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Kings Park 15k - Run15k

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Kings Park, New York
United States
50F / 10C
Total Time = 1h 05m 1s
Overall Rank = 62/664
Age Group = M35-39
Age Group Rank = 8/32
Pre-race routine:

Woke at 5 AM, ate a banana and had a cup of black coffee. Picked up Ed at 7 AM and drove to Kings Park. Chatted with Mike (mscotthall). Was grateful it was a beautiful, sunny morning. Unlike last year, where it was freezing, windy and teeming rains. Ate a tangerine powerbar gel w/ 2x caffeine 20 mins prior to start. Drank a red bull shot 10 mins prior to start.
Event warmup:

1 mile jog with Ed and Marty 30 minutes prior to race.
  • 1h 05m 1s
  • 9.32 miles
  • 06m 59s  min/mile

This is my 5th straight year running the Kings Park 15k, and pretty much my 5th year running. I love to start the season off with this race because it's a very hard course and it makes all the other road races seem more manageable. My first years time, and the years after on this course are: 1:21:08; 1:10:57; 1:13:48; 1:10:30. The first year I'd only been running on and off for less than a year. But then I got serious, lost weight and got consistent all the following years. My 3rd year (1:13:48) I was coming off a bout with ITBS and had a very small base.

Given these past times, and the fact that I'm 12 weeks deep into Ironman Training, my goal was to have fun and simply PR - beat 1:10:30. We lined up, I wished my buddy Mike (mscotthall - who has really been dedicated to improving his run) luck, and we were off.

Mile 1 is a downhill for the first half mile. My quads were a little sore going into this race, but luckily felt good in the warm-up and first mile. I read an excellent article recently by Coach Jesse Kropelnicki at QT2 Systems titled: Developing World Class Run Mechanics ( It's a pretty in-depth and detailed article. Over the last few years I've focused more and more on my run form, and the results have always been positive. The more I focus on form, the faster I run without using more energy. And in some cases, I run faster using less energy :) So after reading his article about a month and a half ago I introduced some tweaks into my run form and the results have been fantastic.

After the downhill I saw Ed and Marty running side by side, both are running Boston next month. (Ed is a 3:11 marathoner and Marty is a 3:09 marathoner). In several past races I've made the mistake of letting people I know who are slightly faster than me go ahead, and then I always kick myself for not trying to pace off them. Not today. I risked using some energy and kicked up behind the two. Before long they realized I was there and invited me to run side by side with them. I told them I was drafting off them and if I lasted the killer hill at mile 3, I'd let them draft off me for mile 4.

I knew pacing with guys faster than me was a risk, but I'm not going to get faster running in 'my comfort zone', and I was feeling good, and 100% ready to accept the consequences of a possible blow-up. For the next few miles I stayed tucked behind them on the rolling terrain, passing people, and feeling slightly out of my comfort zone but still okay. And then we started to climb.

The mile 3 hill is an SOB. It's long, it's steep. It turns and then makes you climb some more. Amazingly, I kept in contact with Marty but Ed was a few strides ahead. And with just a little bit left in the hill they both pulled away. My form was a wreck and my body just couldn't go anymore. It took me close to a mile to recover from the effort, all the while I just focused on form and breathing, and by the mile 4 downhill descent I could see the two of them again and slowly began reeling them in.

The whole descent I could hear someone right behind me, but I didn't look back. Mile 5 is a short out & back by the water. After a short but steep climb at the turn-around I must've slowed a bit because the steps behind me appeared next to me. It was a guy from the Runner's Edge team and he thanked me for being his pacer! I said to him, "See those two guys up there. The one guy is in a red shirt. I'm trying to catch them." He smiled and said, "Let's go." Now he was my pacer.

I tucked in behind him and didn't think. I just focused on form, breathing, blocked out the pain and he carried me to the final long out & back in a park. We hit another climb right before the park and I just couldn't stay with him. To my left I could see the front runners of the race coming back from the turn-around and I knew I was well ahead of years past. Then I saw the pace clock for 10k reading 42:36. Basically I was PR'ing a 10k distance. The thought of mailing the next 5k in entered my mind. I knew I could soft-pedal the next 3.1 miles and still have a wicked PR. But then I thought about everything I preached to my Mentor Group. I though about my friend Bill from last years race who wasn't running this year because his wife is pregnant, and the great duel Bill and I had this time at last years race. I guess it's just not in me to mail something in :)

With these positive thoughts I dug deep to maintain my pace. Ed had pulled away from Marty, but Marty was within striking distance. Very slowly I started reeling him in, but then we hit the final turn-around. (After the race he said seeing me at the turn-around motivated him) and after that point I never had a chance to catch him. And right at the turn-around I was greeted with a rude smack in the face of HEADWINDS. The next mile and a half back out of the park was gonna hurt bad, I thought. But then (amazingly) I used my brain. I kicked up to a lone runner just 20 yards in front of me, and I tucked in tight behind him (he had headphones on and couldn't hear me :). Basically I enjoyed a free ride. For a solid mile I ran stride for stride right behind him and literally felt like I was floating on a training ride. The draft was unbelievable. At the end of the park we hit a downhill and I felt super fresh -- which was unbelievable this deep into the race. At the downhill I removed myself from under his wing and I pointed to behind me when I passed him, encouraging him to now draft off of me.

