Report of Laurence Go of the 40+: Washington Heights 5k

What a great way to start the season! The weather looked a bit dicey with snow and rain the day before and the threat of a lingering shower but in the end it was as good as it gets for early March.  There were some fast times with some nice PRs to boot. 

Our scorers were:

Cary Segall – 16:59

Brad Kelley – 17:27 (ringer from the 50+ squad)

Richard (Jay) Sullivan – 17:37

Cary (16:56, 2nd in age (40-44), 80.96%) when asked about his race and winter training had this to say:

As is my pattern, I like to spend a few months after racing a marathon to focus on speed/turnover as it provides a nice mental/physical break from all the volume and gets me on the softer surface of a track.  After running a PR (2:41) in November at the Philadelphia Marathon, I had a few down weeks and then resumed my training with a focus on the Washington Heights 5k.  Despite having a great morning crew (“MC”) to train with for Tuesday speed and Thursday tempo workouts in CP, I teamed up again this Winter with Felipe Nazar on Tuesday for for speed work at Riverbank track in the morning.  We lucked out as the weather was generally cooperative (some cold mornings but little snow/ice) so we were able to go every week and get in some good workouts.  The two of us work well together and make for a great match on the track.  After 8 weeks at the track I could see some strong gains and really developed some turnover so was excited to see what I could do at the 5k.

Besides the track work on Tuesdays, I focused on shorter “tempo” like workouts on Thursdays generally taking Tony’s prescribed workout and breaking it up into smaller segments as I wanted to run everything close to 5:30 pace or faster.  This worked out well as I generally had Felipe following my Thursday plan as well as fellow master runner, Richard (Jay) Sullivan.  This gave me really good pace recognition and race practice to see where my fitness was as the 5k was approaching.  My last two “tempo” workouts were: 4xmile and 2k + 3x400m.  I felt great on both of these running all the miles in the 5:20-5:24 range and the 2k at 5:18 pace and didn’t feel they were more than 80% effort.  As a result, I felt going into the 5k that even with the hills of Washington Heights, I could run somewhere around 5:22-5:25 pace and finish around 16:40.

So, now to race day.  We definitely lucked out as we had book end snow storms between Friday night and Sunday night but Sunday morning was clear with good temps in the mid-30s.  Given the layout of the course, my plan was to be more conservative in mile 1, then pick it up slightly in mile 2, but be careful not to run the first half of mile 2 (down hill) too fast so that I could attack the second half of mile 2 (windy uphill) and be able to roll the ensuing flat terrain before the last 1/4 mile up hill on the course and hammer the last 800m down hill.  When I broke down the aforementioned, I targeted 10:50 for 2 miles and then hopefully a 5:15 for mile 3 that gets me in around 16:40.  I came through mile 1 at 5:29 and mile 2 at 5:27 so I was already 6 seconds off pace and knew that I had the tough hill at the beginning of mile 3 so I would likely fall further behind my target.  I did attack the hill at the beginning of mile 3 but lost a little steam as I crested and it took some time to get my legs turning over again to try and take advantage of the last 800m downhill.  Despite feeling like I was really turning over the legs and pushing to the finish, I was not able to drop the pace and ran another 5:29 for mile 3, so any chance of approaching 16:40 was not in the cards today.

I finished in 16:59 for what ended up being a PR for 5k after my 17:03 in this race last year.  It is disappointing as I felt my speed was much better going into this race compared with last year when I was in full marathon training mode for Boston, so I am not sure how to explain it besides being a year older.  I will say that the course this year was covered in rock salt and that did make traction challenging.  Also, I will say that this race is particularly crowded in every aspect from checking a bag to getting in the corral and on the course.  The first mile is very tight with parked cars and runners being limited to just the single, Northbound lane going out and then the single, Southbound lane coming back.  After sitting in the corrals for 15 minutes before the start and then having to deal with a very crowded mile 1, you have to do lot of weaving that certainly affects your ability to get off to a good start.  Overall, it seemed like the times were slower than last year so curious to hear what others have to say.

Anyway, it was a fun day with teammates and there were a lot of great performances across the board.  I am glad to have helped our 40+ team take 1st place and hope that I can contribute in other races this year. 


