Race Report: Run For The Parks 4M

This past weekend was full of running.  Saturday I continued my mantra of no watch and no mapping and went out for run along the West Side Highway, my “home” course.  I started near my apartment downtown and worked my way toward Battery Park City, past the Four Seasons, through Batter Park City and made my way up to the West Side Highway park. If you are not familiar with New York City, the Parks Department recently renovated the West Side, turning dozens and dozens of blocks from Chambers Street to about 30th street into lush green outdoor areas with a running path.  Running in New York City is never boring because during my early morning run I was joined by thousands of other runners/bikers who were already out of bed, it is quite the show. Anyway, my run felt strong and I felt great.

Sunday was my 4 mile race in Central Park that fulfilled my 3rd race of 9 for the 2011 New York City Marathon.  It was picture perfect for the 8:00 am race, just a slight chill, but once the sun came up it warmed up and became a stunning spring day.  The Run For The Parks was a 4 mile loop that started on the East Drive of 72nd street that went north to 102nd street then west to the other side of the park and back down to 72nd street to the finish.

It was a typical NYRR organized race which was smooth, seamless and perfect.  NYRR has their stuff together, it does not matter if it is a 4 mile run or a half marathon they all have the same level of quality.  Even this 4 miler had a mini expo with vendor’s pre/post race.  One side note, Zico pure coconut water was there handing out free drinks.  I have to admit, I did not enjoy it.  Anyway, the organization of NYRR has to be because of the hundreds of volunteers that come out at 5:00 am to set-up for the race- kudos to all of them.

If you have been following my blog you know that recently I had hit a wall because of a busy early spring schedule.  I had decided to take a step back over the past few weeks and I feel that it really helped when I lined up for this 4 mile race. As I hit the half way point crossing over the 102nd street transverse I glanced at my watch which was the first time while running in weeks and I was at a blistering pace (for me), 13:47.  The next mile was over the famous Central Park rolling hills, which slowed me down a little, but I still felt very strong and at one point I thought to myself “how on earth am I keeping such a strong pace”.  I really did feel fast and felt like I was in a very comfortable rhythm, that extra gear that I found during my recent half marathon was still there.  I ended up crossing the finish line with a PR for a 4 mile race by over one minute with a 27:58, my first sub 7 minute mile average ever!  How did I pull that off?

This spring has been amazing so far.  I continue to learn about running and how to improve my workouts for maximum benefits.  Incorporating speed workouts and tempo runs has helped so much with teaching my body to maintain a faster pace.  My goal is to continue to build speed and maintain that quicker pace over the summer during qualifying runs for 2011 New York City marathon.  I have some huge goals set for 2011 and now is the time to be growing as a runner and setting good training habits.

Keep checking back as Coach’s Corner will be sharing some of the workouts that I have implemented, they will help you update your routine so you can hit new goals.

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