i actually began this race report yesterday, but found myself easily distracted (i went off on a tangent and listed the different beers i tried during july - maybe a beer while composing wasn't the most productive idea - ha) and didn't finish it. in fact, i must be one of the few runners who bothered to record splits of individual loops. a more time-consuming process of transcribing 56 splits - actually 57 - (52 main loops, 4 small loops, and a partial loop) can't possibly exist! so please excuse the delay and mini-rant :D
the day started off as so many b.u.s races had, emmy and rob met me at my house and we drove in together. we shared conversation with rob's gps - which, depending on our collective moods, generally earns an appreciative name (this time emmy kept calling her "helga"). another bit of technology, however, decided to malfunction (or sleep-in) when we were stopped at the throgs neck bridge when the ez-pass wouldn't register. aside from that bit of excitement, we made it down to crocheron park just after 7, in plenty of time for the 7:30 start.
the b.u.s hall of fame induction preceded the start, and that was followed by richie's warning about the forecasted thunderstorms. at the first sign of lightening he was going to stop the race and not restart it until the lightening passed (or lightened up - ha). this was the second time that morning i heard about possible thunderstorms - rob and emmy talked about it in the car. i must have been in a time warp because all i remembered about the weather forecast was hot and humid conditions - nothing about rain (or thunderstorms).
rob and i had run this very course last year. it was the first day of the pioneer memorial 100 mile trek. the first 33.33 mile day took place here and, over the next two days, i would run another 33.33 miles at two different queens parks. rob ran the first day and emmy, the day after the vermont city marathon, ran the third and final day. that weekend was memorable for the sweltering hot and humid 90 degree days. despite those conditions, i managed a respectable 5:36:56 for 33.33 miles on this course.
while i didn't expect to run that fast, i did want to get in as many miles as possible before the mid-day heat arrived. while i was focused on heat, the real weather threat was, as mentioned, thunderstorms. in any event, my plan was to run 6 loops the first hour, then drop down to 5 loops per hour - and hopefully reach the 47 loop minimum before i dropped my pace down to 4 loops (or less) per hour. the minimum distance required at this event was 45 miles -which worked out to 47 loops of the course. exactly 32 loops equalled 50k and, correspondingly, 64 loops would yield 100k.
i was ambitious enough to target the 100k distance, but realistic enough to be satisfied with 50 miles. i covered 7 loops in just over an hour, 1:02:04, 13 loops in 2:02:40, 19 loops in 3:07:10 and 24 loops in 4:07:38. after 4 hours i was averaging about 6 loops per hour. at that point i still felt fresh, but the skies had darkened and the first whiff of rain was in the air. during the 5th hour grant moved the drop bags from the benches to the gazebo. i stopped running to move my stuff, rob's and emmy's chairs to the gazebo. emmy also moved her gear to the gazebo.
i got in one loop after that brief break to reposition the gear, before the first rain shower arrived. even though it was relatively light, i decided to wait it out in the gazebo. i didn't mind using up another 5 minutes to stay dry. when that shower passed, emmy and i began running loops together. we managed a few turns of the course before the major storm hit. it was pretty intense - a we approached the transition area the rain had fallen so hard and so quickly that it seemed like we were running upstream, into rushing water.
richie's whistle cut through the downpour as he announce the temporary stoppage. we all squeezed into the tiny gazebo to wait it out. i was drenched - my socks and running shoes squished with each wet step. after 20 minutes richie gave the all clear and resumed the race. i had to switch clothes at that point and was thankful for the spare pair of running shoe in my gym bag. i had intended to wear them after the race, for the ride home! with dry shoes, socks, shorts, and singlet - i was finally ready to get back out there.
interestingly, my 32nd loop (the 50k mark) coincided with the stoppage. i had reached 50k in 5:52:09 - not much slower than my 2007 pace! but it took 36:05:90 to cover the 33rd loop (which included the stoppage and change of clothes) - and it was now 6 hours and 28 minutes into the race. i got in 3 more loops to reach 36 loops in just over 7 hours (7:07:51). my overall all pace had slipped to just over 5 loops per hour. theoretically, that was just where i needed to be. but, practically, all the stops and starts from the last 2 hours had begun to take a toll on my morale and i started to fade.
now, instead of staying focused on 60 miles, or better yet, 100k, i started counting down loops to reach 47 - the 45 mile minimum distance to avoid a dnf! while i recognized it for the "bad patch" that it was, i still found it hard to work my way out of it. for the next two hours my pace dropped down to 4 loops per hour and found myself with 44 loops completed in 9 hours out on the course (9:02:49). try as i did, i couldn't muster up the desire to move any faster. in fact, after the 45 loop, i met up with nicole - who was also just finished her 45th loop - and we agreed to do the remaining two together.
as it turned out, we reached 47 loops in 10 hours (10:03:36) - and since richie wasn't having the pizza delivered for another 2 hours, we decided to keep moving forward and go for 50 miles. this was already nicole's furthest race distance, and what better way to celebrate it than tacking on a few extra miles and reaching 50 miles! emmy joined us for one of those loops, it would be emmy's 47th of the day. they traded stories of their various triathlons - nicole, in fact, had just done the portugal half ironman in under two hours in june and emmy would do the trrc biathlon sunday morning!
not only was i unable to contribute to this very interesting multi-sport conversation, but after the 12-hour race i was in no condition to try (excuse the pun) my very first multi-sport event (the trrc biathlon) on sunday morning. how ironic was it that i ran 60 miles last week and followed it up with the nyc half marathon the next day and now, after only 51.4 miles was unable to line up for a 3 mile race and half mile swim? yikes, i've gotten ahead of myself. back to the race in progress.
when nicole and i reached 52 loops (50 miles) we still had 11 minutes on the clock. richie, at that point, had switched the runners over to the small loop (0.35 miles) for easier counting. we managed to eek out 4 turns of the small loop (1.4 miles) in what must have seemed like a sprint given our earlier pace! all in all, 51.4 miles for the day and now it was time to eat some pizza! i should note that we had plenty of great food at the aid station - but after 12 hours of pb & j, cantaloupe (which was from alica's own garden!), watermelon, dots, chips - and two dunkin donuts (coconut), i was in the mood for some serious junk food.
i'm sure i ate at least 4 slices before the results were tabulated and the awards ceremony got underway! byron, in addition to his induction into the b.u.s. hall of fame that morning, won the race and phil took second place. for the women, sylvie took first place (she also ran this course last year at the during the 100 mile trek) and gail took second. in our little trio, rob racked up 60 plus miles - an awesome achievement! if it hadn't been for the rain delay, he would easily have eclipsed the 100k mark!
check out the race photos.
check out emmy's race report and photos.