Archive for April, 2011

17
Apr
11

Race Report: 2011 NYRR Run for the Parks 4M

It’s about 10 weeks until Grandma’s Marathon and this last week was really my first actual week of training. You know, the type of training where rather than ensuring I have a mileage base I actually try to gain some speed. Unfortunately, on Wednesday I was socked with a horrendous cold. Thursday still managed to work, while Friday was an utter disaster. Somehow on Saturday I managed to get my ass out of bed and do a brutal 9 mile pace run. I felt great after the run, but the cold came back later in the day.

Thus, when the alarm went off at 5:30am to wake my sorry half-nyquiled ass up and head down to the city for the Run for the Parks things weren’t looking that great. As usual, I got off at Harlem/125th and walked/ran down to the starting line as a warmup. It was nice to see that there were fewer people at this race, I had managed to reclaim my red number. I don’t suck!

Fewer people meant that I was quicker across the starting line. In my mind it was about 15 seconds after the gun when I crossed the starting line. The first mile went up the East Drive in the park and along with it Cat Hill. As we crossed the first mile marker the sign said 7:59. While I’ve run plenty of miles in under 8 minutes, this was the first time I remembered hitting the first mile marker in under 8 minutes of gun time.

I hit the second mile at 15 minutes flat. A little bit of math showed that I ran the second mile in 7 minutes. I have never run a mile in any race other than a one mile race in under 7 minutes. I also realized that I was killing myself. This was a much faster pace than I intended and much faster than I felt I could sustain. Especially if I was kinda sick. I consciously scaled it back to a pace that I thought I could sustain. My legs began to burn. Somehow I managed to pull myself through to the finish. I knew I’d be close to a PR, but didn’t think that I’d do it. I finished at 29:58 gun time.

Official Results: 29:18 -- a new PR by 7 seconds!

By the time that I made it to Grand Central and was on the train back home the official results were posted. 29:18. A PR for a four mile race by 7 seconds. Looking at my results from RunKeeper confirms that I blasted the second mile way too fast. My shins are now killing me.

Results from RunKeeper. 6:55 for the second mile? That's CRAZY.

In the end I’m now seven seconds faster than I was for my 4M best last May before my hip became unbearably painful. So, being as I’m essentially at the same pace I had a year ago, can we just pretend this past year of miserable running never really existed?

Keep running.

11
Apr
11

Race Report: 2011 NYRR Scotland Run 10k

I’ve been away from running for a little bit. Specifically, I was in China for the last few weeks and while I ran there a few times I didn’t do any races and I certainly didn’t do anything that resembled training. The few times that I did run my lungs felt like Trogdor was attacking and burninating them. I was told that it wasn’t pollution, but somehow I have my doubts.

The Scotland Run 10k was my first real chance to get out and give the legs some serious exercise since I returned. I laid down about 20 easy miles over the past week, but this was the first time I felt like I was going to run hard. My first impression of the race: it’s HUGE. Nearly 8500 completed the loop (and a little more) in Central Park on Sunday morning. A fair share of them were in kilts. A few went the full William Wallace and did Braveheartesque face paint. Sadly, I saw no members of the clan MacLeod running around with swords looking to chop heads off. Also, I realized that I was doing my alma mater, Carnegie Mellon a serious disservice by eschewing wearing anything with the Carnegie Tartan. It was completely unintentional, as in, when I woke up at 6am on race day I forgot.

Now, with respect to racing stuff. I knew I had a good chance to set a PR running this race, mainly because the 10k distance was an outlier in my PRs. I hadn’t run a 10k since September 2008. That race was under similar conditions, as I had just returned from vacation where I spent 10 days intentionally not running and just relaxing in the Greek Isles. Unlike a loop around Central Park, the elevation change in the Great Race is in favor of the runners. The race is almost entirely downhill. At the same time, I was much slower back in 2008, and if I couldn’t beat an 8:11/mi pace for this race something would be seriously wrong with me.

I was a little sad to see that once again I was demoted to yellow bibs. I’m hoping this is a result of many people running NYRR events and not because I was getting slower. The corrals, on the far end of Central Park were absolutely packed. Aside from the corrals at the start of the 2009 Twin Cities Marathon I don’t think that I’ve ever felt so packed in. The starting horn went off and we stood still. Some 1:40 seconds later I crossed the starting line. I think I started RunKeeper a little bit early, but it couldn’t have been that much off.

RunKeeper results from the 2011 Scotland Run 10k

Pace and Elevation for the 2011 Scotland Run 10k

The crowd was pretty heavy going into the first mile, but I was very surprised when I saw that I still did it under eight minutes. Normally with that level of traffic it would take much longer. I chalk that up to the excellent work by NYRR volunteers in enforcing the corral system. Thank you volunteers. Miles 2 and 3 seemed to whiz by. I knew the race was going to be too busy to have RunKeeper chime in my ear, so I was estimating my miles based on the clocks, and I thought they were about 7:30/mi. A nice pace. Of course, then came the hill. Ughh. I shouldn’t complain too much, I’d rather run clockwise as then the hills over by the Met aren’t nearly as bad. But man, I got to mile 4 and saw that it took me nearly eight minutes to finish the last mile. The final 2.2 miles were an exercise in trying to maintain what I thought was my previous pace. Although I was able to pick it up for mile 5, I slacked on mile 6 before crossing the finish line with the overall clock was still under 50:00. I knew I PR’d, the only question was by how much.

2011 Scotland Run 10k Splits from RunKeeper

2011 Scotland Run 10k Splits from RunKeeper

Post race there was a large festival with Scottish music, dancers, and food. It was actually quite a bit of fun. I wrote a couple of postcards from Scotland, used a bike blender, and tried out various Scottish snacks. Sadly, there was no haggis to be found. Also, I didn’t win either the TV or the trip to Scotland. Bummer. However, as I walked back to Grand Central to get the train out of the city I was able to check my results. 48:02, or 2:49 off my previous best time for a 10k. I could be happy with that. I’m also hungry because I know that I’ve got room for more improvement.

2011 Scotland Run 10k Official Results: 48:02, 1866 overall, 1563 males, 56.1% AG.

2011 Scotland Run 10k Official Results

I’m looking forward to the running season heating up. I’ve got a nice lineup of future races in both New York and Minneapolis, culminating with Grandmas Marathon in mid-June in Duluth, MN. I figure I should get serious about training for that, which is why I was on the trails at 6:30am today. I’m stoked right now.

Keep Running.




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Marathon Times

2011 NYC Marathon3:57:45
2011 Hartford Marathon3:58:17
2011 Chicago Marathon4:20:16
2011 Grandma's Marathon4:07:43
2010 Big Sur International Marathon4:22:49
2009 NYC Marathon4:37:05
2009 Twin Cities Marathon4:43:28
2009 Pittsburgh Marathon4:14:38
2008 Erie Marathon5:11:40

Upcoming Races

  • Nov 6 - New York City Marathon, New York, NY
For previous races, check out my Race Log