Posts Tagged ‘4m


Race Report: 2011 NYRR Japan Day Run for Hope

This will be a pretty quick report. It was the usual 4 mile route traveling up the east side of the park, across the 102nd St transverse, down the west side, and finishing on the 72nd St transverse. I warmed up with a rather long 3 mile run from the starting line up and around the reservoir, and back to the finish line. The weather was near perfect, calm and about 50 degrees to start the run. After running a few races without pre-race announcements I’ve come to appreciate NYRR’s announcements and the singing of “The Star Spangled Banner”, which was beautiful, even if the lyrics were messed up again. As this was the Japan Day Run for Hope (planned before the earthquake and tsunami) there were officials from the Japanese Embassy who addressed the runners. This was probably the saddest part of the race largely because the ambassador felt the need to stress that Japanese food was safe to eat. The scientist in me wanted to scream at this point. Of course it’s safe to eat, there hasn’t been that much radiation. Ughh. Anyway, back to the race.

As usual, we had that strange start stop thing before the starting line. I’d love to model that as a multi-agent system to see what causes this crush, but whatever. It probably took about a 45 seconds to cross the starting line, which seemed long for having a red bib. Most of my miles were pretty even, or at least better than last time. First mile looked like it was about 7:40 thanks to the crush of runners, mile two was a little over seven miles, and mile 3 and 4 were pretty decent at 7:26 and 7:12. Now, last 4 miler in the park I complained about going out too fast in the second mile. But I never bothered to actually look at the elevation. Mile two is almost entirely downhill, so it makes sense that I’m faster. I’ll keep that in mind for future runs.

2011 NYRR Japan Day Run for Hope splits from RunKeeper

2011 NYRR Japan Day Run for Hope splits from RunKeeper

2011 NYRR Japan Day Run for Hope Elevation and Pace

2011 NYRR Japan Day Run for Hope Elevation and Pace

As we came along side the lake toward the 72nd St transverse I was tired, but not exhausted. Toward the finish line I saw the clock ticking toward 30:00. I knew I’d finish under it because I didn’t cross the start for about 45 or so seconds, but something about beating the clock still resonates with me. I don’t think I actually made it. Probably crossed the finish at 30:01 where I was immediately greeted by Mary Wittenberg, who had also just completed the races and told me and all the other runners to keep moving along. The final results, a PR, but not by much. I’m moving down my 4M time incrementally, from 7:20/mi to 7:19/mi and now 7:17/mi. At this race sometime in the next three years I might break into 6:59/mi range. That would be awesome.

2011 NYRR Japan Day Run for Hope Results

2011 NYRR Japan Day Run for Hope Results

Incidentally, I’ve noticed that this is best age-grade percentage that I’ve had in a race yet, which is encouraging. It means that at least if I’m not getting much faster, I’m not getting any slower and doing better than other people in my age bracket. And now, six more weeks of training until Grandma’s Marathon. I’m stoked!

Keep Running!


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.


Race Report: 2011 NYRR Al Gordon 4M

Somewhere in my subconscious an alarm was ringing. Loudly. I bolted up worried that I had missed the race. My alarm clock read 2:57am, I still had another 1 hour 33 minutes until I needed to get out of bed for the race this morning. That’s right, I got up at 4:30am for a race in Brooklyn. It was one of those moments when you say to yourself “Wow, I didn’t know they made a 4:30am too!”. I think I only had to get up at 4am for Big Sur and that race started at 7am and required a 27 mile drive in the dark. Anyway, living out in Westchester has lots of advantages, 10 minute commute to the office, much cheaper rent, peace and quiet. One of them most certainly is not how early I need to get up to make it to a race in Brooklyn. Hello 5:10am Metro North trains!

The Al Gordon 4M is a pretty simple loop race in Prospect Park, Brooklyn. The course is the exact same as the Jingle Bell Jog. Start out on the transverse drive, go for a short downhill, then an uphill for mile 1, roughly level for mile 2, quick downhill, level for 3 and most of 4, and a short uphill to the finish. The maximum elevation change between the high point in mile 2 and low point in mile 3 is about 100 feet.

This is also the first New York Road Runners race that I’ve done more than once, having done it in February 2010 and finished in 30:19 (7:35min/mi pace). I distinctly remember having to wander around and freeze before the race because of the non-ideal timing of trains. Today was no different. Especially because I got there earlier than predicted, almost an hour and a half early. Bag check wasn’t even open for another 45 minutes. I took a brief walk around the park for about 2.5 miles to look at the condition of the course. Dropped my bag off at bag check, and proceeded to do a nice quick 1.6 mile warmup at a little over 9 minute miles. Apparently stretching doesn’t make you run faster, but warmup runs do. Anecdotally, my fastest runs usually have had short warmup runs before them.

