Category: Prospect Park

2011 Al Gordon 4-Miler in Prospect Park

Overall Time: 24:54
Pace: 6:13
Place: 81 of 3992
AG%: 67.7%

Weather: 31 Degrees, 54% Humidity, Fair
Start time: 9:00

Splits: 6:13, 6:11, 5:57, 6:27

Well it’s about goddamn time that NYRR had a race in Prospect Park! For once I could do a warm-up jog to the event, and didn’t have to wake up 3 hours to make sure I got to the start on time!

Only 36 hours before this race, I had participated in a 10K relay at an indoor track meet. My hamstrings were totally blown, and and knew this wasn’t going to go terribly well. I dialed back both the pace and the expectations. While this doesn’t mean that I allowed myself to give up completely, it did allow me to not worry about breaking a 5:59 pace this time around.

Racing the Al Gordon 4-Miler

My hamstrings were tight, and my legs had absolutely no “go” in them. It’s amazing how dead legs can feel after a hard speed workout — especially when said legs hadn’t done a speed workout in almost 6 months.

My only real goal was to break 25:00, which I did despite slowing way way down that last mile. I’m not really sure how I went from a 5:57 mile to a 6:27, but the Garmin ain’t lying and I’ve got no reason to doubt it.

As much as I do love 4-mile races, this will be the last one I do for a while. Racing the short distances seriously means that I forego long runs on raceway weekends — and with my emphasis being the half marathon and marathon this year, I can’t afford a little ego boost to get in the way of proper long-distance training.

Finishing the Al Gordon 4-Miler

2010 Brooklyn Half Marathon

Overall Time: 1:28:24
Pace: 6:44
Place: 207 of 7008
AG%: 66.9%

Weather: 58 Degrees, 86% Humidity, Wind, Clear.
Start time: 8:00
Splits: 6:45, 6:53, 6:31, 6:27, 6:50, 6:52, 6:33, 6:41, 6:44, 6:48, 6:43, 6:55, 6:54, 0:41

2010 Brooklyn Half Marathon - Running along the boardwalk of Coney Island

Not the race I wanted, but it was a good learning experience. My legs had not been feeling well at all in the week and a half leading up to the race. This may have been the results of a little too much partying, way too much drinking, not enough sleeping, and a touch of jet lag (all courtesy of a trip to Las Vegas). Regardless, it would prove to be a good test to see what I could do when I’m not at 100%.

My favorite miles were easy to pick out: Mile 1, because I felt OK, and Mile 13 because it signaled that it was finally OVER. Boy how I wanted this race to be over. After the first mile, my legs started to feel tired — not a good sign. They weren’t hurting or sore; they just didn’t have any real life in them. This wouldn’t change much the remainder of the race.

I went out easy the first two miles (6:45, 6:53) but then picked it up a little bit on the downhills of Prospect Park to throw in a 6:31 and a 6:27. I wasn’t afraid to push myself, and knew I’d have nothing but regrets if I started off slow and continued slow while making excuses along the way. Just because I wasn’t feeling 100% didn’t mean I wasn’t going to try and race this.

The course looped inside Prospect Park twice, before heading out to the Coney Island boardwalk. Before the race, I had anticipated being weighed down mentally inside of the park — doing two large loops of the park (that included a slightly nasty hill) didn’t seem appealing. But the reality turned out to be quite the opposite — due to the great support of all the people who came to cheer, the first 7 miles inside the park really flew by. By contrast, once leaving the park I was greeted by few people cheering (except at fluid stations) and just a loooooong stretch of road leading to Coney Island.

2010 Brooklyn Half Marathon - Feeling good inside the park!

I started to fade outside of the park. Despite starting off conservatively and the hills inside Prospect Park, I averaged a slightly faster pace for the first 7 miles (6:41) than I would for the boring final 6 miles (6:47) trying to get to Coney Island. Normally I’d have tried to negative split this race, but my legs weren’t cooperating. I had to really dig deep to throw in that 6:43 at Mile 11, and I threatened some 7:00 miles toward the end.

This was a good learning experience, and I really can’t wait to tackle my next Half Marathon (depending on the weather, it may be the Bronx Half).

