Monday, September 19, 2011

The Great Cow Harbor Race 2011-New Personal Best

Irene and I, decided to make it a date when we picked up our race bibs for the 2011 Great Cow Harbor 10K Race.

Irene and I woke up before the crack of dawn with the clock radio flashing 5:00am, the buzzing sound blaring, and outside darkness enveloped the Lam household. The kids were over Mom and Dad’s so we did not have any sleepy heads to be cranky. We were both excited and anxious to get to The 2011 Great Cow Harbor 10K Race

We walked inside the Laurel School to stay warm. There were plenty racers getting their bibs, and I saw Deena Kastor, Bronze Medallist of the 2000 Olympics walking around. We then headed outside and walk around where we met up with Lisa.

Lisa happens to be one Emily’s classmates Moms. As it turns out, she is recently new to the competitive running scene. That surprised both Irene and I who thought that she has been running races for years. In her short time racing, she’s come in first in the age group. On occasion, we see her run around SUNY Stony Brook, and every time, I turn around, she is long gone. She’s super fast.

After our conversation, Irene headed for the Potta Potty Lines. The lines are not as long as the NYC Marathon’s, nonetheless you still need to wait. I tried to look for her in the crowd, but could not make out her shirt, so I decided to warm up.

After jogging for about 30 seconds, my neighbor John hollers my name. John is the one who ran the last 10 miles with me in my First NYC Marathon. He really helped me get to the finish line, because my ankle was still injured after spraining it the month prior. He was really patient, and probably was not expecting to be out on the course for that long of a time. His wife. Cheryl is running her second 10K after completing the Run 4 Marcy. Run 4 Marcy is dedicated to our neighbor who passed away a few years ago. She looked confident!

Well it’s time to head to my corral! I walked to my box with the designated color and starting bib ranges. As I started my warm up hops, shakes and my other warm up rituals, another friend, Rich walked on over. From the short time I have known him, he is probably the most patient person I know. He and his business partner, Rob, own Sandler Training of Hauppauge. Their training has helped me be a better business leader. Let me know, if you’d like to learn more about their training. It’s worth finding out more.

I wanted to introduce my beautiful wife in the corral behind us to Rich, but I could not make her out from the other people in the group. I wanted to give her a kiss before our gunshot. It was time to turn around and move my feet with the other people in the group.

The announcer got on the mike and started to stay a few words, our national anthem played and everyone cheered and clapped as the anthem finished and I felt goose bumps up and down my arms, I get the chills every time I here our anthem or God Bless the USA.

With a gunshot, the elite runners started the clock. With each wave, a shot rang out, and off went the runners down Laurel Avenue, and a right on to Scudder where you meet the first hill. Thank goodness it’s a short hill! But as soon as you reach the apex, you can feel your legs become lighter and speed up as you descended down to the marina, passing Main Street and the finish with the Bag Pipers playing at the intersection at around mile 1.1.

About a half-mile later running a concrete street with many cars parked on the road, you finally reach the infamous James Street Hill. Here you are challenged with an incline that is about 6/10ths of a mile long with an accent of 132 feet. Knowing this hill was pretty steep, I kept my head upright, my eyes looked to the ground looking about 6 to 10 feet in front, leaned into the hill, and pumped my arms really fast. Surprisingly, my legs started to speed up and the climb was over. I was so surprised when I looked at my watch to see an average 9:15 pace.

Around this time, I said to myself, that the men’s elite are done and enjoying a beer or something like that. The men’s winner Mohamed Trafeh ran a 28:17, which broke Ryan Hall’s 2006 record of 28:22. That’s twice as fast as I ran. The woman’s winner Janet Cherobon-Bawcom ran a 32:26, which broke Janet Omoro time of 32:32 in 1994. Both walked away with $3,500 for winning and another $5,000 for setting a new course record. Pretty good day at the office, over $300 per minute. Then again, he is getting paid to run, and the hours of training he does to achieve a payday of $300 per minute probably turns out to be an overall pay rate of $10 per hour and a pair of free running shoes! Heck, he’s doing something he loves. I hope! My goal is to run faster so I can finish faster and have more time for other stuff, and maybe get a free pair of shoes!

Between Miles 2.5 to 4.0 is where I made up time, and achieve the second best pace of the race for me. The decent after James Street was controlled, even and relaxed. I reminded myself to enjoy the race, and made sure I grabbed water from the little kids and high fived other kids also. Of course, the spectators had to have cow bells ringing away!

Between Mile 4.0 to 5.5 proved to be a real test with an ascent of 87 feet. It’s not as steep as James Street, however it’s an incline designed to wear you down without you expecting it. I paid attention to my breathing and perceived effort and did just over a 9:00 pace.

Finally over the last hill, and a slight downhill greeted my legs which was a welcome feeling. I booked down the final stretch and headed towards the right chute. I was determined to finish ahead of this guy that I was just a few steps ahead, but he turned on the afterburners finishing at least 20 steps ahead of me. I did that final leg close to an 8:00 pace.

I looked around to see if I recognized anyone, waived to the camera and searched for water. Grabbed a cup for myself and another cup for Irene and headed back to the finish. It was nice to greet Linda, and old friend, who also is a fairly new runner. She had a great time and made a beeline to the beer tent!

A few minutes later, Irene came walking towards me. I am so proud that she actually did a sub 10 minute mile with and average of 9:45! We finished off the race day wandering Northport Park, pocketing the samples of Zico Coconut Water and other goodies, and looking for any familiar faces, which was really difficult with about 20,000 people walking around. We caught up with Linda and then headed toward the buses

As Irene and I headed back on the Yellow School bus back to the High School where we parked our Insight. I thought about all of my friends who started to run and all the friends that I have made because of my running. That kind of surprised me because I never thought in a million years, that I would ever buy shoes that are specific to running!

To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift,

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