Showing posts with label 10K. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 10K. Show all posts

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Race report: 2013 Hope for the Warriors 10K

Seconds before the finish
Today's run (Hope for the Warriors 10K): 6.2 miles - 58:56 (clock time) 

I'm not sure that it signals a move toward improved performance, but I ran my fastest 10K of 2013 this morning at the Hope for the Warriors race. Although I'm pleased that I finally broke an hour, today's time was measurably slower than my two prior Hope for Warriors efforts. The upcoming Long Beach Turkey Trot will tell me if today's performance was positively directional.

Team ER on race tee and bib duty
We arrived early because my wife and kids had volunteered to work the registration area. Their job was primarily focused on handing out race tees, but they also handled some of the bib distribution. I spent much of my time trying to stay warm over the three hours between arrival and race start. I tried to find spots in the crowds that had direct sunlight.

Chillin' (literally) before the race
The wind was brisk and that contributed to the chill. I regretted my decision to leave my calf sleeves home. Beside their energizing effect, they would have provided some additional warmth. I also regretted wearing running shorts instead of pants. However, I was glad with my gear selection once I was running.  

The armed forces were well represented, as always
The 5K starts first and they line up those participants ahead of the 10K bunch. A few years ago, everyone started at the same time and it was a mess getting past the 5K walkers in the first few minutes. Now the 5K starts 15 minutes before the 10K and the road is clear until we catch up with the 5K tail-enders on Wellwood Ave. It was hard to find exactly where the 10K start was going to be. There was no mat to capture starting time, so everyone was tracked by clock time. My net time might have been a little more favorable were that the case.

At race start (directly to the right of the giant head)
Shortly before we started, I ran into the Petite Pacer. She went to say hello to another friend so I didn't see her again until I saw her come up the right side, moving swiftly. She had a great run today and a 10K PR. She was very kind to video me as I made my way through the final meters and over the line. I found her after the race and was able to introduce her to my wife and kids.

The Hope for the Warriors 10K course is the least remarkable thing about this race. It's a big box with few notable characteristics. Without scenery to distract me, I kept my mind on my stride but I purposely ignored my Garmin's display. I wanted to run the race by feel and perceived effort. I was surprised that there were no clocks or split announcers along the route. I did have a basic understanding of where the splits were located and that was reinforced by chirps from my watch.

The first two miles went by quickly and I felt like I was moving well. I ran the first mile under 9 minutes but I was in the 9:10 range by the three mile point. My performance slipped a little after that, although it improved once I cleared the on-ramp from RT 109 to Sunrise Highway. Coming up that on-ramp was tough and it threatened to take the fight out of me. I tried my best to maintain speed once I hit Sunrise for the last half mile.

Happy to be finished
Me and TPP who ran a great race
I wasn't sure whether I'd trained well enough for this race and my struggles in the late miles made me wish I'd done more base work. Overall, I was fairly satisfied with today's performance. I'll be interested to see how it goes in Long Beach, two weeks from today. Tomorrow is a rest day!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

No expectations, but plenty of Hope

Last year I participated in a race that was put on by my division's parent company. Before the race even started, one of my colleagues shared the tweet he planned to send after he finished. I told him that I never write my headline until I'm done with the race. Too many things can happen between the start and the finish lines. I don't know what my friend ended up tweeting, but I still hold fast to that policy. I ended up having a far different race experience than I'd anticipated that night.

Tomorrow is the Hope for Warriors 10K and I've set no expectations in terms of how I might do. I've done this event twice and have a good understanding of the course. Two years ago, I attained a 10K PR at HFW, after almost skipping it because I hadn't really trained. 2011 was a year of personal bests. I got a another PR at the Long Beach 10K Turkey Trot, just one weekend after Hope for Warriors.

This year has not produced many race highlights. My best performance came early on at the Long Beach 4 mile Snowflake race, where the Petite Pacer beat me over the line in an impressive burst of speed. Since then, I haven't broken a 9:00 pace in a race, even in 5K's. I'm going to run the best race I can tomorrow. As always, I'll wait until I finish before I compose my headline.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Race report: 2013 Great Cow Harbor 10K

See, some people finished after me!
Today's race (Great Cow Harbor 10K): 6.2 mile - (9:53 pace)

Another Cow Harbor race has come and gone. Just like the three that I'd run prior to today, I'm incredibly impressed by both the effort and the execution. It's a massive undertaking, with many moving parts. Cow Harbor relies on a well organized army of dedicated volunteers at every stage, and they make it one of the greatest races in the country.

