Saturday, March 15, 2008

rr: wurtsboro mountain 30k

it was an inauspicious start to the day. when my alarm went off i just laid in bed listening to the rain outside and wondered if it would stop before the race. luckily it stopped within the hour. when don arrived, just before 7, he mentioned that he had just driven by a major accident on i-95. when emmy arrived a few minutes later, she was on the phone with rob - who was stuck in the traffic jam that built up behind the accident. now, we three would go in one car, while rob would weather the delay and drive up to the race by himself.

we arrived in wurtsboro without incident, with rob not too far behind us. i went in to pick up our bibs, while they waited for rob. just inside the high school was my friend todd, head of the orange runner's club, with his two young sons. they would man the mile 6 aid station today. after quick hellos, i went and grabbed our bibs. that's where i met up with anthony and his friend kristen, and was soon introduced to his friend tom. soon the bib craziness started.

i gave don his race number. emmy was, supposedly, right behind him - but i didn't see her. so i went back to the car to wait for her. still, there was no sign of either emmy or rob! soon don to look for her. while that was going on, i ran into christine, the race director of the finger lakes 50s. she hung out with me until don came back with emmy. but i still had rob's race number - and there was no sign of him!

hopefully, he would see us in the parking lot. before he found us, though, john and doug found us and we all chatted for a while. eventually rob came out of the high school with a newly issued bib! not finding us, he took the precaution of getting a new number - better safe than sorry! with 5 minutes to spare, we split up and headed over to the start. one final hello, to barbara, before i lined up with emmy for the start.

there was a record turnout for the race. the largest contingent seemed to be the runners from the albany running exchange. the had such a large presence that they had set up their very own club tent(!) in front of the high school. myriam got this huge crowd of runners underway with a very understated, "go." and off we went to tackle the 3.5 mile uphill climb.

mile one went well, mainly because the first quarter of it was relatively flat. but by the start of mile two, things got difficult for me! at the very early point in the race, and granted we were climbing relentlessly uphill, the first hint of "this may be a long day," started to creep into my mind! at the two mile mark the course did a quick jog left, across the overpass, and another quick jog right to continue the climb on the other side of the highway.

myriam was there, taking pictures of the runners, and cheered us on. i said something like, "this may be the last time i'll be smiling," or something similar. halfway into mile three, i found myself walking! i don't have a problem walking -but that usually that occurs near the end of a race - not at the being. emmy caught up, said a few encouraging words, and went on ahead.

mile 3, with a couple of walking breaks, took me 10:08 - the slowest mile, by far, of the day. but,
in long races, a lot of things can happen before we reach the finish. so it's important to keep on going and try to push through the bad patches. my target of 2:25 was seriously compromised by the early breakdown in mile 3 - so i readjusted my sights to a 2:30 target.

we reached to "top," so to speak, of wurtsboro mountain at roughly the 3.5 mile point. that's when i started to rally back. mile 4, in 8:51, kicked off a 5 mile stretch of cut-downs: 7:59, 7:26, 7:19, 7:01 for an 8 mile split of 1:05:34. things were looking up for me - thanks to the downhill slope of the previous 5 miles!

my split for the half way mark, 15k, was 1:15:22. then i reached the half marathon mark in 1:44:10, and the 25k mark in 2:04:o8. at that point the whatever good vibes i had managed to summon up for the last 10 miles had all but disappeared. the last 10k of the course was a series of rolling hill. but they were spaced too close together to generate any meaningful recovery on the downhills. with only 5k left, it was a real struggle.

lucky for me, just before the 15k mark todd drove by and cheered me a little, having just taken down the mile 6 aid station and was headed back to the high school. then, just after mile 16, myriam drove by, also headed back to the high school, and gave me a high five from her car window. then i put my head down into the wind and cranked out the last 2.5 miles, finishing in 2:29:22, an 8:01 pace. amazingly, i ran a negative split for the second 15k!

what relief to get it done! this was the slowest of my 4 wurtsboro 3ok races. it was 4 and a half minutes slower than my finish last year! it was way off the sub 2:20's i ran in my first two trips to wurtsboro. but, even with the walking in the early miles, still enjoyed every minute of it. then i found out that emmy finished in 2:24:30! not only was it a pr performance for her, but it was good enough for 3rd woman overall! awesome!

inside the high school, rob and i got some choice seats next to the pizza. in a rare example that sometimes too much of something isn't a necessarily a good thing, the proximity of all that excellent pizza may have led me to eat a wee bit too much! oops! this was not a good pacing day for me - either running or eating!

when i got home that afternoon i went back out for another 4.5 miles. to reach my target of 70 miles for the week i would need a double either today or tomorrow - so i decided to get it out of the way sooner, rather than later. so far, for the 6 days i've run 64.1 miles.
here are my race photos.
here is race coverage from the sullivan county democrat.

on deck is the trrc 10k tomorrow!


mindy said...

Great race report. It sounds like a tough course-first three miles uphill!? I know that sinking feeling of "this could be a really bad day" - but you totally rallied. Way to keep it all in perspective and still have fun - not an easy thing to do sometimes! Good luck on 10K today!

Just_because_today said...

and still no mention of the guy with the knife, that could be a good thing, we don't want to deter any runners from coming to this race on the account of that lunatic who might be hiding in the bushes next time with a rifle...(kidding...I hope).
Glad you met your goal of 2.30. Going home to run more miles is a bit too much insanity for me. You are a better man than I am,my friend.

rundangerously said...

thanks mindy!

myriam, if they write-up the race i bet they'll mention the knife incident. will and a link to that newspaper story when it comes out!