Another Mini Race Report: Everybody’s 10k at Liberty State Park in Jersey City

After my most recent marathon in Erie, I’ve been focused on shorter races. Last week, I ran a 5k and notched a minor PR.

Yesterday, I ran Everybody’s 10k! at Liberty State Park.

Here’s a quick recap of my training and a report from the race.

Training and Recovery Recap

At this point, it is six weeks from my marathon.

I took the first few weeks strictly easy, and then I worked in some easy workouts. I had my first real workout the week before my 5k, and then I had the race last weekend. I finished in 20:25 – slower than I had hoped, but a time I was pleased with.

This week, I was focused on a) recovering from the 5k, b) keeping my mileage up, and c) getting in a solid workout at the end of the week.

My goal throughout this fall season is to run 60-70 miles per week so that I’m ready to launch into high mileage marathon training following the last 5k. I ran 60 miles in the week leading up to the 5k, and this week I planned to run in the mid-60’s.

Sunday, I ran the 5k in the morning. Including the 4 miles of warm-up, that totaled about 7 miles. After a good lunch and a nap, I did another five easy miles on the treadmill that evening to bring my total up to 12 for the day.

Monday was another easy recovery day. I logged 11 total miles, but I split them up into 6 easy miles in the morning on the trails and 5 easy miles on the treadmill. I find that breaking up 10-12 miles into doubles makes it do-able on a recovery day post-workout or post-race.

Tuesday was another easy day, but I did a solid 8 miles on the trails. I had considered doing another 6-4 split to keep the morning shorter, but when I looked at my calendar I realized we had tickets to see Lauryn Hill and the Fugees. So no evening run.

That also meant that the workout I normally would have done Wednesday had to get bumped to later in the week. After a late night on Tuesday, I did an easy 4.5 on the treadmill in the morning and another another easy 4.5 on the treadmill after work.

I didn’t have time Thursday for a long workout before work. And I was also still feeling a little worn down from the late night and the concert. So I swapped my easy day on Friday for the workout I had planned. Thursday was 8 miles easy on the trails.

Friday, I felt pretty good as I went out for my workout. I had 10 miles planned – similar to the week before but slightly more volume. After a warm-up, I ran 4 x 5 minutes at threshold with 1 minute rest in between. That was followed by a five minute recovery jog and then 3 sets of 200m hard, 200m jog, 200m hard, 200m jog, 400m hard, and 400m jog. The hard efforts are at Daniels R pace – at or around mile pace. I actually converted the reps to time, as well – with every 200m being converted to 40 seconds.

The threshold segments went great. I averaged around 6:35. The R segments felt pretty good. The 200’s were at the right pace, but the 400’s were a little bit slower than I would have liked. But hopefully I’ll see some progress with next week. I averaged around 5:50 for the R segments.

Saturday, it was raining. So I did an easy 5 miles on the treadmill. I had originally planned 6 miles – but my TV shows were over after 45 minutes so I just decided to call it there.

Total mileage: 63. More or less on target.

Everybody’s 10k at Liberty State Park

That brings me to Sunday: race morning.

I wanted to run at least one 10k this fall, and this was the one that fit into my schedule the best. Historically, it doesn’t have a lot of fast competition, but I knew there would be at least a few people running faster than 40 minutes. That’s fast enough that I wouldn’t be running alone, so I was happy with it.

Race Morning

I woke up, ate a snack, drank my coffee, and hit the road fairly early. I got out to Liberty State Park around 7:45. The race started at 9.

I grabbed my bib and my shirt, stayed warm in the car for a few minutes, and then went for a quick warm-up jog. I did a quick loop over most of the course – 2.5 miles. With about a half hour to go, I queued up for the porta potty.

Afterwards, I went back out for another mile to finish warming up – a few sets of strides followed by a half mile around threshold to race pace. I got back to the start with five to ten minutes to go. Just enough time to grab a sip of water, line up, and wait for the start.

The course is two loops around Liberty State Park. It’s flat as can be. On the way out, you’re running on the inside of the park – pretty quiet. After you loop around the southern end of the park, you run back up along the Hudson River. First, you see the Statue of Liberty. Then, you run towards the NYC skyline and downtown Jersey City. It’s a beautiful course.

