2023 The Waltons: Racing & Training Thread (Read 286 times)


    Mark - Great job in those conditions.  For a half, I start to struggle once the temp gets above 50º (10C), especially if it's sunny, and above 60º is close to game over for me.  Well done.

    5k 23:48.45 (3/22); 4M 31:26 (2/22); 5M 38:55 (11/23); 10k 49:24 (10/22); 
    Half 1:48:32 (10/22); Marathon 4:29:58 (11/23)

    Upcoming race(s): Turkey Trot, 11/25; Hangover 5k, 1/1

      Southern Lakes Half Marathon, 6 May


      Honestly I'm still surprised I even made the start line for this one. Wife's pregnancy has been much tougher than the first time around. and I've been doing practically everything around the house and looking after our 6 year old the last couple months as my wife's been in and out of hospital a few times. Thank god for the in-laws (never thought I'd say that) who greenlighted this trip.  After missing Waterfront HM due to being sick, I would've been disappointed to miss this as there's few other decent road races until spring.


      And it was great to be back in Wanaka, the best place in the world.  This is a race that normally gets pretty optimal race conditions, on a fun course with beautiful scenery.  Honestly it's only a matter of time before these sorts of events that run on roads still open to traffic get shut down (the most famous road relay course in the country was the latest victim), so you gotta enjoy them while they last.


      I ran 1:09 a couple years ago here in possibly the best race I've ever run, and 1:12 last year in what was definitely not the best race I've ever run.  I don't have a time goal this year, and my only objectives are to run well and have fun.  Juggling all the above with training and a pretty demanding job over the last while has been a lot.  With the second kid on the way I know training will probably take a bit of a hit, and it's going to be about running the best race I can rather than focusing on time goals.  That being said, I did somehow manage to keep more or less to the plan training wise over the last month.


      The first thing I noticed when I woke up was the wind, which was not a great start.  But who knows what it's like further up the valley?  On the bus, I had a good chat to a guy, Cam, who is off to that super famous ultra event in France, so there are obviously some solid runners around today (he ended up coming 2nd).



      The temps are definitely warmer than in previous years, and unseasonably so for autumn here.  I've been cursed with rubbish warm, windy weather the last month and it looks like I may have brought it with me.  On the start I see Caden Shields, who missed the course record by 1 second a few years ago and is having another go today.


      Duck shooting season has just started.  As we're waiting for the start, we hear a gunshot from a duckshooter, a few people false start and everyone laughs.


      Anyway then we actually start and Caden takes off, followed by a guy in tights (way too warm for that!), and then Cam.  I catch up to Cam and we ran the first 3-4km together, alternating a km each leading.  The first few km felt pretty good although I'm already sweating so it's obviously warm.  Rhythm feels good although the breeze is a bit evident from around km 3 as the valley widens out a bit.  Then Cam picked it up a bit around km 5 and started to build a bit of a lead.  After those fast first couple of km, I decide not to risk it and stick to doing my own thing.


      Then the wind started to get rough in places, and went from mildly annoying to significant.  I stuck to the same effort but the pace definitely suffered a little.  I was trying not to look at the splits a la Darkwave but I knew they were getting a little slower.  The course is downhill but there are a few rollers, although these almost provided a little respite from the breeze and I felt pretty good on the way up them (mostly).  The last couple years my wife and daughter have been at this race supporting, and there's a few spots where I remember them parking up to cheer me on, so I imagine their voices too and that gives me a smile.


      Tights guy started fading around km 8 and I reeled him in not too long after that.  Then there's some good cheers as we come past the 10km start line which provides a nice distraction.  The patch through the middle, from km 12 to about 17 was definitely the toughest wind-wise.  It did feel like I had to noticeably battle it at points through here, and I was counting down the km's from about 13.  I realised also that the shady patches felt noticeably cooler so it's certainly warm.


      But in a weird way, I was enjoying it. It was slower and tougher than I expected, but I was grateful to be out there racing.  My stride felt pretty good, the body felt pretty good, and there were some great memories of the 2021 race as well.  On the topic of stride, I did feel like the VF3 made me feel I had to work my stride a little more than the Next%'s, stretch out a bit and work the toe off a little more.  Not a bad thing I guess, but a little different.  I may go back to the Next%'s next race just for a comparison.


