Thursday, January 17, 2013

Race Report: NYCRUNS Central Park 10 Miler

This past Sunday I ran the NYCRUNS Central Park 10 miler. Before I get to the race report, a little background......A few days before the race, PRSFIT teammate, MH, who lives in the SF Bay area, was in NYC for work and asked if I wanted to join him for some early morning miles in Central Park. Of course I said yes. I never pass up a chance to run with a teammate. I was also able to preview the race course. I've run in Central Park plenty of times but not recently, so it was a good refresher. MH and I had a good run, a little over 7 miles. I do most of mid-week running in and around Teaneck so running in the park a days before the race really got me excited.

I spoke with Coach Jeff on Friday to discuss race planning. He's been giving me a lot of long tempo runs to get me ready. The race plan was simple, warm-up well and then GO! Coach was confident that I could hold a high zone 3 - low zone 4 effort for 10 miles.

Sunday was a great day to race. Temps were in the low 40s and overcast. The only problem was that the humidity was 100% which is my #1 asthma trigger. I knew I'd have to pay attention to that while I racing. The course was a double loop which started a little south of the 72nd Street Transverse on the west side and went counter-clockwise around the south end of the park, north on East Drive, across the 102nd St. Transverse, and south on West Drive.

I was feeling really good the first 5 miles but when I saw the clock read 35:xx I knew I took it out too fast and I'd paying for it during the 2nd time around. After Cat Hill, I tried to conserve my energy on East Drive and the transverse knowing that the West Side Rollers were waiting for me before the downhill finish. I started feeling my asthma flaring up with about 2 miles to go on those dreaded West Side Rollers. I had to slow down a few times to normalize my breathing. I survived the rollers and had enough in tank for a strong finishing surge. As I approached the finish line I saw the clock at 1:18:xx and I knew I had a new PR. My official time was 1:18:55 which is a new 10 mile PR by 1 minute.

Since this was my first NYCRUNS race, I want to write a few sentences about the experience. Up until this past Sunday, the only races I've done in Central Park were New York Road Runner races. The NYCRUNS race experience is much different. It felt a lot more like a small community race. Everyone was milling about before the race. We didn't have to be in a corral 30 minutes before the race, the start wasn't a clusterf#&k, Steve yelled GO! over the megaphone and off we went.

The post-race experience was great as well. We weren't funneled through a chute, handed a bagel, and sent on our merry way. Steve had hot chocolate, coffee, apples, bagels, and grapes. Everyone was just hanging around enjoying a mild winter Sunday morning. I was very pleased with the experience and can't wait to run more of Steve's races. I know many people that are thrilled that there is finally a viable alternative to NYRR in the City.

Back to the race.....was I a happy with a the new PR? Yes! Did I run a smart race? NO! So as I get into training for the Superhero Half, I'm sure there will plenty of long tempo runs between now and May 19 but I also want to focus on racing smarter. I will be on the lookout for some 10ks and 10 milers in February, March, and April where I can focus on racing smarter.

I have a lot more to say about training for a half marathon vs. a full marathon, but I've gone on for too long. More to come later.

Monday, January 7, 2013

My Spring Goal Race

So I finally decided on my spring goal half marathon. I'll be running the Superhero Half Marathon in Morristown, NJ on May 19. I don't know about the race or the course but it met a lot of my requirements. The price tag was reasonable ($50), it's close to home (about a 35 - 40 minute drive), and last, but not least, there's race day pick-up. I completely forgot about this race until my friend Esther posted on her Facebook page that she signed up for it. My wife and I also happened to be watching The Avengers so there was definitely some influence from the movie.

Now that I have a race, I'll rely on Coach Jeff to put together my training plan. I'll be running the NYCRUNS Central Park 10 miler this Sunday to see where I am. I've been doing a lot of long tempo runs which I hope will result in a good race. I'd like to do at least 1 race in February, March, and April to get myself ready.

I'm sure I'll have a lot to write about this training cycle and other things that come my way. Stay tuned.....

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Race Report: Fair Lawn Sunrise Rotary 1st Day 5k

Yesterday was the annual Fair Lawn Sunrise Rotary 1st Day 5k. I've run this race a bunch of times and my current 5k PR (21:57) was set on this course in 2010. I wasn't sure if I had a PR in me today but I wanted to see where I was compared to my last 5k on Thanksgiving. I've been doing a lot of long tempo work in preparation for some winter 10 milers and a spring half and am noticing that my speedy legs have been coming back.

The field seemed larger than in previous years so the start was a bit more crowded than I remembered but once it opened up I was able to put the pedal to the metal and push as hard as I could for 3.1 miles. I didn't have much of a finishing kick which surprised me because on most of my tempo runs I try to push the last 3 - 5 minutes of the run to simulate that finishing kick. I finished in 22:24 which is a 7:13 average pace but more importantly, more than 1 minute better than my Thanksgiving 5k. Clearly, the tempo work is paying off.

Since this was my first race as a masters (40 and older) runner, I was curious to see where I placed in my new age group (40 -45) and amongst all male masters runners in the field. Here are the results:

  • I placed 11th in my group. The fastest time was 17:07 and the 10th fastest was 21:56.
  • Amongst all male masters runners in the field, I placed 42nd out of 157. The fastest time was 16.37 which was run by a 49 year old. The 10th fastest time was 19:15 which was run by a 51 year old.

I'm very thankful to Fair Lawn Sunrise Rotary and the volunteers for making this race happen. It's a great way to kick off 2013.

Lo and Behold! A picture of me (#453) made it into today's local paper. My race pictures are usually pretty bad, this one is pretty good.