Monday, September 19, 2016

2016 Edition of the Cow Harbor 10 kilometer race

2016 Edition of the Cow Harbor 10 kilometer race
Saturday, September 17th, 2016
Northport, New York

I have participated in the Cow Harbor Race so many times that I have lost count. But, I haven't forgotten how many bad experiences I've had on this course. I feel like a veteran of the event that at times when I overhear someone ask a question about the event logistics or the course, I answer like a reflex. Most people would be deterred to return to the site of their worst races, but what brings me back is the great support from the people of Northport, the atmosphere, the spirit of the runner in competition. 

In the past, this course had left me soured that I remember going back the following year, with a few weeks in advance, practice running on the hills. I even brought the course map to specifically target these hills. I would be tortured on the hills at (approximate) mile 1.2, and 3.6, to find happiness at the downhills at mile 0.4, 3.4, and of course, at mile marker 5.6 towards the Finish Line at  downtown Northport, facing the view of the harbor. Somehow, these pre-race practice runs didn't seem to help at all. I would still struggle. In most races, as  a Spanish saying goes - Horse's start with a donkey's stop. I would start like a frantic madman, take the first downhill at full throttle, and pay the price at each of the following inclines. For everything that goes down, precedes something that went up. Duh, the road in this case. 

I would frequently commit the runner's sin of walking the uphills to bring the heart rate down to normal, and beat myself later for doing so, and not pacing myself.

Well, in the last two seasons (years)  something strange has happened. I've been cross training for triathlons, which has made running uphills a lot easier without necessarily running the actual hills. I don't know if it's the cycling that has helped, or the swimming with the hills. In these last two Cow Harbors, I have tackled the hills without thinking and without hesitation. I've also, unintentionally been able to set a pace that allows me to conserve energy without getting winded. 

Every year runner's are seeded  or assigned to waves based on their predicted finish time. For this, I always guess, not really keeping track of prior finishing times. This year I predicted that I would finish 10 kilometer in a time of 53 minutes and 30 seconds (yeah, like I really can do this). Somehow, some way, even with a reading at the first mile marker of 9 minutes and 9 seconds, I managed to finish the race at 53 minutes and 27 seconds (3 seconds faster than predicted). And when I crossed the finish line I wasn't dying or felt like throwing up or light headed. 

I finished complete, in control of all my senses. I immediately proceeded to the harbor area to replenish of fluids and goodies. All in all, a great race. In spite of my nature, my personality, my demeanor, I was very grateful and humbled by the kindness from all the runners and spectators along the course, who cheered this human being. Thank you all!!!!


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