Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Joe Kleinerman 10K Race Report

Surprise! I ended up racing this past Saturday - the Joe Kleinerman 10K in Central Park. The race is historically held in late December, but NYRR moved it to early January this year. The course consisted of a full loop of Central Park.

I was a little tentative to race. I wasn't thrilled about waking up at 6:30 am in the middle of winter (what can I say, I love my sleep!) And in case you didn't notice, NYRR kind of owns my soul this year since I already signed up for their two big ticket races.  But I wanted to know where I stood fitness-wise.  Between all the easy miles of marathon training and my injury hiatus, I really wasn't sure what to expect. Plus, my friend Dahlia offered me her services as a pacer and a place in the city to crash the night before. What more could I want? My "A" goal was to break 55 minutes, and my "B" goal was to simply PR from last June's New York Mini 10K.

Shirt and bib. Best part about winter racing is long-sleeved shirts instead of short

When our alarms went off at 6:30, I was not a happy camper.  It was dark. But at least, not cold! The weather was already 42 degrees out - kinda crazy in January. But totally not complaining!

We made our way to the park and the corals with a warm up walk/jog.  Dahlia was assigned to the corral ahead of me since her "best pace" is about 30 seconds faster than mine, so she hopped back to mine so we could start together. We heard the usual slew of NYRR announcements (fun fact: NYRR has 12 members going to the Olympic trials next week...very cool!), the anthem, and off we went.

Course map









The first mile was fabulous. It was mostly downhill until Harlem Hill, so I had no trouble picking up speed.  As I climbed up the hill, my Garmin beeped at me and said I averaged 8:37 for the first mile.  I thought "Sweet! If I can keep this up, I should have no problem PRing. I might even pick up a lower bib time!"

And then came the West Side hills in mile 2. Normally, I scoff at these hills. I run much tougher hills here in CT all the time and, I had no trouble with them last June during the mini. Maybe I went out too fast, or maybe it was just the faster pace, but for whatever reason, these hills just zapped me. I ended up averaging 9:01 for the mile. Dahlia told me, "No worries, we are still on target, we can just pick it up a bit the next mile."

I was starting to feel pretty tired, so I was pretty pumped when we spotted a water station. I'm usually fairly decent at grabbing the cup on the run, but the station was so crowded, I felt like I had no choice but to stop to get a hold of a cup.  And once you have already stopped, you might as well take the 10 seconds to drink before picking it up back up, right? Even with the wasted time at the water stop, I managed to average 8:54.
Yay! Happy the race is going well so far. Or,  just happy I spotted the camera before it spotted me.
Then, everything went to hell. I don't know if it was my lack of fitness for the pace I was holding for the first few miles, or if I just wasn't mentally tough enough to push through. Either way, I slowed a ton for the next mile and a half. Dahlia was trying to encourage me to start moving, but I just felt like I couldn't do it.  Mile 4 clicked by at 9:20 and I started to feel discouraged.  "We can still make 55 minutes, let's go!" Dahlia called out.  "I can't!" I said. "What hurts?" "She asked me. "Everything!!" 

By the time we got to Cat Hill in mile 5, I was like are you kidding me?! I knew this hill would be tough since it was so close to the end, but I didn't know how tough.  At this point I could care less about my pace - I just wanted to get up to the top of the damn hill. But I managed and survived the rest of the mile in 9:16. 

Does this look like the face of someone who is having a good time? I thought not.
 Last mile. The first half was a slug and, I was basically on survival mode. Then about halfway through, something clicked.  If I didn't seriously pick it up, not only was my "A" goal out the window, but my "B" goal of simply PRing might be in jeopardy. I started running pretty hard. I finished the mile in 9:04 and continued to run hard until the finish line. Final time? 56:34 with the final .2 mile in 8:24.
Official results

Am I happy with the race? I mean, yes, of course I'm happy that I PRed. I'm happy that when I plug my time into the McMillan Running Calculator, it spits out a 2:05 half marathon prediction.  Since that is what I ran in the National Half Marathon last March, at the very least I can say I haven't lost any fitness.  I'm also happy when I plug my time into Runner's World SmartCoach, it predicts a half marathon of either 2:01 (moderate training) or 1:58 (hard training) after 10 weeks of training. My hopes of going sub-2 for the NYC Half in March are not lost.
Garmin splits. Of course my watch is off from the official time, and of course I missed the tangents and ran extra.
 But despite all of these positives, I'm still not completely satisfied. I missed my "A" goal of breaking 55 minutes, which makes me feel kinda blahs. I get pretty tough on myself, and I hate missing goals.  As I reflect and write this race report, I also start to wonder if I really pushed myself as hard as I could of. When I shouted that "everything hurts!" did I have any muscular pain? Not really. My knee actually was feeling pretty good. I just felt like I couldn't give anymore. But the big difference between racing and just running is learning to push past the pain to really give it everything you got. I think I gave a lot (my legs were pretty sore the next day!) but I'm not so sure I really gave it my all. After all, if I had enough energy for the final sprint to be faster than that first mile, doesn't that say something?

