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

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Dirty Sock 10K is done - we sure had fun

( L-R) DaveADK, AG, Emerging Runner, Firefreak

Dirty Sock 10K Trail Run: 59:22 overall, 9:35 pace

It was touch and go with the weather this weekend and we were concerned that we'd be hit with thunderstorms that would render Belmont Lake Park a giant mud puddle. Adventure Girl came out on Saturday and, since the rain had held, we did a few miles at Stillwell to end our tapers. After a light dinner we ran some with my daughter and then we turned our attention to the race: the Babylon Village Classic Dirty Sock 10K. By evening we saw that the 40% chance of precipitation had been downgraded to 5% and went to sleep with high hopes of a dry course.

Happily that was the case for the most part and we arrived at the race location under clear skies. It was humid, to be sure, but the temperature was a reasonable 74 degrees. As we waited for the race to begin we noticed bagpipers playing near the entrance to the trails and lots of very fit runners stretching and preparing for the run. After picking up our race shirts and numbers my wife, kids, AG and I made our way up the trail to scope out the starting line. AG and I did a light run up the path to warm up and we found DaveADK, a Runner's World Loop friend who I ran with a couple of weeks ago. We found our place at the starting line and happily noted that the race organizers set things up to track the participant's actual start from the line. Every other race I've run has had a common start with the only measurement being total elapsed time. With a small field of runners it's not that critical to capture exact start because it's usually no more than ten seconds after the gun but this race had 555 finishers so it took almost a minute to cross the starting line.

AG, Dave and I started together and Dave was the first to break off ahead of us. AG stuck with me for the first mile and then took off to run her race. I probably cost her 30 to 50 seconds in overall race time but she graciously said that starting a little slower had helped her down the line. The course is relatively flat and the trail was mostly dry but there were a few wide puddles that required some maneuvering. I really started feeling the humidity as we made our way past mile 2 but I was determined to maintain a mid 9:00 pace for as much of the run as I could. I felt like I was doing pretty well until I saw the eventual winners pass us in the other direction about 20 minutes into the race. The guy next to me said, "well there goes my first place finish!" By the time I reached the north lake I felt fine about doing the remaining 3.2 miles but when I saw the path around the lake we needed to follow for the turnaround it made me think the worst was yet to come. The pack had thinned by that point and I found myself being passed and passing the same group of people. Miles three through five went by reasonably quickly but the last 1.2 miles seemed endless.

Once I heard the announcer calling the names of the runners as they crossed the finish line I knew I was close to the end and I put as much effort into my finish as I could. I saw AG standing near the trail exit and she cheered me as I passed. I crossed the line and saw my wife and kids right there and I felt great, tired, dizzy and hot as I walked off the remaining energy. I was feeling very light headed and cooled down with water and watermelon. I then met Firefreak, another Runner's World Loop friend. He was there with his girlfriend and had finished well ahead of me. I was happy to see him and Dave at the race, it made me feel great about the community of runners and the fact that there are some really good people in the runner blog community. I also like that they both encouraged me to finally buy a Garmin 405. My iPhone tracking application failed miserably today.

My family and AG went out (after some very needed showers) to a great lunch place in Bay Shore and we spent the afternoon in Port Jefferson before putting AG on the ferry and heading home. I was pleased to have maintained a 9:35 pace on what we heard was a tougher run than last year. It was my first 10K, first trail race and my first race with AG. My wife was an incredible race team manager and my kids were up at 5:30 AM with no complaints then or throughout the day. I completed one of my 2009 goals: complete at least four races this year. I'm on vacation this week and I feel great. I think I'll sleep well tonight.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Looking for some racing strategy

An reader sent me a note asking if anyone had blogged about strategies for the Dirty Sock 10K race (this Sunday, August 23) or the Great Cow 10K (Saturday, September 26). I'm running on Sunday and though I'm familiar with the course, having run it once already, it would be helpful to hear from others who have actually raced it. Similarly, the Great Cow Harbor 10K, in Northport, NY, is monster of a race and will include many elite runners.

If anyone has already run these races and wants to share perspective about the course please send some comments to this blog.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Dirty Sock 10K - progress and firsts

As I consider my race this Sunday I'm thinking about my running progress over the last year. It was just about a year ago when I saw the results from my annual physical and realized that I needed to make a fundamental change in my diet and activity. I am fortunate that changing my eating habits was a fairly easy effort. I had always eaten well but my meals were too large and I had too much sugar in my diet. I simply changed expectations about portion sizes and planned everything I would eat during and after a meal. The activity part was the bigger challenge because, with the exception of playing Wii with my kids on occasion, I rarely did anything close to exercise. I had always been an active person but in the past few years I'd become fairly sedentary. Rather than lace up a pair of running shoes and hit the pavement I understood that I needed to manage expectations for activity as well. My prior foray into running a decade earlier taught me to take a careful approach to fitness.

Looking back at my pace times last September I can see where I began to transition from primarily walking to primarily running. I can also see how my weight declined through September from its August high and I know that less weight led to a better experiences on the road and treadmill. I'll consider October 1st as the start of my return as a runner and I'm reflecting upon how, eleven months later, I'll be running in a 10K race. This race will be the fourth competition I've entered in the past five months. Eleven months ago it would have seemed unlikely that I would be able to do this run. I was considering distances over a mile a great success and when I started The Emerging Runner in November my best continuous distance was only 2.6 miles. So Sunday's race has a few firsts: My first 10K race, my first trail race and my first race with my running partner, Adventure Girl. My wife and kids are excited to be going there although an 8:00 AM start will mean a very early morning for everyone.

