Thursday, June 24, 2010

2010 summer solstice 15k: race report

the 2010 summer solstice 15k (actually a 14k) in minnewaska state park, new paltz, was unfinished business (according to emmy) because last year emmy, rob, and i arrived a solid 40 minutes after the race had begun! between traffic and a pair of torrential downpours (and a deer that jumped in front of the car as we approached the park) the drive there seemed endless. be that as it may, we went ahead ran the course anyway and were rewarded with spectacular ridgeline views!

this year, rob had work commitments and missed the race. emmy almost missed it, until she arranged for a last minute carpool for her son. i left work early and drove up to bedford, where we met to drive the rest of the way together. there was no traffic, and no rain, on the drive and (in a rarity) we arrived with plenty of time to spare! we met up with myriam (whom we didn't see at all last year because by the time we finished the course, practically all the runners had gone home).

an interesting scoring system was in place for the event. no bibs, no chips - only an index card handed to the runner as he crossed the finish line. he, in turn, filled in name, age, sex, and turned the card in at the results table. this system is a variation of the numbered ice cream sticks handed out at the westport summer series races (then names are filled in on clip board). very low-tech, very old school.

the race director had some basic announcements before he set us on our way. two aid stations, the first at the top of the mountain (roughly 4 miles) and the second, mid-way through the fifth mile. after an initial quarter mile drop (which turned into hill at the finish), the course climbed straight up for almost 4 miles. that was the toughest part of the race. then the course followed the ridge line and slowly descended back to the start/finish area.

i didn't have a time goal in mind, just get in a solid run. last year it took just under 1:20 to finish the course (which included stops for pictures). i figured that a 1:10 finish was more than doable. it took 29:33 to reach the summit after a tough climb which, i guessed, may not have been 4 miles! despite the 93 degrees on a bank thermometer as we passed through new paltz, the heat wasn't that bad on the trails.

it took 13:11 to reach the mid-five mile aid station! once again i thought the mileage mark was off (especially when the volunteers insisted that the aid station was at mile 6!). i remembered that the final stretch seemed interminable - and that memory proved correct. it took me 23:10 to cover the distance (something more than 2.3 miles?) back to the start/finish, for a 1:05:55 - which was, according to pre-race estimates and post-race garmin readings, a course of 8.5 miles.

i filled in my index card and turned it in at the scoring table. then i went back to cheer on the finishers - one of whom was doug (who i'll see again next month in vermont). emmy finished in just over 1:14 and took first place in her age group. the prizes were fresh baked loaves of panera bread. in the it's a lucky day category, after the awards ceremony, the race director handed out the extra loaves - and i got one :D

the park officially closed at 9 - and it was 8:30 when the awards ended and the remaining runners began filing out. by the time i got home (luckily, no traffic on the drive back) it was 10:45 (and i had eaten half that loaf for dinner)! don't pass up the chance to run this race. the views and trails are spectacular!

here are my race photos.
here is my 2009 race (training run) report.

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