Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Memorial Day 15K

According to Wikipedia “Decoration Day” was first observed in the years following the Civil War as a way to mark the end of the war and honor those soldiers who had given their lives. As time went on “Decoration Day” was expanded to honor not just Civil War casualties but all service men and women who gave there lives regardless of the conflict. In 1967 Decoration Day became Memorial Day by way of a Federal Law. Interestingly enough the small town of Waterloo in the Finger Lakes region of New York is credited as the “official” birthplace of Memorial Day.

While not really anywhere near Waterloo, I spent this Memorial Weekend in Woodstock, NY visiting family and getting ready for the Woodstock Memorial Day 15K which was presented by the Onteora Road Runners.

The field of runners for the 15K was relatively small when compared to a NYRR race but was fairly well organized with a clearly marked course, police at most intersections, several water stations and best of all, a decent race tee shirt.

Hoping for a 1:05:00 PR I set out on a strong pace of 6:30/mile at the start. Knowing that the race was “very challenging” (read: lots of big and steep hills) I wanted to build a little cushion early in the race and on the flat sections. For the first mile or so I was able to keep the pace vehicle in sight, which is an accomplishment in and of itself.

As it turns out, the “flat sections” consist of the first half mile of the race and the last half mile of the race. Augh.

As the pace vehicle and lead pack slipped away I changed gears and focused on running my race. I knew early on that a PR wasn’t in the cards but tried to keep as near to a 7:00/mile pace as possible.

The roads twist, turn, zig and zag through some very scenic neighborhoods but all the while the hills came. What I lost on the way up the hills I tried to gain on the way down but by mile 6 I was starting to hurt as you can see from these splits:

Mile 1 - 6:50
Mile 2 - 7:05
Mile 3 - 7:03
Mile 4 - 7:02
Mile 5 - 7:04
Mile 6 - 7:22
Mile 7 - 7:34
Mile 8 - 7:33
Mile 9 - 7:10
Last Bit - 1:58

While shy of a PR I still feel as though I ran a strong race over a difficult course and was able to have a little left over for the finish with a time of 1:06:41 (watch time - official time not yet available).

Most importantly the Woodstock Memorial 15K gave me time to reflect on the veterans who have sacrificed so much for this country – particularly my grandfather (a World War II Marine who was lucky enough to survive the war and live a long life). His courage and the ultimate sacrifice that so many of our war heros have made over the centuries makes running up rolling hills along back back roads of Woodstock, New York a considerable bit easier.



Jessica said...

Well, Josh, it looks as if your watch time is 10 seconds better than your posted 15k PR time... I believe that qualifies as a PR!

Sempre Libera said...

Solid race performance! A PR (or near-PR?) on that many miles of hills is something to be very proud of.

Josh said...

Whoops! You're right. The PR I had listed on the blog is a bit old. I had a 1:06:35 at the NYRR Hot Chocolate 15K in December so I was just a few seconds shy of a PR. Drat, should have pushed harder in mile 8...

Thanks for reading!

Uptown Girl said...

Nice race....and always nice to see picking it up at the end of a race:)

Memorial Day (or Decoration Day)...I remember when I was at school that Boalsburg was so proud of being the origin of Memorial Day. Guess when you're in the middle of nowhere you need something for your claim to fame....