Monday, June 11, 2007
Race Review: Niantic Bay 10k
About every 18 to 24 months, BFFs Tracy, Sarah, Sue and I (the order of picture above) convene somewhere in the country. Typically the trip includes an organized run. Sometimes it’s incidental, like finding a 5k while we were in Key West; other times it’s intentional, like a vacation revolving around the Disney Marathon. Last week, it was the Niantic Bay 10k in Connecticut, an evening coastal run that conveniently took place the week we were exploring southern New England.
I will later fill in details on the sights and events leading up to and following the 10k, but for now here’s the traditional Run DMZ race report.
The 9th annual event took place at McCook Point Park along – you guessed it – Niantic Bay. A bank thermometer put the temp at 68 degrees, which sounded just right for a summer seaside race. It was foggy and the breezeless mist hung heavy in the air as we walked through a bevy of machine-generated bubbles bursting onto the scene near the start. It’s too bad the scent of soap couldn’t reach farther up Atlantic Street, where runners gagged on noxious skunk odor to and fro.
I ended up almost immediately pulling away from my friends, erroneously believing at least one of them was right behind me the first two miles. The course runs through several neighborhoods, including the picturesque Old Black Point development during the middle miles. The relatively flat course is an out-and-back with a wide circular turn that leads through a dense canopy of lush oaks and elms and maples before returning to a familiar route of big homes.
I wasn’t wearing a stopwatch, but noticed after the first sluggish mile I was averaging right around 9-minute miles by timers’ watches. The pace felt good even with the high humidity. I pushed just hard enough to stay strong while periodically peering beyond the bay or into a curtainless window or two from a distance. There also were plenty of aid stations for a 10k.
That stubborn piraformis injury somehow was able to eventually overcome an overly enthusiastic application of Icy Hot just prior to the race. The pain shot down my leg, but I was more worried about my wrist throbbing – which it did, but only momentarily. I ended up with a less invasive procedure after learning my recovery time and scar would have been longer than I expected.
If I sound like I was a mess, I’ve misled you. I really had a great time in this quintessential New England setting and enjoyed some clam chowder among the post-race rations.
I might have ignored the pain, but I couldn’t overcome most of the people who began or eventually moved ahead of me. There were 151 finishers, and 128 of them crossed the finish before I did. I was 10th in my age group with a total time of 56:04, or 9:02 average pace. Sarah and Sue came in close behind me, and Tracy decided to heed an aching knee and make hers an unofficial 5k.
Special thanks goes to Tracy’s boyfriend, Steve, who served as chauffer and official photographer and is probably still wondering why we girls got the giggles after I quietly confessed my menthol-scented butt (...and beyond) was feelin’ hot, hot, hot.