Name of the race: Fabulous 4th of July 4K
Where: Long Beach, NY
Date: July 4, 2017
Time: 8:30 am
Distance: 2.485 miles
Terrain: Flat boardwalk
Entry fee: $25-30 + fee
Post-race Food: Apples, cookies, granola bars, water, and Gatorade
Swag: Free race photos and finish line video
Performance: Overall: 48/397; Gender: X/XX; Age (35-39): 2/XX [fill in later when Athlinks has info]
Weather: 77 degrees, 44% humidity
Now that I’m a runner, I kinda feel like every holiday deserves to have its own race. So a few days before 4th of July I decided on a whim to sign up for a race that another PPTC teammate was doing out on Long Island. I was tickled pink at the idea of racing a 4K. I’ve never done a 4K – automatic PR!
Tuesday morning we drove out to Long Beach. We found free parking a couple of blocks away from the bib pick-up. I spotted a restroom from the sidewalk, so I quickly made my way up to the boardwalk where the building was. As I walked toward the building, I heard a loud crash behind me and a bicycle flew just feet in front of me. A cyclist had an accident and completely wiped out. She was badly injured with a shoulder injury, but a bunch of kind pedestrians quickly grouped around to get help. I fetched her bike and placed it near her. It seemed as if everything was under control and there was nothing I could do to help, so I went to go use the restroom. I was fortunate that I hadn’t walked quicker a few minutes before because I could have been knocked over by the bike!
We made our way to the bib pick when we sadly found out that Bandit wasn’t allowed on the boardwalk. Boo! So Ben took her off for a walk while I went to get my bib and do the race. I was a bit sad because I was looking forward to having Ben and Bandit cheer for me during this race, but what can you do about these horrible dog-unfriendly policies unless you’re a politician (seriously, Amtrak used to not allow dogs until a representative got annoyed that he couldn’t bring his dog on the train, so he wrote a bill).
The weather was warm, but I didn’t notice it because of the cool ocean breeze and relatively low humidity. My pre-race plan was to run the first mile in 7:45 and then go faster for the 1.485 miles. There was no start timing mat, so I placed myself fairly close to the start in order to not lose time.
The route was a straightforward out-and-back course. Going out, the sun was in my eyes because I stupidly left my Headsweats visor in the car (did remember my Simple Hydration bottle) and faced a light headwind. I spent the first mile telling myself to ease up and not to go too fast. First mile was 7:33. It felt easy and not like work, which I chalked up to having nice weather.
The second mile I told myself to push it a little. After a quarter mile, I turned around and headed back to where I came from. Finally the sun was out of my eyes and the wind was behind me. I enjoyed running the second mile (7:12).
The last half mile (minus a tiny bit) was the painful part of the race. I was tired and desperately wanted to slow down and walk. Or at least just slow down. I kept pushing myself by focusing on the runners ahead of me and catching up to them one by one. I did slow down a little, but not much (7:18).
My overall time of 18:13 was good enough for 2nd place in my age group. I got a pretty nice medal for it. I was really happy with my performance because I didn’t expect that I would do so well. I haven’t been doing much speed work lately because I’ve been focusing on building an aerobic base for half marathon training. The only speed work that I’ve done lately have been some strides at the end of runs and a few surges that I’ve thrown in the middle of some long runs. It appears as if those were enough to keep my legs fast because the pace for the 4K (7:20) is the same as my 5K PR. Obviously if I had run a 5K, I would have slowed some more (I was D-O-N-E when I crossed the finish line), but I still would have had a pace that was close to my PR pace.
I really enjoyed racing the 4K distance. It’s as painful as a 5K, but 20% shorter.