Hurricane Hanna blew through overnight (I know, because I was up listening to her around midnight), and by 5AM our little world outside had changed. It was cool and not too humid. No cloud cover, unfortunately, but I wasn’t going to quibble.
So off we went over the Tappan Zee at 7AM to join around 400 other people to run 10 miles through South Nyack and Piermont in Rockland County. This is the third time I’ve run this annual race and I’m happy to say that I get faster every year. This year I knocked over nine minutes off last year’s time, which was enough to finally put me over the edge into award territory.
Here’s a map of the course. It’s an oddly difficult course: the first mile is flat or fairly steep downhill, the next two and a half miles feature a slight downhill grade. Then you run a mile out and back along a very windy pier. Then back up the now slight uphill grade for two and a half miles. Mile nine is a short, steep hill, followed by a long, steep hill. And the last mile is a flat sprint along a gravel and cinder trail, where I always get outkicked by one woman or another.
As usual, my time goal was overly aggressive given both the conditions and the fact that I already had over 80 miles and two hard sessions in my legs this week (and 92 miles last week). By mile three I could tell that I was going to be running slower than I’d wanted to. My legs were just plain tired and I couldn’t make them go faster, especially for the uphill (and headwindy) second half.
All of that was okay. The purpose of the race was really to get some sense of what my fitness level is and serve as a very long tempo run and training stimulus for the marathon in a few weeks.
Still, I averaged a 7:23 pace, despite hills, wind and a lot of running in direct sunlight. That was fast enough to get me an unofficial time of 1:14:29 (results not yet posted), compared to last year’s time of 1:23:33. I didn’t run as hard as I did last year (I averaged an 88% max heart rate; last year the average was 90%). So, of course, I regret not having run harder. But my legs didn’t have it in them, and I can see why. Last year, they’d run a mere 25 miles in the week leading up to the race, as compared to 82 this year.
Today’s 10 mile time was not my best by a long shot. In fact, the fastest 10 miles I’ve run thus far were during the Long Branch New Jersey Half Marathon in early May, with a time of around 1:11. That’s no surprise: I’d had a full month of post-marathon rest and the course was nearly pancake flat. But I’m happy with my time today, all things considered.
I had some minor hysteria prior to the race when my watch went into its usual pre-race prima donna fit, refusing to find any satellites. It has a bad habit of malfunctioning only during races (the worst example being when it ceased to function properly after mile 15 of the More Marathon this year). Attention whore. Eventually, after multiple restarts and idle threats, it sorted itself out a few minutes before race time.
I ran and ran. And then I ran some more. And before I knew it, 10 miles had gone by. I got passed by two women, one with about three miles to go (she was young) and then, as usual, got outkicked by someone else in the last half mile (she was in the 50+ age group, sporting significantly less body fat than I).
Checking the results, it looked like I’d won second in my age group. But then it was revealed that they do overall awards (first, second, third), and then the age group placements start. Since the third overall was 42-year-old Carol Guzinski (a familiar competitor who always beats me by a fairly wide margin), I was in for first in the 40-44 age group. Hoorah! This may be the first time I’ve been happy to see someone beat me, as it meant the difference between coming home with a big ugly trophy vs. a small ugly medal.
- Finishing time: 1:14:29
- 50th place overall
- 8th woman
- 1st place women 40-44 (but 2nd place finisher in that age group)
If I look tired in this photo it’s because:
- I got five hours of sleep the night before
- I’d just gotten up from a two+ hour nap
- I ran 10 miles as fast as I could this morning
I should also add that Jonathan ran a good race too. His goal was to come in under an hour, which he missed by a mere nine seconds. He came in fifth overall and first in his age group, so we’ve got matching ugly trophies.
That’s the only tune-up race between now and Steamtown on October 12. We’ve got another NYRR long training run in Central Park next weekend, for which I’m hoping we’ll get even better weather.