The flow of a Cow Harbor morning has a certain familiarity. First you have to find the high school (I often miss that tricky left on Old Pine lane), find a parking spot (easy at 7:00 AM) and get on a shuttle bus. The ride from there to the Laurel Ave school takes me back to junior high (do we have gym today? I hope we don't have to run!). The walk from the bus to the school provides time to evaluate your level of energy and to gauge weather conditions.

Starting line an hour before the race
Every time I've run Cow Harbor, the heat and humidity have been a factor. However, before the start, it can feel chilly. I usually head into the building to maintain warmth and people watch and then go outside to get in line for the Porto's before they stretch as far as the starting corrals. I ran into some friends this morning who were also running the race, although I didn't see everyone I'd hoped to see.

Elite runner registration desk
I found my place in the 9000 section and made small talk with my corral-mates while we waited. After the playing of the national anthem the announcer started the first wave, that consists of elite and semi-elite runners. A minute later the 1000's went, and eight minutes after that, my group was unleashed. I never really know how ready I am until I'm actually on my way. Those first few minutes told me that I might have some problems today.

Scudder Ave is the first main component of the course and everyone talks about the temptation to run it full tilt because it's pretty much down hill. What I always forget is that Scudder starts out with a noticeable uphill, and today it felt difficult just getting past it. Uh, oh. If that was hard, how would I do on Bayview and James?

Once Scudder began to slope down, I felt some rhythm return to my stride. We reached Woodbine and then passed Main Street to big crowds and bagpipers. Bayview is mostly uphill, but mildly so, and I was doing okay, although I definitely wasn't feeling my best. I was amused when a spectator yelled, "You guys look great!" and the runner behind me yelled back, "Thank you for lying!" We all knew what was in store for us in a couple of minutes.

As I rounded the corner onto James Street, I thought about whether I'd like Cow Harbor more if this hill wasn't part of the route. In that moment, I realized that "Widow Hill" was the defining element of the race. Today it defined me as well.

I've prided myself in races past, on my ability to take James Street at a steady pace and make it through, sweating but unscathed. I really struggled this morning and was tempted to walk, but I never had before and I wasn't going to today. I kind of wish that I had, because it took me another half mile before I felt my strength return. I lost at least a minute off my overall race time as I worked back to race pace.

Coming down Ocean near Eatons Neck turn
I was doing okay at three miles and was delighted to see an ex-work colleague at the point where Ocean Ave meets Eaton's Neck Rd. I told her that I'd be coming through around 9:15 but it was closer to 9:05. She yelled, "You're doing better than you predicted!" Sadly, no. I just got the math wrong.

The rest of the race was a puzzlement. While I wasn't feeling my best, I was running credibly and attacking every downhill I could find to make up some time. Waterside Rd, with its long uphill slope, can hit you hard in the later miles of the race. I felt that I was maintaining my targeted cadence and speed and the split announcements made me think I was tracking for a mid-9:00 time or better.

There was no point in the race where I felt overwhelmed by the effort and I remained hopeful that I'd match or exceed last year's time. The last big challenge of the race is Pumpernickel Hill and I found it slightly tougher (and seemingly longer) than in past years, but I got over it and put everything into the remaining distance (about .9 miles). I didn't back off the throttle until I crossed the finish line.

When I looked at my Garmin and saw that it took me 61 minutes to get through the course, I was a bit disappointed. I couldn't understand why I missed my target, especially after the speed, hill and base training I'd done. At the same time, I was thrilled to have completed the race and managed an average pace within the nine minute rage (if just barely).

The thing about racing is that you can do everything to support your success but it all comes down to how you feel on race day. I'll admit that I've been tired this week and, in retrospect, I may have been better off not walking the hilly Bethpage trail for 80 minutes yesterday (although I enjoyed spending that time with my wife). My taper-ending five mile run on Wednesday could also have contributed. Today's shortfall may have had to do with other factors, like not enough sleep. I really wanted to hit 58 minutes.

