Showing posts with label New Hyde Park 8K. Show all posts
Showing posts with label New Hyde Park 8K. Show all posts

Sunday, June 3, 2012

2012 New Hyde Park 8K race report

Crossing the line later than I'd hoped
Today's run (New Hyde Park 8K): 45:30

I ran the New Hyde Park 8K this morning for the fourth consecutive time. It wasn't a disaster, but it could have gone better. No PR today.

I'd done all the right things to prepare -- steady training, speed work last weekend, and two days rest prior to race day.  I wasn't feeling 100% yesterday, but I did some light upper body work followed by some core work that seemed to help. I didn't have a great night's sleep but I felt fine this morning. More rest would have been good.

The weather was perfect when we arrived at the Denton Ave. school where the race begins and ends. There was a little miscue with my registration and they couldn't find my race package. Fortunately, they did have my proper tag and bib number. The crowd seemed smaller than last year, but a quick comparison with last year's results shows there were slightly more people running today. But the feel of the race was different this year, lacking its usual excitement and energy.

Feeling okay after the start
We assembled for the start under sunny skies, I took a position about 20 feet behind the line. After one false start, we were on our way. I was looking forward to running this course and I felt fine for the first few minutes. I started feeling the effort soon after that, far too early in the race. Still, I had little trouble keeping up with the crowd. I was concerned about sustaining my present pace over five miles.

I came through mile 1 at 8:32 and struggled with a couple of small hills before the route spilled onto New Hyde Park Road. I wasn't even near the 2 mile mark when I began to struggle. New Hyde Park Road rises for a while before dropping ahead of the turn onto the service road for the Long Island Expressway. I stopped at the first water station and took water. Usually I'll slow down but keep moving, but in this case, I came to a standstill. That cost me at least 30 seconds, but I'm glad I did it.

The stretch along the service road was tough, but I held my pace for the most part. The shaded stretches were a godsend, but after coming up the hill leading to Shelter Rock Road, it was all sun. I had filled my gel flask with two Roctanes that I took between miles 3 and 4 and I believe they helped get me through the end of the course without a bonk. At mile four I was disappointed to see that my cumulative time was far behind my goal time. I was hoping I might (at least) come close to my prior finish times.

The last part of the course routes through a neighborhood leading to the field behind the Denton Ave. school. By the time I turned off Shelter Rock Road I was ready for the end and was visualizing the green field where the finish line is located. I wasn't struggling by the last mile, but I knew that this race would not go down as a great performance. I was disappointed to see the clock showing 45 minutes when I finally reached the field, and crossed the line at 45:30.

I'm not sure why today's run was so difficult, but I definitely wasn't on my game this morning. I averaged a 9:10 pace which I'd consider good on a training run, but I missed my target of running sub-9:00 race.

Rather than settling the score in 2013, I'm thinking that I might look for a different race next June. I don't have the same affection for this event that I have for some other races, and I'm primed for a new challenge. Still, I got a great workout and I was able to share the experience with my wife and kids. Every race can't be a personal best and I accept my performance without complaint. Racing is about challenging yourself, and today, it was a struggle. But at least I tried and I toughed it out. I win.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Creature of (racing) habit

Crossing the line at last year's NHP 8K
This year I'm running a few races for the forth consecutive time. One of those races is the New Hyde Park 8K that takes place tomorrow morning. Long Island, where I live, offers numerous racing events, mostly 5K's, between March and July. Every time I attend a race I'm handed fliers (or I find them on my windshield) that promote an upcoming race. But for some reason I find myself running in the same races every year.

I suppose this has something to do with the comfort of knowing what to expect from the experience. It also helps that I get to know the course a little better with each race. The NHP 8K is a nice, well organized event with a fast (if unremarkable) course. The first time I ran it, in 2009, I went out too fast and almost bonked around mile 4. Last year was a much better experience.