Jay (17:37, 5th in age (40-44), 78.38%) was our 3rd scorer and had this to say about his race:

Without a spring marathon on the calendar this year my focus has been on the shorter races with Brooklyn Half being my target.  I had a good showing at both the Gridiron and Al Gordon 4 Mile races and expected to run a good race in Washington Heights.  It’s hard to put my finger on something in particular that kept that from happening.  I should preface that with saying this did tie my previous PR of 17:37, however my fitness now seems better than ever and I had hoped to challenge the low 17s.  The race start was very hectic and we had planned on a staggered start with the “AA” crew starting 30-60 seconds ahead of the “A” group.  When the gun went off everyone followed and it was hard to figure out what was going on.  The first mile uphill is very tight and despite being in the front of the pack there were a lot of runners to jockey around.  My plan was to be at goal pace (5:35) by mile 1 but I clicked in closer to 5:46.  At that point I knew this was not going to be my day but it was a teams points race and I needed to keep pushing hard.  I was able to get progressively faster during the race and finished the final 900 meter downhill running my fastest.  This was my first Washington Heights 5K and the energy around the race was great!  Very excited I was able to help the team and hope to keep improving during the spring!

John Milone  (18:22, 8th in age (45-49), 77.96%) who was on the comeback trail and hadn’t done a points race since 2017 had this to share: 

There’s a rush to being able to toe the line of a points race, and all that comes with seeing teammates, fellow competitors and the energy offered by the community.  With a focus the season on indoors and shorter, faster paces, this race served as a barometer of what I’ll call short-road fitness and a comeback celebration of sorts to team points competition after about 18 months off.  With nary a flat spot on the course, at least in my mind, the plan in place was to set a reasonable pace through the rise of the first mile, release a relaxed surge into the depths of Fort Tryon Park and past the Cloisters, knowing all too well, the effort needed to successfully handle the climb back out of said depths.  Then summon the focus, energy and form to the final half mile or so where the flat terrain may offer a self-proclaimed trackie an opportunity to change a gear or two.

The race went to plan, with much thanks going to CPTCers out there on course, working together, and to those on the side, cheering.  While the time was off by a few seconds from where I’d hoped to finish, very excited to see what the rest of 2019 offers.  

Great to see back out there John!

Joe O’Leary (18:49, 22nd in age (40-44), 74.49%) had a fast race as well:

Wash Heights wasn’t actually a PR for me – my PR came in a non-NYRR race – but it was course PR (by one second) over last year.

I felt I had a slightly better race in me but wasn’t as aggressive as I needed to be in the first mile fighting through some of the bottlenecking and as a result had a pretty slow first mile. I was happy that I kept fighting and had a respectable time – but as you know there’s very little margin for error in these short races.

The 4 mile (Gridiron)  was indeed a PR for me (though I hadn’t run the distance since 2015) – and was a very strong effort that I was happy with. Perfect conditions. I went out with Joe Lyons (from my tempo group) and was able to stay with him until he dropped me with about 1200m to go. The plan was to go out at 6:15 and then try and slowly ramp it up on the downhills and try not to lose too much on Cat Hill. This worked out perfectly and I even dropped a sub six on the last mile en route to a big PR.

Osvaldo Martinez (18:03, 9th in age (40-44), 76.49%) the winner of last year’s participation cup had yet another PR knocking off 8 seconds from last year’s race.

Mohammed Lahseni (18:18, 7th in age (45-49), 72.8%) had a good race as well with his best 5k since 2017 according to the NYRR database.

Our other scorers were:

Justin Crawley (18:50, 23rd in age (40-44), 72.8%)

Stephen Curtis  (18:54, 25th in age (40-44), 73.06%)

David Alm  (19:40, 34th in age (40-44), 71.27%) – who toed the line despite a nagging injury.  Now that’s dedication!

Yusuke Hosokawa (20:34, 31st in age (45-49), 69.66%) – first points race with CPTC!

Gerd Zeibig (20:53, 58th in age (40-44), 67.6%) 

Michael Moffitt (25:17, 189th in age (40-44), 55:43%)

Congrats to all! Let’s keep it going at the Healthy Kidney 10K and make it two in a row! 

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