Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Great Cow Harbor 10K (Race Recap)

The weekend of the Great Cow Harbor Race is a big deal for our family. The universe knows this and tries to conspire against us every year. I swear.

Emily came down with a stomach virus on Monday, exorcist style, and we were feeling a bit off ourselves for a couple days. I also had a big last-minute project dumped on me at work, which had me taking home work late and coming in super early.

But try as it might, we weren't going to let it hold us down.

Mr. Blondie flew up early on Thursday with Emily to attend the volunteer meeting and equipment set-up. I followed behind, catching a flight early Friday morning. By Saturday morning we were feeling healthy, rested, and ready to run.

This year was extra special for Mr. Blondie since he got to design the t-shirts and posters for the race, something he’s always wanted to do.

In another unprecedented first, Mr. Blondie actually trained for the race! He started consistently running about 6 weeks in advance, with a fierce determination to break 1 hour this year.

With BIL and SIL
This race draws is big headliners. This year the elite field consisted of Deena Kastor, Mo Trafeh, and Kristin Nicolini-Lehmkuhle, and Jason Lehmkuhle, just to name a few.

There’s no chance of me winning any type of award here. The course is also notoriously difficult, so I knew it wouldn’t be a PR day for me either. I showed up at the starting line nice and relaxed. I figured I would treat this as a good workout.

I’ve been doing this race since 2003, with last year's time of 46:12 being my course best. Based on that, I seeded myself conservatively with an expected finish time of 48:00 so I wouldn’t start too fast. That placed me in starting corral number 5.

With the advent of chip timing, the wave start is really just for crowd control now. However, they still aren’t using a starting line mat, so it’s important to shoulder your way up to the front of your wave. The computer subtracts your corral's gun-time from your finishing chip time to get your net-time. It's also important to be in the front of the corral, since about 200 meters into the race you have to make a sharp 90 degree turn onto a narrow side-street.

Quick, without cheating, tell me were the BIG hill was on the course.

I started my Garmin a few seconds after the gun went off for our wave, and had a finish time of 43:03 on my watch. The official results say 43:14. My friend Jeff was in the same starting wave as me. He thought he broke 43:00, but his time shows up as 43:10 in the results. No idea what happened there. Oh well, the 11 second difference still leaves me with a long chase to catch Ms. Kastor  :P

I’m still happy with my time. Just take a look at those hills. If we lived in a perfect 6.2 world, this would have been a new PR for me. I should have seeded myself faster so I wasn’t bobbing and weaving around people so much, adding distance to my race.

In addition to our hometown friends, our Cali friends Elijah, Adelle, and Esther also traveled out to the island to join us for the event. They’re such a fun group.

The awards go deep at this race, with cash prizes going to the overall top 10 men and top 10 women. Six out of the top 10 female finishers were from the 30-34 age group. That meant ladies 7, 8, and 9 got the age group awards. I ended up being one person away from an age-group award. Holy Cow (Harbor)! I came close. It certainly motivates me to focus on training for the 10K distance leading up to next year’s race.

Mr. Blondie smashed his 1-hour goal by finishing in 56 and change. Elijah also made his goal of breaking an hour, finishing in 57 minutes. In spite of being deep in preparation for her nurse practitioner boards for the past few months, Adelle managed to finish in 1:07. Esther, running in her first race ever, finished in 51 minutes!

In an ironic twist, the winner of the women’s race was Janet Cherobon. She currently lives just outside of Atlanta, and wins all the big races around here. Coming off a win at the US 20K championships last weekend, the woman is on fire. Her time was 32:26, a new women’s course record.

Deena Kastor was second in 33:20, and Alisha Williams was third. Mo Trafeh also took home a new course record for the men (breaking Ryan Hall's 28:22), finishing 1st in 28:17.

Next year this little one will be ready for the fun run with her cousins. Gotta carry on the tradition!

Time: 43:14
Pace: 6:58
Overall: 258/4404
Gender: 42/1901
AG: 10/282


  1. Nice job ! Whatever, a 43:14 is amazing :).

  2. 42nd female?! Congrats!!! That is a fabulous time.

    Brutal to have a hill like that starting out.

  3. Dude, that was some serious race!!! LOTS Of hills and you killed it!! that would be a tough race. I'm SO SO impressed!!!!! way to go!

  4. What a great race! Congrats on your time!

  5. these pictures are adorable! great job. I want your speed!

  6. Sounds like you all had a great time at the race! Way to get through the hills and still have a great time... and congrats to Mr. Blondie for making his goal too. (: