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 New York Road Runners Anniversary Run (4.8M) - June 4th
mfox

South Orange, New Jersey
Joined: 19 Dec 2004
Posts: 367

New York Road Runners Anniversary Run (4.8M) - June 4th Posted: Sun Jun 04, 2006 7:42 pm 

Well, it was a great day for racing today; overcast, 62F, no wind. I ran this race last year (47th anniversary) and they made it a 4.7K race (2.9 miles). I was a bit less fit at this time last year and ran a 7:31 pace on a warm day. But I've never run a 4.8 mile race so no matter how fast or slow I run it'll be a PR.

I have to run 9 NYRR races a year to get guarenteed entry into the NYC Marathon for the following year. And as a NYRR member the fee for most races, regardless of distance, is about $11. So I don't worry about racing many of these but rather just use them as training runs and another qualifying race. And I'm usually not in my best racing shape until Fall any ways. This all works out fine since then I don't have to worry about tapering for the race either. But every so often I feel up to trying to PR (especially if it's the same race I did the year before).

I had several tough workouts this week and so my plan was to rest yesterday and just use this race as a good run workout. I drove to Central Park rather than taking the train so I could bring along my road bike and do a bike workout after the race. My plan was to do four loops of Central Park (24 miles). This meant I needed to get into the NYC a bit earlier than normal so I could make sure I had time to find a decent parking spot near the park. WIthout much effort I found a nice spot along Central Park. So I found myself in the park a little earlier than expected (about 7:15am). Race start time was 9:00am.

As a member of the NYRR club I have a permanent bib number, and my own ChampionChip. This allows me to register for all NYRR races online and not worry about picking up my race packet before the race. I can just show up at the starting line and worry about getting any "race packet stuff" (usually just a t-shirt) after the race. But I still usually end up getting to each race early if nothing more than to make sure I can hit the Porta John before long lines form. It's always nice to know though, if I'm running late, I don't have to stress about getting to the restiration tent before the race starts. Since I was there early I went to the registration tent and picked up my race t-shirt and dropped it off back at the car.

I had plenty of time to mill around and "people watch." The park is pretty busy at this time of the morning. Aside from the runners trickling in for the race there were a lot of recreational runners, walkers, bikers, in-line skaters, and a few early tourists throughout the park. There was also a bike race going on. This must explain why the race was starting at 9am instead of the typical 8am start time.

I always intend to do a good warm-up before each race but I find it very difficult because I enjoy just sitting back and watching all the people go by. I managed to get off my butt about 8:30 and do a pathetic warmup of less than a mile. My legs felt heavy and tired and my ankles felt sore. That's a new one. So I immediately began to rethink my plan. I thought "maybe I should just go out easy and play it by ear." After all, I still had a bike ride to do and I could always make up for any mediocre race with a harder bike ride. I made one last visit to the porta john about 8:45 and then headed to the start area. I managed to sqeeze my way up to the group standing mid way between the 7 and 8 minute pace signs. I recall my pace for this race last year when it was only 2.9 miles was about a 7:31 pace (had issues with Plantar Fasciitus then). Sowithout giving it too much thought I figured if I could better my pace of 7:31 over this 4.8 mile distance I'd be happy.

After a few short words from the race announcer and Mary WIttenberg (CEO of NYRRC and NYC Marathon race director) the race, with more than 3700 runners, was underway. The race followed a counter-clock direction going north along Central Park West to the 102nd Street transverse, where it turned right to cross the park to Central Park East, continued south on Central Park east around the southern end of the park to the finish near 72nd street at Tavern on the Green (the finish line of the NYC Marathon).

I crossed the start line about 30+ seconds after the starting gun went off. The runners were restricted to the right side of the roadway and this made the start very congested. I found myself stuck behind slower runners (it always ticks me off that people don't pay attention to the pace signs or announcments about lining up according to your pace) and though I tried my best to dodge and weave my way around them I felt I was running much slower than I wanted. I continued to dodge and weave and just short of the 1 mile mark I was starting to get a little running room. As I hit the first mile mark I was amazed to see my split time was 7:24. I felt extremely comfortable and thought that my watch was wrong. But I saw the race clock at the mile sign and it said 7:55 (about a 30 second difference) and shortly after passing the mile mark I distinctly heard the volunteer yell out the split time as 8 minutes (30 second differential with the race clock...which is about right).

So I was very pleased that my pace was about where I was hoping it would be and more so that I was feeling so good. The sensation of heavy legs and sore ankles I had during my warm-up were gone. It quickly occurred to me that my pace must be a bit faster than 7:24 since I was now running more freely than I was during the more crowded first half mile. The second mile had several small hills. Since I was feeling pretty comfortable I decided to try to maintain or push my pace going up the hills and then recover during the flats.

