May 17, 2008

Healthy Kidney 10K 2008 race report

My quads are killing me.

LOL. I knew I'd be writing that as my first sentence, even before the race. They've hurt since Thursdays run with S.

After the long and dreary rain yesterday, lasting well into the night, I expected to be running in similar weather this morning. The forecast showed a 40% chance of rain, cold, cloudy, and windy. So imagine my surprise to step outside at 7:30 a.m. this morning to find a postcard-perfect early-summer day. The weather for this run had light breezes, 50 degrees, and not a cloud in the sky.

The humidity was up there, though, as the water from last night all tried to evaporate at once. At 80%, I could tell it in my lungs - I had asthma from the time I got up until well after the race. That affected things a little bit, but not as bad as it could have been. I'm just glad the weather was decent.

I didn't set out to race this race, not having trained specifically for it, but I didn't try to do "just" a long, slow run either. I told myself to take this one in a Galloway mindset - mile by mile. And that, surprisingly, is exactly what happened: throughout the race, I had zero thoughts about the miles ahead, dealing only with the mile I was in. It made the race seem shorter somehow.

I'd also decided to walk through the waterbreaks and any hills that were killing me. My coughing was constant and I'd been bringing up extra-thick, extra-green phlegm all morning - unusual even for me. I did end up bent over, hands-on-knees, coughing hard twice during the race, but while I was in motion, the coughing didn't seem severe - I could either keep running or had to halt altogether, there was no inbetween this time.

Once again, the corrals were segregated and color-coded. This has advantages, but I noted two problems with it this time: one, the latter corrals are long, but narrow - only as wide as the regular running lanes - and that's an unnecessary problem. And two, they don't run speakers as far back as the pink, purple, grey, and brown corrals. This means I didn't hear the welcoming speeches, didn't hear the announcements and race directions, and didn't hear the gun. This needs to be fixed.

Tried not to go out too hard. My quads, as I said, were already hurting. But I'm also finding a certain peace and ease at a stride length four to six inches beyond my usual jog - the difference, really, between jogging and running. It shaves about 30 to 45 seconds off my usual mile pace and in some ways is just as easy. I haven't figured this out yet. So I compromised in the race and alternated among several gaits.

Overdressed and had to stop after 1/4 mile to strip off clothes and hope they were still there at the end of the race. Walked at the water tables long enough to drink a good cup of water. Walked a bit at mile markers if I felt I needed it. Passed the 5K mats walking (on the biggest uphill on the route). Tried to take advantage of the downhill of Cat Hill and almost miraculously finished the last 1.2 miles without walking at all.

Tried to finish strong, but found it very very difficult to get my speed up. That uphill finish to Tavern On The Green can be a deal-breaker. As tired as I was and in as much pain as I was, I couldn't imagine tackling this exact same finish during the Marathon with any degree of gusto. It may be that this last 800 meters becomes a regular intervals hill-repeat workout part of my training this summer and fall.

Felt pretty good to finish. Something I said to a friend yesterday came back to me: "If all my runs were 3 miles, I'd get discouraged pretty quickly, because the running only returns positive reinforcement after that point. A six mile run is good because the positive memory of the last three miles masks the negative memory of the first three." Definitely true.

I gobbled bagels and bananas while listening to the awards ceremony and raffle giveaway, then got my bag and headed back to the subway very slowly, just enjoying what turned out to be a beautiful day in Central Park.

Results: first 5K in 36:02, an 11:37/mi pace. Second 5K in 33:28, a 10:48/mi pace. A significantly better second half - negative splits!! Overall, I finished in 1:09:30 with an average 11:11/mi pace.

And, because I've been learning how to make nice charts from my race data, here's my 4-years-running history of my Healthy Kidney times and paces:

Pretty, huh?

I close by noting that although this 10K is my third worst of all my 10Ks, I still did better than last year, if only by a few seconds.

This was at the carwash on my way home. A 1929 Ford Model A coupe, I believe.


londonjogger said...

yeah that's a great graph... well done on the run and i hope your legs aren't sore for too long.

rundangerously said...

great race report! congratulations on a race well run, especially the negative splits!

rundangerously said...

we probably were standing pretty near each other! funny b/c i rarely stick around for the post-race stuff! i was waiting for my friend to finish their cool-down runs! what a great day to have been in the park!

Lesley said...

Enjoyed reading your race report! (Liked the pictures and graphs too.) Congrats on a good race and the improvement over last year. Hope your quads are feeling better now.