Running the same races, year after year, has its benefits (including the fact that it provides a way to benchmark performance), it's also fun to try new events. Last year I ran the Town of Oyster Bay and Ho Ho Holiday runs (both 5K's) for the first time. These races were worth repeating and I plan to do that this year. I'd like to try a new race this year, but I'm not sure where or when I could fit another into my schedule. After all, I'm not going to give up my Cow Harbor or Dirty Sock weekends for anything else.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Self doubt at the end of my taper

Today's run (street): 2.5 miles

If this morning's run was a typical training workout, I would have been pleased by my performance. I pushed my speed somewhat, ran well and ended up pacing 20 seconds per mile faster than normal. So why complain about that? While I concede some performance due to the time of day (4 AM), I was hoping to finish this morning's route a full minute faster than I did.

I was speaking to my friend CK yesterday and mentioned the 8K on Sunday. I told him my goal target for time and pace and he said I should do that easily. Easy for him to say, he can run 7:00 miles any day of the week. When I was running this morning, I felt like I could push it another 10%, but after that it would be a challenge. When I returned to my house at the end of my run, I questioned whether I could even sustain the pace I'd run today over double the distance.

Last year I averaged 8:40 per mile for the ~ 5 mile NHP course. It was both a PR and a great surprise, since I'd paced 9:00 the prior two years. I've run well in races this year and did some speed work over the weekend, but I haven't done a run greater than 5 miles since May 19. I'm hoping the energy of race day, plus two days rest, decent weather and a performance mindset, will help me reach my goals on Sunday.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Race report: 2011 New Hyde Park 8K

An 8K PR for the ER
Today's run (New Hyde Park 8K): 5 miles at 8:40/mile

As they say, the third time's the charm and that was the case for me after today's race. I had hopes of beating my prior finish time of 44:42 that I ran in both 2009 and 2010 and I certainly did that. Last year I went out much slower than the prior year and picked up my pace later in the race. That resulted in a better experience than 2009 (when I went into energy debt by mile 4) but my time ended up exactly the same. But that's ancient history -- the better story is today's race.

Form doesn't always follow fashion
Although my wife and kids try to join me at every race, for some reason they could not attend prior to this year. It was a great psychological bonus to have them with me today. We arrived early and were able to park at the school, unlike last year when I needed to park some blocks away. I saw many familiar faces, this is very much a running club race, and I knew that it would be a fast field. The scene was familiar and, per tradition, the race tee was, umm, aesthetically interesting. But it is 100% polyester so I can run in it.

Registration was well organized, as usual
We watched the mini run for kids and then made our way towards the starting line. I was feeling good and my Hattori's felt light on my feet and ready to race. What had started out as a cool and cloudy morning had turned sunny. Thankfully, it still wasn't all that hot. I took a GU Roctane gel 30 minutes before the start. I also carried a small bottle of water in case I needed to refuel near the end of the race and wanted some hydration along with the gel.

Off and running
We started on time with a field of almost 300 runners. I hit start on the Garmin 210 and took off quickly, happy to see my family on the sidelines. I felt good knowing that I'd see them again in about 45 minutes. I had prepared well for this race -- two day's prior rest, a reasonable taper, core exercises the day before, my favorite gel in my system and adequate hydration before the start. Plus my excellent Craft running shirt and those Hattori's.

When my Garmin chirped at mile one it took me by surprise. Interestingly, the FR 210 indicated that mile a few 100ths sooner than the official mile station. I've been a little suspicious of the measurement of this course because my Garmin FR 50 and 60 always over counted and my prior mapping of the course on Google Earth put it a tick longer than 5 miles. Since the GPS never over counts it makes me wonder a bit.

More importantly, I felt great after mile one and that continued as we headed north on New Hyde Park Road. Mile two comes along the service road on the LIE and I found myself passing people instead of being passed (as was my experience last year). I was still feeling strong at the third mile and decided that I didn't need an additional gel to get me through the duration. By mile four I knew I was on track to beat my prior time but knew I still had another mile to cover. I went against instinct and surged on the uphills, surprised to find I still had energy when I got to the top.

When we turned into the neighborhood that backs the school I knew I just needed to maintain a decent pace to finish under nine minutes a mile. I was feeling good until a race volunteer yelled "Just over half a mile to the finish!" For some reason that made it seem like I had more distance to run than was in my head but I knew that soon it would be less than a half a mile.

I finally saw the yellow street sign and green lawn of the school a few hundred feet ahead. At that point a young woman pulled beside me and said "This is it" before dropping into gear and leaving me in the dust. I kept up my charge and when I hit the lawn I sprinted toward the finish line. I noticed my son and daughter running on the sidelines in my direction and I looked for my wife who was getting ready to photograph me crossing the line. It was the first time I ever got a picture of me finishing that race (top photo).

My Garmin recorded the race as 5.05 miles and I'll take a look at the route it captured when I upload it on Garmin Connect. I knew I beat my prior time and was really happy to see that I achieved a pace that I'd even consider good for a 5K. After grabbing some water and walking off some post race energy I checked the posted times and verified that I had a new PR.

I was very happy to meet another runner, Paul (below right), who told me that he's an Emerging Runner reader. Paul was running in Saucony Mirages and they worked for him, helping him to a sub 7:00/mile finish. Amazingly, Paul had raced the previous day and he told me that he races about once a week. No wonder he's so fast! I was really glad he stopped to talk and I'll look for him at other races, but I know I won't be able to keep up with him once the gun goes off.

Two runners: one fast, one emerging
I'm very pleased with today's race for so many reasons. It was my best race performance this year and it reinforced to me that my training and preparation are on track. I loved the Hattori's and I don't want to run in anything else now. I don't have any more races on the calendar until the Dirty Sock in August but I'm tempted to find a 5K to run in July.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Achilles scare

8K race = 4.97 miles
Today's run (street): 2.5 miles

With this morning's run I ended my taper for Sunday's New Hyde Park 8K. This race, that I'll be running for the third time, represents an interesting challenge. In 2009 and 2010 I finished with exactly the same clock time despite running two very different races. The 2009 race was extremely difficult for me because I went out hard from the start and paid for it later. Last year I went out at a moderate pace and tried to maintain a steady speed throughout the run. In the end it worked out the same although it was far more enjoyable to run steady than to almost flame out at the 35 minute mark as I did in 2009.

I decided to follow my typical route this morning and my run was fine but, at the start, I had a slight feeling of soreness from my Achilles. This made me concerned that I was not quite ready for daily runs in the Hattori's. I kept my pace moderate and hoped that when the tendon warmed up the pain would disappear and that's pretty much what happened. I have no residual soreness as a result and it could have simply been one of those early morning aches and pains I get due to my sleep position.

Now it's time to rest. I'm always tempted to run after I've finished my taper and I'll miss my lunchtime run in Central Park tomorrow. I may indulge in an easy bike ride on Saturday but I won't push it any further than that. I'd like to beat my previous time for this race but I may not be able to do that. I'll be satisfied with my time no matter what, as long as I did the best that I could.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Taper week run

Today's run (street): 2.5 miles

Since I'm tapering this week I decided to forgo my usual post-weekend rest day. Although I did get out for a bike ride yesterday, I was disappointed that my planned run was cut short due to the weather. Between Friday and Sunday I'd ran a total of 13 miles, two of them as speed drills. It was mostly quality miles and it provided me an opportunity to get used to the Hattori's that I plan to wear during next Sunday's 8K.

The big mistake I'd made prior to my half marathon was over-training the week before my race taper. To prepare for that distance I'd done two 8+ mile training runs, some rigorous cross training sessions and a number of other miles. I ended up with a sore knee or IT band (still don't know which it is) that plagued me through the half. Until recently, the soreness was still making some of my runs difficult.

A Hattori's best friend
 Today's run was my typical weekday workout, 2.5 miles. I'm very pleased with the Hattori's so far, having done two 5+ milers in them. I think I'll be fine in them for Sunday's race. Yesterday I bought a pair of Wigwam Ironman triathlete socks (thin, seamless, wicking, stretchy) that work better with the Hattori's snug fit than standard running socks. I'm hoping that the rain holds off tomorrow morning when I go out for my penultimate taper run.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Workout canceled

I wasn't sure about this morning's weather so I'd planned an elliptical workout in case it rained. When I got up I decided to take an ad hoc rest day instead. No real reason for that except that I got a late start this morning and didn't want to disrupt my schedule. I'm sure my knee won't mind. I just noticed that the New Hyde Park 8K is happening the weekend after next. I'm hoping to beat my 2009 and 2010 race times (which were identical) this year. Even if it's only by a second.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Race report: New Hyde Park 8K

At least the t-shirt was different this year

Today's run (New Hyde Park 8K): 44:42

I ran my third race of the year this morning. It was the second year in a row that I've run this race. Last year I ran it in 44:42 for an overall pace of 9:00 per mile. This year I prepared well for the race, rested two days prior and wore my new Saucony's that have proven to help my performance. Last year I struggled to get through the race and this year I felt good and thought I'd managed a fairly competitive pace. Despite my preparation, greater familiarity with the course and feeling very strong I still finished the race at 44:42. Exactly to the second what I ran last year.

