Category: Central Park

2011 Manhattan Half Marathon Race Report

Overall Time: 1:28:35
Pace: 6:45
Place: 173 of 4369
AG%: 66.8%

Weather: 14 Degrees, 56% Humidity, wind 7mph
Start time: 7:00

Splits: …absolutely no idea. For once I decided to run this one without worry about time.

First, a note on the weather: it was mind-numbingly cold. The windchill brought temperatures downy to the single-digits, and everyone was fighting to stay warm. There were icicles hanging off peoples’ beards, mustaches, hair, eyebrows — it was insane, and it really slowed everyone down. I don’t know if it was more mental or physical, but very few people I knew had a good race.

After having been out of running hard or racing for almost 5 months, the Manhattan Half Marathon marked my return to the NYRR scene. Afraid of re-injury, I decided against racing it full-on. Instead, I would run with some friends (Mikey B, Matt) who were going to treat it as a fast-ish run (but not all-out). For a number of reasons, that didn’t end up happening, probably for the best — had I ended up running with them, I think I would have run slower than I had wanted.

At the beginning of the race, my Front Runner friends we were all running a little late getting to the corral, and couldn’t find each other so well. We more or less started together, but if I had any hopes of running some easy miles with friends that was quickly dashed as the horn went off and all 4000+ runners tried to jockey for position at the beginning of the race. Due to the snow and small streets in the south end of the park, the course really narrows down quite a bit. It left very little room to maneuver, and it bottlenecked pretty badly at the beginning. I immediately found myself behind my friends (who smartly let right ahead of everyone at the beginning of the race), and had to fight the next 3 miles just to find any of them.

Approaching the 102nd Street Transverse in the park around Mile 3, I saw my friend Matt. I caught up, and asked, “Where’s Mikey B?”

“Mikey? He’s way behind!”

“Well, where’s Sanderson?” I replied, referring to my training and racing partner.

“Ahead. Go catch him!”

And so I left Matt. I had passed Mikey B much earlier not knowing it, and trying to find him now would be impossible at this point. My mission was to find Sanderson, and that meant speeding up.

So speed up I did. One loop of the park (~10K) later, I saw the orange FRNY logo on Sanderson’s back. He was within striking distance, although I’d have to catch him up Harlem Hill (lately, hills are not my strong suit). If he had been on pace to PR, there’s no way I would have been able to make up the ground to catch him, but he was struggling in the cold and not having a good race. By the time I caught up with him, he looked like death. I’d later see that his splits according to his Garmin were hovering around 7:00 at that point, only to be taken down to 6:30 when I showed up.

We ran the last 3 or so miles together, and crossed the finish line at the same time. I was happy to have run what felt like the easiest 1:28 in my life, and Sanderson was just happy to have the whole damn thing finished.


It was a big confidence booster that I could run a 1:28 without really racing 100%. I ran fast, but not all-out and it’s nice to think of what I might be capable of when I do decide to race a future half marathon. At the beginning of the race, I was nervous that I had lost all my speed and aerobic base — I’d be humiliated if the people who I used to beat were now beating me. But that wasn’t the case. I hadn’t lost much fitness, and in fact cross-training on the bike may have actually helped.

This isn’t to say I’m going to start PR’ing all over the place, or that the rest of the year will be easy. I have a lot of work if I want to hit a 1:23 half marathon and a 2:59 marathon. But at least at this point I know it’s not as far as my worst fears.

2010 NYRR Team Championships

Overall Time: 30:29
Pace: 6:05
Place: 194 of  783
AG%: 69.9%

Weather: 70 Degrees, 53% Humidity
Start time: 8:00

Splits: 6:20, 5:59, 6:07, 6:08, 5:54

This was a nice little race that I wasn’t so much looking forward to. With an emphasis on trying for distance / marathon training, I was slightly annoyed that I felt obligated to run a 5-Miler. That said, I’m glad I did it. It kept me from solely focusing on distance training, and made me think about speed.

