Race report: Coogan’s 5K

7 03 2010

The Coogan’s Salsa, Blues, and Shamrocks 5K run is a perennial bloom of spring, my favorite NYRR race other than the NYC Marathon. I love the spirit and the music in Washington Heights, the views of the George Washington Bridge and the Hudson River, the kids races, warmup in the armory – everything about the race has a flair. I also like the out-and-back course layout (seeing the leaders come at you), and I even like the hills. Plus, Coogan’s and I have a history – Coogan’s was my first NYRR race, in March 2008, when my goal was merely to finish (I had completed training runs of 1.8 and 2.2 miles (a week before!) prior to the race). This year, my goals were a bit elevated: at least a PR, maybe even pushing toward a 7 minute/mile pace? My week-before training run distance this time was 15.6 miles. So, a little different in 2010.

A mile of warmup had me feeling pretty good. The legs felt loose, and the running conditions were ideal, low 40s and sunny blue skies, long sleeves and shorts weather. At the start, my legs churned at a pace that seemed about right, a glance down at the Garmin revealing a pace in the 6:40-6:50 range. Excellent. But as the hills of mile 1 started to make their presence felt, I obviously slowed despite feeling good. At mile 1 I glanced at my split and was disappointed to see 7:27.

Mile 2 starts with a significant downhill into Fort Tryon Park that gave me a joyous instantaneous 6:12 pace. As I turned around at the bottom I could feel the accumulated speed as I started the first uphill dip. By the more severe uphill out of the park, I just didn’t have the push to get into the gear I needed to be in (and should have had no problem achieving). Mile 2 split 7:32.

Mile 3 was just trying to hold on. Unfortunately, I didn’t have what I needed to press the downhills (my body type really does well on downhills) and there was more grimace on the uphill than there should have been for my pace. As I approached the George Washington Bridge, I thought I might donate my cookies to Washington Heights. I held on, but lacked the push I needed to end the race strong. Mile 3 split 7:30, stub ~0:49. Overall time 23:19 (7:30 overall pace), well short of a PR (50 seconds) and a disappointing effort given where I thought I was (and where speed work was suggesting). Alas.

Things that console me after this disappointing effort: (1) I hadn’t incorporated too much speed work to date, focusing more on getting the long miles in early (which has been my biggest weakness in prior marathon training regimes); (2) I am still running at middle-of-winter weight (snow and cold this year haven’t helped), probably the biggest problem; (3) Garmin had me at 3.18 miles, though I usually run tangents very well (and this course should be well-positioned for good tangents), which would be 7:19/mile, closer to PR pace. How I blew my tangents this badly on this course is an excellent question I need to consider more thoroughly.

I was happy to briefly catch up with Scott and Michelle after the race as they chatted about their happy runs (congrats on the PR, Scott!).

It was still a glorious day in Washington Heights. I look forward to Coogan’s 2011!

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3 responses

8 03 2010
SCL

Thanks for the shout out!

It really is a tough course. I have realized that the reason I PR this course is because it is the only 5k that I run…

8 03 2010
emlit81

Hey thanks for stopping by my blog! It is pretty odd that we both recorded a long course…hmm. As you say, suspicious indeed. Even though you didn’t make your PR, I’m in awe of your speed :)

8 03 2010
michjoy61

That is so funny! My garmin had me at 3.18 miles as well which would have given me a 9.21 pace instead of a 9.35 pace. Oh well.

I think you did a great job yesterday. This is not an easy course at all.

It was great to see you afterwards. Like I said a pleasant surprise.

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