Pre-race check- in
I arrived an hour before the race and they had already blocked off the parking lot at the school so I had to find a place to park on a nearby street. I checked in and was happy to see that the bib number was kinda cool looking and the race t-shirt  was nicely designed. The shirt I received last year was so garish and yellow that my wife forbid me to wear it out of the house. No problems with this year's t-shirt. I wore my new Brooks running shirt and that served me well. I also wore my Saucony Grid Tangent 4's that I really like but they didn't seem to give me a speed benefit.

I have to admit that I'm a little suspicious of the course distance. According to my Garmin the course length was 5.32 miles. That is .35 miles longer than an 8K. I checked the Garmin calibration on Thursday with the Tangents and it was accurate to less than 1%. I'm puzzled why it would suddenly be off by 6.5% - an unusual variance for a device that's usually within 3% accuracy even without calibration. I Gmapped the course and came up with 5.1 miles which is about 3% longer than 8K. Nonetheless, I fully accept the NHP Runner's Club's measurement as well as my time. It's just that if the course was actually 5.1 miles I would have broken 9:00 per mile. Oh well!

Although I wanted to do better than 2009 at least today's effort proved that I'm consistent. I don't have another race on the schedule yet but I'm fairly sure I'll run the Dirty Sock 10K again in August. It was nice to run this race today in the middle of a busy time at work. It's hard to be stressed after giving your all for 44 minutes and 42 seconds. Besides that, I got a cool t-shirt!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

A weekend for racing

This is a racing weekend, not only for me but for my colleagues FS and MO who participated in the NYRR Mini-10K this morning. No word on how they did, but I'm hoping they both had a good time. It was cool and dry this morning on LI and I hope that was true for NYC when the Mini-10K started. According to, at the start of tomorrow's race temperatures should be in the low 70's with a 40% chance of precipitation and 81% humidity. Not exactly ideal for a fast run but you can't pick your weather. Clouds and light rain surely beats having the hot sun bearing down on you.

I've been feeling slightly guilty for not running on Friday because I took an extra rest day on Wednesday. There's a lot happening with work so getting some additional rest was appreciated. Tapering is a valid method of preparing for a race and I need to keep that in mind. Tomorrow will be a busy day so I'll be doing the race without Team Emerging Runner. It doesn't matter, I just need to get there early so I can park close and stow my gear while I'm running. I'm really looking forward to the run. After a busy and demanding week of work and a tougher one to follow, I can briefly forget everything except for my goal of covering 8K as quickly as I can.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Race day Sunday: may the best me win

Today's run (street): 2.6 miles at 8:44 per mile

Despite my racing I'm really not a competitive person. When I line up for a race I sincerely hope the other people run well and when someone finishes ahead of me I am happy for them. But there's one guy I really want to beat this weekend. He's a year younger than me but I'm a year smarter than him. Last year he went out too fast and finished too slow and I plan to do the opposite on Sunday. I think I'll have some other advantages this year. I know the course ahead of time and I'm planning to wear my Saucony Grid Tangent 4's that seem to perform better than the other guy's Brooks GTS-9's. We'll see how it goes.

I'm not sure I'll run tomorrow. I may do an elliptical session or just rest for two days. This morning's run was one of the best I'd done in the last couple of weeks. Conditions were ideal at 4:00 AM. The air was cool, the skies were clear and I felt more rested than I did on Tuesday. I knew I was moving faster than normal, helped along by the Tangent's, and the first mile came faster than I expected. That's always good. There's a way of running when everything is working together and I had that this morning. I felt a bit like I was running my whole route downhill. I regretted my limited time today and wished I had another 20 minutes for my workout. I know I'll need to deal with sun and more heat at the race but I'll be mentally prepared for that. It would be great to have some cloud cover on Sunday morning but I won't count on it. That other guy better watch out.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Smartening up for Sunday's race

Today's workout: Rest day

It was a beautiful morning today in Washington DC, the temperature was 65 when I woke up at 4:00. I looked out the window just as the sun was coming up to see two runners making their way along D Street. How I wished to join them! Unfortunately my schedule was too tight today to do any running, but next time I return I plan to do a few loops around the National Mall. I've reconciled my missed opportunity by acknowledging that I usually rest on Mondays anyway. Technically I'm tapering for an 8K I'm planning to run this coming Sunday.

I'm excited to be racing again for the first time since early April. I blew it on my last race, arriving the day after the event. This time I'm pretty sure it's on the 13th and since I've pre-registered and pre-paid I'm going to pay a little more attention to the details. Last year I ran the New Hyde Park 8K with no understanding or expectations of the course. I started fast and did about 8:25 for mile one and went downhill from there. The course isn't challenging in terms of hills but there are a few elevated sections. I recall the moment I knew I had overstepped my conditioning, I was on a section of road heading east when I started getting passed by other runners. I can remember the sound of approaching steps as one, two, three and more runners ran by and though I tried to speed up to hold them off I just couldn't sustain it. The fifth mile was brutal although I did manage to put enough energy into a final sprint that kept me under nine minutes for pace. Barely under: 8:59.

I have not run too strongly in the last week and my pace numbers reflect this. I had been hitting 8:40 fairly often and I'm almost a minute behind that of late. The good news is I don't really care. I'm judging the value of my runs by my level of satisfaction rather than purely by performance. However, I do want to beat last year's pace on Sunday and finish feeling stronger. I guess I'll need to run smarter as well.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Racing through spring

Today's planned run: Central Park

I'm feeling rested after taking a break yesterday. I'm hoping that this will translate into some good running today and over the weekend. I'm planning to run again with my friend in Central Park at lunchtime. It should be 70 degrees by noon with lots of sun. Oh, for the want of a shower in my office!

It's amazing that tomorrow is already May 1st. This year is going by quickly and I attribute much of that to spending a good part of January recovering from pneumonia. It's like I lost a month. But spring is here and the weather has been nice for outside activities. I'm thinking about my racing plans between now and summer. Right now, I've got three events in my sights:

The Brooke Jackman Run for Literacy 5K - May 16
A local race in mid-May. It's a run/walk so my family can also participate.

The XTERRA Trail Race Series 8K run at Stillwell Woods - June 6
This is the second Stillwell XTERRA race this year. I did the first in March and it was tough. Add 1.5 miles  to that course and you have the June 6 race.

New Hyde Park 8K - June 13
I ran this race last year and learned my lesson about starting too fast. I bonked 2/3 of the way through the course but still ended up with a sub-9:00 pace (just barely).

This would mean I'd be running three races in one month's time. It seems like a lot but I do those distances as training runs every weekend. The XTERRA is the biggest challenge and until recently I thought I wouldn't be up for it. I will do what's necessary to be ready to run it by the 6th. After all, racing is a great way to train for other races.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Racing decisions for May and June

Today's workout: Rain delay

I wasn't surprised to see pouring rain when I woke up this morning. All the same I was very disappointed. I'd held out hope that the weather reports would be wrong and that the storm would miss Long Island. No such luck. My issue with running in the rain comes from wearing glasses. A light rain is really no problem, it's sort of like driving through mist. But when the rain starts to come down hard it's windshield wiper time. Since my glasses don't have wipers, running through rain can be very disorienting. I'm surprised there isn't some rain protection invention for runners who wear glasses. I guess corrective goggles or using contact lenses would be my only choices. Neither option is too appealing.