The NYRR Team Championships is a race only open the NYC running clubs who compete in NYRR events. To participate, you must have run as a member of one of the running clubs that year. It’s my first time running the race, and it was a lot of fun to see all the local clubs come out to support their team and make as big of a showing as they can in a team-only event. I was proud to put on the Front Runners New York singlet, and happy that I was able to run well (for me) at this event.

The NYC heat finally broke for this race, and although the race conditions weren’t ideal, they were good enough to try and run this fast.  I’m never very keen on the idea of running races in NYC in August, but these conditions were about as good as they’ll ever get and so I wasn’t go to let it get past me.  A number of my friends felt strong in this race, and several of them PR’ed – including myself. 

Mile 1: 6:20. This felt fast, but as I came to the marker I noticed that I was coming around at a sluggish 6:20 pace.  Shit. I know it’s not slow, but it’s nowhere near where I should have been.  I had to pick up the pace.

Mile 2: 5:59. I picked it up. I went sub-6 for this mile, which felt good. I started to question as to whether this was too fast a pace, but if I’m going to start running sub-6 pace then I may as well push myself and try and start now.  I felt fine, and figured I might as well try and hang onto the pace.

Mile 3: 6:07. Slipped a bit on pace, but not by much – it was fine. Somewhere around here I pass my nemesis, Chris S. To his credit, he had a pretty bad bike crash and an allergic reaction to the antibiotics he was on so he was definitely not feeling well this morning. Normally we would have battled it out a lot more, but today I think his body was recovering from a hard two weeks prior. I would go on to beat him by 1 minute, 15 seconds. It’s my first time beating him, but I know on a better day for him it would have been a coin toss.

Mile 4: 6:08. Cat Hill really wrecked a lot of runners. I passed quite a few people who had gone out too fast and were now struggling up Cat Hill with slightly more than a mile before the finish. It didn’t seem to affect my pace a whole lot, although I did find myself working hard (it’s a race after all). Mentally I knew that the worst was over – the rest of the course is flat, and the idea of finishing was creeping into my head.

Mile 5: 5:54.  I should have pushed more here, because as it would turn out my friend Michael S. would end up beating me by 4 seconds in this race.  He had to crank out a 5:40 final mile to beat me, but I should have done the same even if I didn’t have a rabbit in front of me to chase.  Regardless, this was a PR for me and so whatever disappointment I had over losing to him was met with that incredible feeling of having PRed (and felt good) at a race.  Yay!

2010 Run For Central Park

Overall Time: 24:20
Pace: 6:05
Place: 158 of 5056
AG%: 69.2%

Weather: 85 Degrees, 53% Humidity
Start time: 9:00

Splits: 6:05 5:57, 6:20, 5:57, 6:12

I knew the heat was going to be punishing everyone at this race, but I was hoping that I’d be able to tough it out and not let it affect me. I’ve been acclimating to racing and running in the heat, and I think today it actually paid off.  I matched my 4-mile time from a few months ago, and managed two miles that were sub-6:00. I really believe that if the weather had been more cooperative, I would have gone sub-6.

Regardless, I’m happy with my performance.  There were a few people who helped me out along the way, and I’ll always be grateful to my friends who help me every step of the way.  The first bit of support came from Mike O. and Mike S. who cheered on all the Front Runners, and who made sure to keep me going through the somewhat difficult 3rd mile of the race. 

Another big thanks goes to my Front Runner friend (and nemesis) Chris S., who ran with me during the last mile to make sure that I didn’t ease up on the throttle. He kept right behind me and wouldn’t let me slow down, or even show bad form!  He yelled at me for a good quarter mile : “Relax those shoulders! …Pump your arms! …Only a half mile to go, so don’t even *think* about slowing down!”

There were also other FRNYers cheering the team on (thanks Rob, Koach Kelsey, Josh!), and the constant cheers and support during the race can really make the difference between a good race and bad race. Thankfully, I had a good race.

The race went something like this:

Mile 1 : It had been a while since I started a race uphill, but I know my pace fairly well.  It’s hot – really hot.  Still, I want to see if I can push myself and run through the heat.  I was happy to get my first mile right on target despite Cat Hill, and pushed a first mile of 6:05.