Have you ever PRed a race and still been unhappy with your time? How do you manage to stay strong when the middle miles start to get tough?



16 comments:

  1. Well done! You should definitely be proud of your effort!! :) For me some days are more mentally tough and other days are more physically tough. I try break races into smaller pieces and sort of lie to myself. Just one more mile...just 5k left...sounds silly but it works for me. Most times. :)

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  2. Rachel White IannuzziJanuary 11, 2012 at 7:42 PM

    Love reading your race reports! You know I am way slower than you but I have say that I thought the course was tough. That sounds crazy since I run the park at least 3 times a week, but I think the hill placement of Harlem Hill between mile 1-2 and Cat Hill at the end really DOES take a lot out of you, you still did SO well. Try and feel good about it and think about your next race!

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  3. I don't think I've ever been unhappy with a PR. And these days I'd be ecstatic. The middle part of the race can get so tough and me best times came when I had something to focus on - like staying with another runner or keeping my pace consistent. Keep going - that sub 55 is there still waiting for you.

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  4. Thanks for Sharing & your run sounds just like mine but I finished at 59:03 & was pretty happy since I wanted to break the 1 hour mark. I'm doing the Manhattan half Marathon & cannot believe I have to do those hills twice. Good Luck and it sounds like you will be fine on future races. The only advise would be to bring a pack with water since you are right, the water stops get really crowded.

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  5. Congrats on the PR.

    I know what you mean about doing well but not feeling so great about it. But it's really good that you have such high expectations of yourself!

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  6. Congrats on your PR!

    I know it can be hard when you have a specific idea of what you want to do stuck in your mind and then not meet it even if you do PR. I have done the same thing. We just have to keep training and keep trying!

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  7. Congrats on your PR! But I can totally relate to the annoyance of being so close yet so far from that big goal. My goal for a race in October was to break 50, and I ended with 50:57... I was so close, but didn't quite make it. Oh well, you still did great!!!

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  8. You did great, congratulations on your PR!

    It's tough when you PR and you are still disappointed since you didn't reach your ultimate goal. That happened to me in my 5-miler (it was my first time so automatic PR) and I was so close to my A-goal that I was a little disappointed. It just makes me more determined for next time! You'll get it!

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  9. PR!!! Enjoy it! You did great!
    And that photo that you think looks unhappy, to me it looks very focused.
    ANd now pat yourself on the back from me, OK?

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  10. I think that is the one hard thing with setting up goals for a run when we dont hit them, I think its only natural to be a bit disappointed but you did GREAT! I am so glad to hear a runner say they dont like early mornings, me either!

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  11. Good job on your PR! You should be proud! :) I know the feeling about PR-ing but being disappointed. Comes with knowing that you have more in you. Still…a PR is a PR! :) Practice makes perfect!

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  12. Congrats for the PR. I think that it was not the right race for the "A" goal: too crowded and the start in a corral.
    I am sure that you can run NOW a sub 2 hours half in better conditions.
    I did a workout in Central Park, it was great!!!!
    About your question: I am always happy if I PR but now this is an impossible mission because I began to race in 1985 ,,,,,,

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  13. CONGRATS on your PR!!!! So proud of you. And you can TOTALLY break 2 hours in the half, NO question about it. I am confident in you.

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  14. I know exactly what you mean about being unhappy with a PR. It happens to me quite often--maybe I'm an ingrate. That said, the PR is ALWAYS a good consolation prize, and I'm also pretty good at talking myself out disappointment by reminding myself of that fact. So CONGRATS on the PR. You'll get that sub-55 soon!

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  15. Congrats on your race. I would love to run in Central Park one day.

    BTW, I've added you to a Running Blog Database I'm working on. If you see its potiential, maybe you could put a link to it on you blog. Please check it out: http://2slow4boston.blogspot.com/p/run-blog-database.html

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  16. I have never PR'd and been unhappy. You can totally do a sub 2 hour half!

    Btw, I tagged you for a 11 things post.

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