The weather reports are indicating intermittent rain this afternoon so I may luck out for running later. I had hoped to run with a friend earlier this morning but it was just too wet at 6:00 AM. He and I are planning to try again next Sunday since I've decided not to do the RXR 10K race next weekend that would have conflicted with that. I may run one of the local 5K's taking place later in May or just skip this month for racing and focus on racing in June. There's the XTERRA Trail Series 8K at Stillwell on June 6 and the New Hyde Park 8K on the 13th. The Stillwell #2 race would be my toughest racing challenge to date. Stillwell #1, held this past March in the ice and snow, was very difficult even with the course cut down to 3.5 miles due to trail conditions. I ran New Hyde Park last year and struggled with pace, clocking in just under nine minutes per mile. I'll need to decide which to run in June. Maybe I'll run both.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

The race is run: 8K - 53 yards = 9:00/mi

I'm happy to report that this morning I completed my third race in as many months. The race distance was 8K (53 yards short of 5 miles) and it really pushed the limits of my stamina. I've regularly run 5 or more miles over the last six months but usually at a comfortable (non-competitive) pace. I did well through most of the race but I did find myself questioning this whole running thing at one point. I'll get to that further below.

Now that I've experienced racing a few times I know better what to expect. I arrived early to ensure a good parking spot and to allow enough time between check in and the start of the race. Despite my concerns about the planning (online registration was not enabled until the week of the race) the event was well organized and check in was orderly and efficient. I got my number, timing chip and t-shirt and got myself set up. I was alone so I stowed the non-essential items in my car and then did some stretching and warm up exercises. There were a number of people doing warm up runs but with the sun and the 65+ degree heat a warm up did not seem necessary. Most participants belonged to running clubs and there were many of those. Each club seemed to establish a base camp where they stood around and talked as we waited for the start. I was one of the odd men (and women) out but I chatted with a few people. I even showed another runner how to attach his timing chip and that made me realize that I'm no longer a complete newbie.

We began lining up about ten minutes prior to the start. I stayed on the sidelines where there was some shade as the sun was already bearing down at 9:05 AM. When I did get into place I was behind 30 or 40 other runners. Once the starting horn sounded we were off and, with the crowd ahead, it took me at least 15 seconds to pass the starting line. My plan was to start fast so I had to maneuver around some slower runners to get a clear area for running. I was pleased with my pace and very happy when I passed the display at mile 1 which showed 8:25. The course was balanced between hills and downhill stretches. I'd guess that overall it was balanced neutral to downhill. There were no killer hills but there were a few stretches where I had to put my head down and just push on for a distance. I was still tracking below 9:00/mi after mile 2 and, like the 5K in May, the time between miles two and three seemed to go very fast. I must have started to lose speed after the third mile because I had managed to hold off from being passed until then. I even passed a number of other runners after the second mile but as I headed toward mile four I got passed by at least five runners. I tried to maintain some speed on the downhill sections but I wasn't feeling all that strong and started "borrowing" those stretches for recovery from the hill segments.

The last mile was the hardest and I seriously felt like I couldn't maintain my pace too much longer. It felt a lot more like suffering than fun at that point. There were many people cheering as I got close to the finish and all the volunteers who were passing out water along the route were very gracious and encouraging. I felt slightly more energized once I saw the green field ahead that told me the finish line was close. Once I reached the grass I gave it everything I had and sprinted the final few hundred feet and noted that I had finished at 44:42 which meant that I beat 9:00 per mile.

Except I didn't...

When I looked at the posted results near the finish line I was disappointed to see that I ran a 9:00 overall pace and it hit me that the 8K course was 53 yards shy of 5 miles! I started thinking about the crowded start and the fact that I probably would have beaten 9:00 if my starting position was closer to the line. But that's an excuse, if I'd maintained the same pace for the last mile that I'd run for the first 4 I would have made my goal. It was my conditioning that prevented that and now I know that I have to train better for longer distances. I can only be grateful that it wasn't a 10K!

Despite not beating 9:00/mi I'm happy that I came as close as I did. The post race experience was a blur. I remember having a banana, an orange slice and a bottle of water and I tried to keep moving to allow my heart rate to drop slowly. I was happy with the race I ran but I know where I need to improve. I've emerged a little more. So what's next?

Saturday, June 6, 2009

13 hours to the start

As I edge closer to 9:15 AM on Sunday I'm thinking a lot about tomorrow's race. Although this is the 32nd running of the New Hyde Park 8K there is very little information about it online. I haven't found any course maps or even a course description. One source, an experienced LI runner with whom I interact on the Runner's World Loop, described the course as fairly flat. He's not able to do the run himself because he has an EMT service obligation. Based on what he's said I'm assuming that it will be a fast course.