Just a nice and easy warmup before the 2011 Al Gordon 4M in Prospect Park

The warmup also had the benefit of finishing right at the time I needed to be in the corrals. Rather than standing around and freezing in the corral, I was able to dart right in. Mary Wittenberg took some time to herald all the things that Al Gordon did, both in life and for the Road Runners (more info here from Forbes and The New York Times). I’m in awe of his accomplishments and am truly thankful for the ways that he helped clear the way for the Road Runners and also promoted physical fitness in his life. After the final instructions, including a warning about ice on the path, we were off.

As usual, I started RunKeeper way too early. I would love to have an overhead camera to study the physics and packing of runners at the start of a race as they run for brief bits toward the start, then have to walk, then run, then walk. It’s a little like waves on a slinky. At 42 seconds post-gun and 30 seconds after my start on RunKeeper I crossed the starting line. As has become routine, a bunch of yellow bibs were passing me at the start. I said that I wanted to do the run in about 8:00/mi, which would put me 14 seconds faster than the Jingle Jog, but still about 30 seconds slower than last year. When RunKeeper chirped up at five minutes I was annoyed, it said I was doing about 8:30 minute miles. That couldn’t be right — then I remembered that I had covered those 0.59 miles in 4:30, not 5:00. To keep myself occupied I did the translation to mile distance in my head, 7:38/mi. My legs seemed to be working.

I crossed the 1 milie marker at exactly 8:30 gun time for a 7:48 mile. I had slowed down some, but it was an uphill. After the relatively flat mile 2 I was averaging about 7:37 a mile. Mile 3 is where the downhill is. Even if you wanted to slow down here, it’s tough. It’s a great downhill. I had brought my mile average down to 7:32. My mind started to occupy itself with math…7:22 for the third mile? Wow. Yay for negative splits? I starting to get tired and over heated at this point. The b-tag meant that I couldn’t shed layers, suck it up and deal. The uphill was going to be hard, and it was. Coming around the corner to the finish I could see the clock ticking. “Damnit, this has been a good race, can I finish in under 30 minutes chip time?” My legs ached and I pushed. 30:42 would be the magic time I needed to beat to get a 30 minute chip time. The clock kept pushing and so did my legs. In the end, I wasn’t quite fast enough. the clock was 30:48 when I crossed. I managed to push it home at almost my exact average pace despite it being an uphill and me being exhausted.

Look at that beautiful and constant pace!

NYRR Results from the 2011 Al Gordon 4M - Net Time 30:06, Pace/mile 7:32

A 7:32mi pace? I'll take that. One of my best runs in the past year.

I really enjoy running in Prospect Park. As opposed to Central Park where you’re dodging other runners, cyclists, and clueless tourists, the only obstacle in Prospect Park is dog owners who don’t realize that a 30ft extendable lead is actually a bad idea for a dog. It’s a beautiful and serene course. If you’re only in Central Park, I highly recommend getting off Manhattan for a race once in a while. Or heck, even a simple little training run.

So, despite the 4:30am wakeup time, the day was a success. I managed to fall asleep on the train back home but magically wake up right before my stop. Maybe my internal alarm clock still works.

Keep Running.


2011 NYRR Gridiron 4M

It still is taking a little bit of getting used to running again. Last year at this time I put in a 60 mile week. Right now I’m lucky to hit 20, but it’s a start, right?

Today is the first time I did an actual race since I started running again. Yes, I realize that I ran the Jingle Jog back in December, but I was more doing that for the swag and the fun of running Prospect Park. Today was a chance to run and show my Stillers pride. I couldn’t pass it up.

However, even getting to the race was treacherous. The rain yesterday combined with temperatures hovering around freezing and New York’s penchant for not clearing walking paths meant that every step on the way to the train and the starting line was potential disaster. Prior to the race I did some scouting on the first mile and a half of the course. Ice abounded. There would be no records broken in Central Park this morning.

The race started as expected. The first mile of these races is always slow because it’s nearly impossible to get going in a heavy crowd. I didn’t have a goal, but mentally I told myself I’d be fine with 8min/mile pace for the race. About 3/4 of a mile into the race I hit black ice. The Road Runners tried really hard to keep the path clean, but to take care of everything they’d need to salt the entire course. My right leg went to kick off and slipped out from under me. I didn’t fall but the shock certainly made me lose focus.

I can say that I gave this race nearly all that I had to give. By the start of the fourth mile I was severely hurting. I was out of breath and it was sheer will that took me through the end of the race. I was also absolutely parched. However the ice on the path caused me to shy as far away from the water stations as possible, that just wasn’t a risk I wanted to take.

I held a pretty constant pace for the entire race. This despite the fact that I felt like I was lagging near the end.

My final time was 31:30, for a pace of 7:52. That still is 30 seconds slower than I was running 4M races last year. But the important thing is that I didn’t hurt as a result of running. In that context, this race was a wonderful success.

Official Results from the 2011 NYRR Gridiron 4M

Recent Tweets

Error: Please make sure the Twitter account is public.

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