Showing posts with label Oyster Bay 5K. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Oyster Bay 5K. Show all posts

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Race report: 2012 Oyster Bay Supervisor's 5K

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Hitting the hills in my guestroom

Elevation gain: first mile and a half
Today's run (treadmill): 25 minutes

Another rainy morning put me back in the guest room on the treadmill today. As I edge closer to my mid-October race, I'm beginning think about the challenge of running long hills. The first half of the Town of Oyster Bay Supervisor's 5K looks scary on an elevation map, but having run it last year I know that the length mitigates the grade of the hill. I do recall seeing people struggling along the way, but I kind of liked that section.

Last year I prepared for the lengthy rise by running repeats of the hill at the top of the Bethpage bike trail. Four times down and four times back up equaled four miles and a good workout. Now that Bethpage's bike trail is extended north, there are two more challenging hills that I can use for practice. Their lengths aren't anywhere as long, but one hill is impressively steep.

This morning I used the incline feature of my treadmill throughout my run and noted the way it affected my heart rate. It seemed like a 1% increase in elevation yielded a higher response than a commensurate increase in speed. By the end, I got my heart rate into zone 4 territory. Next time I'm on the treadmill I'll focus more on incline and less on speed. That should help, at least until after the race.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Race Report: Oyster Bay 5K

A sweatshirt as a race shirt - very nice touch!
Today's run (Town of Oyster Bay Supervisor's 5K): 3.1 miles (26:52)

Do you know what I like about racing in the fall? Everything. What could be better than a cool, clear morning, sunny skies and no humidity in the air? Answer: all that plus trees with leaves turning from green to gold. That was how I felt as I walked toward the registration area off East Main Street in Oyster Bay this morning, just prior to today's race.

I don't do too many 5K races. I actually prefer to compete in 10K's because I like the strategic balancing of speed and stamina over 6.2 miles. But 5K's can be a lot of fun because they allow you to push harder without having to worry about having enough left by the end. Today's race worried me a little because I knew that the first 1.4 miles were mostly uphill. I trained for that and actually looked forward to the challenge, but I'd never run this course and I really didn't know what to expect.

Registration was a snap, people were well organized and the volunteers were very kind and gracious. The woman who handed me my race shirt - a nice quality sweatshirt actually - wished me good luck and I knew that she meant it. The acid test for any race is how well they plan for pre-race requirements (Porto-Poti's). There were a number of them available, which kept the lines short, even as we got close to start time.

I headed to the line about ten minutes before the 9:00 AM start and ran through some dynamic stretches. The crowd was thickening and I thought I had positioned myself fairly well towards the front. Looking behind me, I saw that I was more than 3/4 of the way toward the back. I figured I'd either pass people to gain position or I wouldn't. Based on results I think I probably passed a quarter of those ahead of me, by the end.

230 miles later
It took me 12 seconds to cross the start line after the gun and, unfortunately, there was no starting line sensor to record those of us who lined up farther to the back. If there was a sensor, I would have recorded a time of 26:40 for an 8:36 pace. My official pace was 8:39, so not that much different and still under 8:40. I think I ran it pretty hard, because after the race I noticed that my Hattori was ripping at the top.

The first third of a mile took us along South Street and then right on Berry Hill Road where the street begins its uphill stretch. We continued up the aptly named Berry Hill for over a mile and I was able to gain some position. I passed a number of runners who were struggling with the elevation at that point. About halfway up this road I realized that I wasn't struggling with the hill at all. In fact, I was actually enjoying myself.

I encountered the first mile split sign along Berry Hill Road, that read 9:08. I knew that I had another half mile before we turned on Sandy Hill Road that would take us back into town for the finish. I knew the steepest part of that road was still to come, so I prepared for it and tried to maintain this pace until I reached the top.

When the turn came I was certainly relieved but still thinking that I was having fun. One of the spectators yelled "Hard part's over!" and I hoped that was true. We immediately went into a downhill charge that set the stage for the second half that was primarily downhill. I appreciated that but downhill running still takes a certain amount of work. But yes, it's much easier than running uphill!

