Recap: Saving the Elephants 10K

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I’d signed up for 5 races to close out 2015. I ran race #4: The Saving the Elephants 10K on Saturday.

My pal Blake and I had discussed running a December half marathon together, but my PT put the kabash on that, so we looked for something shorter.

Evidently Blake’s husband Timmy loves elephants (but who doesn’t really)so when we found out there was a 10K in Central Park to benefit the the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (an elephant conservancy) he was in, too. Matt, Blake, Timmy and I signed up.

the author (also an elephant fan) in Chiang Mai, Thailand

At the time, the 10K distance was farther than I’d run in over a year, so having the race on the books was a great source of motivation for me. I even printed out a little 8 week plan to get me there.

But it turned out I could run 6 miles well in advance of the race date, so I felt confident about covering the distance when race morning arrived.

This race was not hosted by New York Road Runners. There were a few hiccups, but nothing that stopped me from having a blast.

packet pick up at Jack Rabbit on the UWS
packet pick up at Jack Rabbit on the UWS

There was only one day of pre-race packet pick up and it was exclusively during work hours (11am-7pm). When I arrived at Jack Rabbit at the tail-end of pick up, I was told they didn’t have any safety pins, and hadn’t all day. It’s no big deal, my house is full of extra safety pins from races, but that’s a pretty essential part of bib pick up.

Anyway! The race had a 9am start time, luxuriously late! Matt and I jogged to the start of the race and my legs felt like lead. I started to lower my already vague expectations for this race. I didn’t really have a goal time, but I hoped to run sub-9 minute miles.

We met up with Blake and Timmy and followed the crowds to the starting area. At the sound of the starting gun, Timmy and Matt took off.

the author hanging with elephants in Tanzania
the author hanging with elephants in Tanzania

Our bibs had electronic trackers on them so Blake and I, retied our shoes and tried to find the actual start of the race. We were expected the start to be marked at the least by a rubber panel on the ground that would pick up our start from the sensor in our bib. you run over that works with the tracker on your bib. Or you know, a sign that says START. We walked a bit more and still didn’t see it. Finally, we started just asking strangers in bibs the very silly question of “Where is the starting line?”

No one knew, so eventually we just started running. Turns out this race was only going to have gun time, not net time, so Blake and I started about 5 minutes into the race.  We also walked a part of the first mile because we were looking for some sort of obvious demarcation of the race start. Whoops. That’s fine, but I would’ve preferred it be a bit clearer.

Thanks to ample technology (I had a Garmin and we each had a phone) we were able to track our pace even though the race officials wouldn’t be.

The course was a full loop of the park, something I find a bit intimidating because of all of the hills. We started by the Boathouse and I barely noticed Cat Hill in all the starting line confusion. A major win in my book.

This was our first time running together but Blake and I make for good race buddies. We agreed to each run our own race but ended up together a lot of the time. I was faster on the straightaways and the downhills but she would appear seemingly out of nowhere on the big climbs and pass me. She was insanely powerful on the hills!

the team post-race
the team post-race, pre-milkshake

We finished averaging an 8:44/mile pace, according to our devices. All in all, I was so glad we signed up for this race. I always feel so good “getting up and at ’em” on a weekend morning and I had such a blast running with Blake.

Did you run a race this weekend? Any turkey trots coming up? I’m running one with my family and I’m stoked.


1 Comment

Leave a comment