Saturday, December 17, 2011

Race report:Bethpage Ho Ho Ho Holiday 5K

32° at start time, I was tempted to wear the race sweatshirt
Today's run (Ho Ho Ho Holiday 5K): 3.1 miles - 26:06 (8:24 pace)

I wanted to finish up the year with a December race because I've never competed in this month. Not counting the Nissequoge Turkey Trot that I ran for fun on Thanksgiving, today's race was my tenth of the year. I had no idea of the scale of the Bethpage Ho Ho Ho Holiday Run, but there were well over a thousand people milling around when I got there.

Our weekends can be busy and today my daughter was hosting a holiday party for her friends. Due to that, I went solo, but I did see some people I knew once I got there. I received my sweatshirt after picking up my race number and dropped off some toy donations. After that I walked back to my car to attach my bib and store the race shirt.

It was 32 degrees when we assembled on Broadway and waited for the start. I tried to get closer to the front, but the masses of people prevented any further progress. Santa is the theme of this race and at least half the runners wore seasonal clothes with Santas and elves being the costumes of choice. I had no idea that Under Armor sold running tights in red and vivid green.

As expected, it took about three minutes before I could get up to my planned speed. There were so many people on the road I was afraid of tripping. In fact, I almost stumbled over an elf who cut in front of me just as I was about to zip by two runners.

With no chip sensor at the start, I thought my first mile split time would suffer because I didn't get to full speed until I'd covered a quarter mile. When we reached the first mile I could see the split clock, but with the crowd in front of me I could only see the two numbers to the right of the colon.The numbers were just rolling past :00 and I figured that meant 9:00, but in fact it was 8:00. That was a happy surprise.

Race course: twice around with a loop in the middle
I figured I'd keep the hammer down as long as I could and the flat course helped. Our route was basically a rectangle of wide streets with one small loop that diverted us through a neighborhood. We ran the rectangle two times and passed the Middle School twice. I would have liked a more scenic route but the lack of distraction helped me focus on my speed and form.

Since we did two laps around the course, I knew where we were when we reached the final section that diverted from Broadway into the school driveway. I sprinted the last tenth and crossed the line a few ticks past the 26 minute mark for an overall pace of 8:24. It wasn't a PR but it was my fastest 5K this year and I ended up in the top third rather than my usual middle pack position.

I congratulated a colleague from the office who crossed the line a couple of minutes after me, but I couldn't find a couple of other people who I'd hoped to see. I headed home soon after, rather than wait for the awards ceremony.

Later in the day, while the party was raging at home, my son and I went to Dick's sporting goods to get a requested item. While we were there I saw that they had the Kinvara 2's on sale for $59.00, an incredible bargain. I asked for a pair in my size and tried them on to confirm the fit and was disappointed with the feel. I ran around the show department "track" a few times and decided, bargain or not, the shoe didn't work for me. Oh well, the search continues.

Tomorrow I plan to do a longer run, very slow, to help me recover from today's intense race. This was a great event and I'll plan to run it again next year.

5 comments:

  1. The Ho Ho Ho is a nice way to finish the racing year. The turnout is always great. Congrats on your time.

    Next up is the NYS Winter Park Series in January. Cold, but an 11 am start on Sunday's and a smaller turnout than the Summer Series adds up to great running.

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  2. Thanks for suggesting this race as a year-ender. Looks like you rocked it, as usual. I looked for you but with 1,240 runners I couldn't find you guys.

    I was thinking about doing the Jan 1 Hangover run in Eisenhower Park. Are you doing that? The Winter Park Run Series is very appealing, I'll need to see how the races work with my weekend schedules.

    Have a great holiday!

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  3. There sure were a lot of runners! I was close to the front but on the side and I could not hit my stride until about a quarter of a mile after the start.

    Sometimes a slower start prevents too fast of a first mile and that can translate to a better finish. I find that I run my PR's in the fall and spring. Right now it is too cold for me to go all out.

    We won't be in Eisenhower Park on the 1st. We are in Suffolk so it is a bit far and too early after a late night. I need a good night's sleep otherwise I have no energy for a run.

    Enjoy the holidays and see you at a race in 2012!

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  4. Yes, Ho Ho Ho run was a nice way to end the year. Good running day, nice sweatshirt, good course. Only problem for me was the start. I was behind multiple layers of people who were walking or barely running, so I lost a lot of time, and so there was no reason to push it and go for a PR. Did 29:30 compared to 27:46 at Seaford Hot Chocolate run. But just enjoyed the race. My first road race was Cow Harbor this year. When I started training for it I could barely run a few blocks but after about 3 months running I made it through CH in 1:04 and change, and I have decided to keep at it. Lots of room for improvement and the feeling of accomplishment is great. Enjoy your blog a lot!

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  5. Hi Brian - that's just the type of story that I like to hear. 1:04 for Cow Harbor is impressive and your prior 5K time is great. Especially true for someone relatively new to racing.

    The Ho Ho Ho was really more about fun than competition. I'm looking forward to next year (and I'll make sure I'm as close to the front as possible for the start)!

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