After the race, Cow Harbor puts on a great finish line festival. It's like Woodstock for sweaty, emaciated people. I skipped all the carb snacks and flavored juice bottles and went right to the banana truck and then over to the Poland Spring truck. The band they hire to play is really good and the crowds, energy, music and harbor view reinforce that you are participating in something special.

I happily avoided the baggage check this year
I may have placed mid-pack, but I was the first one on my bus!
I ran into a few people I know who had also raced, and then headed over to the bus line. The transportation process is well managed and, without a long wait, we were on board. A woman who'd run the race for the first time today sat next to me and we talked about our favorite races on Long Island. Her son won the 2K fun run! I don't know if her husband ran the 10K as well, but I'm guessing he did, because the whole family looked athletic. She was a really nice and funny person and it was a great way to cap off my Cow Harbor day.

My next race will be the Town of Oyster Bay Supervisor's run in October. It's a 5K and the first half is a steady incline while the second half is equally downhill. The challenge doesn't match James Street, but I'll still have to train. In the meantime, I'll be taking a couple of days to recover from Cow Harbor. I hope my friends who ran it had good experiences today. No matter what, it's hard not to have a good time at this race.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Second tier race with a first tier price

Today's run (street): 3.3 miles

I got an email this morning from the organizers of the Long Island Festival of Races urging me to register for the events that will happen in early May. I've run the LI Half Marathon the last couple of years, so I'd consider doing it again. However, registration for that event closes in a week and I don't know if that's enough time for me to decide. I was thinking that the 10K may be fun to do as an alternative. I can always find another half to run later in the year.

When I looked at the Long Island Festival of Races website to register for the 10K, I was both surprised and amused to see that the cost is $37.00, plus a $3.53 convenience fee. What the heck is a convenience fee? Together, it will cost me $40.53 to run a second tier race. I apologize to those who disagree with that viewpoint, but the LI Festival 10K is just not in the same league as some other Long Island 10Ks. For example, The Great Cow Harbor 10K, Long Island's best race, has a registration fee of only $25. And no "convenience fee". I rest my case.

All of this was going through my mind this morning during my run around the neighborhood. The skies had cleared by the time I went out and the temperature had just nudged past 40°. I had plenty of energy, but I still felt a little stiff-legged. I wondered again whether I should have rested more after the race, or at least done some leg stretches. I enjoyed the workout, but never reached the point where my stride felt flexible. 

I'll give it a couple of days before I decide to spend the money for the Long Island 10K. I'll look for other 10K's around that time to see if there's a better choice. I only have a week left to register for this race. Considering the event doesn't happen until May, I don't find that very convenient.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

DIY 10K as November's race schedule shrinks

Today's run (street): 6.25 miles

Hot to Trot
For the past two years, November has been a big month for racing. Starting mid-month, I've run the Hope for the Warriors 10K and then the Long Beach 10K Turkey Trot the next weekend. A few days after that, I've run the Nissequogue River Turkey Trot (5K) that's held on Thanksgiving day. This race is really a fun run for me. I run it at my daughter's pace, while my wife run/walks the course with my son.

This year, things are very different. Hope for Warriors was moved back to October for reasons that I don't quite understand. It usually coincides with Veteran's Day but not this year. I was unable to make the new date this year because of a conflict in my schedule. That's unfortunate because I really like that race.

Long Beach, New York, took a beating during Hurricane Sandy. The boardwalk and the beaches were destroyed and the storm left thousands of people homeless. It's a tragic situation and the race has (of course) been cancelled.

So this leaves the Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving day and I'm happy to be running with my family. My kids are excited about it and even bought turkey hats to wear when they run. The Nissequogue course runs through the old former Kings Park Psychiatric Hospital that is being torn down. I'm curious to see if they'll change the route this year.

Since I wasn't able to run the Hope for Warriors 10K race today, I decided to do a symbolic run of the same distance. I first planned to run at Bethpage, but I saw on the website that the park is closed until further notice. I imagine that Sandy brought widespread destruction to the trees, paths and golf courses. I was left with little choice but to run locally and  set off in my neighborhood to complete my run.

I didn't run very well yesterday, but I managed to stay within my normal pace range. I felt much stronger today, but the numbers showed that my average pace was 15 seconds slower than yesterday's outing. The reason for that isn't obvious. While I wished I'd run faster, I was pleased to have covered my intended distance feeling great throughout my run.

