Monday, August 11, 2008

pam's catskill mountain 100k relay race report: guest post

pam in action

i'm pleased to post another great race report from pam! the consecutive 20k+ miles that pam ran in the catskill mountain relay (legs 2 & 3) followed the heels of her sub 2-hour nyc half marathon performance, just two weekends ago!

pam is more than ready to tackle her first nyc marathon this fall!

Catskill Mountain 100k Relay Race

The adventure of the CMRR 100k began about a month ago when Frank and Emmy asked me to join the team. Considering the finish is 2 miles from my mom’s house … I gladly jumped on board for the early legs so the Westchester based team didn’t have to get up before dawn.

My family went up Saturday evening and had a nice dinner out in Phoenecia after finding our way to the start and driving the beginning of leg 2 (the first of my 2 legs). We crashed at my mom’s and got very little sleep since the guy in the apartment below her fell asleep with the TV blasting until 3:00am. Nice!

Rolled out of bed at 5:00am to get ready and to the start by 6:00am. The intent was that Myriam and I would meet, warm her up for leg 1, and debrief on what support she wanted from me for leg 1. The CMRR is a completely self-sustained race … no water stations, no support staff, no police/fire diverting traffic, etc. A new experience for me.

Unfortunately, Myriam got lost getting to the start and rolled in with under 5 minutes to warm up and for us to meet & greet. We made due and she started on time and did an awesome first leg. Her leg was somewhat gently rolling hills that I tracked along with her for the first 3.1 miles (of an out and back), stopping every mile to fuel her up. Thankfully it was a chilly morning so heat & humidity weren’t an issue.

At the turn around I ducked out, left some fluid at mile marker 4 for Myriam, found the port-o-john and warmed up.

The first part of my two legs (I did legs 2 and 3) was a series of turns making my way through the little village of Phoenecia to the main “highway” (a 2 lane 55mph straight away). Once on Rt.28 the boredom set in. There were no runners ahead of me, in sight. And, none behind me. Just a long 9+ mile straight away with cars whizzing by but no people (except one scary looking indigent looking fellow strolling along the side of the road).

This portion of my legs was relatively flat until around mile 7 when a steady but gentle incline began (and didn’t stop until the exchange at 12.4, and not really there either). My wonderful husband, mother and two kids (age 8 and 5) showed up at mile 6.5 or so, stopped on the side of the road ringing cow bells, maracas, whistles, the support was amazing. And, they continued stopping every mile or so and repeating the show. I’m still smiling over seeing the excitement in the little one’s faces as they cheered “mama” on.

Alas, a fellow runner happened upon me at mile 8.5, nearly knocking me over with his breeze as he flew by without a word of comraderie or encouragement. How the heck did he pass me if he started 30 minutes after us? I’ve got no clue. Didn’t think I was running that slowly … but from behind he looked like he was 17 years old (at best). It’s good to be young!

At mile 9.8 I made my first turn in over an hour onto a much nicer country road. At the turn was a great group of support … my family, Myriam (who was also wonderfully supportive along the way stopping to make sure I didn’t need anything … thank you Myriam!), support members for the other teams, etc. I screamed out to Myriam inquiring where Emmy, Frank and Don were (they should have passed me already in route to the 30k exchange area). Myriam said they hadn’t arrived yet. Ugh! That meant I was going to have to keep going at the exchange. The reality of that was daunting given leg 4 is straight up a mountainous hill.

For the next 2.4 miles (to the 30k exchange) I went through the mental push/pull of convincing myself I could do leg 4 also … after all, I am in marathon training mode, so an 18 mile run isn’t a bad thing. As I went through the exchange everyone looked at me like I was totally nuts because I didn’t stop. I just shouted out my split to Myriam and kept going. I asked some guy about 100 yards up to run back to Myriam and ask her to stay put until Frank showed up so he knew where to find me.

At this point I was at 1:49:26 for 20k … not bad for me. I was exactly 7 minutes ahead of the pace that I had estimated for our entry forms. For the next 0.75 miles I got myself psyched up to tackle the mountain on leg 4. Seven minutes into leg 4 (and I emphasize 7 minutes) Frank pulls up in Myriam’s car. Go figure … I run 7 minutes faster than expected and Frank was 7 minutes later than expected … if only I had run slower, per the game plan! Shame on me.

Major cudos to Frank … legs stuck in a car for 2+ hours driving up to the area, no bio break, no time to stretch, and he just hit the ground running. Literally! While I was certainly happy to see him it was an odd let down because I had just convinced myself I was up for the challenge. But, in hindsight … I am most grateful that they were only 7 minutes late. Frank said leg 4 was obscene.

After my legs were over I went back to my mom’s for a shower, visited with some family that coincidentally was in from out of town, went out to lunch with a colleague that lives in the area and then made my way back to the finish area to support the team as the day finished up.

While CMRR 100k is not a race I would choose to do again (not enough runners, only 18 teams, and too desolate of roads … nobody to cheer us on) I most certainly enjoyed the team spirit leading up to and during the race. My team members endured much harder legs than I (some up hills and some down … if you can call them hills, I’d call them mountains) including almost 2 hours of heavy rain including lightening. So, they win the spirit awards in my mind. Looking forward to the next time I can team up with them to win our group (vs. the 2nd place we got yesterday in the “mixed” group).

Thank you Emmy, Frank, Don and Myriam for joining me on yesterday’s adventure!

1 comment:

CTmarathoner said...

Pam, what a great report! As usual, it gives fun insight into your personal experience --I do see how your leg was boring!! We were driving on route 28 to meet up with you and it was long and not scenic:( -plus we only saw a few high school-type faster runners whipping by. No 'normal' relay runners. Thank goodness your family came to cheer you on -now the kids will realize the work you are putting in for the marathon. Glad that we weren't any later -yikes!!! You'd not be a happy camper if you had to run up that mountain!! You were just too fast for us --well, it all worked out.
good job!