Tuesday, October 7, 2008

ted corbitt 24 hour run race report

to borrow a line from dicken's "tale of two cities," i'd have to title this race report "it was the best of times, it was the worst of times." i won't quote the entire paragraph, but the ted corbitt 24 hour run at juniper valley park in middle village, queens, seemed to have a bit of everything in between those two extremes. the short version: 24 hours after the roller coaster like experience began, i finished it with just over 91 miles. i can't even decide whether i'm bummed at missing the 100 mile mark, or elated at having logged my largest mileage total since the 2007 vermont 100! now, even two days removed from the event i'm still wondering...

so to move this forward, i'll step back to the beginning. emmy and rob arrived at my house just at 8:40 saturday morning and it took us just over a half hour to reach juniper valley park (with a clutch assist from helga, rob's handheld gps device). the course would begin with two loops of the track and then move out to a 1.2 mile loop of the park. there were two hills on the course; the larger was a slow steady climb and the second was simply short and steep.

prior to the start richie introduced ted corbitt's son, gary, who said a few words about his dad. then, in a surprise, a few members of the sri chinmoy marathon team sang a short, wonderful song in ted corbitt's honor. i was surprised to learn this was the 3rd ted corbitt 24 hour run (the first one was in 1983, the second 20 years later in 2003). on the track, we all fell in behind gary for the first two laps, then took off at our own individual paces as we exited the track.

for the first few loops of the course, brennan and i ran together. but, as in the staten island 6 hour run, that pace was too fast for me so after a few loops i dropped back and slowed it down a little. roughly, my early splits were 1:28 for ten miles (way too fast); 3:14 for 20 miles (too fast); 4:26 for the marathon (about right); and 5:33 for the 50k. interestingly, at 6 hours, i pretty much equalled my mileage from the staten island 6 hour run.

it was at that point it that it dawned on me - after all that work, i had just reached the one- quarter mark of the race! we still had 18 hours of forward motion ahead of us! in about 2 hours we were going to get some pasta for dinner. i had been eating mainly honeydew melon, chips, pretzels, and pb & j squares for the previous hours. i was starting to lose interest in the aid station food and looked forward to something more substantive.

i think it was around 5:30 - just before the pasta was ready, actually - i was pleasantly surprised to see my friend michael at the start/finish area! we went to high school together and he's a member of the prospect park track club - who had a couple of members running the race as well. it was really great to see him - and get to meet his son as well! this is a shot of the two of us almost 8 hours into the race:

after that quick photo op i sat down for the first time and had some pasta. emmy, rob and brennan also stopped to grab some as well. that particular stop (socializing and food) and the subsequent loop, took almost 37 minutes, but the break was well worth it. after a couple more hours on the course my calves began to cramp up - and despite all the gatorade and bananas, i couldn't seem to get my act together.

thankfully, rob gave me a succeed tablet and that seemed to do the trick. a few minutes later i was moving forward again! but the stop also hit me with a case of the chills - so i had to put on a few layers of extra clothes (including gloves and wool hat)! that entire loop took 33 minutes - most of which i found myself shivering! still i managed to reach 50 miles in roughly 10:28 and was well on my way to the 100k minimum mileage.

at the end of that loop i got rid of the sweatshirt, gloves and hat - but later in the race the chills would revisit me. emmy took this photo on me the second time i needed to bundle up. but for the foreseeable few hours the night air was wonderful! in fact, i took the opportunity to call home around midnight to see how pat and katie did at the light the night walk. still, little did i suspect that the next 3 and a half hours would be the lowest point of the race.

from midnight until about 3:30 in the morning i ran in almost total isolation. i caught sight of brennan a couple of times, but didn't see rob and emmy that entire time. i also caught sight of a few runners sleeping on benches scattered across the park. to break up the loneliness i took out the ipod - but after 2 hours i couldn't stand listening to it! my already bleak mood was seriously exacerbated by my growing hunger pangs. i hadn't had any real food since that bowl of pasta at six - and by midnight i couldn't eat anymore aid station food.

at some point the calf cramps returned - and caught me off guard. my left calf seized up and i fell forward - amazingly, i managed to grab hold of a two foot iron border fence and broke my fall! it took a while to massage out the cramp, but after that excitement my adrenaline started to flow and i started running again. but when i reached 75 miles just before 4:oo in the morning (17:50), i could feel myself starting to shut down bit by bit.

at that point emmy came to my aid with more succeed tablets, but i need to sit for a bit - which led to my second bout with the chills. i went through the same routine getting bundled up and this time, as i started to warm up - the first drops of rain arrived shortly after 4. that was just a tease, the real rain drops waited until 4:30 before coming down. that started a string of showers that would arrive, drop a lot of rain, and suddenly clear up for a half hour or so, before returning. this pattern lasted until well past dawn.

at one point i sat out a rain shower in the field house - and took the opportunity to have some hot coffee and some fresh pancakes that rich cooked up! i was still hungry for real food, but this meal certainly took the edge off under the circumstances. i also managed a donut for good measure. then, once the rain stopped, brennan and i went out for another loop. around 7:40 or so, having just completed 83+ miles, i headed back into the field house and checked in on rob. earlier he had gotten shin splints - now he had a full blown knot on his leg!

it reminded me of the very same injury i sustained at umstead last spring. he set up his foam mattress in the field house and got off the leg for a while. after he was settled in, i decided to go back out for a few more loops - targeting 90 miles. the 100 mile target was out of reach (i'd need 13 loops to hit 100) - but 5 more loops would get me to 90.4 miles. with roughly an hour an a half+ left on the clock, that was doable.

in fact, emmy and i did one loop together - that one put her over a hundred miles! barbara, after scoring loops all night, also joined us for part of that loop. after that loop i took off and completed my two remaining loop to reach 90 miles - and then i even tacked on one turn of the small loop to bring the final total to 91 miles! i was wet, my feet were swollen, i had blisters on the soles of both my feet and still starving - but was euphoric to have finished!

everything moved in slow motion afterwards - changing into dry clothes was tricky! moving the stuff back to the car was excruciating (thank god emmy had moved the car up to our site from it's original location). and the only food i had to eat - more dunkin donuts (and iced tea)!! the awards ceremony was fun - and the sri chinmoy marathon team gave each participant a cd with race photos - that was such a nice thing to do!

when i got home that afternoon - sleep, mcdonalds quarter pounders, pizza, wine, more sleep, giants football - in no particular order. the only serious issue i had the next day, swollen feet and the lingering blisters. otherwise, no worse for the wear! for all the ups and downs - it was an excellent adventure - and i'd do it again in a heartbeat!

here are my race photos.
here are race photos from the sri chinmoy marathon team.


DawnB said...

you're amzing congratulations.

Just_because_today said...

I swear I dont understand how one can run the same loop over and over and over...then I again, I used to go to Central Park with this girl from the running club and run the same 1.5 loop to even 11 miles. It didnt really bothered me...
You are pretty amazing, my friend. Good job

AnthonyP said...

Congrats dude. Nice report.

johnking said...

great race report man! still kickin a** and takin names!

CTmarathoner said...

wow --you definately captured the highs and lows of this event. You left out the woman pushing her 2 cats in a stroller!! haha. Think it was amazing that, with a chest cold and amemia you made it 91 miles. It would have been completely doable to make 100 for you but that was enough -you came in 14th overall..during the night, I feel badly that we didn't all stay together -I had this feeling of dread and depression as night descended as it got desolate out there. I had a negative attitude toward the event until mile 80 when I got in the zone, and of course that's when the rain started -ugh!!
Glad that you helped Rob...more important than getting laps in:)

Anonymous said...

nice article.

Richard /Germany