Sunday, March 28, 2010

Good Day and a 15K Race Report

The bottom line: 1:08:30.  7:21 pace.  64.0 AG%, overall place: 244; AG place: 28/150.  A new PR, but also a PW -- I've never run this distance before.

This morning was the Colon Cancer Awareness 15K in Central Park.  It was a little odd because the race started at 11:15 -- about three hours later than the races in Central Park usually start.  That meant a normal wake up, normal breakfast, coffee and oh yes then off to a 9.33 mile race.  The weather was really odd.  It has been warm here, but yesterday was cold and windy, albeit sunny.  The morning was cold and overcast -- about 30 degrees or so.  So, I dressed warmly, in tights, shorts, a thermal top, a tech short and a long sleeve top also.  On the train in I thought I may have overdressed, but was still chilly.  But then I watched the finishers from the 4 mile race before the 15K -- and they all seemed to be in shorts and shirts, with the over dressed runners looking very hot.  And, the big CNN sign overlooking Central Park said it was 54 degrees (that was incorrect, by the way; it was actually about 40 degrees).  So, I called an audible and went into a porta potty, and off came the tights and top, leaving me in shorts and a short sleeved tech shirt.  (A bad layering job, btw.  I should have had a long sleeved shirt on.)  When I was done, I was now cold, but figured I would warm up during the run, and I was right.

I had no idea what pace to shoot for on this run, given that I have never raced this distance and really haven't had much racing this season.  So, I went conservative and hoped for sub 8:00 miles. That would be a 1:15 or so.  I set my Garmin pace buddy at 7:55 and hoped for the best.

The course is a two loop design, running two loops around Central Park.  But the loops cut off the biggest uphill and downhill in the park (up and down the Harlem Hill in the north end of the park) so all things considered, the strategy was to save strength for the second loop.

I was also a little congested (it is going around my house), and so I took a Claritin before the race. I was nervous about that -- I have never done taken a Claritin or any cold medicine before a race or training run.  So I was paying alot of attention to my heart rate, looking for signs of craziness.

After finally getting under way (I was over an hour early for the race), the first mile was actually uphill, up Cat Hill.  I was pretty excited to finally be running, I was also in the fast group up front.  That group goes out fast.  My heart rate for the first half mile shot up to nearly 95% (176).  I have noticed this in nearly all my runs, even at the gym on a treadmill.  My HR goes crazy for about 5 minutes and then quickly (within a minute or so) comes way down, to where I expect it.  Does anyone know why?  I even warmed up this time because I was early, but still happened.)   But I felt good.  First mile was 7:12, for an uphill mile.  That is good.

Mile 2 was downhill, and I consciously tried to slow down, to save some for the second loop.  Mile 2 was 7:19, but even better, my heart rate was 163 -- a little above 80%.  Very good.  At Mile 3, we turn  down the west side and WHAM, ran into a pretty stiff wind -- around 10 mph.  And this mile uphill.  On this mile I really tried to tell myself, stay inside, and save strength.  7:39.  Miles 4 and 5, I kept with the save strength plan, knowing I had another loop to do and that I and would be here again.  Miles 4 and 5 were 7:21 and 7:32.  Mile 6 brought us back to the start, down wind (finally) but back up Cat Hill again (about 0.25 miles and an elevation gain of 75 feet).

Taking note from my fellow bloggers, I concentrated on hill form -- shorter steps and lean.  I imagined down shifting gears on a bike, with shorter steps, but faster turnover.  Mile 6 was 7:25.  Miles 7 and 8 were now back down the west side and into the wind again.  Not bad, Mile 7 at 7:14.  But in Mile 7 or so, I knew I felt good and had some in the tank ready to go.  I now knew the distance wasn't going to break me and instead I decided to shoot for a sub 1:10.  So I started pushing.  Mile 8 was and 7:25; Mile 9 at 7:13, and I ran the stub 0.33 miles to the finish at 6:36 pace.

This was a really good race for me.  I always felt in control and strong.  I didn't go out too fast, and never felt like I was bonking or about to conk out.  Or going too fast.  Normally, at the end of the race I feel like I am desperately hanging on to my pace, feeling my heart rate go crazy and willing myself to finish before all the wheels come flying off.  Today, though, towards the end, I was running at my pace -- not a pace I was trying like crazy to maintain before I collapsed.  During the race, rather than be ultra-competitive and not let people pass, I tried to run with people running about my target pace (which kept changing through the race.)    And my heart rate was really under control; normally I am 100% for last half mile; today I don't think it went north of 175 at the end.

