Feeling strong at the Mike Sterling 10K

I felt strong going into the finish line at the Mike Sterling 10K. (Veronica James photo)

The best part about my race performance at the Mike Sterling 10K last weekend wasn’t my time — it was how I felt.

Heading toward the finish line, I felt strong, and this made me happy for a while afterward.

This was my seventh year running the Mike Sterling 10K, held annually on the Saturday of Labor Day Weekend in Crisfield, Maryland. When I started going to this race in 2012, I didn’t really know anyone there. The next year, people recognized me because I didn’t hydrate well and ended up with heat stroke that first year. This year, I knew tons of people and our photo of Eastern Shore Running Club members with the race’s namesake, Mike Sterling, had more than 20 people in it.

The race has also grown. Until recently, this race had popsicle stick timing, and it now has chip timing.

The weather didn’t feel that bad on Saturday morning — until we started running. Then it was clear that it was actually hot and humid. The racers seemed to start out fast, and my first mile would be my fastest of the day, at 8:59.

Although I slowed down some after that, I never really felt that terrible. Of course, the heat and humidity were having an impact on my running, but I kept moving forward. I stopped at each of the water stops — if I’m remembering correctly, there were three official stops and one that looked like it may be unofficial but was still great.

The course starts near the Crisfield City Dock and runners head away from the water, then make a turn and go out and back by the water before heading into neighborhoods. The last stretch, more than a mile, is a straight road heading back to the start.

Eastern Shore Running Club members gathered for a photo with Mike Sterling 10K namesake Mike Sterling, shown in front wearing the race tank top. (Laurie Bireley photo)

I picked up the pace on this straightaway. I saw someone who looked like she could be in my age group ahead and tried to pass her. Once I did, that helped motivate me even more. My last full mile was my second fastest of the race, at 9:03, and my Garmin tracked the last 0.2 miles (my watch had 0.21, which is perfect) at an 8:22 pace. Wow!

My final time, both official and on my watch, was 58:36.

I’m really happy about my strong finish, and I was able to finish just 10 seconds ahead of my time at the Run for the Animals 10K earlier this year, which was in April. I still want to break 50 minutes at some point, but I’m not at that level yet — and I’ll need cooler weather. However, I think I can get back there. In 2014, I ran 10Ks in 50:15 — at this race — and 50:20.

Here’s the race tank top shown with my bib. (Vanessa Junkin photo)

After crossing the finish line, which has a crab pot arch, I was given a wet towel, which was much appreciated. It felt like it really helped cool me down. There was also water, along with snacks like bananas and bagels with peanut butter.

There are also some great door prizes at this race. Last year, I won a pound of crab meat as a door prize, and there’s also a Smith Island cake up for grabs. Although the first two numbers called were on either side of my ticket number, I didn’t win any door prizes this year.

The premium was a tank top this year, which I think is cool. It’s cotton, so I don’t think I will run much in it, but I always like it when races switch things up and do something a little different than a T-shirt. I definitely have way more T-shirts than tank tops.

I love this small-town race and will definitely be back for my year No. 8 in 2019 — the race’s 40th year. Like the race on Facebook here.

Although I headed to Virginia Beach for the Rock ‘n’ Roll half marathon after the run, there’s a whole weekend of National Hard Crab Derby festivities.


Mile 1: 8:59

Mile 2: 9:34

Mile 3: 9:30

Mile 4: 9:57

Mile 5: 9:49

Mile 6: 9:03

Last part (watch had 0.21): 1:43

Time: 58:36 (9:27/mile pace)

Read my BibRave review here.

Like She Runs by the Seashore on Facebook here.