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