i'm off to run the caumsett park 50k on long island this morning. i skipped this race last year, but ran it the previous two years. in fact, the first race report i posted on the rundangerously blog was the 2008 edition of the caumsett 50k! my how time flys :D
this report is from the 2007 edition. i ran 10 good laps and hit the wall for the last two - and missed my 4:30 target. the following year i bounced back and ran a 4:23! this time around (and i use the term literally because the course is 12 loops of the park) i have the same 4:30 target.
caumsett is a great social event as well because in additon to kicking off the annual broadway ultra society grand prix, it's the usatf national 50k championship and draws a large crowd of elite ultrarunners. sound be plenty of familiar faces on the course.
Caumsett Park 50k.
Sunday March 4, 2007
Lloyd Neck, New York
Caumsett Park was the semi-official kick-off to my training plan for the Vermont 100 Endurance Run in July. Caumsett was also the 2007 USAFT 50k Road Championship. I had hoped that February would have been a better build-up, mileage-wise, than it turned out to be. The weather gods apparently had to make-up for the unusually warm December and January w/a brutally cold February - and dragged it out well into March for good measure. Oh well, that’s what makes winter running so interesting. As a result, my average weekly mileage for February was a somewhat disappointing 46.55 - instead of the 50-55 that I had targeted. But my biggest disappointment was not running long all month. My longest February run was the 12.4 miles at the 20k in Southport, Ct, on 2/11. Even w/the 2 mile warm-up and the 4 post-race miles, those 16.4 miles was the longest mileage day of the month. Instead of long runs, my weekends were filled w/races. Five races, and a building run-up to mix it up a bit. It was an eclectic bit of speed work.
My last long “run” had been the Goofy race and a half challenge (1/6-7), which I actually treat as the end of my 2006 racing season. Then I laid low for most of January - only running one more race, the Manhattan Half Marathon, at the end of the month. Despite the laid-back approach, I still managed average weekly mileage of 50.10 for the month. With the Manhattan Half and the post-race cool down run of 3.2 miles, my biggest mileage day of January was 16.3 - hardly an auspicious way to kick off my 2007 running season. So, driving to the race on Sunday morning, I was more than a little concerned that I just didn’t have the mileage base to jump into a 50k. This was more than an idle concern. I had seriously considered switching to the HMRRC winter marathon in Albany the week earlier, instead of doing the 50k. But, for better or worse, I stuck to my original plan.
The drive down was uneventful - played Frampton’s “Do You Feel Like We Do?” followed by Bob Weir & Ratdog’s version of “Feel Like A Stranger” to amuse myself. That morning, most of my friends were in Norwalk, CT, for a 25k, or the Celebrate Life Half Marathon in Sullivan County, NY. But I did expect to see my friend Rob there. He was using this as a tune-up for the McNaughton 100M in April. As I pulled into the parking lot, the sight of the American and MIA flags snapping to attention on the flag pole didn’t bode well for race day conditions. We had gotten a reprieve from the sub-zero wind chills earlier in the week. But it was still cold enough that this heavy wind would really make things uncomfortable.
I arrived with plenty of time, for what I thought was an 8:00 start. I was mildly amused at 8:05 when the race director announced that we’d start walking over to the start at about 8:10. But I was positively mystified to see Rob walk in at 8:10. “Aren’t you worried about missing the start?” I asked him. “Why? The race starts at 8:30.” Well that was a surprise! I had really begun to wonder if everyone was just being incredibly laid back about the actual start time! Thankfully, my mistake had gotten me there early. The opposite wouldn’t have been pretty - ha.
On the walk over to the start, we got an unpleasant preview of the serious wind gusts that would blast across the open fields. The course was 12 loops of an approximately 2.6 mile park roadway. It had two significant rises, but otherwise it was a just a basic loop of the park. The major aid station was the finish/turnaround area. A second aid station w/fluids and a porta-john was set up half-way thru the loop. There were about 100 plus runners at the start. A significant number were from out of state - there for the USATF Championship race. But the most were local runners from Long Island and neighboring areas. I spotted a Marathon Maniac singlet and introduced myself to Dean. Next to him was El, another MM. There were a few more familiar faces from the New York City ultrarunning community as well. After a bit of small talk by the race director, off we went.
Rob and I started off together. Midway thru the first loop we were joined by Nick Palazzo, a finisher of 12 Vermont 100s, among his long list of accomplishments. He heard us talking about Vermont and shared some of his Vermont experiences with us. We also talked about 100 milers in general. Those first two loops went by quickly. I ran one more loop with Rob, but after he pulled over for a pit stop, I was on my own for the rest of the race. I didn’t see Rob again until half-way thru the eleventh loop. Since the majority of the course lined with trees, the effect of the wind was minimized. Unfortunately, the approaches to and from the finish/turnaround area went alongside open fields, completely exposed to the wind. We seemed to be constantly welcomed back to the turnaround with gale force winds, and then again as we headed back out - ouch.
My race plan was simple - get in as many 23 minute or better loops as possible. I hoped to finish in 4:30, which was what I thought was reasonable given my training leading up to the race. I stuck to my 23 minute target for the first 10 loops. My marathon split was roughly 3:48. I had a decent shot at 4:30, but the weather ultimately took its toll. Despite two warm layers and a vest, I was unable to get warm at any point during the run that morning. Finally, at the start of loop eleven, I pulled off to the baggage check and dug out my windbreaker. My fingers were so numb - even though I wore gloves - that a volunteer was kind enough to zip it up for me. Then I went back out for the final two loops in 28:22 and 27:37, respectively.
I finished the race in 4:43:57 - a 9:09 pace, well off my 4:30 target. But, under the circumstance, I was pleased with that result (and the first 10 loops). Amazingly, the 4:43 was good enough for 2nd place in USATF m40-44 age group - neat. Next up is the Metropolitan 50m (or Kurt Steiner 50k) on April 1, Boston, and then the Lake Waramug 50k at the end of April.