NYRR Al Gordon Snowflake 4-Miler

NYRR Al Gordon Snowflake 4-Miler

Official race time: 25:02 / 6:15 pace
Overall Place: 64 of 3684
Age Place: 19

This was definitely not the race that I wanted. I’m not sure what went wrong exactly, but I just didn’t race this that well and lost focus. I wasn’t expecting to do a whole lot better than what I did, but at the least I did expect to beat 25:00.

My splits were as follows:

Mile 1: 6:26 (flat / uphill)
Mile 2: 6:12 (flat)
Mile 3: 6:01 (flat / downhill)
Mile 4: 6:23 (flat / uphill)

I can’t change the past, so let’s focus on the future here.  Let’s see if I can pin-point some obvious things I should do differently in future races:

1. I got less than ideal hours of sleep. Did I really need to stay up late to finish off those last two beers?

2. Those last two beers.  Were they really necessary?  Probably not. I should focus on being hydrated the next morning, and not the minimal buzz I might get from a couple of beers.

3. I arrived to Prospect Park *only* 30 minutes before the race start. Normally this might not be a problem, except that (due to the snow, I think?) the baggage check area was moved as far away from the start as possible.  I wasted a good 10 minutes getting to / from the baggage check gates. When you factor in the few minutes it took me to walk from the train station, change shoes, get my bib pinned to my shirt, and find my friends in the corral I had only 5 minutes before the race start before I finally got to my corral.  This means I didn’t have any time to stretch or warm up. Before I knew it, some lady was singing the Star Spangled Banner, and the horn went off… time to run!

3a. Because of the crazy corral / baggage check / porta-potty area, I didn’t get to use the facilities… and I definitely needed to use them… specifically, I had *two* reasons. Argh. Next time I’m getting to the race area a full hour early.

4. I totally lost focus during the run. I had planned on pacing behind my friend Dave Caraway, but he started his first mile slower than I wanted. It took me a half mile to realize this, before I made an effort to pass him. Perhaps worse, during the run I definitely found myself getting lost in thought — typically I’m pretty good about focusing on pace, heart rate, breathing, cadence — but a few times I caught myself literally day dreaming and it caused me to slow down.  Next time : eye on the prize!

Disappointments aside, the day wasn’t a total loss. My running group (Front Runners New York) did very well. We took 3rd for the team awards, which means I get a medal! Yay! I was the 3rd fastest Front Runner which was sort of cool, being able to contribute to my team’s award. The two ahead of me were much faster (5:45, 5:32 paces). Also, I beat my friend Dave C. I knew he’d give me a run for my money and really wanted to stay ahead of him.

The FRNY Women also got 2nd place overall, and there were a number of age / gender awards as well as personal records that individual Front Runners pulled off.  Notable mention goes to Dave Pitches, who turned in an awesome 27:20 (6:50 pace), that gave him 1st place in the 60-64 age group.  I hope I’m runnig that fast when I’m 64! I hope the 65-69 group is ready for Dave next year, because he’s going to give them a run for their money!

Next weekend is the Coogan’s 5K, but I don’t have super high hopes for this race. I hear the hills make it a difficult course to PR on, so I’m just going to try and enjoy the hills and have some fun. It’s time I take a little pressure off myself, anyway.

2010 Prospect Park Cherry Tree 10-Mile Relay

This morning was the 10-mile, 3-man relay called the Cherry Tree Relay, put on by the Prospect Park Track Club. Considering I was working on little sleep and had 5 drinks last night, I think this went alright.

Overall, my team (Two Speeders and a Breeder) placed 15th out of 97 teams. Our final time was 1:03:33, for a 6:22 pace.

I ran the third and last leg, which was a little odd. I found that most of the people at the point where on their second leg of the race, and I was flying by them which gave me concerns that I may have started off a little fast. Thankfully, though, this wasn’t the case. I started off right about the pace that I wanted to.

This is only my second race, and my first without someone to pace me so I’m still learning how to start off properly. I’d say overall this is about the race that I wanted. Since this was more of a social race and not a NYRR race, I didn’t want to go all-out — but at the same time, I definitely wanted to do well.

I think I did just that, and pulled an overall pace of 6:10. Splits were : 6:15, 6:23, 6:08, 2:00 (5:24 pace for the last .37 mi).