Thursday, July 26, 2012

Race report: Corporate 5K

Registration check in. Sign those waivers!
Yesterday's run (Corporate 5K): 3.1 miles - 26:22 (8:30 pace)

I like to keep my running life and my work life separate in this blog, but every once in a while they'll come together. Back in June we had a summer picnic in Central Park and I organized my colleagues for a 1.6 mile fun run. Last night I participated in a 5K race that was put on by my company as part of a corporate wellness program. It was an interesting experience and a lot of fun.

This 5K consisted of employees from four of our corporate divisions that have offices in NYC. The company is holding 5K's in other cities for other divisions based in those locations. A group of us left the office for the 1 train that took us uptown to Riverside Park, where the race was being held. The registration process started out a little bumpy but they did get through the 170 or so runners (and walkers) reasonably fast. We were all asked to sign waiver forms even though we'd already done that online.

Pre-race warm-up
Before the race, the organizers had participants run through some dynamic stretching exercises. Soon after that, we assembled behind the starting line for the race. There were a few speakers who talked about the event, the importance of fitness and how our company is contributing to charitable causes that support this initiative. This went on so long that my Garmin turned off its GPS and I had to scramble to reacquire a signal before the start.

Our course was interesting. We started at 108th street and headed north about eight blocks before turning south. This turnaround put us on a secondary path that was, at different times, packed dirt and broken pavement, with lots of twigs and branches from the trees. I gingerly avoided those branches since I was wearing my very minimal Hattori's. There were a number of rises throughout the course and some were fairly challenging.

Our route took us by the river where we did a couple of out and back loops before heading north again toward the finish. This was my first evening race and I expected to struggle but I didn't feel much different than I normally do. The out and backs provided an opportunity to see my position in the race because I would pass the the leaders going the other way. At other times, I could see those who were behind me.

The race ended with a straight section of recently paved blacktop and I ran hard to the finish line. A number of us questioned the length of the course because our GPS watches showed it to be less than 3.1 miles. I looked at my run in Garmin Connect and saw that the signal had drifted in a number of spots. That usually accounts for distance loss since the GPS often "cuts corners" due to sampling frequency.

After crossing the line, we spent a few minutes recovering. After that we claimed our bags and headed back to the subway to get us to our trains and buses. Others stayed for drinks and hors d'oeuvres but most of just wanted to get home. I have to say that all my colleagues did well. KWL finished in the top 10% and FS also finished high. Everyone else came in around mid-pack, as I did. With the majority of runners in the 20-29 age category, I think we did just fine.

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