Sunday, June 3, 2012

2012 New Hyde Park 8K race report

Crossing the line later than I'd hoped
Today's run (New Hyde Park 8K): 45:30

I ran the New Hyde Park 8K this morning for the fourth consecutive time. It wasn't a disaster, but it could have gone better. No PR today.

I'd done all the right things to prepare -- steady training, speed work last weekend, and two days rest prior to race day.  I wasn't feeling 100% yesterday, but I did some light upper body work followed by some core work that seemed to help. I didn't have a great night's sleep but I felt fine this morning. More rest would have been good.

The weather was perfect when we arrived at the Denton Ave. school where the race begins and ends. There was a little miscue with my registration and they couldn't find my race package. Fortunately, they did have my proper tag and bib number. The crowd seemed smaller than last year, but a quick comparison with last year's results shows there were slightly more people running today. But the feel of the race was different this year, lacking its usual excitement and energy.

Feeling okay after the start
We assembled for the start under sunny skies, I took a position about 20 feet behind the line. After one false start, we were on our way. I was looking forward to running this course and I felt fine for the first few minutes. I started feeling the effort soon after that, far too early in the race. Still, I had little trouble keeping up with the crowd. I was concerned about sustaining my present pace over five miles.

I came through mile 1 at 8:32 and struggled with a couple of small hills before the route spilled onto New Hyde Park Road. I wasn't even near the 2 mile mark when I began to struggle. New Hyde Park Road rises for a while before dropping ahead of the turn onto the service road for the Long Island Expressway. I stopped at the first water station and took water. Usually I'll slow down but keep moving, but in this case, I came to a standstill. That cost me at least 30 seconds, but I'm glad I did it.

The stretch along the service road was tough, but I held my pace for the most part. The shaded stretches were a godsend, but after coming up the hill leading to Shelter Rock Road, it was all sun. I had filled my gel flask with two Roctanes that I took between miles 3 and 4 and I believe they helped get me through the end of the course without a bonk. At mile four I was disappointed to see that my cumulative time was far behind my goal time. I was hoping I might (at least) come close to my prior finish times.

The last part of the course routes through a neighborhood leading to the field behind the Denton Ave. school. By the time I turned off Shelter Rock Road I was ready for the end and was visualizing the green field where the finish line is located. I wasn't struggling by the last mile, but I knew that this race would not go down as a great performance. I was disappointed to see the clock showing 45 minutes when I finally reached the field, and crossed the line at 45:30.

I'm not sure why today's run was so difficult, but I definitely wasn't on my game this morning. I averaged a 9:10 pace which I'd consider good on a training run, but I missed my target of running sub-9:00 race.

Rather than settling the score in 2013, I'm thinking that I might look for a different race next June. I don't have the same affection for this event that I have for some other races, and I'm primed for a new challenge. Still, I got a great workout and I was able to share the experience with my wife and kids. Every race can't be a personal best and I accept my performance without complaint. Racing is about challenging yourself, and today, it was a struggle. But at least I tried and I toughed it out. I win.

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