      I did get passed at about the 19km mark, which annoyed me a little. But equally, I knew it was too early for me to make an extra push, so I just rolled with it, and enjoyed seeing the lake come into view as we climbed the final undulation.  Those last couple km were a bit of a blur, but they went with the 2022 finish line in the eastern corner of the park, rather than the original finish line on the lakefront (which I preferred).  I didn't feel totally smashed at the end, just like I couldn't have gone any quicker, so I need to figure out how to rediscover that quick last couple of km that featured in some of my best HM's.  Stopped the watch at 1:15:45.


      I congratulated 3rd place guy and Cam (2nd), and then had a brief chat to Caden who was also pretty dubious about the wind... I daresay he would've taken the course record comfortably on a better day but he missed it by 1 or 2 minutes.


      And here's the weird thing, despite it being my slowest time on that course (6 minutes slower than 2 years ago!), I feel pretty good about it.  I've had windy days before, but never a headwind most of the way, and despite that plus temps that were 18C / 63F by the finish (normally it'd be 10C / 20F colder than that!) I feel like I managed the race pretty well.  First couple of km probably a little quick, but otherwise pretty well-managed and the effort felt consistent throughout despite a few dark mental patches through the middle with the wind.  I didn't have a superstar race in me today like 2021, probably no surprise given everything else going on right now, but I ran a pretty good race and sometimes that's all you need.


      In some ways, this race was kind of the end of an era.  A lot more of my races from now on will probably be based around family stuff and I'm going to be a little more relaxed around training for the next while... it'll still happen but probably just less workouts.  That might even be good for me as the body has felt a little beat up at times over the last while.  I'm looking forward to the challenge of something different, with a trail race series over winter, and then its back to the classic Half Marathon Series starting in October.

      3,000m: 9:07.7 (Nov-21) | 5,000m: 15:39 (Dec-19) | 10,000m: 32:34 (Mar-20)  

      10km: 33:15 (Sep-19) | HM: 1:09:41 (May-21)* | FM: 2:41:41 (Oct-20)

      * Net downhill course

      Last race: Omaha HM, 3 Dec, pushed the limits.

      Up next: The Goat, 20 Jan, don't die.



        Mark - nice RR.


        My week:

        Zero strength sessions, but otherwise OK in the end.  Tue workout I had to stop early with a upper glute pull (prob from the previous Sat x-country).  Wed easy run was OK.  But I had stop Thu easy very short.

        So I was a little worried about Sat x-country.  Fri was off.


        X-country relay race yesterday was pretty simple aim of not being injured plus being quicker than any of my clubs M35 C team.  Which I managed to achieve.  Hardest part was the small downhills and the final straight.


        Hilly long run today, with a few people.  That was pretty good, although I was deliberately very slow downhill.

        Injury should be fine as long as I avoid anything quick for a week or son.


        Weekly for period: From: 01/05/2023 To 07/05/2023

        <caption>Weekly Grid</caption>
        Date Name mi km Duration Avg/mi Avg/km Elevation Gain
        in m
        01/05 Evening Run 4.40 7.08 00:37:37 08:33 05:19 35
        02/05 Afternoon Run - 5 * (4:00 HMP and 4:00 Steasy) 7.47 12.02 01:00:00 08:02 05:00 19
        03/05 Evening Run 3.24 5.21 00:29:52 09:13 05:44 19
        04/05 Evening Run 1.68 2.70 00:14:58 08:55 05:33 13
        06/05 Warm Up 1.94 3.12 00:17:13 08:52 05:31 13
        06/05 University Relays X-Country 13:49 1.95 3.13 00:13:51 07:06 04:25 15
        06/05 Cool Down 0.63 1.01 00:06:52 10:54 06:48 7
        06/05 Cool Down 2 0.96 1.54 00:10:04 10:29 06:32 3
        07/05 Morning Run - Boulder Hill 12.08 19.43 02:41:11 13:21 08:18 781

        Total distance: 55.24km

        PRs: 5km 18:43 (Dec 2015), 10km 39:59 (Sep 2020), half 1:26:16 (Sep 2016), full 3:09:28 (Jun 2015)


        40+ PRs: 5km 19:31 (Oct 2020), 10km 39:59 (Sep 2020), half 1:29:39 (Jun 2018), full 3:13:55 (Sep 2022)


        Hot Weather Complainer

          watson - Pretty solid effort in that race given you're managing an injury, hope it goes away soon.


          me - Another solid week with 2 good sessions.  The coming week is looking pretty big with what looks like a brutal long run workout on Saturday.  Nothing to be scared of though, just the next side of the Rubik's.  I saw a mental skills coach on Friday which I'll write about in more detail next week.


