Running quote of the week

“We run because it makes us feel like winners, no matter how slow or how fast we go.” – Florence Griffith Joyner and John Hanc, Running for Dummies

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Hangover Fun at LIRRC Run in Eisenhower Park

Finishers gathering at the end
Today's run (LIRRC Hangover Fun Fun): 5 miles

Happy 2013. Early this morning, as I made my way along Hempstead Turnpike, I enviously noted some restaurants promoting New Year's Day brunches. Soon enough, friends and families would be gathering at these places for a relaxing meal, while me and a few hundred others would be running five, 1-mile loops around Eisenhower Park in the name of fun.

The posted start time for the Hangover Run was 9:30 AM, so I planned to get there fifteen minutes before. The temperature, including wind chill, was close to freezing. With neither registration nor number pickup, I had the freedom to show up far later than I would for a race. The organizers pushed the start a few minutes, probably to accommodate some late-arriving participants. After a New Year's style countdown we were on our way.

The Hangover is a group run that feels a lot like a race. But it isn't a race and that's what makes it fun. I proceeded at a pace that kept me with the crowd but, after a few minutes, I noticed the 6:00 pace crowd had broken off ahead. I was passed by a fair number of people through the first mile but I didn't care about that. I was enjoying the experience and feeling great running in the cold.

I completed the first mile in 9:28 and that was probably the fastest loop that I did all morning. I was slightly disappointed that I wasn't generating much speed because the effort was there. My heart rate was keeping close to my racing zone, and I didn't want to push any harder. On a few occasions, slower runners blocked the narrow path or ran a little too close for comfort. After a while the field opened up and I could run without those distractions.

It wasn't the easiest five miles I've ever run, but I didn't feel like a race. Halfway through the run I noticed that my Garmin wasn't recording my run so I needed to rely on the clock for my time. When I came past the timer for the fourth time, I saw that I was tracking about a minute behind last year's run. I thought about picking up speed for the last mile, but I decided to maintain my current pace to the end.

I crossed the line feeling like I'd had a good workout, but it wasn't the same as competing. Not surprisingly, I was warm at the finish. Soon enough, the cold air and my sweaty clothes started giving me a chill. I headed back to my car and made my way out of the park before the road got too crowded.

Like last year, it was great to start this new year with a running start. My wife did her run this morning as well, so we both have perfect records for 2013! Tomorrow it's back to work for me and back to school for the kids. It has been a great holiday break and I'll be happy to take a rest day tomorrow.

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