my first race wearing these team colors
i wasn't sure whether i'd be a volunteer at, or a runner of, the putnam county classic until race morning! i'd been watching emmy and lee work on putting together this event for the last couple of months and had told emmy i'd spend the morning as a volunteer, or run the race itself, whichever she needed. in the meantime, i had worked on getting some local ham radio amateurs to help out with race day communications.
as it turned out, i drove up with emmy early friday morning to help in the set-up. the weather on the drive up i-684 was pretty unwelcoming. in addition to the fog hanging over the treetops, and the high humidity, there were occasional light rain showers. emmy worried it would dampen race day turn out. as it turned out, regardless of the humid, damp conditions, there were over a 100 race day entrants! so many, in fact, they ran out of race day tee shirts. luckily, there was a supply of prior year tees to give out!
after helping to unload some supplies -including quite a few whole watermelons - i decided to register for the race, as well. emmy and lee had more than enough race day volunteers on hand, and i wouldn't be missed. the only remaining chore i focused on was meeting up with alex, from the pearl emergency amateur repeater league ("pearl"), and introducing him and his team to emmy. after a bit a last minute excitement in coordinating the arrival of the ems truck, alex set up a communications net that allowed volunteers on the course to be in real-time contact with the ems truck and race officials.
in between those pre-race chores, we did manage to get in some socializing! pam introduced me to ilana, a fellow "need for speed" relay team member. ilana and emmy actually got to run their legs of the relay before it was cancelled - pam and i weren't that lucky! we met up with greg and don. the course was practically in greg's back yard, and he knew the terrain well. don, on the other hand, had never done this race before and didn't know what the course was like. later, don was with me when i met alex and now will look into getting some local hams to provide similar communications for some races in his summer series. finally, i was pleasantly surprised when tom gave me my very own trrc singlet - as i'm now an official a member of taconic!
wearing the trrc green led to the only awkward moment of the morning! no sooner had i put it on and walked over to the start, but i ran into my neighbor, friend, and former wtc teammate, michael. he was wearing his wtc blue singlet and gave me one of those "what are you doing wearing that?" looks! since i hadn't seen him for a few months (last time was in early april, at the scarsdale 15k/4m races), i gave him the scoop about my decision to switch clubs. then it was time for the race to get underway!
at one point i thought an hour would be a decent target, but the humid, sticky weather made a 1:02 seem like a more realistic target. in any event, i planned to walk at least two of the hills on the course, so this race would be more along the lines of a training run for me. as it turned out, even 1:02 was an unrealistic goal because it took me 1:03:38 to finish!
here are my splits:
the course actually measures 8.12 miles. so (like last weekend's long 5 miler) a quick conversion yields a 7:50 pace, or 1:02:40 for 8.0 miles.
a few snapshots from the course: i saw emmy twice, the first alongside the marina somewhere in mile 2 0r 3, where she shouted, "nice singlet!" the second was about a half mile from the finish, and i shouted out to her, "can you carry me?" to which she replied, "no way, you're too heavy!" yikes! rob caught up to me midway thru mile five and asked something about the course. i mentioned it was long, to which he replied, "then we're guaranteed pr's!"
but the best/worst(?) was the back to back "back slaps" i got midway thru mile six! there were a couple of guys who ran alongside of me for a few miles. one was a 20-something kid, the other a 40-something guy. they'd catch me as i walked up a hill, and then i'd pass them on the way back down. as i walked the last major hill, the young one patted me on the back and asked, "dude, are you okay?" it was endearing, and i said "no problem, we'll be there soon" (a line from "terrapin station"). but a few seconds later the older guy interrupted my reverie with his own slap on the back! "are you okay," he asked me? this wasn't endearing, it was just annoying!
so, in a rare moment, i let my ego get the better of me. i let him run a good 50-100 yards on ahead as i continued my perambulation up to the crest of the hill. then i sped up a little to reel him in. after a minute he noticed i was running alongside and realized i was the guy he had patted on the back in only minutes ago! he had one of those, "what are you doing here - i passed you a while ago?" looks. i sheepishly pulled on ahead, then caught up the 20-something guy for good measure, and went on to pass a few more runners in that last mile. it turned out the 7:22 mile 8 was my fastest the race - a few seconds faster than the first mile (7:29). but i wasn't able to catch up to rob, who i saw finish as i completed the lap of the track.
then came the second "singlet" moment of the day. the official race photographer, joe - a friend of mine from our wtc days - shouted out to me as i approached the finish, "frank, that's the wrong singlet!" omg - now i'd gotten grief over the new singlet at both the start and finish of the race! rob waited for me as i came out of the chute and we watched a few more runners come in before we exited the field to look for emmy.
after some watermelon and salsa (a post-race first in food matching!) rob gave me a lift home. i couldn't stay for the awards ceremony because i had to get back in time for our neighborhood 4th of july celebration - and the all important father-daughter (a/k/a parent-child) relay! all in all, it was a great morning. emmy was spectacular in her debut as a race director. she and lee made an awesome team and put together a great event!
rob, on the field, as i cross the finish line!
check out emmy's race report!
check out greg's race report!
here are my race photos (w/link to results).
here are photos of the ham net.
prior coverage: race preview
from the archives: 2003 race report