Race Report: NYRR Colon Cancer Challenge 15K

This morning we ran the Colon Cancer Challenge 15K in Central Park, yet another of the approximately 50 races that New York Road Runners is hosting this year. I will again extoll the virtues of racing in the park: challenging course, good competition, excellent race management and — on Sundays at least — free parking nearby.

I’m over the moon about this race because it’s the last race before the marathon in a month. The last chance to evaluate my fitness in order to pick a goal time and pacing strategy for The Big One. The reason I’m so happy is that I exceeded my expectations for today.

I wanted to see if I could again (after last weekend’s race) run a pace equivalent to a 3:24 marathon. That alone is a challenge for me since it’s only in the past month or so that I’ve been training for that faster pace (down from 3:30 paces). Today there were 20 mph winds, and I was actually excited about that. Yes, I must hate myself. I was happy that it was going to be ridiculously windy because it was another chance to test my mettle in less-than-ideal race conditions.

My goal was to sustain an average 7:14 pace, the 15K performance equivalent of the 3:24 marathon. Instead, I managed a 7:07 pace. The race results say 7:16 (my finishing time was 1:07:35), but I was actually running faster than that because, due to the crowd, I couldn’t hit all the tangents and ended up running 9.49 miles rather than 9.3.

But who cares?! I ran 7:07 for over 9 miles and lived to tell the tale. I was trying for a 1:07:22 or under time. What I got was close enough for jazz and government work. One interesting aspect of the race is that I also ran a dead even set of 5Ks: three each at exactly 22:11. This tells me that I am able to balance banking time on the downhills and taking it easy on the uphills in a consistent way.

In terms of race standings…these days I rely on people not showing up to races in order to “do well” from a competitive standpoint. (I hope to change that in the next year.) Had we turned the clock back a year to 2007 last night rather than forward an hour, I would have come in second in my age group. This year, the faster fortysomething ladies came out and I ended up in ninth place. But that’s a number that nevertheless delights me.

Jonathan, continuing his streak, took third in his age group (he would have won his age group by five minutes last year) for a lovely plastic award.

Normally I would be nervous about looking at two race results for shorter races (15K and 25K) and basing a marathon pacing plan on those. But I’ve done my homework on the endurance end of things, so I’m feeling very confident about going for a 3:24ish time in April. I also got some great data today regarding pacing and heart rate changes along different parts of the course. I’ve got a month to construct a pacing strategy based on all of this. And that’s a lot more fun than doing taxes.

2 Responses

  1. Great job! I am sadly behind on both my pacing and my taxes…

  2. You must be so VERY proud, and rightly so. You have done so much to get ready for this, and you still have a month to go.

    Wish I could be there to see you cross the line next month!

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