Unlike the other two races I've recently run, there is no pre-race day check-in so I'll be heading over early for that. I'm hoping the event is well organized and they get everyone checked in efficiently. I'm planning to run this race without my wife and kids attending and I'll need to time my check-in so that I get my t-shirt and/or goody bag back to my car in time to line up for the start. I've selected my race gear and I'm feeling about as ready as I can be. I'm wearing my Brooks GTS 9's that I bought the day after my last race and they have felt great. I'm hoping that I have good energy tomorrow morning. Five miles may be a standard length for my weekend runs but I haven't yet competed at that distance.

My race strategy will be to go out fairly fast for the first mile but to conserve enough to get me through the next four. AG taught me that I should use downhills to push speed and I've done that on my last few runs with good success. I'm worried how I'll feel around mile 3 but that will depend mostly on the course and the heat. I'm concerned that I won't be able to maintain my targeted pace over 5 miles. I'll soon know if my training strategy has worked.

I'm hoping that I get good rest tonight. We spent today doing family things and the closest thing to athletics was helping my daughter learn to skateboard. I took a rest day on Thursday and felt very strong on my Friday morning run. I'm betting that today's rest will help but it's still the longest distance I've had to cover in a race.  I'll let you know how it went!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Rest, rain, rest, run!

I had high hopes for a pre-work day run in Central Park this morning. I'm trying to optimize my readiness for my race on Sunday and I took yesterday as a rest day. I planned on a final training run today before resting again tomorrow. We had rainy weather this morning and while I actually enjoy running in the rain I didn't think it would be nice to spend the rest of the business day looking like a wet dog.

As I headed into the office I was disappointed to see the rain was coming down lightly but steady. I figured that I'd have to put off my morning run until later in the day. I made my way over to AG's office and she was already dressed for running. I tried to convince her to run later but she pointed to her calendar which showed meetings throughout the day. She said she was going to run with or without me so I gave in and changed into my running gear. It was rainy as we ran up town to Central Park but the air felt nice and cool. We started our timed run on the south end of the park and did one circuit around the lower loop which measured 1.76 miles. We ran at a fairly fast pace (8:30 overall) and I was happy that I was holding my own with AG - at least most of the time. Lately I've inhibited the pace when we've run but I think running in cool weather in the morning, for less than 2 miles, really helped. With our slower paced run from our office to the park we covered a total of 2.5 miles and it was a great final run before Sunday's 8K.

My concern that I'd look spent and soaked for the rest of the day was unfounded and I was very happy that AG shamed encouraged me into running despite the wet weather. I wish I could run in those same conditions on Sunday but the reports are saying 65 and partly cloudy. Come to think of it, that's not too bad either.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Pre-race rest

I'm still a racing newbie and while I have competed a couple of times in the last two months I'm not convinced that I have figured out the best strategy for optimizing my readiness prior to race day. I'd decided to take two rest days before my 4 mile race in April. The idea was to aid my recovery from the harder than normal training program I had been following. I ran a good race that day and despite a few killer hills I kept my overall pace at 8:50 per mile. The second race, in May, was a 5K on a flatter course and I decided to push my training a little more and my rest a little less. I only took one rest day the day before and ended up averaging 8:33 which pleased me to no end.

This Sunday's race is my longest yet, 8K/5 miles on an unknown course. I have not had too many sub 9:00 runs at distances greater than 4 miles so I'm not really sure how I'll do. My goal for the 4 miler was to break 9:00 and I did. My goal for the 5K was to break 8:40 and I did. My goal for Sunday is to do better than 9:07 which seems to be the best pace I've attained for 5+ miles in the last couple of months. If I can beat 9:00 I'll be happier still.

I'm enjoying a rest today although I could easily have run a couple of miles. I woke up with little leg and knee soreness (icing and compression helped that) and thought one more day of rest can't hurt. Saturday will also be a rest day if you consider back to back appointments at the eye doctor and dentist restful. Then it's race day. I'm hoping for the best.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

A penultimate pre race run

I took the day off today and sneaked in a longer than normal week day run. I'm in taper mode and wanted to get one more 3+ mile run under my belt before Sunday's 8K. Like other times when I've run during the work week morning I was cautious about sharing the road with cars and school buses and I stayed on the sidewalks more than I normally do. Sidewalk running has its own risks, especially when you encounter buckled or broken sections. But compared to a steady stream of cars making their way to the local school and landscaper's trucks maneuvering through the streets it's a better way to go.

