Saturday, October 13, 2012

Race report: 2012 Oyster Bay Supervisor's 5K

Big crowd, 70 more runners than last year
Today's race (Oyster Bay Supervisor's 5K): 3.1 miles 
25:58 - 8:22 pace

When running a race, it's always good to be familiar with the course. I tend to do better the second time I run a particular race, as I did at today's 2012 Town of Oyster Bay Supervisor's 5K. I came very close to achieving a PR this morning, but ended up falling short by eight seconds. Still, I did break 26 minutes, if only by two seconds.

I arrived a few minutes after 8:00 for the 9:00 AM start. The temperature was a chilly 35° and I was concerned about parking too far away from registration. I was counting on parking close to the starting area so I could stay warm in my car before heading to the line. I ended up parking at the high school, which was a quick three minute walk to the registration area.

Registration went well, just like last year. The race shirt was actually a sweatshirt, this year's in grey with blue and black graphics. I returned to my car to pin my bib and fuel with Accel Gel. I headed back up with 15 minutes to spare and lined up near the start. On my way there I was passed by a runner who tripped on a loose cable while doing strides. Fortunately, his spill onto gravel didn't diminish his spirit and he was up and running seconds later.

For some reason, a large crowd of runners had assembled in front of the line, perhaps because the area had a lot of warming sun. The race starter announced that people needed to move behind the line, and a big wave of people pushed us back a little. The starter then asked that the front area be reserved for 6:00 pace runners.

The guy in front of me turned and asked (not in a nice way) if I ran 6 minute miles. I didn't answer him, but I did make sure that he saw me when I passed him going up Berry Hill Road. So there were 630 nice people at this race and one jerk. That's a pretty good ratio.

The race started right on time and I looked forward to attacking the long hill that would eventually give way to an equally long downhill stretch. I felt great from the start and the cold air helped a lot. I wore a long sleeved jersey, shorts and compression sleeves on my calves. It was the right combination of gear and I was comfortable throughout the race.

Since I was familiar with the hill, I knew where I was when we passed the 1 mile point. I came through in 8:30, over 30 seconds faster than last year. I had trained on hills and it was paying off. Berry Hill Road becomes a little steeper at the one mile mark, but I knew that and was prepared to work harder. I was surprised how many people I was passing on the hill. I almost finished in the top third today (okay, it was the top 39% percent) but that's better than my usual spot, exactly in the middle of the pack.

Once the turn onto Sandy Hill Road came into view, I knew I'd have some relief. I was careful to remember that I still needed to keep pushing for that last mile and a half. The downhill stretches did help me recover and I felt like I was running as fast as I could while still maintaining a safe stride. The last thing I needed was to overrun my turnover capability and take a spill on the course.

At around the 2 mile mark, my friend BL came up on my side and said hello. He's a great example of how discipline and hard work can deliver amazing results. Two years ago BL was twice the size he is today, but he started walking, and then running, and he hasn't stopped since. He races almost every weekend and is now faster than me.

The course takes a left turn onto East Main Street where the downhill ends and the road rises. It actually felt good to be climbing again. I was able to tap some surprising energy as I surged along the final quarter mile. The clock said 25:01 when I passed the 3 mile mark and I hoped to make it to the finish in 48 seconds to secure a new PR. Unfortunately, it took me almost a minute more to cross the line.

I felt great at the end and I didn't care that I'd missed a PR. I caught up with BL who broke 26 minutes for the first time today, finishing almost half a minute before I did. I was happy that he achieved a PR. He certainly earned it.

This is a great race because it gives as much as it takes. The long hill is a great challenge but manageable with training. I realized today that I should probably focus on downhill technique which would have helped me today. Still, no regrets. My next race will be the Run for the Warrior's 10K in November and I'm excited to start training for that. But for now, a little rest today and a long recovery run tomorrow will do just fine.


  1. This was a great race, with a great turnout. There were some really good finishing times. The hill was hard, but not close to has hard as I thought it was going to be. The view along the route was very nice and made the run a lot of fun.

    All around a great event! Hopfulyl next year they can add a kids fun run to it.

  2. I'll agree and say it's one of the nicest small races on Long Island. The course is beautiful and it gave me a reason to do some much needed hill training.

    A kid's run is always fun. I saw a lot of kids competing yesterday but a shorter distance (like 2K) would be great for younger kids and newbies.


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