A unique prize, No. 1 bib at the Mike Sterling Crab Derby 10K

From left, Nicole, Veronica and I pose before the start of the Mike Sterling Crab Derby 10K. (Todd Bellamy photo)

Knowing we may be running in rain and wind this morning at the Mike Sterling Crab Derby 10K didn’t bother me. Tropical Storm Hermine was bringing inclement weather to the area, and although I am disappointed that the other National Hard Crab Derby events were postponed or canceled, it actually made for great running weather.

Here we are again before the Mike Sterling Crab Derby 10K, showing off our Eastern Shore Running Club shirts. (Todd Bellamy photo)

This Labor Day Weekend race in Crisfield, Maryland — the Crab Capital of the World — is always extremely hot, and the first year I ran it, I actually ended up with heatstroke. I am now smarter and hydrate better, and I run slower when I need to.

This was my fourth year returning since then — my fifth year running the race — and it wasn’t hot at all this time. I drove down with my friend Veronica and also saw other friends at the race — plus, I’m also friends with the race directors. Our friend Nicole, Veronica and I all wore our Eastern Shore Running Club shirts and the club got a shout-out at the beginning.

It was easy to tell how windy it was at the start. There was a really cool arch-type setup with crab pots on either side and a “Finish Line” banner. Unfortunately, it was so windy that pieces of the banner were flying off. But the wind didn’t really bother me much on the course, and it also didn’t seem to rain that much while I was running. The tailwind actually helped at the end.

Here I am after the race with my crab pot award, crab necklace and No. 1 bib. (Veronica James photo)

The race began at 8 a.m. this morning, Sept. 3. I had pushed the button to start the GPS on my watch a few minutes before, but it didn’t find the satellites in time, so I ran without the GPS and just used the feel of how I was running along with the time on the watch to give me a general idea. That was probably a blessing in disguise, because I didn’t become overly focused on the watch.

The course is a big loop with one out-and-back early on. The setup of the course always seems to make it go by relatively quickly for me. I had an unusual feeling while I was running — I really didn’t feel that tired cardio-wise, but I also felt like I couldn’t move any faster. I wasn’t too far away from my friend Veronica, and I was also near another friend, Carol, for some of the race.

Although I wasn’t too thirsty, I did stop at both water stops because of my history at this race. I looked forward to seeing each mile marker; the numbers were taped on the ground.

Here I am going up to receive my age group award from Miss Crustacean. (Veronica James photo)

I noticed as I was running that I was catching up to a woman who looked like she was in my age group. I really wanted one of the new crab pot age group prizes and decided I would try to pass her. Around Mile 5 or a little before, I felt like I started picking up my speed. Then, once I passed her and the person she was running with, I felt like I heard them pick up the pace, too.

It seemed like I sprinted for the last half-mile or so; the race course ends with more than a mile of running straight toward the finish, so it seemed easy to start sprinting too early. I only ended up 11 seconds behind Veronica and I did end up getting that crab pot prize for coming in first in the female 20-29 age group. It did turn out the other runner was in my age group, and we had a friendly exchange afterward and posed for the photo with Mike Sterling, the race’s namesake, and Miss Crustacean.

This was the opposite of last year’s finish, in which I came in 10 seconds behind another runner in my age group.

Here’s a picture of some age group and overall winners with Miss Crustacean. (Dan Harrison photo)

In the past, this race has used popsicle-stick timing, but this was the first year for having bibs and timing where Jason of TriCycle and Run would click as finishers crossed the line on a program and enter in the bib numbers.

Since I registered first, I ended up with Bib No. 1, which I thought was awesome. I’m certainly planning to register early again next year so I can attempt to claim such a unique bib number.

Here are my crab pot age group prize and crab necklace on top of the race T-shirt. (Vanessa Junkin photo)

My time was 56:35, which isn’t my fastest 10K race time but also isn’t my slowest 10K race time. I was not expecting a PR given my recent race times, and I’m happy with how I did. According to an online pace calculator I found, it’s approximately a 9:06/mile pace, which is much faster than my average run. I was especially proud of my strong finish, as I felt I really kicked it up at the end.

Finishers received crab necklaces, which was a cool touch. I also noticed that everyone who was involved with the race, such as the person giving out the crab necklaces and the people who were helping on the course, seemed to be in a positive mood and energetic, despite standing out in the weather.

For being an age group winner, I also received a $10 Vernon Powell Shoes gift certificate, and then I also won another $10 VP Shoes gift certificate in a drawing. Those were both nice surprises!

This race is always on my calendar, and I’m sure I’ll be back next year. Hopefully in 2017, the other activities that are part of the National Hard Crab Derby can go on as scheduled.

Interested for next year? Keep up with the race on its new Facebook page here.

Like She Runs by the Seashore on Facebook here





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