24 June 2019

Achilles Hope & Possibility 4 Miler Race Recap

Yesterday, I ran the second race of the 9+1, the Achilles Hope & Possibility 4 Miler through Central Park. I didn't quite know what to expect, since I hadn't run at all the week prior due to a backpacking trip. I figured all the elevation I hit during the trip, as well as the rocky terrain, would help with the hills in the park, which I felt great on, but I simply didn't run that week and I only ran 9 miles total the week before that. hahahalol

Last week, I ran 16 miles, not including the race itself. The first two runs were in super humid conditions, and my legs felt trashed from all the backpacking. Yet, my shakeout run on Saturday went fairly well, so I figured I'd be set to run decently on Sunday.

I was pretty happy with how I ran. I told Alex that I wanted to finish in 35 minutes, and I was over that by 7 seconds, so overall I improved quite a bit from the first race. 

Additionally, I turned off auto lapping on my watch to get get accurate mile splits based on the markers. I felt like this helped me pace myself better, too.

Highlights: Because I ran an 8:47 average pace, my converted 10k pace is now 9:02, which moves me into corral H, from corral I. I wish I was aware of how close I was to the cutoff for corral G (8:57, I think), so I could have pushed a little harder. Next time!

Grievances: Ellie Goulding playing at the start. Not my favorite music. 

Hair report: French braid. The braid keeps my hair from feeling nasty on my sweaty shoulders. Also, long hair is super disgusting in this weather and I am thinking about cutting it to shoulder length.

Weather report: Warm, but considerably less humid. Hopefully it stays the same for Saturday.

Total time: 35:07
Pace: 8:47, according to NYRR

Lap 1 - 1.01 miles: 9:06
My goal during the first mile of every race in the park is to go out strong, but conservatively. The first mile goes over Cat Hill, and you usually see quite a few runners start off too fast and slow down considerably. I pay attention to how I'm breathing and concentrate on my form. 

Last race, corrals H and I did not have a staggered 45-second start, leading to a pretty claustrophobic, chaotic feeling. This time, each corral started 45-seconds after the previous corral, and I never felt uncomfortable. It also helped that I ran a little quicker, too. 

Lap 2 - 1.02 miles: 8:47
This is the downhill after Cat Hill. I slow myself down a bit, because there are more hills in the next mile or two, depending on whether it's a 4-mile or 5-mile loop. Still feeling good.

Lap 3 - 1.02 miles: 8:54
Besides there being another hill, I noticed last race that I slowed down considerably during mile 3. I focused on maintaining a pace near lap 2 since I tend to subconsciously slow down. I can work on this more, but for now I am happy that I kept the lap under 9 minutes. 

Lap 4 - 1.02 miles: 8:17
The course description says this mile is slightly downhill and flat in sections, so I knew I could pick up a decent amount of speed at the end. I am working on finishing my races strong, and one of my mental tricks for doing so is telling myself I can be tired after crossing the finish line. I did have a little kick near the end, though that might have been because I wanted water. 

Alex usually waits for me around the finish line, after completing his run. I tried looking for him, and although I apparently looked directly at him, I just didn't see him. In fact, he told me that after I looked in his direction, I started running to the outside of the curve, rather than the inside, and I was stride for stride with the woman in front of me, so the only good picture he took was the first one. I have no idea how I didn't see him, and I don't know why I ran to the outside, since it adds a little more distance and time, other than that I just don't know how to race.

Next up, I have the Front Runners 5 Miler on Saturday. I'm looking to run 5 miles tomorrow, and two 3 milers Wednesday and Friday.

I realize that I have no races for July, so I'll use that month to focus on increasing my distance, since I have 7-miler and a 12-miler in August. August is hot, so I don't know if the 7-miler will be decent in terms of pushing me into another corral, but we'll see.

Check out the awesome tan lines I picked up in New Hampshire!

03 June 2019

Italy Run 5M Race Report - and my 9+1 goal

Hey! Yesterday, I ran the Italy Run 5 Miler, one of NYRR's races in Central Park. Except for the humidity, the day was nice and I felt pretty good on the Central Park hills. 

I didn't randomly decide to run this, though. Earlier in the year, I gained back a spark of ambition and declared to Alex that I'd like to try running the New York City Marathon next year. Since I'm a slow runner, my only guaranteed way to do enter is through NYRR's 9+1 program, where you run nine qualifying races and volunteer once. After I complete the 9+1, I will be able to register for the marathon next year. 
With that, I planned out all the races that fit into my schedule. From now until December, I will be running around one race every month. It just so happens that I have two more later this month, which I'm excited about. 

As for the Italy Run, here's the mile split breakdown: 

Total Watch mileage/time/pace: 5.09 - 46:39 - 9:10
Total Race mileage/time/pace: 5 - 46:37 - 9:20

Because of all the weaving that occurs in the slower corrals, my watch has slightly higher mileage than the official course. Once the first mile split went off, I realized I forgot to turn off auto lap, since I want an accurate pace that reflects the course mile markers. As such, these splits are off by about .04 miles from the official split.

Mile 1: 9:37
This mile in in the direction of Cat Hill, so I knew better not to push the pace. I didn't warm up beforehand, so I made sure this mile felt comfortable. And honestly, with how crowded it was, I feel like it'd have been impossible to go faster without running into people.

Mile 2: 9:25
My second goal was to pay attention to my effort. There are a few hills in this course, so I didn't want to run too fast for me early in the race only to slow down during the end. I continued feeling good here and my pace quickened a bit.

Mile 3: 8:58
I was handling the hills very well. I wasn't slowing down considerably on the uphill, and I managed to run down smoothly, yet conservatively, based on my effort and breathing. I credit my leg's ability to handle the hills with the elevation gain of the recent hikes I've been on.

Mile 4: 9:19
While i was hoping to keep this split closer to 9, there were a few more hills here, so I wasn't upset by it. I haven't raced in forever, nor have I done any speed work, so race pace is a foreign concept to me right now.

Mile 5: 8:39
Even though these splits were off from the official mile splits, I was still happy that I had the energy left to put out a quick final mile. I passed a lot of people during this mile, whereas I would usually be one of the runners slowing down.

Mile .09: 0:39.37
This was the last little tidbit, according to my watch. Hopefully I remember to turn off auto lap next time.

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