          Weekly for period: From: 01/05/2023 To 07/05/2023

          <caption>Weekly Grid</caption>

          Date Name mi km Duration Avg/mi Avg/km Elevation Gain
          in m
          01/05 Warm up 0.33 0.53 00:03:15 09:51 06:08 0
          01/05 Easy hour 7.21 11.61 01:00:22 08:22 05:12 8
          03/05 Warm up 0.36 0.58 00:03:32 09:49 06:06 0
          03/05 Midweek Tempo - 35 mins AeT 11.60 18.66 01:30:13 07:47 04:50 12
          04/05 Recovery hour 6.68 10.74 01:03:03 09:26 05:52 21
          05/05 Warm up 0.32 0.51 00:03:03 09:32 05:59 0
          05/05 Easy hour incl. 6 x 15 second strides 7.18 11.55 01:00:35 08:26 05:15 25
          06/05 Warm up 0.33 0.53 00:03:16 09:54 06:10 0
          06/05 Long incl. broken tempo - 4 x 12 mins AeT 15.49 24.92 02:02:10 07:53 04:54 45
          07/05 Warm up 0.32 0.52 00:03:02 09:29 05:50 0
          07/05 Easy med long 10.92 17.57 01:31:19 08:22 05:12 32


          Total distance: 97.72km (60.73mi)

          5km: 18:34 11/23 │ 10km: 39:10 8/23 │ HM: 1:26:48 9/23 │ M: 3:34:49 6/23


          Upcoming Races:

          Motorway Half Marathon February 25, 2024

          Christchurch Marathon April 21, 2024


            Steve - very nice week.


            My x-country baton handover was a little weird, I was waiting in the interchange section for our first runner to complete.  But the runner from another club just in front of me tried to hand the baton to me.  So I had to step away.  You'll see in the Strava photo the guy with his arms in the air looking for his teams second runner.

            PRs: 5km 18:43 (Dec 2015), 10km 39:59 (Sep 2020), half 1:26:16 (Sep 2016), full 3:09:28 (Jun 2015)


            40+ PRs: 5km 19:31 (Oct 2020), 10km 39:59 (Sep 2020), half 1:29:39 (Jun 2018), full 3:13:55 (Sep 2022)

            Glute Force

              Steve Strong week

              Watson & Mark - great racing!


              my week ended with the Marathon - a short recap below:

              Weekly for period: From: 01/05/2023 To 07/05/2023

              <caption>Weekly Grid</caption>
              Date Name mi km Duration Avg/mi Avg/km Elevation Gain
              in m
              01/05 Morning Run 9.86 15.86 01:39:20 10:04 06:16 117
              02/05 Morning Run 6.49 10.44 00:59:48 09:13 05:44 29
              04/05 Lunch Run 5.22 8.40 00:50:46 09:44 06:03 54
              05/05 Afternoon Run 3.19 5.13 00:30:02 09:25 05:51 33
              06/05 Evening Run 2.19 3.52 00:22:02 10:04 06:16 32
              07/05 Morning Run 26.42 42.52 04:18:33 09:47 06:05 178

              Total distance: 85.88km


              In short: I went with the 4 h pacers but they went out too fast particularly since it was small uphills and downhills - that ultimately was too fast for me and I had to let them go at Km 25 - and finished in 4:18 a new PB LOL


              A goal: sub 4. nope.

              B goal: sub 4.10 nope

              C goal: finish without walking. Check

              D goal: check out of the hotel without late checkout fees at 2pm. Check, I walked out at 1.57h Smile


              It was hotter than normal (20 degrees Celsius) and I should have scaled back from the beginning but didn’t. The last 15km where really a pain - aI was crawling basically but at least never stopped moving. 

              Such an incredible distance - why does anyone put themselves through this…


              I will try to go below 4:10 in autumn, maybe Berlin if that has open registrations. 

              I have more respect for that distance now!


              Material was good I would say (Saucony Enorphins Pro). I used Vaseline for anti-chafing. That was good. I taped my feet and didn’t have any blisters. Only my quads are destroyed - wasn’t strong enough. 

              fun fact: I went to pee in the bushes next to the 4h corral and out comes a guy with a smile. He had just taken a dump and not whipped. No anti-chafing stick necessary…gross.