Mile 2 : I’m not over-heating; this is  good.  I’m relaxing and pushing on the downhills. I know this 4-mile route like the back of my hand. Others do too, which didn’t help when a guy next to me says, “The westside is going to be brutal!”  Everyone in the race knows this – it’s a hot and humid day, so no one is looking forward to the uphill in Mile 3. It wa annoying that this guy said this, because it was just sort of a mental / psychological drain. I run a 5:57, which was a good feeling.

Mile 3 : Yup, the westside is indeed brutal. We all knew it was going to be. We’re heating up and the uphills are getting tough. I see Mike O. and Mike S. who keep me going. I manage a semi-ok 6:20 mile.

Mile 4 : This has a net downhill, despite starting uphill. My running buddy Chris shows up and runs behind me to make sure I give that last mile all I have. I’m tired, dehydrated, and hot at this point – but still manage to sneak in a 5:57 time. I cross the finish at 24:20: a respectable 6:05 pace in the heat. I’ll take it.

Father’s Day Race Against Prostate Cancer Presented by ABC7 (5M)

Overall Time: 31:27
Pace: 6:17
Place: 167 of 5203
AG%: 67.8%

Weather: 78 Degrees, 80% Humidity
Start time: 8:30

Splits: 6:11, 6:05, 6:25, 6:29 (20-second walk break), 6:12

This was one of those races that I knew I wasn’t going to enjoy. The heat and the humidity were really a killer, but 5202 racers and I decided to show up and tough it out.  Tough it out we did, but this race marks the my debut — AS A WALKER!  That’s correct you heard it right — I WALKED!  Right after the 3rd mile, I started to overheat and I had to pull off to the side for a 20-second walk.  It wasn’t pretty. I was able to finish that mile in 6:29, but I was disappointed to say the least. 

Except for the walking part, I’m happy with this race. It was slower than I would have liked it to be — but honestly, considering the heat and the crazy humidity I knew that I wasn’t going to be going for some crazy PR.  I PR’ed regardless (only because my only other 5-mile race was when I first started running, and it was a 35:00+ time), and was happy that I kept my shit together.

I ran with a new running friend, Michael S, who ended up being a bit of a help toward the end of the race.  I suppose he’s more of an endurance runner (a 2:55 marathoner) because surprisingly I was able to beat him to the finish. He did make for a good running partner though; having him run with me was definitely good my morale.

The race went something like this:

Mile 1 : I wasn’t close to the front of the corral, so as usual there were a lot of people in front of me who shouldn’t have been.  Annoying.  This 6:11 first mile should have been a 6:00.

Mile 2 : I’m settling in to my groove here, and Michael and I are more or less shoulder to shoulder. As we weave through traffic, he typically led and I was happy to follow. This mile was a little hilly, but nothing terrible. I end up with a comfortable 6:05.

Mile 3 : Yikes, I’m starting to heat up a bit. There was supposed to have been a "misting station" but it didn’t appear.  My attempt to get water met with disastrous results, and for the first time in a race I actually dropped the cup (ugh!) and got no agua.  I started to fade fast.

Mile 4 : I stopped! It wasn’t a conscious thing; my body just stopped and I pulled over to the side of the road as runners passed me.  10 seconds later, my friend Michael catches up with me and starts to walk with me. I yell at him to, "Keep going!" and he does.  After I catch my breath, I pick things back up. This would be the slowest mile, at 6:29. If I take out the 20-second break, this mile was 6:09 which would have been right on target.

Mile 5 : Final mile. I just wanted to hold on, and I did. Michael was in my sights, and he really pulled me through the last 1.5 miles. I pass him and pick up the pace. Somehow I kept my shit together and finished a full 30 seconds ahead of him.  The heat starated to get to people, and I must have passed a couple dozen runners in this last mile. It felt real good, because several of them I recognized from previous NYRR races, and they’re fairly strong runners

Mother’s Day 4-Miler Race

Overall Time: 24:20
Pace: 6:05
Place: 53 of 4765
AG%: 69.2%

Weather: 44 Degrees, 47% Humidity, Wind, Clear.
Start time: 8:00

Splits: 6:05, 5:57, 6:14, 6:00

I saw fellow Daily Miler Daniel N.in the blue corral with me and said hello. I had forgotten that we were both running this race, but was glad to see him there. It sounds like he struggled that last mile, so that makes two of us for whom this race didn’t go so well.

