LIT Employees Conquer the Orange Classic 10K

Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

June 3, 2012 was a bright and sunny morning, and Team Larkin Captain Melissa Hernandez and "running buddies" Milana Tepermayster and [a former associate] were looking forward to participating in the 32nd annual Orange Classic 10K in Middletown, NY. Knowing that this would be a challenging hilly course, Melissa and Milana (M&M) had started preparing back in April with a running class taught by Barbara Sessa and Ed O'Connell. They worked on running fundamentals such as warming up, breathing, posture, cadence, pacing, speed and stretching, with constant support (and constructive criticism!) from Barbara and Ed. As if two classes per week were not enough, M&M got running homework which they passed on to James so that all three could build up the stamina to conquer those daunting City of Middletown hills!

The goals were modest. Last year's Classic 10K was the longest distance Melissa had ever run. Having run frequently and consistently ever since, she was eager to see how much she had improved, but with all the hills would be happy if she could finish just one second faster than last year ! Milana and James, who always run in tandem, hoped to push each other into finishing the race with no stopping, no walking, and no more than one hour's running !

Team Larkin arrived at Middletown High School early on race day with Melissa's boyfriend in tow for support. After picking up numbers and t-shirts and warming up with Barbara and Ed, Melissa, Milana and James took their places with the great mass of runners and moved off with the crack of the starting gun towards the first hill of the course. Melissa says, "In my head I am constantly telling myself to run within my breathing, keep my pace, and to keep good posture. My first mile was a little over twelve minutes, so at that point I had to tell myself to slow down as I would never be able to maintain that pace for the remaining five miles. Barbara always tells us that a 10K race starts at mile 3, so I wanted to maintain a slower pace for the first three miles so that I could pick up my pace between miles 4 and 6." Milana and James, despite their mutual encouragement and support, could not help gasping for air as they tried to maintain a ten minute per mile pace going up those hilly roads. They were grateful for the multitude of water stations and more and more thankful as each mile marker passed. This year's Classic course also included five "Fan Zones" where townfolk could gather and cheer the runners on - a great boost for tired legs and flagging spirits !

As Melissa, Milana and James entered the stadium at Middletown High School for the final lap, the announcer called out their names and they could see their sweaty, but smiling faces pictured on the big screen located on the stadium scoreboard. Milana (with a slight injury to her left calf) and James finished in just over one hour (wait till next year!), but were happy to have run the entire course, hills and all, at a 10:22 pace without any stopping or walking. Melissa, realizing that she was going to better her time from the 2011 race, went into her kick and crossed the finish line 5 minutes faster than last year! To top it all off, Captain Melissa got her picture taken with Olympic Gold Medalist, Middletown native and running hero Frank Shorter! Smiles abounded all around: Team Larkin's diligent preparation had yielded a great day and great results!