Shelter Island 10K RR: Not just another 10K!

Every year, right between being recovered from my Spring Marathon and before I need to start training for my Fall Marathon, I do as many “short” races (5Ks to 10Ks) as I can fit in. They’re the best (and only)way for me to do some speedwork!And because I can’t seem to decide anything with much anticipation, I signed for the Shelter Island 10K twenty minutes before registration closed! I had just done the Mini10K last week and I have 5 miler coming up in a week, so I figured this would be a nice change of pace and (Central Park) scenery, as well as a nice trip out of town. The Shelter Island 10K seemed to have a few hills though, but I wasn’t sure how big or where they were. I looked online everywhere (Garmin activities, race reviews, blogs, etc.) for info on the course and didn’t find much. I was also aware that there was also going to be a big BBQ we were all invited to after the race. Seriously fabulous. So, with no course strategy, I figured I’ll wing it. My goal was going to burn as much as I could so I could eat as much as I could afterwards. A girl’s gotta have goals!! And I had already had a great 10k in a tutu last weekend! Soon, I was dreaming bibs and ribs. Still, as much as I like seeing other places, I don’t love the travelling part, and Shelter Island is a bit far from the city. Luckily, the race does not start until 5:30 pm so that gives you plenty of time to get there. That would be, for me, 2 subways, a LIRR train ride, a few hours of driving, a boat ride, and a little bit more driving to get to the start!So, after a lite breakfast, I left the Upper East Side around 9 am and it was quite easy and stress free for me, really, because my friend Greg was driving so he picked me up after the train ride, met up with more friends, and they all pretty much took care of the rest!Lunched 2 chocolate bars, 1 chocolate chip muffin, and lots of nuun and I was as ready as I would get! At around 3 pm we hopped on the Ferry, car, headbands, and all!     The island is small so we are at the start in a jiff. I run into some friends, got my bib, and just waited around for a bit, thinking I could fit in a little nap (to continue dreaming about the ribs!).     Then, Billy!!!!! Billy Rodgers is there, he’s pacing the 50 minute group, and Joan Benoit is pacing the 40 minute people. I am wearing my Boston 2010 singlet and Billy says “I did that race a few times…”, so cute!! Seriously, the man is OSOM. We chatted for a bit, tried to get some info on the course, and then it’s race time.   It’s such a luxury to have Billy and Joan as pacers!!!! Right before the race time, Joanie speaks and asks for a little tribute to Grete Waitz, it was so wonderful… There was someone pacing the 45 minute group but I wasn’t sure I should even try for that, so as soon as the gun went off I let my legs dictate the pace. And I didn’t have it. I saw a LOT of people go by me. I wasn’t sure if it was because of my lack of speed, because this was a very talented field, because I corralled wrong, or because these people had no clue how they were pacing; but I knew I’d have to wait a few miles and I would find out! As soon as you start, there’a big drop. Do you see it?  The whole course was pretty much like that!! I wanted to save enough for later, as I had heard there was a big hill around mile 5 or something, but I knew from the start my legs were probably still in the Upper East Side.After half mile a lot more people have passed me. Mile 1: 7:12My time last week was 45:30, with an average pace of 7:20, so I knew not all was lost but I also felt I couldn’t hold this pace. By Mile 1.5 I was dreading the rest. I was going down one of the scariest downhills I’ve ever seen. This was not even like the first mile in the Boston Marathon, this was like a roller coaster drop, and I was ready to lie down and roll because that’d be less painful. And let me clarify a bit: downhills are my thing. I love them. I know how to run fast on them. I can increase my turnover until I am almost flying. I can handle anything. But this downhill hurt like effing hell going down fast. There was a mirror uphill right after that wasn’t even as scary. I was toast! Mile 2: 7:41. That’s when I knew. Not all was lost but I would not be able to do great so I might as well just enjoy the sights and the place. I wasn’t throwing in the towel but I was lowering my expectations. I saw the women I had my eyes on (aka: blue singlet, yellow headband, blue bra, and grey shirt) go away. See you later! The course was agreeing with my decision. It was pretty brutal; there was no flat parts here!!!! But it was still amazing, the course was truly worth the hills. Residents were out cheering, and manning water tables; kids handing out water or waiting for high-fives. Some people even had hoses up as sprinklers, which was fabulous as it was bit hot. I was just cruising now and having a bit more fun. Mile 3: 7:55, what I call a tempo!!!  Around mile 3.5 we turn a corner into Shore Road: AMAZING VIEWS!!! I went into overload. We were running on this cute little tiny road (like 1 car wide), with amazing views on the right of the harbor, the mountains, and the water. On the left I had these amazing mansions I wanted to walk into. I also wanted to stop to take mental pictures, but I kept going. 100 meters ahead, another runner passes out. He’s got someone with him and by the time I get there, there’s already people calling 911 and I see a police man running there. It’s insanely scary how many people I’ve seen passing out in the last 10 days. Really, too many. And if you are smart, you better take this as a warning or a reminder to be careful out there during the summer. Mile 4: 7:47. This one felt easier. Why do I always feel better after 3 miles? I keep trucking up and down those roads, and started to enjoy the place. This will be over too soon!! Mile 5: 7:58. Then something strange happens… Yellow headband and gray shirt are waiting for me…? I don’t want to pass them, but feels like they’re not moving. One by one, I run past them. Half a mile later, I caught blue singlet, then blue bra, then a few more. People were fading away left and right, and I was speeding up, as usual, in the last mile. Mile 6: 7:25. It’s almost over, we turn a corner and it’s grass til the finish: you need an instant adjustment to a different terrain/speed and then it’s just a point two to the finish. The point two pace was 6:53, in the grass. I had saved enough and used when I needed it. I was glad. Was not a PR but I run it smart and was able to adjust midway. YEY me! Now get me some BBQ!!!! As soon as I finish I see Joan there, but I waited for the women I passed: none was in talking shape. I turn the corner and they had these super cute tickets with your race info that I had never seen before!!!  The ticket has your official time, age/sex/overall placing, splits, pace… everything! I loved it!!!! No need to tire your neck looking for your name in a sheet!!!!!! I then find my group, drink two bottles of water, have a banana, three granola bars and I am ready to sit for a bit!   The bling— The Numbers:Finish time: 47:13 (not a PR)Avg pace: 7:37Overall Place: 170 of 1190Gender Place: 33 of 533Age Place: 4 of 99 (just 1 spot off placing, ugh!)Age Grading: 65.2% While we waited for the awards ceremony, we chatted Joanie up!   The top ten: Then we headed for the BBQ where I proceeded to attack my goal meticulously while sitting in the dock!     There was no ribs!!! My fault, I hear BBQ and I assume ribs. Still, I ate my mac and cheese, corn, cheese burger, and hot dog very happily and went for seconds. Soon, the guy grilling was my best friend in the world! Heading out of the island on the ferry:   We then ate the most ridiculous amount of sweets, donuts included. I was so stuffed I couldn’t move in the car ride back to the UES. Got back home like at 1 am, ready to pass out… Definitely worth it though!!!!!!

Shelter Island 10K RR: Not just another 10K!

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