Wednesday, April 23, 2014

April Showers Bring New PRs: CPF Run for the Parks

Short Version:

Previous PR: 31:31 @ 7:52 mm pace
New PR Time: 30:55 @ 7:43 mm pace
Overall Place: 1006/5542 (top 18%)
Gender Place: 168/2718 (top 6%)
Adjusted Gender Place: 287/2718 (top 11%)
Age Group Place: 51/599 (top 9%)
AG %: 62.22% (Highest Ever!) 

Long Version

I actually started this report a week ago, then I got busy with Passover and Vacation and never actually wrote anything beyond the short version. Whoops!

Running alongside Niagara Falls was amazing though! 
Anyway, I was not feeling optimistic going into this race. I hadn't achieved a short distance PR since December 2012, and my 4-mile PR was from April 2012 was even older. I guess I was so focused on the marathon that never happened in 2012, and after I got injured, I lost some of my confidence. 

But it was time to face the music (well, of the non-instrumental variety) and see where my fitness was. I signed up for this both as a fitness test and as a way to earn part of my 9+1 for the 2015 NYC Marathon in case I decided to do it. 

I usually wear a tank and shorts for my shorter distance races but since it was chilly, I took a different route and wore leggings and a long sleeved shirt. I left with plenty of time as I usually did, and ran just over a mile as a warm-up to get to the start line. I carried a bag so that I could check my jacket for after the race. 

As I waited for the race to start, I was pleasantly surprised to note that I could see the start line from the fourth coral. I could even hear the announcements at times. As I stood there shivering, the self doubt started to kick in. I wasn't in the best of shape, so why should I even hope for a PR? 

After the national anthem was beautifully sung though, I tried to set those negative thoughts aside. I figured that I would go for it, and if the worst case scenario was that I blew up, then so be it. I really didn't have anything to lose. As important as the result was to me, it certainly wouldn't play a role in determining the overall quality of my life. After all, only a few short years ago, running this distance, let alone racing it, would have been unthinkable. 

Then we were off! I decided not to obsessively look at my watch, but to go at what felt like short distance race pace. After a mile, I would check in and see what was a realistic goal. The trick was to establish a pace during the first mile, but not to the point where you can't maintain it for the other three. I barely noticed Cat Hill as I ran up it. It was a little difficult to get around people since these weekly races were getting so crowded, but I was able to run the race I intended to.

I looked down at my Garmin at the beep and I saw 7:38, so I knew that I must have crossed the actual mile marker at 7:xx. I knew that sub-30, which was my reach goal, was out of the question. However, when I clocked in the second mile at just under 7:40, I knew that I had a shot at both sub-31 and a PR, and was determined not to slow down too much over the west side hills. 
The third mile was always the hardest on this course, but when I only slowed down by 10 seconds or so, I was relieved, and resolved to push the last mile as hard as possible. As I was about to make the final turn towards the finish, I looked up just in time to see Leiba holding a camera and taking pictures, which turned out to be a good thing since MarathonFoto did not attend this event. I knew that a PR was in the bag so I said that to her as I was turning the corner. 
Thanks Leiba!
As I ran onto the transverse and into the closing stretch, I noticed that sub-31 was within reach, so I dug deep and went as fast as I could. I finished the last mile in approximately 7:40 and got an official time of 30:55!

You can see my splits below - they're not entirely accurate since my watch went off before the mile marker but the direction / splits are spot on.

Even if it was only by about 36 seconds, I was relieved that I finally got a short distance personal record, and that my NYRR bib pace had a slight improvement. I was even happier when I checked the results and discovered that not only did I break the 62% AG, but that I placed within the top 10% of my age group and not far from the top 1000 overall participants. 

Although I had already learned this lesson, this race reaffirmed that a positive attitude makes all of the difference. Well, that, and actually running regularly and training, but I think you all know what I mean. I find that when I stay positive, and not look at my watch every five seconds, I am able to focus more on the bigger picture to achieve the desired results. 

When plugging the new PR into the McMillan Calculator, I got these expected race times:
In theory, I should be able to do sub-50 at the 10K distance, and I am hoping to accomplish this at the Healthy Kidney 10K on May 10th, which will be my last race as a 27 year old runner. Hopefully the weather and everything else will fall into place that day. Tune in next time to see how everything turns out. 
Thanks for reading!

1 comment: