4:30 or Bust: A Quest for Marathon Mediocrity

4 miles in heavy humidity does not equate to 32 minutes…

with 3 comments

Busy weekend, so only able to post this race report now for the fitness Mind, Body, Spirit Games 4 mile race this past Saturday.  I was defintely a little nervous about the weather, since Tropical Storm Hannah was poised to attack Friday night into Saturday.

I was up at 6am and checked the weather.  No threat of rain, at least for the morning.  Temperature was 75 – good.  However, the dewpoint was 74, very very very bad.  I hate running in the heat and I hate the humidity.  I’m no meteorologist, but I do know that the closer the dewpoint is to the air temperature, the higher the humidity.  In my experience, if the dewpoint is over 60, the run may be a little uncomfortable, if over 65, then the run will be bad.  A dewpoint of 74 is off the chart as far as I’m concerned.  This was going to be a rough day.

The air was heavy and oppresive.  I was drenched in sweat by the time I got to the subway.  By the time I reached the race, my clothes were sweated through and it looked like I had already put in the 4 mile run.   I was feeling good though and thinking positively about my chances of finishing around 8 min pace: distance was only 4 miles; in race conditions it is easy to be picked up by the crowds; last mile virtually all downhill!

In the past 6 months, NYRR instituted a policy of wave starts at races.  The faster you are, the closer you will line up to the start, measured by your fastest per mile race pace in races over 1 mile, over the last year.  In my limited experience with it, I think it is a great was to keep the start and the first mile orderly.  I personally like to get as close to the start as possible, so my goal is to cut down my fastest pace per mile.  My official pace is 8:14, which I managed to do at a 5k race in 2007.  For this race, it was good enough for the 4th wave.  All the other people I noticed in my wave were slower than 8:14 pace (you can see their pace on their race bib), so I think I was very close to the cusp of getting into the 3rd wave.  That’s why I’m desperate to get my time down a little, which was the goal of this race.

Simply stated, not going happen on this day.  The humidity was just too oppressive.   I’ll need to give it another go another time – maybe the Race to Deliver in November.

Mile 1 – 8:03 – did great on Cat Hill.  Nice hard pace.

Mile 2 – 8:20 – held back a little to try to save energy for mile 3, which has several uphills.

Mile 3 – 9:10 – the hills and humidity were too much.  Couldn’t keep the pace up.

Mile 4 – 8:54 – By this mile, I was done!  Ended up walking twice.  The 2nd walk was a mistake because I misjudged where the finish was – I was closer to the finish than I thought and really didn’t need to walk.

Total – 34:27

Considering the humidity, 34:27 is not bad for me for a 4 mile race.  It ranks as my 3rd fastest in 12 races at this distance.  I’ll take it.  Time to focus now on distance, not speed.  I may skip the Queens Half Marathon on Sunday and instead run 15 or 16 miles on my own with some big hills.  Need to get at least 3 good long runs in before the Marathon.

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Written by SCL

September 8, 2008 at 9:14 pm

Posted in Race Report

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  1. […] humid and it really killed me.  While not nearly as bad as the humidity the previous week for the fitness mag 4 mile run, it was not the best of conditions for 13 miles.  I’ve already read two reports […]

  2. […] affected by the weather in the summertime when it is hot.  My most recent failures were at the fitness mag 4 mile run and the Queens half marathon, both on humid days.  In sharp contrast, the weather Sunday was […]

  3. […] all the challenges I faced that month.  In particular, I had 2 really, really bad races (here and here), and it just helped to put things in perspective for me.  That Nov 2, I ran my fastest NYC […]


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