              Had to alert the paramedics for a runner who had passed out. There where a lot of people who needed to be taken back. Crazy stuff.


                Some nice things going on here.  I'll be back for shout-outs later, but selfishly wanted to share my news too.  I ran a New York Road Runners 5k today with the primary goal being to improve my NYRR "best pace" (which is a 10k equivalent) from 8:06 to something better since that's what they will use for placing my in my wave and corral at the marathon in November.  I wound up running only my 3rd ever sub-24 5k, getting a 23:53, missing my PR by only 5 seconds, and dropping my "best pace" to 8:01.  It was also my first 5k with an age-grade over 65%, which my son tells me is an age-adjusted sub-20:00 5k.  All this despite a warm, sunny morning (though the heat isn't as bad for a 5k as it would be for a half).  I'll get a race report our late.  I'm very happy with the result.

                5k 23:48.45 (3/22); 4M 31:26 (2/22); 5M 38:55 (11/23); 10k 49:24 (10/22); 
                Half 1:48:32 (10/22); Marathon 4:29:58 (11/23)

                Upcoming race(s): Turkey Trot, 11/25; Hangover 5k, 1/1

                Mother of Cats

                  Fred - congratulations!  That is awesome, and I see why you are over the moon with it.


                  Mick- congratulations to you for getting a marathon under your belt in less-than-ideal conditions (and I'm really sorry I didn't drop by to wish you well).  FWIW, your quads will handle the distance a bit better with each marathon you do (that's been my experience, at least).


                  No words for your pre-race bathroom encounter.


                  I like the juxtaposition of "why does anyone put themselves through this" followed by "I'm thinking about doing Berlin" Smile


                  Steve - good luck with the upcoming big week.


                  Watson - I hope the glute improves. It looks like it is on the right path.


                  Marky_Mark - since this is the patented weather whining thread, I'll echo the observations of others - those were not ideal conditions.



                  As for Garmin predictions, mine have always been useless.  It seems to depend on the watch (which doesn't make sense, since it should be the same algorithm and data, regardless of the watch, since all my watches are Garmins.  Some watches vastly overestimate my fitness, others under estimate.  My current watch thinks I should be running a 1:40 half, though I ran 1:33 earlier this year.

                  Everyone's gotta running blog; I'm the only one with a POOL-RUNNING blog.


                  And...if you want a running Instagram where all the pictures are of cats, I've got you covered.


                  Mother of Cats

                    As for me, I'll dump 2 weeks, since I didn't post last week.


                    Week 1 was tapering and racing the Broad Street 10 Miler; week 2 was recovering and returning to training.  My race report for Broad Street is here.  The short version is that I was very meh about my performance.  I had some good miles (the last 8+ miles, actually) but I made a rookie mistake and got into the corral too early and stood still for too long, which stiffened up my legs and triggered some of my dystonia issues, so that was frustrating.


                    Week 1:

                    40 miles running, 1000 yards swimming and 2:30 hours pool-running.
                    M: 90 minutes pool-running.
                    T: 10 miles, including a track workout of 2x(1600, 800)+2x200 in 6:44, 3:15, 6:38, 45, and 45. Recoveries of 5:0x after the 1600s and 2:44 after the first 800; full recovery for the 200s. Followed with lower body strengthwork and 500 yards recovery swimming
                    W: Streaming yoga and 8 miles very easy (9:35) plus drills and hill strides
                    Th: 60 minutes pool-running and upper body weights/core.
                    F: 6 miles, including 1600 at tempo effort (6:57).
                    Sa: 2 miles very easy (10:03)
                    Su: 3.5 mile warm-up, Broad Street 10 Miler in 1:10:26, 0.5 mile cooldown. 500 yards recovery swimming later.


                    Week 2:

                    50 miles running, 1000 yards swimming and 3 hours pool-running
                    M: 90 minutes pool-running
                    T: 7.5 miles easy (9:30) plus drills and upper body weights/core
                    W: 7.5 miles easy (9:29) plus drills/strides and streaming yoga
                    Th: 90 minutes pool-running and upper body weights/core
                    F: 10 miles with 2x1600 in 6:46 and 6:42, with 5 minutes jogging recovery after each, followed by 4 long hill repeats (just under a quarter mile up a 4.5% incline. Followed with leg strengthwork and 500 yards recovery swimming.
                    Sa: 10 miles easy (9:28), drills, and streaming yoga
                    Su: 14.5 miles progressive, split as first 5 miles averaging 9:38, next 4.5 miles averaging 8:20 pace, and then next 5 miles averaging 7:34 pace. Followed with leg strengthwork and 500 yards recovery swimming.

