Wednesday, September 10, 2008

09/07/08: South Nyack Ten Mile Race

At 7:30 in the morning, or thereabouts, I was standing on a side street of a side village in New York, down the cliff from 9W, waiting for the start of the South Nyack Ten Mile Race. I ran four miles the day before but it didn’t go well. Fortuitously, Tropical Depression Hannah, which was depressed because it had suffered through two major demotions, came through over night and cleared out all the humidity that had dragged me down during that run.

I was happy to drive down from 9W to get to the village of South Nyack; I knew the course was an out-and-back with the turnaround on a pier and I was afraid we would start off down a humungous hill that we’d be struggling back up at the end. As it turned out we would face a daunting climb towards the finish but first-time entrants, at least, were blissfully ignorant and wouldn’t spend the first eight or nine miles dreading it.

The race had 386 runners and it was semi-chiptimed, meaning that we wore chips but they only had timing mats at the finish. If I had to guess – and since I don’t know, I either have to guess or ignore the question totally – I’d say that they didn’t have mats at the start because it was on a road still open to traffic. Most of the course, except for a trail section at the end and maybe the pier, was open to traffic but that was probably more of a pain in the ass to motorists than a significant hassle for runners. One lady leaned out the window of her Dreadnought to tell me I was going five miles per hour; she threw me a frowny face when I was passing her at the time. If it makes her feel any better, I was probably going close to, but not quite, seven miles per hour.

The main road we ran on, which was the main road through South Nyack and Piermont, was crowded and narrow with shops and restaurants. The street would not have looked out of place on Cape Cod except for the lack of souvenir stores. At any rate we ran along there for a couple of miles until we got to the Piermont Pier, which was not the rickety wooden structure I was expecting but rather a paved road surrounded by foliage extending out into the Hudson River. We passed the five-mile mark after the turnaround, closer to the mainland end of the pier, which meant we were going to have to deviate from the outbound course if we were going to make the ten-mile total. I didn’t dwell on this thought which is why I was surprised when, late in the ninth mile, we turned left away from the start and had to climb a moderately monster hill – steep, but not too long. I walked it but in a shorter race I could have run it.

Climbing up the hill took us up almost to 9W which meant we were now uphill from the start; the race finished on a soft dirt trail that was well-shaded and sloped gently down to the finish less than a mile away. Ignore these results – there was no timing mat at the start and I don’t insist on being in the front – I finished in the middle of the pack in 1:31:54 (according to my Garmin! Ask Spareribs - page 24!), running the first seven miles or so reasonably well and staggering through the last three.

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