Tuesday, September 8, 2009

New Haven's Labor Day Road Race

I just had to do a blog entry about one of my favorite New Haven events--the annual Labor Day 20K road race. As many of you know, I'm a dedicated runner. I run lots of races all year long, but the 20K is a polestar in my running year.

First of all, my running buddy Ray Fair has a model (available on his website, http://www.aginginsports.com/), that computes an equivalent time at every age to your absolute fastest time. That gives those of us older runners a chance to improve; not in actual time, which is very difficult after a certain age and a number of running years, but in relative time. It calculates a regression line for each runner, and allows you to have a goal that incorporates aging, by giving you a factor by which you "should" slow down. Then you try to beat that time.

Yesterday was a near perfect day. It was cool at the start, breezy on Long Wharf, and sunny, but never too hot or humid. Real runners would prefer cooler weather, but, for early September, it doesn't get much better than yesterday. In addition, great weather brings out more spectators, and they always help a lot.

Therefore, many of us had good races. I didn't feel great for the first 3 or 4 miles, but, once I got into a groove, I calmed down and even picked up the pace. Although my time was not my fastest, it was my fastest in age-adjusted terms. That's always something to celebrate! I'm below my regression line for the first time ever, I think. Ray says it's because I train well, but I think it's because I had a lot of improvement and slow times in the earlier years, which brings my average time up. Whatever the reason, I'm happy.

Everyone else who came out to run or to cheer seemed happy as well. That's why it's such a great day for runners, and a great day for New Haven. And the best part? We don't need to do it again for 364 days!