                    Everyone's gotta running blog; I'm the only one with a POOL-RUNNING blog.


                    And...if you want a running Instagram where all the pictures are of cats, I've got you covered.


                    Hot Weather Complainer

                      I'll cross post since I said I would...


                      Mental Skills coach


                      So I went and saw a mental skills coach at the Sports Clinic at the recommendation of Caden Shields (my physio), and possibly everyone here who said anxiety is probably my main issue.  There was nothing earth shattering but a few things I can focus on.  Interestingly he said that our conversation was along the same lines of conversations he's had with All Blacks or Black Caps or elite track/road athletes.  One thing he drilled me on, and is always talked about on Running Rogue, is what is my "Why?"  Why do I want to nail a marathon?  It's hard to answer when maybe it shouldn't be.  I had a few answers like "to prove I can", "to prove I'm tough enough" to which he responded "you've already proved that."  I eventually basically said I don't consider myself to have run a marathon because I haven't had the chance to work through the type of pain you get when you approach the wall, as opposed to cramp pain.  But I don't know if that's my why or not.  I know I can't give up after a DNF at 27km where it feels like I didn't even have a real crack at it.  At some point if I keep getting the same result maybe I'll know it's just not for me.  I love the training, and I'm quite goal oriented so maybe I just need a big goal to motivate me.  He asked if I even needed to race if I enjoy training so much.  I probably would still get most of the benefits of training, mentally and physically, but I know at this point it wouldn't fulfill me.


                      So we worked through that side, and then looked at some ways to approach the next one.


                      -  Breathing.  Use breathing more deliberately to relax (4 seconds in, 6 seconds out), when I first wake up, throughout the day and try it in easy runs (it's actually harder than you think to breathe out for 6 seconds!).

                      - the WIN mantra.  "What's important now?"  Especially when negative thoughts come in early in a race or pre-race or in training.  It's very basic but easy to forget and try and run the last 10km in your mind before you get there (I'm sure this is a very common one)

                      -  Consider how I want it to go, imagine the perfect day.  But also consider some of the hurdles that might appear and think about how to handle them.  When they happen don't think "this shouldn't be happening".  Change the language.  "I expected this, implement the plan".

                      -  Everyone has negative thoughts, at every level.  Let them in, then let them float out.  Don't berate yourself for having them.  Timebox them if they happen outside a race (i.e. if you must think about it, give yourself 5 minutes then move on).  During a race, just think "that's interesting, wonder where that came from..." then go back to WIN.  Check the technique, review nutrition plan etc.

                      -  Success gives you clues.  Look at when things went well and find the common factors.  For me, most of the best races happen when I'm more focused on the process than the outcome.  Again, an obvious one but easy to forget and I've definitely done that in each marathon attempt.  When I ran 1:27 in the half last year, I had some family issues with Mum's house sale the night before plus I had Covid 5 weeks earlier and missed a chunk of training.  I remember walking to the start with Mark and saying "I actually haven't even thought about this race.  I'll go out at goal pace and take it as it comes".  That's the most obvious approach to any race but in the marathon especially (and in the half when I kept fading back in 2020), in the early part of the race I just thought about what might happen later.


                      He suggested planning the day before the race.  Nerves are okay but sitting around focusing on nothing but the race isn't helpful.  I'll go to a movie or do something completely unrelated to running.  He also basically echoed my plan for Selwyn - just run it, see what happens.  I might cramp, I might not.  I'm doing all I can to avoid it so just run and have fun.


                      This is all pretty obvious but with the fear of the unknown, maybe I've slipped into bad habits.  It's good to remember where to focus.

                      5km: 18:34 11/23 │ 10km: 39:10 8/23 │ HM: 1:26:48 9/23 │ M: 3:34:49 6/23


                      Upcoming Races:

                      Motorway Half Marathon February 25, 2024

                      Christchurch Marathon April 21, 2024

                      Half Crazy K 2.0

                        Mark, nice job on the HM. Those conditions definitely didn't sounds great.