I passed the second mile mark with a split of 7:00. I was very pleased and still feeling pretty good. My breathing was comfortable and I felt I was running very controlled. As I approached about the two and a half mile mark I started to feel the pace for the first time. But, I also realized I was going up another small hill. As I got to the flat I started to feel better again. I hit a few down hills and felt my pace quicken. I was still feeling in control. I recall passing a couple kids around this time; boys about 10-12 years old. They looked pretty spent but I was impressed that they managed to be running fast enough to stay in front of me for that long. My guess is they went out too fast and were going to really slow in the next couple miles. I don't have a problem being beaten by a woman, or any good runner...but I'll be damned if I'm going to get beat by a little kid.

I hit the 3rd mile mark with a split time of 7:08 and was a bit bewildered. I felt like I ran that mile faster than the 2nd mile and so I couldn't account for why I had slowed down. Maybe the mile marker was off a bit. The NYRR club does a great job putting on races but every once in a while they really screw up a mile marker.

The next mile had more down hill than up hill and I tried to take advantage of the down hills to pick up my pace. Though my breathing was getting a little harder I still felt good. I could hear other people around me breathing hard. I paid attention to my breathing and managed to be able to take some deep easy breaths. Since about mile two I had been paying attention to a corp group of runners in front of me; about a dozen or so. They were all exchanging positions in front of me. It wasn't until I was well into mile 3 that I noticed I was starting to pass some of them. By midway into mile four there were only a handful of that corp group left. We all seemed to be running together though there was about a 10 meter difference between me and the front runner. I also noticed a few of them had racing flats on (the bright red, orange, or yellow running shoes). This told me that they were serious runners. So I made it a point to stick with them. My pace, and more importantly my effort, still felt strong but I was starting to work a little harder now. My breathing was good but my legs didn't feel like they could go much faster. What's odd though is that I never once thought about slowing down. I didn't have that nagging voice in my head telling to to ease back and hold on until the last quarter mile. I hit mile four with a split time of 7:01. I usually save myself for the last half or quater mile when I surge to pass people. But I had been running pretty solidly already and felt I could start to pick up the pace a little sooner (.8 miles to go). So I did. I immediately started passing the remaining corp group. No one around me seemed to challenge me, which was good because I didn't have anything left to mount a final surge.

With about 300 meters to go I could see the finish line banner over the hill (NYC Marathon finishers should remember the last slight hill before the finish of the Marathon). I managed to quicken my pace and as I did I saw a guy run past me on my left. Normally I'd try to chase someone like that but the best I could do was maintain the pace I was running. Everyone seemed to be running to the right side of the road. The left side of the lane was wide open and I headed for it as I passed another group of runners. Tucked in the middle of this group was another one of those 10-12 year old kids (boy). I thought "crap...I can't believe this little kid has gone this far at this pace." I managed to pull even with him as I thought about how I easily passed the other kids earlier in the race. But with about 100 yards more to go to the finish he surged ahead of me. I had nothing left and crossed the finish line well ahead of me.

I crossed the finish in 34:01 (clock time 34:35). My split time for the last .8 miles was 5:25 (6:46 mile pace). Though I was a little pissed that the little kid beat me I was a good sport about it. I yelled to the kid in front of me "nice run" and he turned back to me, held his hand out to shake mine, and just nodded like "yeah, just another walk in the park." Brat! ;)He was breathing hard but I don't think he was breathing as hard as I was.

When I got home I made the mistake of telling my 16 year old twin daughters that I was beaten by this 10 year old and they just laughed at me. According to the online race results it shows that though his clock time (official time) is 2 seconds faster than me, his net time (chip time...real time...in my oppinion) is 5 seconds slower than me. So there!!!!!

So after grabbing a bottle of Amino Vital, an apple, and a couple cup cakes (remember, Anniversary Run) at the finish area I headed back to my car, changed into my bike clothes and did the four laps of Central Park on my bike as planned. I managed an 18 mph pace, which I think is pretty good considering how dead my legs felt during the fourth lap.

So I'm feeling confident I'm were I need to be in my fitness to run a faster 5K later this season.


Rickshaw
Runworks 2005 5M Racer
San Francisco, CA
Joined: 26 Nov 2004
Posts: 1157

Re: New York Road Runners Anniversary Run (4.8M) - June 4th Posted: Sun Jun 04, 2006 9:44 pm 

Excellent race, way to go! So that's like a 7:05 pace: quite a leap from your race of a year ago. You must really be in shape! It sounds like being stuck in the crowd for most of the fist mile actually helped you ultimately. Something to think about for next time?

That's pretty cool that being a NYRR member gets you a permanent bib number. Doesn't it get kind of gross and tattered after a while, though? It also made me chuckle to see that a random-distance 4.8 mile race drew 3700 participants. You've got to love New York!

I can imagine your frustration at being out-kicked by that kid. But face it, some kids are pretty darn fast. He probably weighed about 80 pounds too, so no extra baggage to haul around the course.