I spent the first half of my run on the familiar roads of my main neighborhood before heading south to neighborhood #2 where I surveyed the damage from the storm. The LIPA trucks were scattered about, attempting to get the last 7% of homes back on the grid. I feel great sympathy for Sandy's victims, including those who remain without power two weeks after the storm. I'm hoping they'll get it back soon. Personally, I'm still  excited when I walk into a room, flip on a switch and see something besides the dark.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Race report: 2011 Run for the Warriors

Field of Honor near the 10K start
Today's run (Run for the Warriors 10K): 6.2 miles
Clock time: 56:05 - Net time (chip): 55:50

The Run for the Warriors race is in its 4th year and I've participated over the last two years. Last year I ran it in 56:23, which (at that time) was my fastest 10K to date. I had low expectations for today's race because I have not been running well this past month. Due to that, my weekly distance has dropped about 30% since the end of September. I'm pleased to report that I beat my performance expectations handily today.  I'm not sure why, but I'm happy that I did.

This race is all about those who serve in the military and the families that support them. There's a strong patriotic theme overlaying all the proceedings and the event feels both festive and serious.

The organizers did a great job, as they did last year, and they corrected a few things from the 2010 race that made it a better experience. First, there were twice as many Port-O-Potti's to handle the 2,000+ crowd than there were last year. People appreciated that. Secondly, the 10K race started before the 5K this year. That prevented much of the congestion we experienced last year, caused by the side by side walkers who blocked runners that started behind them. It was still crowded at the start with just the 10K runners, but it was much better this year.

Like last year, the pre-race program involved the acknowledgment of the soldiers who serve in the armed forces and the local service people who'd lost their lives in battle. It was an emotional scene with family members that lost loved ones running in their honor.

Starting the 10K race with a shout to my family
The race started at 9:30 AM and that caught me by surprise because the website said the 10K start would happpen at 9:45. Luckily, my daughter was paying attention and she rushed me to the line just minutes before the starting gun sounded. Suddenly we were off and I was was about to discover whether I had the fitness to compete today.

I had taken a GU Roctane gel twenty minutes prior to the start and I felt good as we began to move. We all started slowly due to the crowd. That was fine with me because my original plan was to start slow and pick up speed if I felt I could maintain a faster pace. By the time we reached the off-ramp on Sunrise Highway, leading to Wellwood Avenue, I knew that I had enough in reserve to get through the race. My original goal was to run this race under 62 minutes and I thought I had a good shot at that.

The course is flat and probably more downhill than uphill. I passed a fair number of people on Wellwood, but I also got passed by more than a few. There were two soldiers doing the entire race on their hands and feet and that looked really hard. I felt badly for them but they were doing it in symbolic solidarity with their overseas compatriots.

We passed the first mile and I saw that I was pacing at 9:02 and worried that I was going too fast that early in the race. I felt good so I maintained that pace and, before I knew it, we had taken the left onto E. Hoffman Ave. This road parallels the LIRR tracks and it had been resurfaced since last year's race.

The smooth blacktop was an excellent surface to follow and at the 2 mile point I was cruising. I really felt like I was floating. I managed to catch up to a few runners and pass them and I kept encountering a group of soldiers who were running together in line, stopping every mile to do a series of push-ups. Must be great to be in that shape.

When we turned north onto Great East Neck Road that intersects with Route 109, I had another Roctane gel. I didn't really need it then, but I wanted some extra energy for the remaining three miles. I took some water to wash it down and, when we hit 109, I was feeling well fueled.

I'd come through the 5K point at around 28 minutes and was looking for the 4 mile marker along the northern road. By this time I started to think I might finish with a decent time. The following minutes were unremarkable and I wondered if I'd already passed 4 miles when my Garmin chirped. I was amazed to see I'd just passed five miles!

I saw the sign for the exit onto Sunrise Highway that confirmed that I was on my last mile. I was running well but the off ramp had a long steep rise and I felt some strain for the first time in the race. Before long we were heading down the ramp onto Sunrise and race volunteer yelled "Almost there, just a half a mile to go!" As always, that last half mile seemed longer than it should, but when I saw the big flag and the crowds along the road I kicked into finish mode.

