Monday, September 13, 2010

Cow Harbor 10K -- it's about the experience

On September 25th there will be 5,300 people in Northport, NY, lining up for the Great Cow Harbor 10K race. To date, besides the Cape Cod marathon relay, the biggest fields I've run against have been measured in the hundreds. Cow Harbor has a staggered start to keep things manageable but with that amount of people, all crammed together, I'm wondering how long it will be before the runners in my corral spread out enough for me to run at my planned pace. I imagine that the hill on James Street serves as a natural filter point to hold off the crowds but I could be wrong. Friends who participate in NYRR events in Central Park tell me how the sheer density of bodies often disrupts a well paced run.

The huge field of runners also negates any hope of an age category placement. I've placed second in my category in a total field of 300, but statistically, I have no chance of doing that in Cow Harbor. Last year there were almost 300 runners in my age group and the winner ran a sub-6:00 minute pace. My best hope is to finish within the top 50% of the pack. I don't mean to imply that I'm already giving up or that I'm in any way negative about this race. It's really the opposite. I'm in awe of the scale and thrilled to be.part of it. I love that truly elite runners will be pounding the same pavement as me on that day and will similarly dread the challenge of Widow Hill. My leg muscles are a bit sore this morning and that's telling me that hill practice will be on my training menu next weekend. All the same, I'm looking forward to revisiting the Great Cow Harbor course, surrounded by thousands of others who feel the same way about this event.

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