4:30 or Bust: A Quest for Marathon Mediocrity

13.1 New York Race Report

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This past Sunday was the 2nd annual 13.1 New York race, in Flushing Meadow Park in Queens.  For the 2nd year in a row I had a really nice time.  See last year’s report here.

I was heading into the race with low expectations, because my training has not been great, I was sick in the last 2 weeks and having a hard time getting back to 100%, and I’ve had a couple of nagging injuries in recent weeks.  That said, my goal is always to beat 2 hours, but I knew that was unrealistic.  I was also hoping to beat my time from last year, which was 2:01:52, but I knew that was also a bit of a stretch.  In the end, my realistic goal was 2:05, and so that was where I wanted to be.

The day was promising in terms of the weather.  Early in the morning, it was 39 degrees, with a bit of wind.  I was really undecided on what to wear.  I was thinking I could get away with shorts and short sleeve shirt, but I brought lots of extra clothes anyway, just in case.  I also brought my gloves and ear coverings, just in case.  At the last second, I grabbed a long sleeve cotton shirt, which I figured I’d be able to wear afterwards.

I got out to the park quickly, and was able to find the correct Citifield parking lot among the various constructions and road closures in the area.  I arrived more than an hour early, so had plenty of time for race prep.  I walked all the way around the trainyards to the start area, and then around the tennis center to get to the park proper, and the finish staging area.  It was a good 15 minute walk.  I used the restrooms twice, and then made a decision to go with tights, and a long sleeve tech shirt and a short sleeve tech shirt over.  But I decided to forgo the gloves and ear coverings.

Once finished up with the bathroom again, I headed for the gear check, AND COULD NOT BELIEVE MY EYES.  The line snaked all over the place, with hundreds of people in line, waiting to check their bag.  We still had 30 minutes to the start of the race, but I was not waiting on that line if not necessary.  And for me it was not necessary, since I had my car.  Unfortunately, the car was far away, but I had enough time to get to my car, drop my stuff, and make it to the start line with 5 mins to spare.  It was on the walk to the car when I realized I was overheating quickly, and not even running yet, so I decided to shed the heavy layers, and go instead with shorts and a short sleeve tech shirt.  I used the long sleeve cotton shirt as a throwaway, to stay warmer until the start.  Ultimately, I’d glad I made this decision.  For the most part I was plenty warm during the run as it was a very sunny day.  The only times it was a problem was when we were running into the wind.  Since the course had lots of changes in direction, when we were against the wind, it was never for long.  So for me, it all worked out.

On to the race itself.  My hopes were to start out at a 9:10 pace, and see if I could keep that pace easily.  I quickly saw that this would not be the case, as my splits, while consistent, were a bit too slow.  There was a lot of weaving around people in the first mile, as there was no structure to the start and a lot of slow people managed to get up front.  After 4 miles, I realized I was about a minute behind 2 hour pace and I didn’t feel like I’d be able to make it up.  From then on, I just tried to keep my miles under 9:30, which would keep me at under 2:05.

They did a great job with the water stops.  They were placed every mile, and each one had water and gatorade.  The volunteers were doing a great job, and they always had what I wanted.  I took a drink about every other mile, from mile 1 to mile 9.  I also took a Gu at mile 7.  You can see from my splits where I took my Gu, as it resulted in my slowest mile of the race, and the only mile slower than 10 mins.

In the late miles, I thought I had 2:05 in the bag, but at mile 11, I did the subtraction math and realized I miscalculated by FORGETTING ABOUT THE LAST .1 MILES!  Rookie mistake.  That meant I needed to make up a little time in the last 2 miles.  I was feeling good and so was confident I’d do it, but I really had to dig hard in both those last miles to push the pace.  The last mile was my fastest, at 8:56, which tells me I had a solid and successful race.  I came into the finish at 2:04:48, a mere 12 seconds under my goal.

The other interesting thing about this race are all the turns on the course.  I made a very conscious effort to ‘run the tangents’ to get as close as possible to the official distance of the race.  In fact, I think it is very possible that running the tangents and cutting the corners as best as possible might have been the difference in getting me under 2:05.  With a margin of victory of 12 seconds, it comes out to less than a second per mile.

Again they had a great post game spread and music/entertainment.  There was a beer garden, but I had to skip it since my bag was left at my car.  Had a great time at the race, and look forward to running it again.  A breath of fresh air compared to the NYRR efforts, so long as you show up early to get your bag checked before the masses 🙂

  • Mile 1 – 9:18
  • Mile 2 – 9:32
  • Mile 3 – 9:24
  • Mile 4 – 9:26
  • Mile 5- 9:29
  • Mile 6- 9:43
  • Mile 7 – 9:36
  • Mile 8 – 10:01
  • Mile 9 – 9:34
  • Mile 10 – 9:51
  • Mile 11 – 9:45
  • Mile 12 – 9:22
  • Mile 13 – 8:56
  • Mile 13.1 – :49
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Written by SCL

April 6, 2011 at 11:09 pm

Posted in Race Report, running

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