100 feet to the finish line
About 100 feet prior to the line, my wife and kids stood cheering and this gave me the impetus to push even harder at the end. The clock said 56:05 when I finished, but my net was 13 seconds less. No big deal. Either way I was just north of the 9:00 mark but my goal prior to the race was to stay below 10:00. I made that goal for sure and felt very strong after the race. I guess my conditioning was better than I'd judged it to be.

It was great surprise to run this race that I almost skipped because I thought I wasn't ready to do it. I give my wife credit for convincing me to run the race regardless of my performance. Next weekend is the Long Beach Turkey Trot, another 10K. I'll go into that with greater expectations but, like today, I'll run my race based on how I'm feeling and see how it goes.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Ready or not, I'm racing tomorrow

It's less than a day until I line up for the Run for the Warriors 10K and I'm curious to see how I do. I don't have high expectations for a record setting performance, although I do have a finish time goal. I'll reveal how close I come to that, after the race.

I'm usually primed for competition the days before a race and (if I've followed my training plan) reach my peak on race day. Last week's seven mile run confirmed that I'm out of practice for distances greater than than 5 miles. I don't know how I'll be feeling when I pass that point but (at least) the effects from my flu shot and my semi-cold seem to have passed.

This morning I ran through my favorite set of core exercises. It's a light workout that won't do much, but it might help a little. Tomorrow I'll start slow and pick up the pace as I go along, aiming for negative splits for the second half. That may be a little ambitious, but it's a strategy. It's been a busy Saturday but I did get some extra sleep last night. Will proper rest and feeling healthy translate into a good run? I'll let you know tomorrow.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Veteran's Day, Warrior's weekend

Last year's finish
It just occurred to me that the date for the Run for the Warriors 10K on Sunday isn't random. This race, held on the Sunday closest to Veteran's Day, is an inspiring event. When I signed up last year I imagined it to be the typical Long Island local race, with ~500 runners and the usual low-key staging I'd come to expect from those events.

When we arrived on race day, I was astounded to see the large crowds, a rock band playing and tented grounds that were impressively decorated with a patriotic theme.

Last year there were about 2,000 runners split between the 1 mile, 5K and 10K distances. The 5 & 10K races started together and we split our routes after a mile or so. There were many servicemen and women running in their fatigues. One group of Marines opted for matching tees and shorts and others wore dress uniforms and carried their flags as they ran.

The most impressive runners were those soldiers who carried full packs and ran in combat boots. I'm guessing this was to show solidarity with their brethren overseas who were on active duty. One soldier clearly demonstrated that point by running with a full sized dummy dressed in combat fatigues.

Overall, the race was great, but two things I hope they do differently this year is expand the area for parking and provide more than five Port-O-Potti's for a crowd that numbers in the thousands.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Passing the test

Today's run (street): 2.5 miles

Today's run was an acid test for me. I wanted to gauge my fitness for next Sunday's race to see how I felt coming off a difficult seven miler with one day's rest. I probably dressed too warmly for the weather but the distance was short so I avoided overheating.

I started at an easy pace, though not as slow as Sunday's, and increased my speed as I went on. By mile one I was running at my 10K goal pace and my last half mile was 30 seconds faster than goal pace. I didn't feel especially strong and my stride was not fluid, but I felt on track to compete. I'll sign up today for the race and train the next two days. I'll follow that with two day's rest prior to Sunday's race.

Monday, November 7, 2011

I have a decision to make

The switch to daylight savings yesterday was a welcomed change. It made only one hour's difference but it allowed me to sleep a little longer on Sunday and still get out early for a long run. The whole day seemed longer, as did the entire weekend. This morning the train station was no longer swathed in darkness like it had been over the past few weeks. I only wish it was this light out at 4:00 AM.

Yesterday's run was plenty tough for me and I'm seriously reconsidering my plan to run a 10K race next Sunday. For no single reason, I've been off my athletic game over the last month and have not run particularly long distances on weekends. I usually cover 10-12 miles on weekends, but that average has dropped 30% since September.

I'm going to think about whether to run the Hope for the Warriors 10K or use next weekend to help me prepare better for the 11/20 Long Beach Turkey Trot. I may have disadvantaged myself yesterday by not refueling during the run that took over 70 minutes and that could account for my near bonk. I'll make a decision today so I can know how to conduct this week's training.

