Saturday, October 23, 2010

2010 Sleepy Hollow 10k Race Report

I've got NYC coming up in two weeks, so today's 10K was really just a tune-up race. I want to go hard--which is why I picked such a short distance--so I could see where I'm at overall for deciding my pacing strategy.

The race began in Tarrytown which is a small town in Westchester about 30 minutes from NYC by train. My friend and I got there at 8:10 for the 9am start. As we were walking from the train station to the start, a volunteer pulled over in her car to make sure we knew how to get there. Super friendly!

Pick-up was in the center of town in the school parking lot and getting numbers and t-shirts was super easy, though there was a bit of a line for the bathroom with only two port-o-potties. There were good tunes blasting and everyone seemed to know each other. Some people were in costume and it just had a really good community vibe. The course map is a good example of how hometown the whole thing was:

When it was almost time to start I did a couple quick strides and lined up. It's always hard to tell where to stand at these things because you never know who is fast, and who just thinks he's fast. When they sounded the horn, I realized I was stuck behind a lot of people. We did a little loop that helped me get around some slower runners and then we passed the start line again and started down a sharp downhill.

This race was all hills! Ups and downs, but lots of them.

Around mile 1, when we were turning a corner, a moving car got in the way! I turned to the guy behind me and said "Kind of hard to run the tangents with moving vehicles!" He laughed.

After the first mile or so we headed into Sleepy Hollow (we'd been in Tarrytown) and the course got a lot more scenic, though the hills go tougher. We ran past several beautiful parks and there were families out on their front lawns cheering on the runners. Lots of the houses were decorated for Halloween too! Around Mile 3 this guy caught up with me and we ran together for a while. He warned me about some of the more savage hills coming up. On one of them, he fell back a little as I surged forward.

I hadn't seen any mile markers and I had no idea how many people were ahead of me since I could only see two runners because of how winding the course was. The first mile marker I saw was Mile 5, at that point my watch said 31:08.

I ran mile 6 in 6:08, but the final .2 was straight up a steep hill. There was no sprinting up this one, though as soon as it started to level (with maybe 200 yards to go) I gave my best kick and crossed the finish line in 7th place at 38:43. Less than 20 seconds from my PR which was on my home turf in Central Park.

Girl scouts were handing out water as I made my way over to my bag and I got a doughnut from a volunteer. I'm not sure what kind it was, but it was the BEST doughnut ever! She said something about "buttermilk" and "homemade;" I just know I devoured it!

After putting on pants and long sleeves, I headed back to the finish to watch others cross. I saw my friend Lisa cross looking good (if tired) a few minutes later. She hasn't run in quite a while so I was super-proud of her for finishing. Anyway, to keep it short, we spent the rest of the morning exploring Sleepy Hollow and getting in the Halloween spirit.

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