Running Through Sleepy Hollow 10K

SleepyHollow10KName of the race: Sleepy Hollow 10K

Where: Sleepy Hollow, NY

Date: Oct 19, 2013

Time: 9:30 am

Distance: 6.2 miles

Terrain: Road race, rolling hills with one big hill in the middle

Entry fee:
Early Registration – $25 until July 15th
Late Registration – $30 until October 17th

Swag: Long-sleeved cotton shirt, and 20% off anything at Westchester Road Runners Store if you show your bib

Post-race Food: Delicious freshly-baked local donuts and beer

Time: 50:48 (PR)

Performance:Overall 159/1010; 7th in my age group (F30-39)

Weather: 52 degrees and 76% humidity

SH route

Sleepy Hollow 10K route

A race with a headless horseman! As soon as I saw the picture of a headless horseman, that was enough to convince me that this was a race that I had to do. I adore small local races with lots of character. It seemed like a lot of fun to do a themed race that was oh-so-apropos to the location and the upcoming Halloween holiday. I signed up for the race over the summer and eagerly waited.

We stayed at my cousin’s in Westchester so we had a short drive to Sleepy Hollow, a small town on the banks of the Hudson River, north of New York City. Sleepy Hollow is a part of Tarrytown, but in 1996, the residents voted to call this town Sleepy Hollow (it used to go by Tarrytown) to honor Washington Irving, an American writer. The short story The Legend of Sleepy Hollow was set in that very location.

I don’t know why we always do this because I discovered that I’m not particularly good at sticking to pre-race plans, but Ben and I once again strategized my race. Plan: Run 8 min miles (tempo pace). Actual: Not quite. Although the intention was to do as many 8 min miles as I could, neither of us were actually sure if I could pull it off. For one thing, until Tues, the 15th, I hadn’t ran a successful tempo run a while. And definitely never for that distance. Plus the course description said the course was “challenging.” This meant hills. I wasn’t sure just how bad those hills would be. Ben paced me. By pacing, I mean that Ben was my water sherpa, and time and distance keeper. After running together for many runs, we discovered that I don’t actually respond well to actual pacing (the stronger runner keeps the pace and the other runner follows). I tend to run whatever I feel like running at that moment. Any attempts to slow or to speed me up is met with stubbornness on my part.

SH elevation

Elevation Profile

The terrain is a rolling hills course for the most part. Aside from the large incline in the middle of the course (not fun because you’re tired) and the %&j*@ incline right at the end just before the finish line, I didn’t mind the changes in the elevation. I kinda like rolling hills because it keeps the terrain interesting and by the time you’re tired of the incline, it’s already over. I thought the Sleepy Hollow 10K was great for a number of reasons.

  1. Taken by Joe Golden

    Taken by Joe Golden

    A headless horseman starts the race. How cool is that?

  2. Lots of runners wore fun costumes. I wanted a good time, so I didn’t wear a costume (and I’m also lazy about them). I liked walking around and seeing what people wore. During the race, a guy in a “deviled egg” costume (he wore a fried egg costume with devil horns) ran past me. Spectators cheered, “Go, Deviled Egg!” If you check out the photo albums, you can see other great costumes, such as these penguins (I’m sorry I missed them).
  3. The spectators also wore fun costumes too! Because it’s Sleepy Hollow, there were several grim reapers and other ghoulish characters. They held up dismembered limbs warning us what happens to us if they catch us. I gave a high five to a detached arm held by one of those grim reapers.
  4. Creative signs — I wish I could remember more of them, but I laughed and smiled my way through the race course. “A wicked witch lives up in the attic – my mother-in-law!” A sign with a picture of a beheaded person and a warning “Here’s what happens to slow runners!” A sign with a headless horseman saying, “He’s coming after you!” And many many more!
  5. Nice little touches, such as a skeleton hanging off a bridge and a grim reaper holding up a sign telling us where to turn.
  6. Lovely course going through the town streets and surrounding parks. The fall leaves and views of the Hudson River makes this a delightful route to run.
  7. Incredibly delicious freshly-baked donuts for post-race food. I don’t know where they got these donuts, but I wish I knew. I prefer yeast donuts over cake donuts, but these cake donuts were really delicious. The crumb was very tender.

I ran trying to keep to an even effort. The large hill in the middle wasn’t much fun, but I was all right with it. The worst part of the race for me was the end. I was really fatigued and just barely keeping it together. When we hit the 6 mile mark, I was relieved that the race was going to be over soon and the worst was behind me. I had that thought a little too soon. We turned a corner, and BAM! There was a hill. Normally I wouldn’t care much, but at the point, a hill is too cruel to a tired runner. I slowed down to a crawl to go up the hill because I was feeling sick. Not oh-I’m-so-tired-sick, but a oh-good-gracious-I’m-sick-in-my-stomach-and-I-need-to-throw-up sick. I saw the finish line and Ben yelled and urged me to run faster to the finish line. I knew I could not run faster. Thank goodness the finish line was right there, otherwise, I would have taken a few seconds to go off to the side. At that point it was all I could do to hold it together until I crossed the finish line. If I went any faster, I wouldn’t make it. I crossed the two timing mats, immediately went to the side and threw up.

And now for the second time in my life, I puked after a run. This is starting to be a tradition that I’m not liking. Ben got a bottle of water for me so I could clean up. He was really proud of how hard I ran. Aside from the puking, I had a terrific time at the Sleepy Hollow 10K and definitely recommend this race to anyone in the New York City area. I really love the atmosphere and the festivities. We didn’t get to stick around long after the race because we had to hurry back into the city, but I would have loved to have stayed longer to spectate.

Normally I would have more photos, but I forgot my camera and I took some with my IPhone. The IPhone decided to die on Monday and I haven’t been able to get the pictures off it yet. Hopefully I will be able to. In the meanwhile, enjoy photos taken by other people here.

Mile splits

  1. 7:35
  2. 7:54
  3. 8:20
  4. 8:25
  5. 8:27
  6. 8:13
  7. 10:00 (for the last .2)
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14 thoughts on “Running Through Sleepy Hollow 10K

  1. Ah yes, I did this race last year and my legs are still experiencing some intermittent PTSD from that mid-course hill. Glad you finished with your knees — and head, all things considered — intact.

  2. Congrats on your PR! I have some friends who did this race too and they loved it. I’ve run in that area and it is really hilly, but like you said in a good way. What goes up must come down!

  3. This sounds just like a 10k I did three years ago. My goal had been to run under 50 minutes. I went out too fast for my fitness at that time (7:30s) and wound up walking most of the last quarter mile. I finished in 51:17, crossing the finish line gagging (I did not actually throw up). It was basically poor pacing on my part. I am going to run the same race in three weeks with the goal of finishing around 45 minutes. I have since improved my fitness and I’m coming off my marathon training. Do you do strides? Or running 800s at 5k pace? I found this kind of speed work has helped me get faster.

    Congrats on the PR, though!!! Whoo hoo! My friend and I were interested in this race but it was the week after my marathon. I was in no shape to race. I’m still recovering.

    • Thanks. Because of this, my new goals for finishing races is not to throw up at the end. Hahaha.

      I haven’t done strides or 800s as speed work yet. My speed work tends to be running at a new goal 5K pace for a mile and then slowly working my way up to 3 miles over the weeks and months. When the fall racing season is over, I want to play around with different types of speed work, since I won’t be training for a specific immediate race.

      If your race schedule allows it next year, you should do this race. 🙂

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