This wasn’t the race I wanted but I won’t complain too much. My first two miles were OK, but the second the race went along the west side, it became hard to breathe.  The 23 mph winds were taking a toll on my lungs; I felt like I was dry heaving and it slowed me down the last two miles.

While I didn’t completely fail at this race (it was only 10 seconds off from my last 4-miler), I knew my legs had a sub-24 in them but it still didn’t happen. I guess I’ll have to wait until next time.

On the upside, I did help my team (Front Runners New York) place 2nd in the Team Division so I’ll be getting a NYRR medal.  Yay!

City Parks Foundation Run For The Parks 4-Miler

 

Overall Time: 24:10
Pace: 6:02
Place:  67 of 5272
AG%: 69.7%

Weather: 44 Degrees, 62% Humidity, Clear.
Start time: 8:00

Splits:
6:05
6:00
6:10
5:52

This was a good race! True to form, I stayed out too late last night and had a few too many vodka tonics. Despite this, I managed to beat my 4-mile time from last week and set a new PR for the second week in a row.  While I was unable to achieve the elusive 5:59 pace, I’m pleased with this race. I started off a little slow, but that may have been a result of not feeling too rested this morning.

With today’s 4-Miler, I’ve now raced the last 4 consecutive weeks. The next NYRR race isn’t until May 9th, so I (thankfully) have a few weekends off for once. Whew!

Mile 1: Cat Hill is here. I intended to run a 6:00 because of my tendency to start off too conservatively.  That was a fail, as I clocked a 6:05 split.  Dammit, already behind pace!

Mile 2: Cat Hill is out of the way and my intention was to run a 5:55 or so, to bank time that will inevitably be lost on the hills of Mile 3.  When I saw 6:00 on my watch, I knew I’d have to push it a bit.

Mile 3: Shit, there’s a hill here. Last week I did this in 6:18. Today I pulled a 6:10, and it felt really good to push a bit on the uphill. I passed a lot of people who were starting to fade.

Mile 4: With the worst behind me, I just made sure to finish strong. I held my form together and made to not to get lazy simply because the end was near.  5:52 final mile, and a 13-second PR!

Run As One 4-Mile Race Presented by JP Morgan Chase

Overall Time: 24:23
Pace: 6:05
Place: 86 of 6712
AG%: 69.1%

Weather: 52 Degrees, 47% Humidity, Clear.
Start time: 9:00

Splits:
6:03
5:59
6:18
6:02

This was a good race! I have a 4-mile race next week, and I thought I wasn’t going to try to run this one too hard. That changed once I got to the front corral, as it became evident that a lot of the faster Front Runners were doing this race. Sensing that FRNY might be able to take home a team medal, and me wanting to be a part of that, I decided to go for it and I’m happy with how this ended up.

Unfortunately, I ended up the 6th Front Runner to cross the line (only the top 5 get medals) but at least FRNY ended up with a 3rd place Men’s Team medal. I felt good the entire race, which means maybe I didn’t try hard enough – but it was a 37-second PR for me and I’m happy about that.

Next week is the same course, and if the weather holds out I’m going to go for another PR. Wish me luck!

Mile 1: Cat Hill is here, but despite this nasty incline I was too busy weaving around the slower runners to notice. I went by in 6:02.

Mile 2: Cat Hill is out of the way and now it’s nice and flat with a couple downhills. This would be my fastest mile, at 5:59.

Mile 3: Shit, there’s a hill here. At least we’re halfway done!  Everybody slows down here 20+ seconds, and I was not much different. 6:18, and glad that’s over!

Mile 4: I should have pushed harder, but somehow I forgot where the finish line was and didn’t realize it was as close as it was until I saw it after the turn on the 72nd Street transverse. Oh well. 6:02 final mile, and a 37-second PR. Huzzah!