There was an interesting article in yesterday's NY Times about Lauren Fleshman, a 5,000 meter champion, who ran the NYC Marathon to help improve her short distance competitiveness. She talks about the need to change up training to achieve significant progress. I liked this quote: “At 30, I’m not going to get dramatically better doing the same thing.”  It made me think about my own training and what I really can expect to get out of the workouts I do, week after week.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Slight concerns for my 10K readiness

Today's run (street): 3.25 miles

I would have like to cover more distance this morning but I had an early appointment that limited my running time to about 30 minutes. It was 38° according to News12 when I prepared for my run and I bundled up with long pants, long sleeved shirt, a hat and gloves. I worried that I'd get too hot at some point but with only thirty minutes on the road I stayed fairly comfortable throughout my run.

Yesterday's performance was sub-par and that workout served only to keep continuity in my schedule. I felt a little pressure when I went out today knowing that this weekend is the last time that I can train at any real distance for next weekend's Hope for the Warriors 10K. I am still feeling under the weather so I compromised on intensity and focused on maintaining a pace that was roughly between my daily run pace and my targeted pace for the 10K.

I had no mechanical problems with my stride and felt no fatigue, but I wasn't at the level I want to be on race day. I followed an extended version of my usual course and thought about form and cadence. The run began to feel harder at the two mile mark and this concerned me because that is only a third of a 10K. I decided to ignore the difficulty and worked to maintain speed by using arm swing to increase leg turnover.

In the end I achieved my pace goal but I still have some concerns about the fragility of my six mile base. A longer run tomorrow should give me a better sense of my readiness. I'm looking forward to watching the NYC marathon tomorrow and that will help motivate me to cover some distance. I have a few friends who are running the marathon for the first time tomorrow and I'm hoping that they have great experiences. Knowing how hard a half marathon can be, I admire them very much.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Sitting at the top of the bell

Running with the fast pack yesterday was bittersweet. On one hand I was thrilled to be maintaining a pace that was almost two minutes faster than my recent training runs. My elation was mitigated by the steady flow of runners catching up and passing me throughout the race. As I ran I thought about how these people were able to glide by me so easily while I was running fairly hard. I wondered how many I would find walking along side of the road during the last miles of the race. That was the case at both the Dirty Sock and Cow Harbor 10K's. As it turned out, there were few people to pass, even at the end of yesterday's race. It was a fit bunch of runners on the boardwalk.

Race results typically group in a bell shaped curve with a small segment of the fastest and slowest runners on each tail. With one exception, where I placed second in my age category, I've usually been the person sitting near the top of the bell. I'm actually fine with that because I'm only racing myself. When I came over the line I was happy to know I'd likely PR'd but also hopeful that Dave, who finished well in front of me, also had a better time than last week (he did). I think the strategy of running easy and long with some tempo runs in the mix is the best approach to date. My pace at the halfway point in yesterday's race was 8:36 but I lost 2 minutes on the second 5K. If I can maintain my speed across an entire 10K I'll have a chance of achieving another PR at that distance. No matter what, I'll still be at the top of the bell, but happily I enjoy the view from there.

Monday, November 15, 2010

A good race for many reasons

I always enjoy the day after a race because it gives me a break from running and a chance to think about the day before. One of my 2010 running goals was to PR in a race and I accomplished that yesterday. I am pleased with achieving that goal and I give due credit to the following:
  • Flat course
  • Perfect weather
  • Sufficient rest
  • Prior focus on building up my base
  • No injuries
  • Compression gear
  • Prior 10K's run on trails or on a very hilly course (Cow Harbor)
  • Positive attitude throughout the run
I was happy to average 9:05 per mile, a pace I hadn't matched since September. I would have liked to break 9:00 but I'll take what I got. You always want to leave something for a future PR. As well as I did compared with my last 10K, I still finished mid-pack. I think that due to the conditions many people had a good race day on Sunday. Next weekend I'll have a chance to challenge my 10K PR at the Long Beach Turkey Trot. I'm not focused on another PR though. If I can enjoy next Sunday's race as much as I did yesterday, that's more than enough for me.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Hope for Warriors 10K race report

