The Summer of Jeff

Race Report: Joe Kleinerman 10K

Posted in running by Jeff on December 7, 2010

Sunday morning, I ran my first 10K, the NYRR Joe Kleinerman Classic in Central Park.  I haven’t been able to run too much in the last month or so, but I was excited to try the “short” distance for the first time.

The course was the standard Central Park loop, this time starting near East 102nd Street and heading counterclockwise.  I was amazed to see that nearly 5,000 runners turned out at 8 A.M. on a Sunday in roughly 28 degree weather.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many pairs of running tights in my life.

Anyway, I was shooting for a sub-45:00 time, recognizing that the goal might be a little far-fetched.  After all, my last half-marathon time translates to a 48:00 10K.  I knew I could do better than that, but by how much?

The first mile or so was frustrating–because of that disappointing half-marathon, NYRR didn’t give me credit for being very fast, and I had to start in the fourth corral.  Thus, I spent the entire race passing people.  So my first mile was the slowest–by far.  I’m slow to warm up, so I probably wouldn’t have run it any faster than 7:30, but that still would’ve made quite a difference.  After that first mile, I still had to do a bit of dodging, but it didn’t slow me down much.

Here are my mile-by-mile splits:

  1. 7:58
  2. 7:20
  3. 6:57
  4. 7:04
  5. 7:11
  6. 6:52
  7. 1:38 [0.26 miles – 6:26 pace]

Miles 1, 2, and 5 are the net uphills.  They average (according to my Garmin, which occasionally has wonky things to say about elevation) about 110 feet ascending and 80 feet descending.

Add it all together and you get … 45:02.  As you can see, I pushed pretty hard for the last mile and change, but it wasn’t quite enough to come in under 45:00.

For the first time, though, I finished a race feeling like I had given my best possible effort.  Maybe that’s easier to do in shorter races, since there aren’t as many miles to save yourself for.  In any event, I’m very happy with how things went.

Next up, the Ted Corbitt 15K, again in Central Park, 12 days from today!

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Staten Island Half: Post-Race

Posted in running by Jeff on October 10, 2010

1:47:37.  Not a half-marathon time I’m particularly proud of, but given how and how much I’ve trained for it, probably about what I deserved.

I can count a few small victories, though.  I achieved my primary goal of going out conservatively–at least relative to how I went out in my previous half.  My first mile was exactly 8:00, and the second was 7:38.  As it turned out, both were faster than my average pace, but I didn’t suffer because I went out too fast; my pace lagged because I wasn’t fit enough to race the distance today.

Also, I did a much better job of running tangents–according to my Garmin, I ran a total of 13.22 miles (versus about 13.35 in my previous half).  Given how much weaving I had to do in the first few miles, I’m not sure I could’ve done much better than that.  Finally, I pushed hard over the last mile or so, picking off plenty of folks and clocking one of my fastest mile splits of the race.

That’s about it for the positives.  I’m getting over a minor cold and suffered from some mild cramping through almost the entire race.  I was solid through the first five or six miles, but from there on, had to walk through some aid stations, and my running pace sagged.  As was the case in my May marathon, there’s some frustration here: My pace slowed down because I was tired, but I kept getting tired because I didn’t slow my running pace enough.  Once you run a few 7:30 or 7:45 miles, it’s tough to switch to a slower pace, especially when surrounded by runners moving at that 7:45 clip.

My lessons going forward are simple, and not terribly insightful.  If I want to get closer to a 90-minute half, I have to log more miles, and I have to do more long(ish) tempo runs.  A side benefit of more regular tempos, I hope, will be a better sense of pacing that will hold up even amidst a crowd.

Enough about me–here’s a bit about the race.

The Staten Island Half is a New York Road Runners event, and as such, it was extremely well-organized and well-staffed.  No complaints there.

I was one of a huge number of runners who started a bit late because of delays on the Staten Island ferry.  From what I overheard, it sounded like an earlier scheduled ferry hadn’t run, meaning that the 7:30 ferry was additionally delayed by the crowds.  And then well over one thousand runners arrived on Staten simultaneously with less than 15 minutes until race time.  No number of porta-potties is adequate for that kind of pressure.

The course was a bit disappointing.  It was almost entirely out-and-back, and there wasn’t much in the way of views, except at the start/finish.  I’m sure NYRR is forced to compromise–there are better spots on the island to stage 13.1 miles, but getting people from the ferry and back would be a nightmare.  Given the uninspired course and the transport to get there, it’s not a race I’ll likely do again.

Next up for me…

NYRR puts on a a 10k and a 15k in December.  My personal life between now and then is tilted toward things other than heavy, consistent training, so we’ll see where I’m at as we get closer.  I’m excited about the motivation to build some speed and see what kind of 10-15k times it translates into.

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Two days to Staten Island Half-Marathon

Posted in running by Jeff on October 8, 2010

Sunday morning, I’m running my first race since May, and my first half-marathon since March.  It’s only my second half overall, making it tough to set reasonable goals and decide on an early pace.

Back in March, I had been training regularly for about six weeks, in which time I logged roughly 235 miles pre-race.  Now, I’ve been running regularly for about eight weeks, in which time I’ve logged roughly … 230 miles.  Obviously not the same weekly volume.  Another major difference is that I’ve done next to zero speedwork this time around, whereas in February and March, I did two good interval sessions and two or three solid tempo runs.

The earlier training cycle got me to a 1:36:53, about a 7:25/mile pace.  That was better than I had expected going in; I think underestimated the benefit of running amidst a mass of humanity, much of which was going even faster.  If I had that race to do over again, on the same training, I have no doubt I could do better–my splits were all over the place and I made no effort to run tangents, so my Garmin said I covered about 13.35 miles–more like a 7:15/mile pace.

It’s clear that my recent training is not as good as it was seven months ago.  On the flip side, I have more race experience and an additional 800 miles in my legs.

Where does that leave me?  I’ve accepted that I don’t have a great shot at going under my 1:36:53.  If I ran it as a typical Sunday long run, I’d land at about 1:55.  There’s a lot of territory in between.

My foremost goal for Sunday is to pace myself conservatively.  Everyone knows they should go out slow, and then everyone goes out with the pack…way too fast.  I’m not going to do that.  I’m aiming for a first mile between 7:45 and 8:00, a second mile no faster than 7:30.  After that, I’ll have to see how my body holds up at that pace.  It leaves me plenty of time to clock 7:15 miles and come in around 1:37 … or settle in closer to an 8:00 pace and forget about beating my previous time.

Obviously, I have plenty to think about.  A reasonable secondary goal would be to stop thinking about it already.  🙂


Posted in running by Jeff on May 18, 2010

I ran my first marathon on Sunday. I had been training steadily for about 13 or 14 weeks, at least 40 miles per week except for a little less the week before, peaking with three weeks at 67, 61, and 67.

I did two runs of 20 miles or longer, but was unable to do more, thanks to some poorly timed illnesses. I also didn’t do as much marathon-pace running as I had hoped. Still, I went into the race fairly optimistic about meeting a goal of 3:30 or better.

As you might guess from the title, that didn’t happen. I ran a fairly steady 8:00/mile pace for the first 11 miles, sped up to the 7:30 – 7:40 range for the next eight, and that was about all that was in the tank. I ended up walking the first minute of every mile from 20 on, and walked more than the first minute of a mile or two toward the end.

Here are the mile-by-mile splits from my Garmin … not exactly my splits according to the mile markers on the course.

1: 7:48
2: 7:50
3: 8:02
4: 7:57
5: 7:58
6: 8:05
7: 7:51
8: 7:58
9: 8:29
10: 8:13 [9 and 10 were the most uphill of the race]
11: 8:01
12: 7:34
13: 7:33
14: 7:38
15: 7:30
16: 7:21
17: 7:31
18: 7:43
19: 7:47
20: 8:20
21: 9:16
22: 8:34
23: 9:14
24: 11:47
25: 10:43
26: 10:47

The first 20 miles were more or less according to plan. I felt great at the top of the hill around the 11-mile mark, so sped up, though I didn’t mean to clock a 7:20 mile unless I was feeling that good at the very end. One positive takeaway for me is that I can run that strong to the 19- or 20-mile mark. It’s one thing to think you’re fit enough to do something, quite another to do it.

The splits tell the story the rest of the way. For some reason, I was under the impression that if I ran out of gas at some point and couldn’t maintain the 7:30 – 8:00 pace, I would be able to keep clocking the 9:00 miles. Obviously not. Even when I was running, it was tough to run that slowly after spending nearly three hours at a considerably quicker pace.

It’s disappointing not to have met my goal, but it’s also tough to set accurate goals for a distance I’ve never run before. So I’m glad to have done it, glad to have finished, and ready to move on. I probably won’t do another marathon until next spring.

After spending a few weeks recovering from this one, I’ll work my way back up to 60+ mile weeks and train for a half-marathon or two in the fall. I ran 1:36:xx on five or six weeks of training back in March, so I’m setting my sights on beating 90 minutes.

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Astoria to the George Washington Bridge

Posted in running by Jeff on April 19, 2010

I’ve been running with a Garmin Forerunner 305 for the last several months, but I just discovered the Garmin Connect feature, which allows me to create cool maps like this that show where I ran.

This morning, I ran 22 miles, starting in Astoria, over the Triboro bridge to Randall’s Island, then into the city via the 102nd St. pedestrian bridge. I cut across Manhattan to Riverside Drive, then headed up Riverside to Washington Heights. Finding the access ramp to the pedestrian/bike path over the bridge was a challenge–some online sources say access is at 178th and Ft. Washington, but it is actually two blocks further west, at 178th and Cabrini, on the south side of 178th.

I zigzagged through Harlem to get back to the Triboro, then took the long route around Randall’s island to round the route up to an even 22 miles.

Click the link for the map.

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