4:30 or Bust: A Quest for Marathon Mediocrity

Nike Human Race Race Report

with 5 comments

Saturday, Oct 24, 2009, was “the day the world runs”, and I took part in the New York event, a 10k race in Prospect Park in Brooklyn.  I jumped at the chance to run this race, because, I enjoy running in Prospect Park and rarely do.  Only chance I really have has been at the Brooklyn Half Marathon, which I’ve done on and off over the years.  This 10k race was also the perfect taper event for 8 days before the New York City Marathon.

Weather was potentially a factor, but luckily, it held out and there was no rain.  Rained hard overnight, but stopped early in the morning.  By racetime, only remnants were the wet roads and the humid air.  It was actually quite humid, but luckily not too hot at about 60 degrees.  Showers started to kick in after the race, but thankfully the race itself was dry.

Start was at 8am, so 5:30 alarm, 6:15 out the door, and arrived at the park around 7:15.  Plenty of time to get the pre-race stuff done (change of clothes, bathroom run, bag check) in a leisurely fashion.  Had the bag checked by 7:40 and lined myself up with the 8 minute per mile people.

I’m so used to running NYRR races in New York City, I had to keep reminding myself that this was not an NYRR event.  The start was very professional, and well staged with enough port-o-potties, an organized start line by pace time, and buses to transport our bag the half mile from start to finish, and keep them dry in case of rain!  But I did a double take when the announcer guy was none other than Ian Brooks, who has announced at many NYRR events over the years.  Lately I’ve heard someone else doing the race announcements for NYRR, so nice to see that Ian is still out there, with his awesome British accent.  Although (sorry for the mini-rant here as I am a stickler for logistics and details), he incorrectly referred to us having the D-Tag chip rather than the ChampionChip.  First of all, D-Tag is not a ‘chip’, it is a ‘tag’!  The confusion is because NYRR has started using D-Tag, although at the Staten Island Half, the announcer there kept referring incorrectly to the ChampionChip.  Cmon people, let’s get it right!

Anyway, back to the point! Shortly after 8am, the horn sounded, and we were off!  I could tell right away that I was going too fast.  I almost started hyperventilating early and could feel myself breathing heavy.  I tried to back off a bit but keep a hard pace.  My 10k PR, set in early 2007, is 52:43, and I was thinking that if I could keep my pace around 8:45, I would have a chance to PR.  Then, the bad news started to surface.  In the first mile, I could feel my shin acting up.  I’ve had my fair share of shin issues lately and was praying it would hold off and allow me to run through it.  The advantage to running in the park is that there are a lot of uphills (and downhills), but in particular, the uphills are good to loosen up the shin and sometimes make the pain go away before having to stop and walk.  The big hill is in mile 2, so I felt I just needed to hold up to that point.  Even with slowing down, and taking a water stop before mile 1, I crossed mile 1 in 8:15, which is way too fast.  I have a feeling that marker was not quite accurate, but hard to tell.  Anyway, dialed the pace back a notch, hoping it would help, and worked up the big hill in the northeast corner of the park.  Crested it, and started working down the other side, but shin was still tight.  Very tight. 

Made it as far as the water stop just after mile 3, and decided on a walk break.  Walked about a quarter mile, trying to stretch it out, etc.  Then started back into run mode.  Shin pain was still there, but starting to abate, so just pressed along.  Very soon we completed the first loop and started the second time around.  This time, finally, in mile 4, as I worked up the hill for the second time, the shin pain subsided significantly.  Was then able to safely push hard the last 2 miles into the finish.  My biggest complaint about the race occurred here, namely the 5 mile marker placement.  The placement was highly suspect, as you will see by my splits below.  I am a very consistent runner, and miles 5 and 6 were run at a similar hard pace, yet you’ll see the major difference in time.  Finish was actually on a nice downhill, so cruised in very fast.  Finished in 58:29, which is not bad at all, but several minutes slower than I thought I could do if my shin didn’t act up.  After finishing, I went out to the last straightaway and cheered many more runners into the finish.

Overall, this race was great.  Water was plentiful and there were many stops with lots of tables.  The post race spread was great, although the grounds were completely muddy.  Hope they run this again next year, and again in Prospect.  If so, I will be there!

And to top it all off, ended with a fantastic brunch in Park Slope with great company, namely 5 new friends met over the last year on DailyMile and Twitter.  Great food and great conversation.  Then off to the rest of my weekend!

  • Mile 1 – 8:15
  • Mile 2 – 9:48
  • Mile 3 – 10:20
  • Mile 4 – 9:41
  • Mile 5 – 10:54 (I DONT THINK SO!)
  • Mile 6 – 7:44 (I WISH)
  • Mile 6.2 – 1:42
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Written by SCL

October 26, 2009 at 4:31 pm

5 Responses

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  1. Hi! I’m glad I came across your post – I thought the mile markers were off, too, and now I don’t think I’m crazy. The time on my watch was also about a minute off from my chip time, so I’m wondering if something was up there, too. Anyway, I enjoyed the race, too!

    WanderLustRunner

    October 26, 2009 at 9:23 pm

    • Regarding chip time, looks like they didn’t take off the time it took to get to the start time. The official times are gun times. Seems kinda silly to me, to use the chip but not use them properly…

      SCL

      October 26, 2009 at 10:02 pm

  2. My official time was also more than a minute slower than what was on my watch, and I’m used to clocking it within a few seconds of the chip time….hmmm. Anyway, brunch was fun, I’m glad that we were all able to make it out and (mostly!) avoid the rain.

    Sarah (@worldrunner)
    http://sestafford.wordpress.com/

    Sarah

    October 26, 2009 at 11:35 pm

  3. long time no talk! good luck this wkd, hoping your shin holds up!

    jen

    October 27, 2009 at 11:35 am

  4. Glad to hear the race went well. I ran the inaugural race last year on Randall’s Island and although I had a great time, it was a cluster-f. Sounds like they ironed out all the kinks. I hope your shin is feeling better. NYC in 3 days – wooo hooooooo!

    runtonamaste

    October 28, 2009 at 12:55 pm


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