Shot of the runners at the 10K start

Today's race (Hope for the Warriors): 6.2 miles at 56:23 (9:05 pace) UPDATED

Heading over to the start
I ran a good race today but I can't tell you how good because the race organizers haven't yet posted the results (see above update). Apparently there were some problems with the system used by Finish Line Road Race Technicians who managed that aspect of the race. This event was larger and grander than I'd expected and during the the pre-race ceremonies they said that over 2,000 people were participating. The crowd had grown large by the time acknowledgments were given to the men and women who serve in the military and to the families that support them. There were many active soldiers on hand and many of them participated in the races. This event had three race distances: 1 mile, 5K and 10K. At 9:30 AM, instructions were given to head to our respective starting lines and I met up with Dave as we waited for the gun to sound. Given the size of the crowd it looked like it took me 1:23 just to reach the starting line so I'm hoping they'll list net times in the results.

Dave went out ahead of me and I'm thinking he finished a couple of minutes faster that I did. The first mile was crowded because the 5K starters were sent ahead of us and there were lots of people walking abreast forcing runners to weave in and out to get a clear path. By the first mile things opened up as the walkers faded to the back and the 5K runners split off to the left to continue their race on different roads. I wore my compression pants and compression calf sleeves and though I did get a little warm in the legs it didn't affect my performance. Actually, I think it helped because I maintained a good level of energy throughout the run. Much of that is due to my recent focus on longer distances that are helping me build a better base. The weather must also be credited, it was sunny, dry and cool. Really perfect conditions for a race.

Seconds from the finish
I passed a lot of runners even on the 5th and 6th mile. By the time I reached Sunrise Highway I was looking forward to seeing my wife, my kids and the finish line but through the run I never had a "This is too hard" moment. When we came off the ramp onto route 27 one of the policemen yelled "You're almost there, the finish line is under the big flag!" In the distance I could see the flag and I reserved my final kick until I came into target range. Unfortunately there were two huge flags and the one I thought was the finish was actually positioned where I stood at the start. I did my best to keep my brisk stride knowing I had about a minute and a half more running time to get to the real finish. Very soon I saw my family along the side and I high fived them right before I crossed the line.

Me and Dave post-race
The display at the finish was off to the side so I didn't see my time when I'd actually crossed the line.  I'm a little nervous that the race organizers will say they lost the results. I hope that's not the case but either way I know I PR'd for 10K and that's great. It was a fun and inspiring event with soldiers carrying flags, field packs, and in one case, a dummy soldier on his shoulder. Next year I hope they provide more than five Porto-potties, far too few for the huge number of participants. Overall, it was great time and gratifying to participate in an event that benefits so many deserving soldiers. I'll post my finish time once results are posted.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Core values preparing for Sunday's 10K

Today's workout (hand weights and core): 20 minutes

I wasn't ready to fully rest this morning so I did a light upper body workout with weights and then completed a cycle of the "Lolo Jones" core exercises. These exercises were featured in an article I'd saved from Runner's World in 2009. It's a fast workout but I usually feel good after I do it. I looked at the Run for the Warriors course this morning and saw that it's a big rectangle with lots of straightaways. I understand that it's a relatively flat course and that will be a relief compared with the hilly terrain of the Cow Harbor race in Northport.

The temperatures should be in the mid to high 50's at 9:30 AM when the race is scheduled to start. I think I have my gear selected: Nike compression pants, Zensah calf sleeves, Brooks Rev-T jersey and my Saucony Kinvaras. Five months ago I would probably have chosen the Grid Tangents or the Brooks GTS 10's but I've really come to appreciate the performance of Kinveras as both a training and race day shoe. According to Dave who has previously run this race (and will be running it again this year), tomorrow's event will be inspiring as it honors veterans from all wars and features many veteran's groups. We are big supporters of those who provide service to the country and are glad to participate in an event that generates so many donations for veterans.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Running your own race

Watching the NYC Marathon yesterday got me thinking about the 10K I'll be running next Sunday. Many of those marathoners who went out in the later waves probably hadn't reached the 5K mark by the time the women and men's winners had crossed the finish line. To the outside world, the race ended with the elites but for the 45,000 others on the course the race ended hours later. When you're pounding away for position among the crowded field the only race that matters is the one you're in. Every race provides an opportunity for success: completion, a PR or just participating in the experience provides a great reason to do it. I can't wait to hear from FS on her experience.