I don't really know how I'll do in this race. I ran the course at a modest pace a couple of weekends ago and was fairly spent after that. Races do supply a lot of energy and I won't be doing as much talking so I think I'll do better than I did that day. At least I hope I do. 6.2 miles is still an intimidating distance but its a length I've run before. I love the trails and I'll appreciate the shelter from the sun. I hope the weather is clear of rain leading up to the race because a muddy trail would add a lot to the effort. It really doesn't matter though, progress has been made.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Great talk, dirty socks

In preparation for the Babylon Dirty Sock 10K race later this summer I ran the course with a friend from the Runner's World Loop community, DaveADK (picture below), who lives close to the location of the race. Dave is an interesting guy with a really interesting background. He's been running about 18 months and knows the Dirty Sock course very well.

Before we started, Dave explained the way the race was organized, where registration is held, the location of the starting line (and finish) and also where to park. Having run a few races I appreciated knowing all that beforehand. We walked about a quarter of a mile into the park which served as a light warm up. Dave thought we should begin the training run at the stating point of the race so we proceeded to that area and took off at a moderate pace. The trails were mostly packed dirt, often wide enough across for three or four runners. There were many people out running, walking and biking, the temperature was comfortable and the tree cover prevented the sun from baking down. We encountered sections of sandy trail, some singletrack paths and a few that were paved. There were elevation changes but nothing too pronounced. I was grateful for that because the 6+ mile distance would have been a far greater challenge for me if it had the roller coaster terrain I encounter at Stillwell Preserve.

The time went by quickly, Dave is good runner and he graciously ceded to my pace that was probably 20-30 seconds/mile slower than he would normally run. He pointed out some important things about the course that will be good to know on race day. My runs with Adventure Girl have prepared me to chat while running and I did well considering the distance. At one point, when running underneath one of the highway trestles, we encountered a flutist and joked that the improvisational jazz background made it seem like we were characters in an independent film. We were about 1/4 mile near the end and Dave said this is the time to pour it on as practice for the race. Unfortunately my groin pull that always surfaces around the 4 or 5 mile mark prevented me from pressing my luck.

When we got to the end, Dave's Garmin 305 showed that we covered a little more 6 miles. My Garmin 50 was way off, perhaps because I recently replaced the battery. I'll calibrate it tomorrow when I run. The big disappointment was with my iPhone and MotionX GPS. Around the 3 mile mark I noticed the application was confused and had lost the signal. I'm not sure what actually happened after that but I ended up accidentally resetting the unit and losing the run history. As much as I'd hoped the iPhone would be a convenient alternative to a Garmin 405 I'm realizing that I still need the GPS watch. So back to the fund - $160 to go.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Expectations for my 10K trail race

I'm three weeks away from my first 10K and I'm having some anxiety about how well I'll perform. I've run 6.2 miles and longer in recent months but that isn't a regular distance for me. Lately my runs have been shorter owing to weather (hot, sunny, humid), available time and tough trail conditions. My Friday city run was exhausting and not quite five miles. I'll admit that I sabotaged myself by running on an empty stomach and ran out of energy near the end. Perhaps with more nourishment I would have been able to go all the way to South Ferry as originally planned but I'll never know. Saturday was a relatively fast run over 3.8 miles so I understand I traded distance for pace. Yesterday's four mile run in the heat and humidity had similar conditions to Friday's, the difference being I had a carb-rich breakfast an hour before I ran so I couldn't blame a lack of food on my performance.

The heat seems to affect me more than any other factor and the Dirty Sock 10K is due to start at 8:00 AM rain or shine. The combination of a a fairly early morning start, trail conditions that promise to be easier than Stillwell Woods ands the shade provided by the trees may just give me the boost I need to get through this race. In the meantime I'm going to concentrate on distance, perhaps running double my morning distance tomorrow and repeating that later in the week. I'm planning to meet another 10K participant on Saturday morning to run the 10K course. That will give me some familiarity and hopefully some confidence that I can perform credibly on race day.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Erase the Bethpage 5K, bring on the Dirty Socks 10K

Last night I went online to see if registration had opened up for the Bethpage 5K. This race, held at Bethpage State Park on 7/27, is one of a series of summer races held at state parks on Long Island. I know that participation in this series is high and that people who signed up for the entire series are given priority. The race planners expect so many runners that they've asked that people carpool to the event to minimize the amount of cars and traffic. They also said that single race registration for Bethpage would only open up the week before the race. When I got on the website to get information it said "No single race registration." So, unless that was a placeholder that will be taken down today it looks like I may be out of luck for next Monday. If I am unable to participate in the 5K it will be the first month since March where I won't be racing. I suppose I could count last week's Fun Run as my July event.
While I would love to do this 5K it would have required me to rush home early from the office and battle the crowds to make the 7:00 PM start. I think I have found a better challenge: the Babylon Dirty Socks 10K on August 23rd. This event was suggested by one of my co-bloggers on the Runner's World Loop and it looks very interesting. Most of the course is on trails and the topography is fairly flat so it could be a fast race. I have not yet competed in a 10K event so it's an opportunity to do that distance plus a trail race, both for the first time.
This also gives me about a month to prepare and train. What better excuse for me to hit the trails next weekend?

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