Monday, June 23, 2008

Shelter Island 10k - a lesson in survival

Well, on Saturday we headed over to Shelter Island to run the 10k race. Wingman and I met up with some friends (Liliana, Tammy and family) and chatted about an hour before the race. Finally, I was able to crack the hard exterior of a 3 1/2 year old. She was animated and happy to talk with me. For as long as I have known her, Tammy's daughter has barely said boo to me. She has been shy whenever I saw her. But today, she was 'a buzz' with her post race experience. She participated in the kid's fun run and got a medal and shirt. Lucky bastard.

Anyway, it's time to line up for the adult's race and I suddenly notice how incredibly humid it was. I dressed very lightly for the race and thought that I hydrated properly. Oh how foolish I was. Nothing I could have done would prepare me for the next 6.2 miles.

Gun goes off and I head out. Slow and steady was my goal. I did not start my watch and just wanted to enjoy the scenery. I did this race a few years ago and was trying to remember where the hills were. I found out soon they are everywhere. Within the 1st mile I was sweating profusely. The water stations were at mile 2, 4 and 5. At mile 1 I considered bailing on the race. I mean, how much fun can a sufferfest be? But, since I was not hurting and nothing was really wrong, I had to keep going. I wasn't really ready to deal with a DNF at this time. So I soldier on. At the 1st aid station I grab two cups of water - one to drink and the other over the back of the head. I had to be careful because I was wearing a white shirt and Shelter Island is not prepared for my version of a wet t-shirt contest. At this point I turned the music off and tried to keep the feet moving. I think it was more of a shuffle than a run. I had my eye set on 76 year old man. I could not let him out of my sights. He was going to get me through this race.

I just kept thinking "man, where the hell did these hills come from. I swear I remember flats on this course." Finally at mile 5 the old man made a tactical error - well, he had no idea he and I were racing - we were approaching a left turn on the course. He stayed on the right side of the road and I moved to the left to stay to the inside of the turn. It worked!!! I was able to pass him. HaHaHa!!! Eat my dust. At this point I was focused on staying ahead of him. I ran the last 1.2 miles in fear of him catching me. I would keep looking over my shoulder just to see where he was. I had to keep him at bay. I did have one scare less than 1/2 mile from the finish. My shoe lace untied. I stopped and frantically tied it. I did not want to lose any precious seconds in case he had a 'move' in the finishing shoot. Hey, I am not afraid to knock anyone down or use some elbows. But I was lucky. I had enough distance between us that I could cruise into the finish. Phew. Beat him by over 1 minute.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how I managed to survive the Shelter Island 10k..........

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