2010 Scotland Run 10K Race

 

Above: a group photo with some of the FRNY participants. A total of 124 Front Runners participated!

 

Overall Time: 39:25
Pace: 6:21
Place: 233 of 7790
AG%: 68.1%

Weather: 52 Degrees, 80% Humidity, Clear.
Start time: 10:00

Splits:
6:17
6:08
6:12
6:36 (yikes!)
6:22
6:29
1:17 (.22 miles at 6:00 pace)

Today was the NYRR Scotland 10K Run in Central Park. The weather was astonishingly beautiful, if a bit too warm. I went out in a singlet and shorts and was totally fine for the day. The sun was high in the sky and made it feel much warmer than it was. Coupled with the humidity, it made the running conditions a little warm for me but not too bad.

Overall, I’m OK with my results. I was a little disappointed that I didn’t crack 39:00, but it seemed like everyone struggled a little bit today. The hills in Central Park never make for an easy race, and my legs really felt tired by the halfway point. I should have been able to finish the race much stronger, but the hills in the first half took most of my energy. Despite this, the day was spectacular and the cherry trees are starting to blossom. I wouldn’t have wanted to spend this Saturday morning any other way.

I had to take a pee before the race, so that means my corral got crowded and I was at the very rear or the corral. When the race got moving, there had to have been at least 600 people in front of me that I had to weave through during the first mile. I could be heard saying rather loudly somewhere in the first mile, "Well, there goes the PR!" I really bothers me that people crowd the fast corral, only to set out much slower than they should be running. For the fast people really racing the race, it’s very difficult to weave through so much traffic when people are running shoulder to shoulder and you’re trying to not trip or get tripped.

Mile 1: The traffic aside, I was right on target for my first mile, at 6:17. It was pretty flat and I knew that the next two miles would be a little tough because that’s where the hills are. So far, so good.

Mile 2: I had room to run finally and the weaving continued through the second mile, a 6:08 mile that came and went pretty quickly and saw me pass a lot of Front Runners. My legs started to feel good, and my heart rate was within what I considered a good range for me. Only 4 miles to go!

Mile 3: This is where it started to get hard. The reverse of Harlem Hill is still easier than the normal counter-clockwise route, but it was tough still — a lot of guys got punished here; no one had an easy time, that’s for sure. I kept the pace strong, but maybe kept it a little too fast. 6:12 pace.

Mile 4: Honest to god, I wanted to quit through the last and current hill. All I could think about was how nice a DNF sounded at this point, but I knew I wouldn’t be able to live with myself. I could ease up the pace and still finish, but there was no way I could realistically let myself quit. It was my slowest mile, at 6:36

Mile 5: Somehow I talked myself back into the race, and while I wasn’t running super fast I did manage a 6:22 after a horrible 4th mile. Throughout the entire race, another Front Runner named Matt was ahead of me. He was far ahead in the corral, so when we started he got a good 30-second head start on me. I could see his bright orange shorts from far away on the downhill portions, and it gave me motivation to keep running. I wanted to see if I could catch up with him, and it wasn’t until Mile 5 that I knew I was within striking distance to pass him. He didn’t know it but he helped pull me through the last two miles.

Mile 6: The home stretch! While a 6:29 pace isn’t what I wanted, I was sure glad that the race was coming to an end. I had caught up to Matt (the Front Runner I was chasing down all race) and we were running together. I think it was good for the both of us, because it seemed like we fed off each other’s energy.

Mile 6.21: OMG Finally we’re done. Matt and I had a super big kick the last 200 meters, and we must have passed a dozen people. Felt great!

Mile 6.22: WHERE’S MY GATORADE?!

Where I Run

I ran across this last night at the Front Runners run in Central Park. It was dark and I was trying to maintain a decent pace, so I didn’t bother to stop and look. I did make it a point to check it out on my lunch hour this afternoon; now if only I had remembered to put the battery in my real digital camera so I wouldn’t have to rely on my stupid Blackberry to take a photo.  Ugh! 

Either way, it’s very cool.  I guess it’s just a frozen little waterfall.  There were bricks of ice last night around it, broken off from it. The cool thing about those bricks were that they were crystal clear!