A few weeks back I found a circular under my windshield-wiper (the car only has one) at Sleepy Hollow High School for the inaugural Sleepy Hollow 10K, and I mentioned it a few posts back. (The course is just to the other side of Broadway from the Rockies; Swan Lake is the ice-cream cone shaped water at the top right.) In the past few weeks I’ve done a few Repeat workouts — Tuesday saw me doing 10 X 300 at Eastchester’s track — but I wanted to get a tempo thing in and this 10K was the chance.

After registering I received an email from Kristen, the RD, with instructions and such. The course, she wrote, is “challenging, scenic and fun!” to which I replied that technically courses cannot be “challenging and fun.” I was wrong.

The Finish Stretch

By Joe Golden

This is a nice course. It starts in Sleepy Hollow and does some ups-and-downs on side streets and down to the Tarrytown station with a hill so that you find yourself at the one mile mark before you know it. You’re so busy turning and such that you can’t give thought to how fast you’re going. And then you head out of town, briefly along Broadway and into the streets to the north. Beautiful, wide streets so you can see runners ahead. And a spectacular view across the Hudson in one stretch.

The challenging part. There are some nasty hills, including one of the nastiest I’ve encountered at about 4. Its nastiness was a product of its length and its late steepness. It’s a bit steep but the leaves hid the top and then suddenly it just headed straight up, steeper than Blacktop at VCP. Fortunately the course turned left at the top and proceeded down. Indeed, the downhills were too down; why couldn’t they have been doubled in length?

And a final surprise just at 6. Had it been at 5.75 it would be more of an issue, but you had a nasty uphill (which you had gone down at 2) that led into the finish.

It was a course, notwithstanding the hills, in which I could get into a rhythm.

The race. Perfect weather. I was afraid it’d be too chilly, but no. (Lots of folks way overdressed. And lots of folks wore costumes (including a full Spiderman suit, with VFFs).) Singlet and shorts, no problem. My goal was to have a solid training run, so I went out easy. With the Garmin, though, I saw sub-6 initially. But once I settled in I spent the rest of the race passing people, with no one passing me. Splits of 6:06, 6:12, 6:18, 6:22, 6:24 (the hills), and 6:13. (Garmin showed the course as 6.24 miles. Next year they hope to get it certified.) Finish: 39:01.

Me Post-Race, with my RoadID

Analysis. I don’t know how much analysis the race needs. I’m quite happy with how it went and with the result. I went in hoping to just run relaxed but quickly. In my head are thoughts of whether I can hold a relaxed 7 pace in NY in two weeks (two weeks?) and for how long. This was relaxed but an effort. I did 10 @ 7 a couple of weeks back at the Rockies. When I did the marathon in 2006, I felt super relaxed going through 10 at 61 flat. If I can enjoy myself and get through 10 at 70 this time and, dare I say it, through the HM at 1:30, I’ll be pleased.

But in the real world everything I’m doing now is for the late winter. I want to throw in speed work regularly per the teachings of John Kellogg about which I wrote. So, as the Brits say, it’s early days. Yet this was a good one.

Emmy Wore A Costume

I was also able to chat with some fine folks. Before the race I saw someone wearing a Warren Street shirt. Not a recent one, but one of the Ralph Lauren vintage that goes back a ways. (My kit is RLX.) He’s Mike Anderson, who would come in second. We spoke afterwards, and he’s been having ups-and-downs in recent years, but hopes to put some quality months together and start running with the club again. Since he lives in Hastings, there’s a chance for getting a regular WSSAC run at the Rockies on Sundays since Paul already goes there most Sundays.

Emmy Stocker and Frank Colella were slumming this race; they are doing a 50K tomorrow. Frank took the photos I put up. I’ve spoken to him frequently at races, but this was my first chance to speak with Emmy. That was fun.

And I chatted with a number of other runners, including the winner, who did a 32:38 or so and was way ahead of second-place, which was Mike. I invited him to check out Warren Street, as did Mike.

And I made a point of touching base with Kristen, the RD. I told her it was a good race. I said the only problem is that it’s two weeks before NY, but Emmy later said that many advocate running a 10K two weeks out. Maybe next year then. Rivertown Runners, the club that put on the race (Andy of WRR did the technical side), is putting on an HM in March.

In the old days, 10Ks were everywhere. NYRRC had a few 5-milers (such as the “Season Opener”) and had a 5-borough 5-miler series, but otherwise its races were longer. There were a bunch of 6s (easier because CP is just about 6 miles and then especially most races finished at 90th and Fifth so getting the extra .2 for a 10K would have been a problem (the big races finished at Tavern)) and 10s and HMs, and towns had either 5-milers or 10Ks.

Now, of course, the local 10K is a rare breed. One of my favorite races, the Mamaroneck Turkey Trot, has downgraded from a 5-miler to a 5K to encourage community participation. I’m boycotting it. Getting this new 10K as a fixture on the County calendar would be great and would complement (thanks JT) the spring HM.