Sunday, September 19, 2010

ING New York City Marathon Tune Up

This is a scored 18 mile race put on by New York Road Runners and advertised as good preparation for the Big One. I jumped in with the goal of at least sticking to my goal marathon pace for late November, making my goal finishing time 1:54:00 or better. Training wise, I did a mini-taper for this one, running 7x1600m cruise intervals on Wednesday, followed by 3 days of comfortable 7 mile runs.

That start time for this one was 7am, which I actually came to appreciate because the forecast called for a high of 80. The race time temperature was about 60-63 with a dew point of 54-55. Not too bad, but more moisture in the air than I would have liked. The early start necessitated a 3:30am alarm, giving me about 3 hours of sleep. For breakfast I had a ham and Swiss sandwich I got at Panera the night before, and two clif bars, washed down with gatorade. I was also having some unnerving churning in my abdomen, which called for drastic measures. Drastic meaning four immodium pills as opposed to my usual two.

I left home around 5:15, and found a nice little parking spot on 93rd street on the Upper East Side, in view of a doorman and everything. Boy was it little, but I squeezed in and kept the $30 I figured on spending on parking at a garage if I didn't find a spot. I headed over to the park, did my thing in a reasonably clean portajohn, and headed to baggage. There I put on my new racin' shoes, checked my bag, and headed to the start at 102nd street.

We got under way at 7:00 sharp. The course is 3 counterclockwise loops of central park. I turned off auto lap on my Garmin and hit the split button every mile marker. Central Park is what I would call a moderately difficult course in that there are rolling hills, but they are not what I would call massive hills. Starting at 102nd, the first 2 miles are hilly. It starts with a long, fairly steep downhill, followed by the steepest uphill on the loop. I took it fairly easy on the first loop, but I was definitely hurting passing through on the 2nd and 3rd loops.

There is not much more I remember about the race besides a whole lot of running. My new shoes felt very good, and I felt reasonably relaxed if not super rested on the first loop. I was trying to drink at every aid station, but since I refused to slow down, I only got a few sips at each one. The trouble with the 3 loop course is that by the end of the 2nd loop, all aid stations were packed with lapped runners. I would have pretty much had to stop and get in line, so I did a little mental math around mile 11, after a full on traffic collision, and figured I would make it without any more water.

Well, I made it, but the last 3 miles felt pretty bad. It was frustrating because my legs felt like they had some life left, and I wanted to pick up the pace, but I had lost way too much fluid, and was really struggling just to not slow down (much). I finished in 1:54:09, 17th overall, and 6th in my age group. I did not have a whole lot left when I crossed the line. But the encouraging thing is that I feel like on an easier course, with a little better hydration and perhaps cooler temperatures, I think I should be able to hang in there for a few more miles at this pace.

On to analysis of splits

Mile Marker GPS Distance Duration
11.01 Mi6:32.5
21.01 Mi6:27.1
31.00 Mi6:15
41.01 Mi6:18.98
51.00 Mi6:20.31
61.00 Mi6:03.55
71.00 Mi6:21.61
81.01 Mi6:27.6
90.97 Mi6:01.69
101.04 Mi6:26.4
111.01 Mi6:24.5
121.01 Mi6:13.8
131.02 Mi6:27.48
141.01 Mi6:29.59
151.01 Mi6:12.65
161.00 Mi6:18.61
171.02 Mi6:36.65
181.01 Mi6:12.34

Looking at the spits, it is easy to see the uphill miles (1,2,7,8,13,14) and the downhills (3,6,9,12,15,18). The rest are relatively flat. Mile 17 is the slowest, and it is the same part of the loop as mile 5 and 11. I was 12+ seconds slower than the first two passes. Definitely hurting at that point.

All in all I am pleased with the result, and I am happy that I ran this race. It was definitely a good learning experience.


  1. Sandwich at Panera, huh? Did you eat the chips?

  2. I wish I had splits like yours*.
    * = fast, consistent, and all for more than a couple miles.