Saturday, March 28, 2009

from the archives: 2007 wurtsboro mountain 30k race report

while my 2008 wurtsboro race report was posted on this blog, together with the 2008 wurtsboro race photos, in my pre-blog days i would generally post race reports on various forums (runners world, kickrunners, and even earlier coolrunning).

since i'm heading up to wurtsboro this morning, thought it would be fun to post the 2007 race report.

when i get home this afternoon, will post the photos and a race report for the 2009 edition!

Wurtsboro Mountain 30K
Saturday, March 23, 2007
Wurtsboro, New York

The Sullivan Striders’ Wurtsboro Mountain 30K was the first of two 30K road races I ran this weekend. I’ll write up The Boston Blowout 30K, held on Sunday in Fairfield, CT, separately. This was my third time running Wurtsboro Mountain, and it’s easily one of my favorite road races. In the prior two years it was held the week before Boston - it worked as my last long run before the marathon. Since it was moved up a few weeks this year, it was the day before the Blowout, so some of my friends and I just decided to run both, back to back.

The race was somewhat of a social event. I drove up the night before with my friend Emmy. We stayed at with her brother Todd, and his wonderful family, at their home on Wolf Lake. This year, we had a pre-race dinner at a local Italian restaurant with Myriam, the race director, and Todd, a friend of ours whom we had hadn’t seen since the Escarpment Trail Run last summer.

The race itself, as the name implies, is somewhat vertically challenging. It begins with an approximately 3.5 climb of 940 feet. That’s the challenging part of the course. Go out too hard and fast, and you risk an agonizing 15 more miles. But after mile 4, the course is relatively downhill for the next eight miles. This is a great stretch to recover, pick up the pace a little, and reel in the miles. From mile 12 until the finish, the course is basically rolling terrain, with one or two minor climbs (relative to the climb at the start). Weather can also be a factor on the course. Last year it was cold, damp and we had snow flurries. This year it was in the mid-30's at the start, and sunny. A bit windy, but a great day to run. It was a pleasant surprise from the weather forecasts that had predicted a chance of light showers.

In the morning, we met up with Don, Kate, and Rob. This was also Don’s third Wurtsboro race. He and I are also members of the Sullivan Striders. Emmy, Kate and Rob were back for their second races. The next morning, we all planned to be in Fairfield for the Blowout. This morning, my primary objective was to use this race as a hard tempo run. I would run the second one at an easy pace, adding a few more miles afterwards, and treat it as my weekly long run. The next weekend was the Metropolitan 50 miler in Queens, NY. Rob also planned to run the 50 miler next weekend. It would be his last hard effort before the McNaughton 100 miler. Emmy planned on running the Kurt Steiner 50k, held in conjunction with the 50 miler. Then an easy weekend (a mini-taper, so to speak) before Boston.

My time objective for Wurtsboro was to finish in under 2:30, slightly better than an 8:00 minute pace. This goal was well below last year’s target of 2:20 (and actual finish of 2:18). But since I had no intention of taking the hills hard given my other running objectives, it was a realistic goal. In fact, my slowest mile of the day, mile 3 in 9:38:49, and my overall split of 34:30 for the first four miles - roughly an 8:38 pace - had me a little concerned that the 8:00 pace may have been a bit optimistic. But I had eight relatively easy miles ahead of me - and I decided to make the most of them. The next four miles, in fact, were a series of progressively faster splits: 7:48, 7:27, 7:23, and 7:09, respectively, for an eight mile split time of 1:04:19 - an 8:02 pace. Right on target.

I felt pretty good at eight miles - the climb up the first four miles seemed like a distant memory - so I decided to push the next four miles as well since they were either downhill or flat. It worked well: 7:17, 7:01, 7:12 and 7:15, for a 12 mile split time of 1:33:07. Myriam had been hopscotching the course in her car, taking pictures, handing out gels, and cheering on the runners. At mile twelve, Emmy’s brother, Todd, worked as a volunteer and also cheered us on. It was at this point that I should have cut back my pace - the first significant rise of the final third of the course loomed at the 20k mark and, more importantly, I needed to save something for the next day. But, we’ve all been there, done that - didn’t do what we should’ve done.

Instead of cutting back to 8 minute miles, my pace bounced between 7:39 and 7:47 for the next five miles. Then, in mile 18 the rolling hills finally pushed me back to an 8:03. And I was starting to feel beaten up by this point. The last 6/10th seemed to drag on. I managed to bring it in just under 2:25 with a 2:24:55 finish. Six minutes slower than 2006, five minutes faster than my goal. I certainly had mixed feelings about that result. My concern was whether pushing the pace for the last third of the course would make running the 30K the next morning unbearable. Aside from that nagging concern, I was very pleased with the result.

At the finish, I waited for Emmy and Rob, and then changed into some dry clothes. Emmy went back out on the course for another 1.4 miles (she loves those round numbers). Rob and I went to look for Kate and Don. Then we all headed inside to the school cafeteria for some well-earned post-race food. Once again the post-race celebration was outstanding. They had pizza, six foot subs, and donuts - just to mention the things I ate. Yum! At the awards ceremony, Emmy finished 3rd overall, Kate took second in her age group, and Rob was third in his age group.

Next, stop, Fairfield.

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