I'm not sure how I'll do next Sunday. The 10K distance has never yielded great times for me in competition. My hope is to come in under an hour and, ideally, pace below 9:20. I'll probably finish my taper with runs on Tuesday and Wednesday at very easy paces and I'll complete my pre-race activity on Thursday with an elliptical session. I plan to run the best race I can without concern for those who cross the line in half the time it takes me to finish.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Will geek appeal get me to the race?

Today's workout (elliptical): 25 minutes

I forgot to set my alarm this morning and slept about 15 minutes later than I usually do. Feeling tired and knowing this late start would cut into my workout, I briefly considered skipping exercise altogether. Thankfully guilt prevailed and I ended up spending about 25 minutes on the elliptical. It was sufficient to raise my heart rate and make me sweat. Other than that I can't remember a thing about it.

Tracking tag that's built into the bib
My racing plans have been on my mind lately. I'm still on the fence about whether I will do the RXR LI Marathon 10K the first weekend in May. I enjoy racing and I do believe it helps push me to higher levels of conditioning than I would reach were I solely a recreational runner. The thing is, I just raced a couple of weeks ago and I really just want to take a few weekends to get out and have fun on the roads and trails. It's different when preparing for a race where every run is about preparing to meet performance goals. On the other hand I've only competed in one 10K, a trail race, and I'm curious to see how I'd do in a road race at that distance. I did the LI Marathon 5K last year so the 10K would represent progress, or at least a new experience. I should be able to run 6.2 miles competitively right now without a lot of race-specific training. I have until Sunday to decide. That's when registration closes. They have a new system where your race number is also your tracking tag. The geek in me is really intrigued by that. It may be enough to get me to the starting line.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Is it too early to think about Thanksgiving?

As I'd expected, yesterday's snowstorm delayed my train commute home. There was a lot of snow on my car when I got to the station and I had to climb in through the passenger side because the driver's side door was frozen shut. You might think that all this would get me down but I was too excited by an email from my wife telling me that our town is planning to hold its first annual Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving day.

I haven't been able to confirm details but I did see it listed on the town's Chamber of Commerce website. The site didn't list the distance or whether they will offer multiple races but I'm hoping there will be a 10K because that distance would align with my 2009 running goals. If it's anything more than 6.2 miles I don't know if I could be ready in time. Right now I'm focusing on getting through my upcoming 4 mile race. I know I can handle that distance but anything over that is fairly intimidating at this point.

Unless it's a half marathon or more (highly doubtful since my town isn't that big!) I'm going to enter the Turkey Trot. After all, what fun would running be without a big challenge once in a while?

Monday, February 2, 2009

Running resolutions at the 8% mark

Today is Groundhog Day which means little except that January has come and gone. Given that it's February 2nd, we are already 8.7% through the year. I thought I would take a look at my progress against my 2009 running goals to see how I've done.

1. Participate in at least four local races.
Not achieved but that's okay. I'm training for two upcoming races in early spring and (barring injury) I'm expecting to beat this goal by year's end.

2. Run a complete 10K course (individually or in a race). This is achievable but probably not until the second half of the year. I'm averaging about 3.25 miles for my longer runs and my best distance so far this year has been 4.4 miles. I haven't been pushing too hard to regularly reach 4 miles but that needs to happen soon. Running 6.2 miles isn't crazy when I consider that I've already run 70% of that distance. But I just couldn't do it today.

3. Run three miles under 8:40/mile.
I think this one will be tough. I'm told by experienced runners that simply running in a race helps your pace. I guess it's the adrenalin rush or keeping up with the other runners. An 8:40 5K pace would be great but I'd be pleased with 8:59.

4. Incorporate one rest day into my weekly training schedule.
I have not taken any rest days but I am incorporating two non-running days into the week. On Mondays and Thursdays I do about 25 minutes on the elliptical machine in the morning. Not exactly rest but I don't consider elliptical work equal to running in terms of effort.

I'm also doing core a few days a week and will be integrating more upper body work into my routines. I'm also thinking about adding some of the forms from my old Uechi-ryu training. I haven't done much with that since I achieved shodan rank.


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