                        Fred, congrats on the 5k! Does the time then determine your corral for the NYCM?


                        Watson, weird about the guy trying to hand off the baton to you.


                        Darkwave, who opens an ubmrella at racers? I definitely get your frustrations on Amtrak stops. Amtrak goes by a MARC stop in Chase but doesn;t stop there. It would be so convenient for us. Instead, the "best" option is Penn Station. Aberdeen hass great parking, but not all trains stop there.


                        Mick, congrats on the full! A local race had to put in the rules that runners cannot use the bathroom anywhere but the POP or real bathroom. I assume there was a story behind that. Seems like a pretty good race givenn the not so ideal weather.

                        Glute Force

                          Mark - I cannot imagine how you feel about getting passed whilst in 3rd place. I am not good at anything in order to being able to relate, but I am sure this was tough. I want to go to Wanaka one day; I need to make a mental note if I ever get a chance to visit New Zealand. Anyways, I hope the pregnancy goes well from here on and that you, your wife and daughter, have a good start to the life as fab four.


                          Fred - great effort in the heat. You race a lot, that is really impressive.


                          Watson - that is a pretty good clip that you ran there at the XC event. Hope your team beat Hashitari's, not just in the tent building comp.


                          Steve - thank you for sharing that, really interesting; didn't know Flavio had also gotten help on that front. I am sure it will be part of the foundation for a great marathon experience in a few weeks. Your "Why" actually resonates with me.


                          Darkwave - thanks for the words! Actually wondered why you were practicing but not posting. Congrats on the race - better than last year and awarded with funnel cake yes! I am sure you will be able to find a solution to the starting mile soon.


                          Half - thank you & did you run this week as well? You didn't post any week wrap up.


                            Mick - I'm glad you were able to meet your goal of running the whole marathon.  I've never done that.  Good for you.  I'm sure your sub-4 will come some day.  Yes, I seem to race more than most, but I really enjoy the excitement of being in a crowd of runners and I get plenty of opportunities around here.  20C is too warm for a marathon, in my mind, so don't beat yourself up over your time.


                            HCK - Yes, NYRR uses my best pace in one of their races to determine starting wave and corral for the NYC marathon.  My previous 8:06 pace would have put me near the end of the second wave in 2022, so I'm hoping my improved 8:01 will help keep me in the second wave this year.


                            Steve - Thanks for sharing the insights.  I think I'll struggle to answer the question "Why do I want to run a sub-4 marathon?"  Nice week of running.


                            Darkwave - Sorry the 10-miler didn't go as you would have liked.  You commented on getting to the corral too early.  What do you think is about the right time to get into a corral?  I'm glad you recovered after the rough start.


                            Watson - Yikes, I feel sorry for the guy who didn't know whom to hand the baton to.  Nice job meeting your personal goal for the XC race.


                            Mark - Nice race report.  I'm glad you were able to look past the result and enjoy the experience.  You had tough conditions but were running in a place you really liked, so it's appropriate you didn't let the time get you down.  I hope the rest of your wife's pregnancy goes well without too many complications - sounds like she's having a rough time.


                            Hash - Good luck with the tent next time.  :-)


                            My week of running was all easy runs leading up to the 5k, for which I'll post a report separately.  35.0 miles / 56.3km / 5:56:26. Thank you to all who posted kind words & congratulations for my race.

                            5k 23:48.45 (3/22); 4M 31:26 (2/22); 5M 38:55 (11/23); 10k 49:24 (10/22); 
                            Half 1:48:32 (10/22); Marathon 4:29:58 (11/23)

                            Upcoming race(s): Turkey Trot, 11/25; Hangover 5k, 1/1

                              NYRR Newport 5k, Jersey City, 5/7/23


                              I returned to the scene of the rainy half marathon I ran two weeks ago since this race started and finished in the same area as the Jersey City Half. We (DW, DS, and RP) arrived about an hour beforehand, which gave us plenty of time to find our way to the bib pickup tent (which was out at the end of a small pier, a good walk away from the starting line).  I like having time to settle down at the race site after dealing with traffic to get there.  The forecast called for 62º (17C) by race start and we already knew it was going to be a sunny day, so it would probably feel hotter, but the humidity was low and there was a slight breeze.  After my usual pre-race PoP visit, RP and I went for a 1-mile warmup.  Between the warmth of the day and the memory of my last 5k (run in March in better conditions), when I barely ran sub-25, I was a bit nervous.  The whole goal of this race was to improve my NYRR "best pace" so I could get a better starting wave/corral in the NY marathon, and to do that I had to run faster than 24:04 (prior to this, I'd only run sub-24 twice).  Fortunately, I felt pretty good during the warmup, which gave me a boost of confidence (never mind that the warmup was mostly in the shade and it was still only 55º/13C).