Out of the park we swooped with 1 mile left. We hit another climb, a painful steep descent, and then banged a right into the neighborhood where the race started. The hills were less steep here but they hurt just the same. I was able to hold my form together and leave everything on the course that last stretch. I was so proud of myself that since Mile 3 only 2 runners had passed me. In the past when I'd gone out too hard, I would usually melt and get passed by a half dozen runners or more. Not today!!

I rounded the corner for the finishing stretch in front of the school and there was one runner 25 yards in front of me. It had been such a tough race, I was just happy with my PR and I didn't have the desire to do my normal 'kick' and try to pick off anyone. But then I looked up at the race clock and saw 1:04:53. Shiiitt!! I gotta break 1:05. So I sprinted and missed it by a second. :) Which leaves me a nice goal for next year!!
What would you do differently?:

Nothing. I took a break after the Philly marathon in Novemeber, and then began rebuilding my running base in late December. I've been consistent and smart in my running. I've focused on form and hills in training, and it's made all the difference. Swimming has also really strengthened my core which is perhaps the biggest physical difference that has led to my 5 1/2 minute PR. Trainer rides have also built up my quads.

This is the first race where I paced/drafted 3 separate times - and returned the favors when I could. This overall effort was such a confidence builder. It is so satisfying to finally combine past experiences, race strategies, technical book-learned tips and put everything together to produce a massive and suprising PR. I guess I'm FINALLY maturing as an athlete.
Post race
Warm down:

I did a painful cool-down run with Ed and Marty. My quads and calves were killing me. We ran the course backwards and that's when I saw this running stalward blazing toward me... it was my buddy Mike looking like a million bucks!! I screamed his name a few times and followed him to the finish, and was so pleased to see him hammer to the finish line, crushing a sub 1:20!!! And putting up a HUGE 7 minute PR. What a great day :)

What limited your ability to perform faster:

In order to run a bit faster next year, and get that sub 1:05 I need to hit some more hills. I also tried to take another caffeine gel at the 10k mark but my stomach was revolting. Twice during the race I had to back off because my stomach just wasn't having it. About 5 minutes before Mike finished a guy crossed the line and hurled for a good two minutes. GROSS!!

Event comments:

Kings Park 15k is a Runner's Race. It's as tough a 15k you can run and it's a race I hope to start my season with for the next 20 to 30 years.

Last updated: 2010-12-15 12:00 AM
01:05:01 | 9.32 miles | 06m 59s  min/mile
Age Group: 8/32
Overall: 32/664
Performance: Good
Course: Hilly challenging course on the north shore of Long Island.
Keeping cool Good Drinking
Post race
Weight change: %
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Good race?
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5] 5

2011-03-19 4:13 PM

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Subject: Kings Park 15k

2011-03-19 4:21 PM
in reply to: #3404868

Extreme Veteran
Subject: RE: Kings Park 15k

Great job on the PR Bobby.

I got a PR, de facto, this year, let's see what happens in '12.

Hopefully I'll see you at Cedar Beach.


2011-03-19 5:09 PM
in reply to: #3404868

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Subject: RE: Kings Park 15k

Great race!  Ohhhh that one little second!! 

I had *no clue* you could draft off someone while running!  Learn something new every day!

2011-03-19 5:56 PM
in reply to: #3404868

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Extreme Veteran
Long Island
Subject: RE: Kings Park 15k
Awesome PR!!! Way to start the season Bobby!!
2011-03-19 6:41 PM
in reply to: #3404868

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Goodyear, AZ
Subject: RE: Kings Park 15k
WTG! That's a huge chunk of time to take off. You sure did race smart- and fast!
2011-03-19 10:32 PM
in reply to: #3404868

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Long Island, NY
Subject: RE: Kings Park 15k
Soft-pedaling to a 1:05+ finish.  Slacker.

2011-03-21 11:35 AM
in reply to: #3404868

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Norwalk, Connecticut
Subject: RE: Kings Park 15k

really inspirational Bobby


great work and congrats!!!!

2011-03-21 12:43 PM
in reply to: #3404868

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Subject: RE: Kings Park 15k
"I'm not going to get faster running in 'my comfort zone', and I was feeling good, and 100% ready to accept the consequences of a possible blow-up."  <----  Way to take a risk and achieve the reward!  Congrats on the PR!  Smokin!
2011-03-21 2:02 PM
in reply to: #3404868

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Fountain Hills, AZ
Subject: RE: Kings Park 15k
Way to go Bobby!
2011-03-22 11:57 AM
in reply to: #3404868

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Ann Arbor, MI
Subject: RE: Kings Park 15k
Congrats on nailing a sharply executed race and pushing yourself out of the comfort zone when the timing was right. You've earned every piece of this PR! Here's to a fantastic 2011 racing season
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