sub 7:00/mile finish. Amazingly, Paul had raced the previous day and he told me that he races about once a week. No wonder he's so fast! I was really glad he stopped to talk and I'll look for him at other races, but I know I won't be able to keep up with him once the gun goes off.

Two runners: one fast, one emerging
I'm very pleased with today's race for so many reasons. It was my best race performance this year and it reinforced to me that my training and preparation are on track. I loved the Hattori's and I don't want to run in anything else now. I don't have any more races on the calendar until the Dirty Sock in August but I'm tempted to find a 5K to run in July.

6 comments:

  1. It was nice meeting you and your family.

    Congratulations on your new faster time for this race! It always feels good to accomplish that quicker pace.

    See you at the next run.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Paul, great meeting you as well. I like your training by racing method. A little too hardcore for me but an effective strategy for those who can handle it.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Congratulions on your new PR!
    As one of the organizers of the NHP 8K, I was happy you enjoyed our race and we at the NHP Runners Club are very happy you return year after year!
    Regarding your GPS measurements, You did run 5.05 miles (or something very close to that) and the NHP 8K course is exactly 4.97 miles. The course is certified and was measured by David Katz, the course measurer for the 2012 London Olympic Marathon. see http://www.flrrt.com/ The course is measured along what runners call the "Tangent". That means it is measured along the straightest line possible. It is measured inches from the curb, along the inside of curves and from one side of the street to the other, if that is the straightest line. No runner can run the exact distance the way the course is measured. Everyone running a race will run a little extra distance. In a marathon a runner will run about 27 miles, not the 26.2 measured distance.
    I hope this will help clear up the gps mystery.
    Again, we at the NHP Runners Club thank you for choosing our race and blogging about it.
    We hope to see you again at next year's race.
    Greg

    ReplyDelete
  4. Greg,
    Thanks for that explanation, I stand corrected. This is one case when cutting corners is a good thing!

    I will again say that this is one of the best local races I've found. It's very well run with a interesting course route. It's now one of the "must" races on my calendar.
    - ER

    ReplyDelete

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