                              NYRR also uses your best pace for your starting corral in their regular races, where the corrals are letters and the faster you are, the closer to the start of the alphabet your corral is.  I had moved up to E a while ago but forgot DS had a good NYRR a while back, so when he got his bib after me and it was for D corral, he made sure to let me know.  In the end, DS and RP (also D corral), lined up at the back of their corral and I lined up at the front of E, so when they collapsed the corrals we were all together.


                              The race got off on time, but with staggered starts, so just around when the front of the D corral hit the start line, they held us up to let the road ahead clear up a bit, which was a good idea as the road at the start is a bit narrow (I learned that at the half).  Once we got going, I had my usual race-day adrenaline rush.  I wanted to average below a 7:45 pace, but in the first quarter mile I found myself flirting with 7:00.  (And despite my fast start, DS had pulled away.)  I kept pulling back, then finding myself speed up again, mostly when I worked through traffic (when I speed up to pass someone or get through an opening, I don't always get back down to the target pace).  I finished mile 1 in 7:27, but felt good even though I knew it was probably not sustainable, especially given the mile was at least 50% in the shade.  Mile 2 made a turn into the wind, but it wasn't too strong. We were also now in full sunlight.  I was fighting some traffic and a slight uphill (and unknown to me, being right next to some tall buildings my watch was fritzing out and had me running across city blocks, just like it did in the half on this very same road), but then we hit the turnaround and the traffic was a bit less so I could even out my running.  I managed a steady pace for the second half of mile two, though it was now with wind at our backs and running straight into the full sun, so I was starting to feel pretty warm and was worried about wilting.  I finished mile 2 in 7:34, but was definitely feeling the fatigue.


                              Mile 3 headed into the urban canyons of Jersey City, between tall building and my watch really struggled, even more than I did.  My average pace was staying steady, but it was giving me current pace readings of 9:20, 9:40, and even 10:00.  At this point it didn't matter, though, because I didn't need my watch for the purposes of holding back - I was just trying to hold on and not slow down too much.  I was feeling that pain and fatigue I get in a good 5k, and kept pushing myself not to give up and slow down.  RP was there with me and that was a reassuring sight.  Given my watch's problems, I have to interpolate my pace and say I ran mile 3 in 7:43, which feels about right.  I crossed the finish and saw 23:52.97 on my watch - goal accomplished!  Not a PR, but only 5 seconds off my best and definitely a PR when age graded.


                              My son told me I had now moved up to corral D and could run with him...except he'd moved up to corral C as a result of his race.  Later, I learned that on an age-adjusted basis I totally crushed him in the standings, but I don't need to go there (and as a proud father, I noted he placed 6 of 15 in his age group, which isn't bad for a 16 year old in the 15-19 age group and first two in his group were on a track team and finished 6th and 11th overall).  The main thing is I lowered my NYRR best pace from 8:06 to 8:01, which I hope will more securely lodge me in the second wave at the marathon (last year 7:26 was the cutoff for wave 1 and 8:13 was the cutoff for wave 2 so I'm about ¾ of the way through that range now).

                              5k 23:48.45 (3/22); 4M 31:26 (2/22); 5M 38:55 (11/23); 10k 49:24 (10/22); 
                              Half 1:48:32 (10/22); Marathon 4:29:58 (11/23)

                              Upcoming race(s): Turkey Trot, 11/25; Hangover 5k, 1/1
                              Half Crazy K 2.0

                                My week:

                                Monday rest day

                                Tuesday am 6.4 miles pm 20 minutes easy (treadmill) + lower body strength training

                                Wednesday am 5.1 miles easy pm upper body strength training

                                Thursday 20 minutes easy (treadmill)

                                Friday am 6.3 miles with 5 x 3 min hard + 3 x 2 min hard pm full body strength training

                                Saturday rest day

                                Sunday 5.4 miles, tried doing some shorter intervals and just wasn't feeling it + strength training