50th Anniversary Run

June 4, 2008

NYRR 50th Anniversary Run 5M (Q)
Central Park, New York, NY
Tuesday, June 4, 2008

Official time
32:04 (6:24 pace)

Mile marker: lap/split*
Mile 1: 6:17/6:17
Mile 2: 6:33/12:51
Mile 3: 6:21/19:12
Mile 4: 6:36/25:48
Mile 5: 6:14/32:02

The Anniversary Run celebrates the 50th anniversary of New York Road Runners, 1958-2008. Most races cost between $15 and $25 — this one was free! Oh, and on a very early weekday morning.

RAIN. If I can hear the pattering from my room I know it’s the real deal. I woke up at 4:40am for the 5:30am race start. It was still dark outside and the rain was discouraging but I can’t refuse a race because the weather. I won’t be able to choose my marathon conditions — suit up, son!

I’ve gotten used to interested looks on the subway while wearing my bib, but the few runners in my train definitely got some confused looks today. Shorts? Race? Tuesday morning? The rain was pounding harder when I arrived at the W. 66th St. station — I held my breath and ran toward the start line hoping to find cover. Surprisingly to me (and probably to everyone reading this in New York City) there was no scaffolding to be found. Instead, I joined a dozen runners huddling under an awning of a fancy Central Park West address. Here runners shuffled under and out until the last group of us dashed toward the start line a hundred yards away. It was great timing; I entered the first blue corral (matching my bib color) in time for the final few pre-race announcements. It was entertaining to hear other runners’ grumbling about the number of times the course route had been explained to them in the soaking rain. Don’t you just follow the person in front of you afterall?

I do not have rain-specific running clothes. I wore running shorts, a Nike running shirt (white, unfortunately), and my older Asics running shoes. Very popular was the plastic parka or trash bag look. During the race runners were tearing them off their chests like the Incredible Hulk.

The start was fast with runners peeling out. I tried my best not to get caught up in the speed and soon enough found myself passing slowing runners one at a time. The rain had loosened my laces and I took a 20 second pause to retie my shoes, as did several others along the way. After mile 3 the runner order stabilized and the immediate group around me cruised to the finish.

The Anniversary Run was another PR for me. The rain didn’t seem to have any severe effect on my time. My pacing was decent and I handled the downhill running along the westside well. I mentioned in a previous post that I often slowed down on downhill sections. The key is to flow with gravity, keep stride length consistent, and body position strong — this took practice!

I am completely confused by my Garmin results. I kept Auto Lap turned on and noticed the watch was missing all the mile markers by a long shot. At the end the race it indicated I had run 4.66 miles, not the 5.00 miles expected. It would be shocking, although plausible, if the course was indeed short except that Garmin also shows my pace being uncharacteristically slow. With some Excel work I determined every mile distance must be short by an average factor of 0.932. GPS was knowingly designed to work through inclement weather, so it wasn’t the cloud cover or rain. Could it be the Garmin footpod I was wearing? (The footpod is calibrated to 891/1000.) More interestingly, when the Garmin data was exported to Google Earth, it tracked the course accurately. *My lap/split times listed at top have been adjusted to fit a 5-mile course.

The total number of runners was 1784, which was impressive given the conditions. As we waited under the awning before the race everyone had a story of why they showed up for a 5:30am race on a Tuesday morning in the rain. I was most intrigued by a girl who said she wasn’t running to qualify for next year’s NYC Marathon (this was just her second race of the year) nor was she meeting anyone at the start line — she came to test her determination.

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4 Responses to “50th Anniversary Run”

  1. Wayne Plymale said

    Hi Michael. Out of curiousity, which Garmin GPS were you using? I’ve used the GF205 which has worked well for me. I did a recent calibraton on a 400 meter track and it came out .39 kilos which is pretty close.

    I think it’s awesome when nearly 1800 runners show up for a 5:30am race on a weekday. You, all the runners and the NYRR need to be commended for it!

    The NYRR races are really good. I’ve done the 8K back in 2002 and the 2005 NYC Marathon.

    Continue the good running! Take care.

  2. Michael said

    Wayne — I have the Garmin Forerunner 405. I purchased the footpod (the newer/smaller one) primarily to keep track of my treadmill running. I’ve been satisfied with its accuracy, or at least it comes close to the treadmill display.

    I agree, the number of runners at the Anniversary Run shows how dedicated New Yorkers are to their sport!

  3. Laura said

    I can’t really provide advice on the Garmin, as I don’t have one. But great job slogging through the rain for an interesting race! I’m sorry I missed it.

  4. Michael,
    I’ve had to do the same with my Garmie (305) and have had to do the same annoying Excel calculation to see where to readjust the variance for each, true, mile split.
    Great job on your run. I don’t even think I could go that fast if someone had thrown me out a window!!

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