NYRR Run For The Parks 4 Mile Race Recap

It was a total last minute decision for me to run the NYRR Run For The Parks 4 mile race. Actually, I only signed up for it because of this:

NYRR Run For the Parks 4 Mile Race Recap

Now ย that Roman is a big, grown-up 2 year-old, he’s officially allowed to enter the NYRR kid’s races! Holy cute. Their course is about 20 feet long and all these tiny little guys and girls are trotting along, lots of them holding hands with their parents. He had a ball. (More adorable photos in my weekend post!)

Despite the fact that it was unplanned and I didn’t have much time to think about it, the race went really well. My coach had me do a mini-taper week and I felt well-rested and ready to run on Sunday morning. It was colder than I expected, but lovely and sunny – actually perfect running weather. The course began at 68th Street on the East Drive, ran counter-clockwise, looped through at the 102nd Street Transverse, then finished on the 72nd Street Transverse. Most of the 4 mile NYRR races follow this same course, so I knew what I was in for:

NYRR Run For the Parks 4 Mile Race Recap

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That steep hill in the first mile is called Cat Hill, but I never feel like it’s so bad, since it’s at the start of the race, when your legs are fresh and you’re feeling good. Check out the elevation between about mile 2.5 and 3.5 though. Ugh. Those hills are not fun at all.

My plan of attack:

I remembered those hills in the second half of the race, but what I also recalled prior to Sunday was the lovely downhill followed by a flat right at the end of the race. My plan was to attack the hills after mile 2, with the knowledge that once I got them over and done with, I could recover with some easy downhill running.

My splits:

Mile 1 at 7:56. I would have loved to have run this at more like a 7:45 pace, but with the combination of a crowded start and Cat Hill I’m happy that I ran a sub 8:00.

Mile 2 at 7:27. I was aiming for a 7:30 pace here, so this was exactly where I wanted to be.

Mile 3 at 7:46. Those hills are no joke. I used my repeated mantra that I used when marathon training for this section. I also used the technique of picking out a runner up ahead and speeding up my pace to overtake them on the hills.

Mile 4 at 7:22. I am so happy with this last mile. Obviously the downhill helped me a lot, and I’m thankful for it, since it gave me a negative split for the race!

Last 0.05 miles (because with all your ducking and weaving, you never run the perfect distance!) was at a 5:44 pace, so I also had enough left in reserve for a strong finishing kick.

NYRR Run For The Parks 4 Mile Race Recap

The result? Another PR for this mama! After setting a PR for the 4 mile distance in 2008, I’ve consistently set new records every time I’ve run this distance since December 2013, when I first started working with my coach. It’s made me realize that you can always push yourself a little harder, a little further, when you really want results. For me, it clearly requires someone pushing me to bring that out with the right training and mindset.

An extra bonus was seeing Mary Wittenberg, the CEO of NYRR, just past the finish line, congratulating runners. I high-fived her. ๐Ÿ™‚

Do you use mantras when you’re running or racing?

Have you ever surprised yourself with a PR or a better-than-expected performance?

Do you struggle with hills?


  1. GREAT job!!! You know you could have kicked it in a little earlier since you had that 5:44 in the tank, right? ๐Ÿ™‚ Great, great job and so amazing that you got a high-five from Mary! woot woot!!!
    Allie recently posted…The Rundown: Hill Repeats That Almost Killed MeMy Profile

    • Carly Pizzani says:

      I know! As I was writing the recap I was thinking, a strong finishing kick would be like a 6:30 or 6:45 pace – 5:44 pace means I didn’t leave it all out there. I was wondering if anyone would call me on it!! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. Hooray for a PR!!! Fun that Roman can run in little fun runs now – years of fun ahead!!!
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    • Carly Pizzani says:

      Thanks, Kim! I really think he has the running bug. He was so excited about it and is still talking about it!

  3. Way to PR Carly! Sounds like a fun race and how cool you saw MW. When I ran my 10k PR I swore the timing clock was off, I was so surprised. Holy cuteness indeed. The apple does not fall far from the tree! Congrats!
    Marcia recently posted…Lincoln Presidential Race ReportMy Profile

    • Carly Pizzani says:

      Thanks Marcia!! I honestly was just trying to pace each mile, without even thinking about whether I would PR so I was psyched that I did. I was so excited about high fiving Mary!

  4. Amazing!! Congrats on your PR my friend!! And omg the kids race!! I need to sign my boys up for one of those.
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    • Carly Pizzani says:

      It was so cute, Christine! They did a great job organizing it. And thanks for the congrats! ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Congrats on your PR. You rock! I suprise myself everytime at races bc I don’t feel I train like I should have. However, I still find a way to do good.
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