Race Report: Scarsdale 15K

Who will survive the coming zombie invasion?

I’ll tell you who: masters runners.

The finish of the Scarsdale 15K today was a testament to two things: the value of running small local races if your goal is load up on cheap hardware from China; the dedication of racers who are on the wrong side of 40.

The top 10 finishers included the entire 50+ masters men’s team (positions 1, 3, 4, 6 and 8). The winner (Jonathan) is 53. The female winner (Emmy Stocker, who regularly beats me) is 51. Emmy’s racing pal, Frank Colella, also placed in the top 10, at age 47. He was second in his AG, which means another 40+ guy (I don’t know who) was also in the top 10. So, uh, let’s see…that means that at least 8 of the top 10 finishers today were well over 40 years of age.

Yes, it’s the youngsters who will make delicious, easily attainable zombie food while the rest of us dash off to the local gun shops and gardening centers to prepare.

Before the race I spotted Emmy and knew she’d beat me. Because she always does! I didn’t recognize any other women. This wasn’t a big race for me, meaning I wasn’t going in with any particular goals or concern for how I’d do relative to other people. I had a rough goal of wanting to at least break 1:09. I’d end up with a 1:09:37. While I wasn’t thrilled with that time, I was happy to place 2nd female and 16th overall.

The Scarsdale course is really tough. It trends toward uphill, most of it gradual, but there are a few short, steep ones thrown in. I ran the first 4 miles slightly too fast: between 7:00 and 7:10. I probably should have run 7:15 instead. My pace started to fall off after mile 5 and I’d end up with an average 7:22 pace. But given the course and the headwind in the last two miles, I’m pretty happy with that. I didn’t hit the tangents as well this time around, but that was primarily because the roads weren’t closed to traffic and I didn’t think weaving back and forth constantly was a good idea. My total distance was 9.44.

My effort was quite high, averaging 93%. It was a bit warm too, so I’m sure that pushed the HR up a bit. But I was able to run the last quarter (through a parking lot and about 300m of a track) at 6:17 (97%). So I’ve got something resembling a kick, at least when I’m finishing up on a flat section.

Emmy came in around 1:08, so the margin wasn’t that wide. I was in 6th place (F) for the first few miles, then managed to pass three women in pretty quick succession midway through the race. So I ran most of it figuring I’d get 3rd, since I’d seen Emmy and another woman ahead during the first mile or two. But apparently Emmy’s companion dropped out at some point, so I was surprised to get 2nd.

Jonathan won in 55:30, beating a youngster by about a minute. I saw him at the out and back toward the end of the race, when he had a little over a mile to go, running behind the lead vehicle and no one with him. That was a little thrill for both of us and he managed something approximating a smile when we passed each other.

Jonathan had teamed up with four other 50+ guys, including Joe, for the team competition. Apparently, decades ago, this race was larger and much more competitive. Team competition meant something. This year, they were told that they could just pick the fastest guys at the end of the race to define their team. What? But they entered their names beforehand and ended up taking half of the top 10 spots anyway.

I haven’t run this race since 2006, when I was at the very start of my racing “career” (cough cough). My time then was 1:25:something. I remember seeing the little, crappy silver-plated bowls AG winners got and feeling envious. Now I have my peanut bowl.

Suitable for serving nuts, olives or beer.

To be honest, I was nervous about racing 9+ miles. I’ve been racing distances half that length or shorter, for the most part. I did go out too fast and I need to not make that a habit. But I feel good about my endurance, and a lot more confident heading into the Long Island Half in three weeks than I would have had I not raced this one all out today.

I’ve saved the best for last. After I picked up my AG award, a woman came up to me and said, “I’m so glad you beat [name withheld]. She’s the biggest snob in Scarsdale!”

I didn’t press for details. Meaning I’m not sure if this person is the biggest running snob or the biggest snob overall. If it’s the latter, that’s quite an accomplishment, although the former is not too shabby either. Now I’m wondering what exactly you have to do to inspire such schadenfreude among your neighbors.

From Serial Mom, John Waters’ study of a June Cleaveresque serial killer on the loose in leafy suburbia:
Sloppy: Will you believe that god damn litter bugger?
Beverly: I have told her and told her. It takes ninety to a hundred years for a tin can to decompose, and she still won’t recycle.
Gus: Cost the tax payers millions of dollars last year. But she don’t care nothing about the national budget!
Beverly: I hate Mrs. Ackerman.
Gus: I hate her too.
Sloppy: I hate her guts. You know, somebody ought to kill her.
Gus: Yeah, give her a happy face, and then recycle her.
Beverly: For the sake of this planet, someone just might.

Also, Scarsdale High School has a picture gallery of distinguished alumni/alumnae, which I took the time to review since the awards ceremony took forever to start. Luminaries include: Richard Holbrooke, Tovah Feldshuh, Linda McCartney and an NPR contingent: Mara Liasson and Nina Totenberg.