Maybe it was the Claritin.  Or running in shorts on a chilly day.

But today it all seemed to work.

Distance    Split time    Avg. HR    Elev. chg.   
1.00    7:12    169 (91%)    +18
2.00    7:19    163 (87%)    -42   
3.00    7:39    165 (88%)    +56   
4.00    7:21    164 (88%)    -33   
5.00    7:32    166 (89%)    -24   
6.00    7:25    167 (89%)    +31  
7.00    7:14    167 (89%)    -33   
8.00    7:25    169 (90%)    +44  
9.00    7:13    169 (90%)    -15   
9.32    2:06    174 (93%)    -21


  1. Noooo. Don't say PW. Just stick with PR. So much better sounding! And Congrats! ;)

  2. Wow, nice strong pace! I think I'd like the later race start time, I think I could get used to that. I've been sick this week so I've been wearing my HR monitor too but so far, all is normal. Were you specifically worried about the medication having a negative affect? Great run...I think it was ALL YOU and not the Claritin! Then again, it could have been the shorts...

  3. Hi NY Wolve,
    Woo hoo!! Nice were running pretty fast:) Your splits are fantastic! Nice work! I am running in a race in Central Park sometime with in the next year or two!! New York is high on my list for places to run....Central Park is a must:) I hope that you have an excellent week!

  4. Love it when everything comes together for a great race, nice job!

    You were smart to ditch those tights!

  5. Isn't a 15k such a weird distance?!?!? When I ran it I really wasn't sure how to pace myself either. Great job out there and way to shoot expectations.

  6. Congratulations on the PR! You ran a great race with nice splits. I can only dream of running as good as that. Who knows why sometimes things just all click into place, but enjoy the fact that it did.

  7. I suppose you can call that a PW if you want, but that sounds like a great run to me...Congrats!

  8. Absolutely AMAZING time!! Congrats on your hard work and I'm happy the payoff for you was a PR.

  9. Awesome job on the 15K! I love that distance.

  10. Congrats on an awesome race! For some reason I like this distance too...

  11. Great job! I think that would be a fun distance to try, especially in CP.

  12. It was very chilly on Saturday! Good job with the race. I always have a hard time figuring out what to do when I do a new distance at a non-typical early start time. It throws me off! My heart does the same thing sometimes, but I still haven't figured out why!

  13. Nice work!

    Btw - my HRM used to do that too, it would shoot up over 200 at the beginning of my runs, which I knew was insane. I changed the battery and it stopped, so you might want to try that too..

  14. Great job on those splits! Sounds like you enjoyed the distance. I've never run a 15K, but I'd try one if it were available close to home. Congrats!

  15. Great pace, great race! I wish the half marathon would have been an 11:15 start instead of the 7:15 start. I love running in Central Park, even though it's hilly. I'll be back in NY on April 18th for the Dow Live Earth Run For Water. Hope to see you there.

  16. Congrats on a great race!! :)

  17. The heart rate drift thing in mile 1 always happens to me too. I think it has to do with bad conduction between the strap and the cold skin (before it has a chance to warm up) but I pretty much ignore the HR data for 1st two miles.

    I think you race a great race for yourself. 15K is always a hard distance to gauge. And yes, always consider the first race at a new distance as a PR and never a PW!

    Nice job!

  18. Congrat on a PR, and wow - awesome splits!! I could only dream of splits that fast in that long of a race, I bow to you on such an amazing accomplishment!

  19. There's a very nice 15K in Scarsdale on 4/11. Worth a trip.

    That is a good solid effort on a difficult-to-gauge distance. I think of it as closer to an HM than to a 10K in terms of initial degree-of-difficulty. 10K is hard from step 1. 15K, like an HM, is something you roll into, keeping things relaxed, trying to be consistent, and finishing strong over the last 5K. Sounds like that's pretty much what you did, and it worked.

    As to the CP hills, I think it best to count 4, i.e., Cat Hill (and always wave) and the three Harlem Hills (up/down/up or down/up/down). The balance of the course is rolling, esp. the West Side, three gradual ups, each followed by a gradual down. As with the proper hills, "relax" is the word. If you periodically include a relaxed effort up Sagamore, they will feel like nothing.

  20. Congrats! That's excellent, really!!!


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