Saturday, September 16, 2006

RACE REPORT: The Great Cow Harbor Run....And That Goddammed Widow Hill!

Course layout

The race begins in front of Laurel Avenue School, runners proceed south then make a right turn onto Scudder Avenue. After a small incline, the runners head downhill for the remainder of the first mile until they reach Woodbine Avenue where they turn right.  Runners continue straight onto Bayview Avenue, passing on the right the eventual finish line.  Runners then continue until they make a right hand turn onto James Street a very steep hill, claimed to be "Widow Hill" by runners. At the top of James Street, the course turns right onto Northwest Drive, left onto Lewis Road, then left onto Ocean Avenue, offering runners a beautiful view of the Long Island Sound. Just past the halfway point, runners turn right onto Eaton's Neck Road, then right onto Waterside Avenue. The 1.5 mile stretch on Waterside, a slight incline, is where the race is often won or lost. At the five-mile mark, the course turns right onto Main Street, where after one last climb ("Pumpernickel Hill"), runners coast downhill into picturesque downtown Northport. The race finishes just west of School Street, in front of the Northport Hardware Company.

Taking off 2 days for this run, and getting new sneaks last night surely helped. Having 2 Red Bulls b4 the start of the race did not hurt either. This was my first run at this legendary course. And I can see why the race lives up to its name. Nothing but uphills and downhills the whole way through, with Widow Hill nearly "X"ing me off and reading me my last rites.  From 42 feet to 138 feet above sea level, almost 100 feet in less than 2/10ths of a mile.  I thought to figure this out online (and of course, I did).

Are you shitting me?  Put a 9 degree incline on your treadmill and run 2/10ths of a quarter of a mile! Great tool?  Here's the link ->

Even still Cow Harbor is a FANTASTIC race.  Coupled with excellent support, and great weather, made for a fabulous finish. Great story to tell here: Waiting at the porto-sans, I saw a woman that works at Avon in Rye. I did not say hi, because I was not in the mood to associate with anyone from a job that I was unfairly laid off from. Towards the end of my race, with about a 1/2 mile to go, she passes me! I basically said to myself, "I'll be damned if someone from Avon beats me!" and I charged into a sprint for the remaining distance.
Ryan Hall ran this race.  I was within 20 feet of this soon-to-be American running icon.  He had come here from Tennessee, as I believe right, and would move to Mammoth Caves, CA, shortly afterwards to begin his quest to being a world great.  Well, he was a world-great in this race too, shattering the record by MINUTES to a 28:22 finish that would not be broken for another 5 years.
Overall, I came in 782 out of 4400 runners (top 17%), and 111th out of 440 runners (top 25%).