Showing posts with label report. Show all posts
Showing posts with label report. Show all posts

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.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Race report: Long Beach Snowflake Run

No snowflakes but plenty of fun
Today's run (Long Beach Snowflake Run): 4 miles - 35:22 (8:50 pace)

Despite the late course change from the boardwalk to the streets, the 2011 Long Beach Snowflake run was a great experience. The anticipated snow and sleet never arrived but it did start to mist 30 minutes into our run. I'd worn a waterproof running jacket over my shirt so that wasn't an issue. We never got the predicted snow and sleet but a steady rain started after most runners had crossed the finish line.

I met up with my friend Steve who was racing for the first time today. He's a good athlete and a dedicated CrossFit practitioner so I expected him to do well despite his pre-race jitters. We headed to the line just a few minutes before the start, putting us near the back of the pack. After giving Steve some last minute coaching we were off and running but the accumulated snows had narrowed the roads and we had to contend with hundreds of other runners working their way through the tight spaces. Steve and I did our best to navigate around the clumps of slower runners and by the half mile point the road had opened up enough for us to reach cruising speed. Our back-of-pack start and congested first minutes delayed us on the first mile, that we passed at 9:05.

Soon after that, Steve moved ahead and I lost track of him until I saw him heading west as we rounded Neptune Boulevard. My split on mile 2 was 17:55 so I'd managed to push my overall pace just below 9:00 per mile. I decided to keep that pace through mile 3 because it felt fast enough and I could maintain that speed. At the 3 mile point I decided to step it up and passed a group of runners  that I had been following for the last couple of miles. The long straight road provided a view of the finish far ahead of my arrival and once I saw it I felt I could push myself even harder.  I came through the chute at 35:22 and wished that I started closer to the front. That would have cut at least 20 seconds from my time and given me a 4 mile PR. But starting point is a variable that's hard to control so I accepted my time as it was. I do like those races where they time you at the start and finish and provide both net and gun times.

Steve ended up finishing around 33 minutes and was satisfied with how he did. He's ready to race again. I was happy to start my 2011 racing season with a good run and was glad to be running outdoors again for the first time in almost two weeks. I'll need to start focusing on distance as I begin my training for a half marathon in April. There are some interesting races between now and then so I'll decide soon where (and when) I'll hit the starting line for my next race.

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