Monday, February 1, 2010

eliot's ted corbitt "run around manhattan" 50k race report: guest post

the ted corbitt "run around manhattan" is eliot's third ultra in as many months - and second in one month! what a way to bookend january - kicking off the new year with with the "recover from the holidays" 50k and ending the month with a loop of manhattan - a 50k measured in horton miles, no less!

above is a photo of eliot and dave obelkevich at the start of our run. dave had just read us a letter from ted corbitt's son, gary. and here is eliot's great report of the run that followed:

RR – Dave Obelkevich’s Ted Corbitt ‘Run around Manhattan’ – 54K
My ‘Run’ Through Memory Lane - Manhattan, NY, January 31, 2010

You meet the nicest people ‘around’ New York. I write my second-ever RR while the thoughts and images are fresh, and refreshed, in my mind. Two RR’s in one month? Writing these RR’s will not become a regular habit; but this run had a lot of significance to me since I grew up in NYC’s Chinatown, and today’s run helped bring back many of those happy (sometimes forgotten) memories. So, this won’t be your typical report; rather, it will be a collection of the thoughts that ‘ran’ through my head with the ‘views’ through my eyes. So, again, please pardon the lack of the detail in this RR that experienced runners usually crave …. and, be forewarned, there will be none of that here today.

First, I give so much credit to Dave Obelkevich (a legend himself for having the longest streak of NYC Marathon finishes) for honoring Ted Corbitt (the ‘Godfather’ of long distance running) by organizing this annual run around Manhattan …. one of Ted’s training runs. Throughout the day, I had the pleasure of running with many old and ‘new’ friends. To all of you runners: Thanks for making this a very memorable day. Perhaps, we’ll see each other soon when our paths/roads/trails cross again. Last, but not least …. let’s give props to Alex, the rolling one man race crew, for his excellent support throughout the day.

This Wednesday past, I caught some eMail traffic from Emmy about a run on Sunday. Didn’t know anything about the run …. except that it was ‘around’ Manhattan. So, I traded a few eMails with Emmy and Frank and that’s all there was to it. I was committed to doing this even before I got the specific details. Emmy/Frank – What have you done to me?!!

It would be another cold (but dry …. whew!) day today – temperatures ranging from the high teens to 30-ish degrees with wind chills of 10 to 20 degrees. I dressed in layers topped with a fleece that I could open/close to regulate my temperature. My hat and gloves were on early and off later in the day. The 8:00 a.m. start was at Dave’s building on 97th Street/West End Avenue. So, to avoid the hassle of parking, I took Metro-North to Harlem/125th Street and headed down by subway to Dave’s apartment. I arrived at the same time as a contingent from the KRRC and followed them up. Dave greeted me with open arms. Emmy and Frank arrived shortly thereafter. There would be up to 30 runners today (some doing all the K’s, some not).

We took a few photos outside the building then we were off to the races. With the breeze coming off the Hudson river, it was cold as we ran north along the Henry Hudson Parkway: we passed the George Washington Bridge, Washington Heights (where the annual NYRR Coogan’s race is held) and the Cloisters (where I had gone on elementary school trips as a child – I still remember seeing the Unicorn Tapestries). We then headed through Inwood Hill Park with views of Spuyten Duyvil and Marble Hill (stops on my daily Metro-North commute to the City). We marched past Baker Field, where the Columbia University Lions play football …. although I went to business school at Columbia, this was my first actual viewing of Baker Field. Our first rest stop was at Twin Donut (218th Street/Broadway) after about 8 miles. [Approx. 8 miles.]

The next 8 or so miles brought us to our second rest stop at Bob’s Bagels on 87th/York Avenue. During this portion of the run, we wound ourselves down and through - Broadway - 10th Avenue - Dyckman Street – St. Nicholas Avenue - up Fort George Hill - Edgecombe Avenue to 124th Street/Mt. Morris Park W. One part even took us along the NYC Marathon route down 5th Avenue. I remembered vividly how tired I felt both times I ran this portion of the NYC Marathon course in 2008 & 2009. Ahhh …. Central Park – the home of the NYRR races, the NYC Marathon finish and Wollman Rink (where I ice-skated as a young teen). [Approx. 17 miles.]

After my fill of Gatorade (w/ salt packs added) and chunky chocolate chip cookies, we set off across 86th Street to the East River. This was, for me, by far the coldest part of the run. I was still damp and the cold air hitting my cooled down body made me really shiver. Thank goodness the East River promenade was now in full sun. Before long, I was warmed up again. The next 8 or so miles were running southbound beside/under the FDR Drive. We would pass many landmark bridges along this route – 59th Street / Williamsburg / Manhattan / Brooklyn. When I first started my casual 2 - 3 mile jog/runs, say, ~ 25 years ago; I used to run across/back the Brooklyn Bridge .… so that is, I guess, where it all began for me. We ran by Stuyvesant Town (where my sister lives), by the South Street Seaport (where I would go to hang-out as a teen and, then, into my 20’s) all the way down to our third rest stop – the Staten Island Ferry Terminal. The Staten Island Ferry also brought back memories of my teen years. My brother, friends and I would regularly take the ferry over to Staten Island for day long bike trips. For kicks, we would spend the day riding to the other side of the island just to ride down Victory Boulevard – a big-ass, white-knuckled, hill – back to the ferry terminal. Lots of work for 10 minutes of extreme satisfaction. [Approx. 25 miles.]

The final stretch home. We circled around Battery Park and then up the esplanade/Greenway on the Hudson River (where Captain ‘Sully’ landed his plane last year). Along the way, we passed the footprint of the Twin Towers (as a boy, I watched them go up …. as a man, I sadly watched them fall), the ‘new’ Stuyvesant High School at Chambers Street (I graduated from this high school when the building was located on 15th Street/1st Avenue), Canal Street – portal to Chinatown, and on Worth Street - the Church where I met my Jen over 30 years ago and married her 8 years later, 23rd Street (home of Chelsea Piers) and to the east – Baruch College, where I received my undergraduate degree. A few of us affectionately referred to Baruch as ‘UCLA’ – the ‘University on the Corner of Lexington Avenue.’ We passed the Intrepid Museum (where my cousin was stationed a few times during Fleet Week in the 90’s when he was a Naval carrier jet pilot). We continued up the Greenway to the 95th Street exit, and then we were back at Dave’s on 97th/West End Avenue at about 3:20 p.m. for the complete loop. [Approx. 33.5 miles.]

After the run, we took more photos; shared smiles, stories and a great sense of satisfaction for having completed this wonderful journey together …. with many new friendships as a result. Like I said earlier …. you meet the nicest people ‘around’ New York.

So, to recap my results today: Total Distance - 54K; Time – Fantastic.


UltraBrit said...

Another excellent race report Eliot. Sounds like it was a wonderful experience and makes me wish that I could have been a part of it. I loved how you added the personal thoughts and memories about the places through the city. I also loved that it was a small intimate group of nice people and that you ran together.

I think Frank and Emmy have sucked you into their web and I think you are loving it. Good for you! Enjoy!


CTmarathoner said...

Eliot --great angle on this rr!!!
enjoyed reading about all the thoughts and memories that went thru your head while we were out for 7 1/2 hours...this was your 3rd ultra-woo hoo!!! and all in the winter --but what a way to see nyc...

Eliot said...

Frank - Thanks again for sharing the day and posting my RR to your blog.

Kate - Next year ... we'll all do it together.

Emmy - I had fun running/chatting with you. It is not often that I have the opportunity to 'keep up' with you.