I gave myself a quarter mile to work out the leg stiffness that remains on my right side and then focused on keeping my pace steady and brisk. I felt good and the weather was cooperative so I expected that I'd end up pacing below 9:00 minutes overall. I was a little time pressed and needed to return home within 35 minutes of departure so I knew I'd probably run less than 4 miles. I purposely kept the Garmin in time mode rather than pace or distance. I wanted to see how I would run if I concentrated on speed without knowing how much distance I'd covered or what speed I was running. As I came upon the last segment of my route I tried to run faster, lengthening my stride and quickening my cadence. I finished and saw that I'd covered 3.6 miles at 8:54/mile. I was happy that I broke 9:00 but I'm still wondering why I'm not in the 8:30 range at this point. Oh well, I plan one more run on Friday and perhaps I can again push the speed and get ready for a faster pace on Sunday.

I will soon announce a new section/site related to the Emerging Runner that focuses on running technology: Runner's Tech Review. The first review will cover the Moji knee icing wrap which I am wearing as I write this. AG field tested it with her team during her recent Patch Sprint mountain race. I am also starting to work with the QStarz GPS Sports Recorder and will report on that soon.

Stay tuned for lots of new stuff on including "Running Gone Wild" and, every week, "Sedentary Man."

Monday, June 1, 2009

8K's a week

It's getting down to the final days leading up to my 8K race on June 7. It's hard to believe that it's already June 1st. You wouldn't know it this morning with temperatures in the 40's in the suburbs east of NYC. It's too early to count on the long range forcast for next Sunday but the race starts at 9:15 AM and I'm hoping the humidity will be relatively low at that point.

I've decided to taper my workouts this week, starting yesterday with a shorter (but faster) 2+ mile run. I covered the distance at an 8:50 pace which compares to the 9:07 average I ran in May. Knowing that it would be short I kept up my speed throughout the run and benchmarked distance from the Garmin against known waypoints on my route. I saw that the Garmin was undercounting my progress so I ignored the readout and just followed the route I'd Gmapped prior to the run. In all, the Garmin was off by 5% and I manually adjusted the watch so it should be accurate now. I followed my run with some time in the pool where I did kicking exercises that, combined with the cold water, helped my quad soreness.

This morning I did 22 minutes on the elliptical as a weekend recovery workout (totaled 12.5 miles between Friday and Sunday). Tomorrow I plan to do a weekday run outdoors using the vest and head lamp I borrowed from AG. I'm taking off Wednesday so I hope to do my last long run before the race and follow that with a rest day on Thursday. Friday morning I hope to do a relatively short city run with AG to finish the taper and rest on Saturday.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Giving in to low tech

During the check-in for my 5K race there was a man handing out flyers for the New Hyde Park 8K race that's scheduled to be held on Sunday, June 7. The race is only a few towns away from where I live and my wife encouraged me to sign up. Although the application says you can register online at the site is still set up for 2008. I tried to find more information online but everything kept pointing back to the New Hyde Park Runner's Club website. I started wondering if the event was even going to happen and I was concerned that with no online registration there would be few people participating. The race is nine days away and although I have been training for it I started thinking that it might be a good idea to start looking around for another race.

As it happened, I tried one more time to find information and saw a link to the Runner's World Racefinder. The listing had contact information, including a phone number, so I called and spoke to Harold Axelrod who told me the race is very much on but their website is having problems. I asked him how many runners he expected for the race and he said 350 to 400. That sounded good to me. Harold offered to send me an application but I already had one in paper form. I told him I'd send it in and he wished me well in the race.

I'm excited that I'm back on track for this 5 mile race. I've been running about 20 miles per week over the last month and have been focusing on both pace and hills. The race starts at 9:15 on the 7th and I'm hoping that the sun won't be too intense at that time. Tomorrow AG and I are planning a long run along the Hudson (weather permitting) with a goal pace of under 9:00/mile. She's just had two consecutive weekends of highly intense competition and this will be her first run since the Patch Sprint. I'm looking to cover 12-15 miles between tomorrow and Sunday, perhaps starting with 5 or 6 on Friday.

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