I came through mile 2 at 18:00 which meant that I made up time from my mile one pace. I hoped to continue that progress as we bombed along Sandy Hill Road, past houses with people cheering at the end of their driveways and a construction crew who were doing a big excavation. I wondered when we'd be making the turn onto Main Street and suddenly I noticed runners taking a sharp left that signaled that I was close.

East Main had a short hill and on the way down I saw my parked car. That told me I was close to the finish line. Seconds later I saw the 3 mile split sign showing  26 minutes and I dropped down a gear for the last tenth of a mile. When I was within 100 feet of the line, a teenage boy tried to pass me on my right to beat me to the finish. I increased my pace and beat him over the line by a second.

There was plenty of water, juice, electrolyte drink, bagels, cookies, energy bars, fruit and even gourmet cupcakes waiting for us at the end. I had water and some electrolyte drink but just about everyone else had a softball-sized cupcake in their hand. Nicely done, my complements to the race organizers.

My family couldn't join me this morning because of activities related to my son's birthday but they were all excited to hear how things went when I called. Having parked on the road that led to the finish line, I needed to wait another 25 minutes for the last runners to finish before I could start heading home. It was fun to sit in my car and see these runners and walkers going by. It's hard work no matter when you finish and I admired the efforts of these people as much as those who crossed the line in less than 20 minutes.

This was a great race and I look forward to running it again next year. Next on my schedule is the Run for the Warriors 10K in November followed the next weekend by the Long Beach 10K Turkey Trot. I'm going to try to do a December race this year, if schedules work during that busy month.

Friday, October 14, 2011

A little wind may make a tough course tougher

It was nice to take a rest day this morning, especially since it's been a busy week. I probably should have run through a quick set of core exercises or done some upper body work, but I decided to enjoy my coffee and the extra time instead. I'm hearing that the rain will clear out tonight but tomorrow morning will be very windy. I'm not sure what that will mean to runners, but if the wind comes from the south that long hill on the first mile and a half will be a lot tougher.

Again I've reached the point where my training ends and the result of that effort will be reflected at the finish line the next day. I'm not expecting a 5K PR considering the hilly course and the possible wind issue. Either way, if it's tough for me then it will be tough for the hundreds of others who will also participate. This may be the first time I race in October. Seems hard to believe, but I think it's true.

Correction: I ran the Cape Cod Marathon Relay in October!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Next run: the Oyster Bay 5K

Today's run (treadmill): 2.6 miles

After hearing reports of rain throughout the night and into the morning, I prepared for an indoor workout today. It was damp but not raining when I got up, but I still stayed with my plan. While I was having my coffee, I decided I'd use the treadmill rather than the elliptical. I wanted to end my taper with a run.
Today was about reinforcing my conditioning and then resting until Saturday morning. I'll probably run through my 15 minute set of core exercises tomorrow morning but that will be it in terms of working out. The weather for Saturday is supposed to be clear and cold so I need to decide what gear I'll wear for the race.

The 5K kicks off the annual Town of Oyster Bay Festival that features many events and live entertainment. I'll be curious to see if that means big crowds at our 9:00 AM start. I hoping I'll be able to park close to the registration area. Every race brings new experiences and I'm looking forward to that.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Good runs, bad runs, isn't all just timing?

At some point on this hill I will question why I did this race
Today's run (street): 2.4 miles

I looked at a course map for the Oyster Bay 5K that I plan to run on Saturday, October 15. The first 1.3 miles are all uphill and, according to Gmaps and MapMyTri, the overall elevation gain is greater than James Street, the bane of Cow Harbor racers. The saving grace, if there is one, is that this hill stretches a lot farther than James Street, and that may mean that the grade is lower. I'm hoping that's true.

My run today was a little disappointing. After good experiences on Wednesday and Thursday, where I had great energy and form, I had hoped for another good run. I can't explain it exactly, but I felt unbalanced and under-powered this morning. I even modified my route, shortening its length to save time after a late start. As I was running, I thought about whether I'd be the "Thursday me" or the "Friday me" when I go out on the hilly course a week from now.

So, what does it mean when you run well for days and then you don't? In this case, I don't think it means that much. I probably needed more rest and it wouldn't hurt for me to stretch a little. Sometimes it's timing of your performance curve, good days and bad. Right now I'm hoping this 5K coincides with a good running day. With that hill, I'm going to need all the advantage I can get.

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