4:30 or Bust: A Quest for Marathon Mediocrity

Fred Lebow Classic Race Report

with 3 comments

Today was the Fred Lebow Classic, 5 mile race in Central Park.  It was also my birthday!  I won’t repeat my thoughts on this wonderful race, you can read the first part of my race report from last year for that.

First, a view of my long history with this race:

My first was the first year the race was held, in 1995, and this was my 12th out of 16 years!

With all the troubles I’ve had in the last months of 2009, I knew I would not be able to approach the PR I set last year of 41.24, 8:16 pace.  But, with the great effort in Dec, and nice speed session this past week, I was hopeful I could finish in 42:30, or 8:30 pace.  You can see from the picture above that this did not happen, but I was very close, and I am satisfied with the effort.

I’ll go back to the beginning.  Was up at 5:30, dressed in my race layers including 3 tops and 2 tights.  Threw on a couple of jackets for good measure.  Packed my sneaks, running hat, gloves, etc and headed out the door around 6:20.  For a Sunday race, I would pick up my race number ahead of time, giving me some extra time to get to the race, but this was a Saturday race and I didn’t have time to get my number earlier in the week.  This meant I needed to stop by the NYRR office before heading up to the race start.  Even with said stop, everything went quicker than planned and I was in the start area by 7:05am.  Took this picture of the start line.  Just loved the flags flying and the sun coming up beyond the horizon.

Wandered around the start area, used the bathroom before they got too crowded, pinned my number, attached my D-Tag, changed my necessary clothes, and check my bag in the cluster&uck known as the bag check.

Actually, the bag check was completely ridiculous.  The bag check itself was fairly narrow, only using half of the 102nd St entrance roadway.  The other half was completely closed off.  Also, they were only letting people out on the East side of the check so there was a massive line of people trying to get into the narrow space to check their bag, and an equally massive line of people trying to get out, in the same place, to get to the start line.  Very poor logistics, as far as I’m concerned.  I don’t know how it could have been done better, but I know it was NO GOOD.  And I was checking my bag 20 minutes before race start, which I know was earlier than most people in the race.

Even with the bag check delay, I was in my corral with a good 10 minutes to spare.  Speaking of the corrals, I actually had a number in the 2000 range, putting me in the 3rd corral.  I think this is the first time I was that low.  It was nice to get that much closer to the start!

Shortly before 8am, Mary Wittenberg talked about Fred, introduced the singer for the Star Spangled Banner, which was played, and then we were off!

Tried to take it easy in the first mile.  Since I was pretty close to the start, it was not that crowded.  It was so cold my toes and nose felt frozen.  I knew they would thaw as the race wore on.  We hit the west side and I tried to push up the hills and recover on the downhills.  Felt pretty good, until the toes on my right foot started thawing and I realized my right shin was bothering me.  Ruh Roh.  Wasn’t horrible, so just continued to run through it.

Made it easily through the hills on the West side, but it wasn’t enough to loosen up my shin.  My shin tends to loosen up on uphills, and get worse on downhills, and I had run out of uphills, at least for the moment.  Again, although bothering me, I was able to continue to run through it.  However, my splits were a little slower than I wanted, 8:50 and 8:40.  I knew after 2 miles that 42:30 was out of reach, but pressed on to see how close I could get.

Took it easy on the downhills on the west side so I would not further aggravate the shin.  Finally, got around the bottom of the park and started hitting the uphills again.  This is where the shin started to loosen up to the point where it was not a problem at all.  Mile 3 seemed to go by really fast, although my time was still on the slow side, 8:52.  Mile 4 is where I really turned it up, and was able to breeze up cat hill.  Kept pushing hard in mile 5, especially in the last quarter mile with all the downhills.  Splits here were 8:33 and 8:16.  Finished with 43:15, only :45 behind my goal.

After that, stuck around to cheer the rest of the runners through the finish line.  All in all, very happy with the race and effort.  And then proceeded to have a great birthday.

Next race is Manhattan Half Marathon, where I fully expect sub 2 hours…


Written by SCL

January 10, 2010 at 12:11 am

Posted in Race Report, running

3 Responses

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  1. Congrats on a good race in cold conditions. See you at the Manhattan 1/2.


    January 10, 2010 at 6:58 am

  2. Great race. You came so very close to your goal time. I know you have it in you.

    My face was numb at the start until finally we started moving then I warmed up.

    Nice way to spend the first part of your birthday!!!


    January 10, 2010 at 8:29 pm

  3. congrats! i missed the race bc of a trip and I’m missing the Manhattan half too! UGH!


    January 12, 2010 at 1:30 pm

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