The Race Itself

My plan was to try and take the first half easy and controlled – around 6:30/mi. After the first loop, I’d see what I could do. Ultimately, I wanted to get down close to 40 minutes. I wasn’t sure if I could dip under that – but if everything went perfectly it was possible.

I lined up towards the front and waited for the start. The race was on a small path – only wide enough for 3-4 runners. Thankfully, no one really bunched up towards the start. The field wasn’t very competitive, and everybody seemed content to sit back and just wait. Otherwise, it might have gotten real tight and bunched up.

When the race started, I crossed the timing mat and started my watch. There was a small group of us that pulled away from the rest of the runners, and about a dozen runners started to string out in front of me. A few were fairly close, and the fastest few were pulling away.

The first mile went smoothly. I took a few minutes to really dial in the pace – speeding up too much then letting up too much. I settled in next a white guy with some colorful print shorts, and we seemed to be running about the same pace. The first lap came – just under 6:30. Perfect. I kept things smooth over the next two miles, sticking next to colorful shorts, and we lapped 6:25 to 6:30 for miles 2 and 3.

After we turned south for the second loop, I started to feel tired. At first, I didn’t notice – because I wasn’t falling behind colorful shorts or the other guy in front of him. But when I looked down at my watch the pace was 7:00/mi. Ack! I managed to speed up a little bit, and before the mile was up I pulled ahead of the guy I’d been running with. Lapped mile 4 in 6:45.

I kept pushing in mile 5. I heard somebody come charging up behind me – I thought colorful shorts had found his second wind. But instead, a girl strode on by and smoothly passed me. She was going at a steady pace, probably running a well paced 40-minute 10k. Although I couldn’t catch her, I did pass the next guy before the end of mile 5. I tried to pick up the pace, but I lapped another mile at 6:45. Ugh.

At this point, I was back along the river. I knew there was a mile to go. I forced myself to push harder. I didn’t look at the watch, but I knew I was running faster.

Just ahead, there was an Asian guy in a blue shirt. I tracked him throughout that mile, and ever so slowly I reeled him in. It took most of the mile, but by the end of mile 6 I passed him. I could see the finish line ahead, and I was gutting it out as fast as I could.

All of a sudden, blue shirt came sprinting past me. He found a second wind for a mad dash to the finish. But that’s ok – I finished a few seconds behind him and was just grateful to slow down to get some air.


Up ahead, I saw blue shirt collapsed on the ground under some trees. I said congratulations to him as I passed him, but I think he was too focused on breathing to hear me.

I checked my time – 40:27. Nice. PR. Previous best – 40:59.

I grabbed some water and snacks, and headed back to the finish line. By this point, blue shirt had recovered enough to stand up, and he shook my hand and we congratulated each other. I passed another guy, and we fist-bumped for a good race. I stood at the finish for a little bit watching other people come through, and then I hit the road for home.

After I checked my activity in Garmin Connect, I realized that the course may have been a teeny bit short. My watch only measured 6.19 miles. This is strange, because it lapped slightly earlier than the mile markers – so I should have been over on distance.

By itself, that doesn’t mean much. Could just be a GPS error.

But I remember reading in the course description that the second lap was slightly different than the first. There was a part where we were supposed to cut across the grass on the first lap, and run just slightly farther on the path on the second lap. When we came around, the guy ahead of me (and everybody else I checked on Strava) cut across the grass. The race director was standing right there, so I didn’t question the course at that point.

But now, I’m pretty sure we cut the course slightly short – probably not more than 50 to 100 meters, so it doesn’t matter a whole lot, but I know there’s an asterisk next to that PR. I’lljust have to set another one.

The good news, though, is that I ran 6:25-6:30 for the first three miles, and then I closed in 6:25 in the sixth mile and picked up the pace in the home stretch. So I’m in a good place – I just need to be able to push through miles 4 and 5.

What’s Next?

I’m out of town this week for a conference in Atlantic City, so I’ll just be focused on easy miles until I get home. But I should be able to get in a solid workout Friday, and then next weekend is another 5k.

Next Sunday is the Running with the Devils 5k in West Orange. It’s a low-key charity event, without a ton of competition. But there should be a dozen people finishing under 20 minutes – and I’ll be running with them. This time, breaking 20 should be an after thought.

But we’ll see how things go.

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