There's a 7-year-old boy who's been showing up at a lot of local 5K races here recently. He has a coach running with him, giving him advice and encouragement the whole way: "ok, push it up this little hill. Good, now stay relaxed, drop your shoulders. Keep you eye on that guy in blue up ahead..." etc. He's close enough to my pace that I've ended up hearing this stream of commentary for the first mile, but I've managed to beat him every time so far. It's a little bit creepy.


mfox

South Orange, New Jersey
Joined: 19 Dec 2004
Posts: 367

Re: New York Road Runners Anniversary Run (4.8M) - June 4th Posted: Mon Jun 05, 2006 5:39 am 

Though the start of a race like that can be a little frustrating I often realize how the slow start probably has a lot to do with how well I do later in the race. I'm almost always able to put in a good progressive run (faster pace with each mile) when I start off with a nice controlled first mile. I kind of think of it as analogous to jack-rabbit starts with your car. It's more economical to begin driving slowly from a standing start in your car as you pick up speed. Otherwise, you waste more gas when you take off suddenly.

I've found in my training runs that how easy or hard I run the first mile determines the overall quality of the rest of the run. I used to go out as how ever I felt. If my legs felt good I'd push the pace the first mile; in an attempt to keep my overall pace lower. But now, I tend to take it easy for the first mile regardless of how I feel and find I'm able to perform better; run progressivly faster or sustain a better pace for a longer period.

As for the "permanent bib." I should have explained that I get a bunch of them at a time (all with the same number - #1829). It has about four tear-off tags to turn in for a t-shirt at each race. The bibs used to be free, came as a pack of about 15 and were mailed to you once a year. They used to charge $5 if you needed to order more during the year. Now they charge $20. The problem is, I used to only use one per race because I like to keep each bib for each race and record the date, race name, and my time on the back of it. I have my race bibs all strung together on a long thin chain. I just used the first bib from this new pack and I think I may have to try to use each one for more than one race.

I'll admit that kids can be pretty darn fast but I've never seen one hold a pace like that (okay...not a great pace for a 45 year old but pretty damn good for a 10 year old) for that long. I don't think it's normal for kids that age to have the capacity for that level of endurance. is it?

When I read your comment about the kid being coached on the run all I can think is this kid is going to be burned out long before he has a chance to reach is potential. The kid may be motivated to work hard and perhaps he's asked the coach for this type of help but over time he's going to find it harder and harder to motivate himself to keep progressing. Hopefully he spends a lot of time running just for fun and not so much to accomplish anything.


Rickshaw
Runworks 2005 5M Racer
San Francisco, CA
Joined: 26 Nov 2004
Posts: 1157

Re: New York Road Runners Anniversary Run (4.8M) - June 4th Posted: Mon Jun 05, 2006 11:31 am 

mfox wrote:
When I read your comment about the kid being coached on the run all I can think is this kid is going to be burned out long before he has a chance to reach is potential. The kid may be motivated to work hard and perhaps he's asked the coach for this type of help but over time he's going to find it harder and harder to motivate himself to keep progressing. Hopefully he spends a lot of time running just for fun and not so much to accomplish anything.


My thoughts exactly. That's why I found the whole thing a little bit disturbing. I'm pretty sure the coach is his dad, too. I don't think it's typical for young kids to be so speedy, but it's certainly not unheard of. This 7-year-old ran a 22:34 5K in the same race where I ran 21:33.


mfox

South Orange, New Jersey
Joined: 19 Dec 2004
Posts: 367

Re: New York Road Runners Anniversary Run (4.8M) - June 4th Posted: Tue Jun 06, 2006 7:56 am 

I thought I'd post my official race resuts and race statistics. Any time I can finish in the top 10 percentile overall of a NYRR race (always highly competative) I'm happy.

Sex/ Overall Gender Age Finish Net Pace/
Age Bib Place Place Place Time Time Mile
M45 1829 285 261 26 34:35:00 34:01:00 7:05

New York Road Runners Anniversary Run
Distance: 4.8 Miles, 7.7 Kilometers
Date/Time: June 4, 2006, 9:00 am
Location: Central Park, NYC
Weather: 62 deg, 75% hum, overcast

Total Finishers: Men 2018 Women 1760 Total 3778

Finishers by Age and Gender
Age Group Men Women Total
12 - 14 57 30 87
15 - 19 30 24 54
20 - 29 343 554 897
30 - 39 744 694 1438
40 - 44 284 164 448
45 - 49 205 103 308
50 - 54 133 65 198
55 - 59 81 38 119
60 - 64 44 31 75
65 - 69 28 12 40
70 - 74 14 5 19
75 - 79 3 3 6
80 - 84 1 2 3


Rickshaw
Runworks 2005 5M Racer
San Francisco, CA
Joined: 26 Nov 2004
Posts: 1157

Re: New York Road Runners Anniversary Run (4.8M) - June 4th Posted: Tue Jun 06, 2006 2:54 pm 

Very nice! I look for the same top 10% finish in my races as a sign that I did well. You were solidly in the top 10% too-- more like 7%. Way to go!

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