eliot went from manning an aid station at the sybil ludington 50k on saturday, to running his first 50 miler at lake waramaug, the very next day. one big difference between the two days was the weather! we had great weather for sybil, but the weather gods threw eliot a nasty curve with the rain (and even more rain) that fell on sunday. but a little rain wasn't about to spoil his race - or his 48th birthday, for that matter!!
here is eliot's race report - enjoy!
The Lake Waramaug (LW) Ultras – One Day, Two Milestones Reached - My First 50 Miler and My 48th Birthday, April 25, 2010
Two marathons, four 50K’s, one 60K in the last six months …. time for a 50 miler …. right? Right. Maniac …. right? Right! So, Kate Stoker’s LW post was all she wrote …. I decided I would lose it (my 50 miler virginity) on my birthday. First, I need to give thanks to my wife, Jen, for dropping me off and then picking me up (driving 1 ½ hours each way) because, quite frankly, I wasn’t sure what shape I’d be in post-race. Haha. To Eric for cheering me in. And, to Vic/Todd for preparing my birthday feast.
After working 4 ½ hours in the sun at the Sybil Ludington 50K on Saturday and going out to a fundraising function that evening, I was tired before the race even began. But, hey, I put it out there in the ‘press’ that I would run it …. so, I wasn’t backing down.
The weather forecast called for rain/drizzle almost throughout the entire day with temperatures in the 50’s. Not optimal running conditions because there was just no keeping dry. I set out a realistic goal and a basic plan for this race (made up of a 4.4 mile out/back followed by six 7.6 mile loops around beautiful Lake Waramaug) which would get me a nine hour finish (give or take). My general plan was 40/45 minutes for the out/back and 1:20 to 1:30 for each lake loop. I planned to eat/drink at every station (boy, did I ever!) and to take a SaltStick cap every loop (for cramping) with Tylenol/Aleve as needed. I left my iPod shuffle in my drop bag for the later loops. That was it. Simple. Plus, my morning pre-race ritual was the same …. coffee, shower, Kinesio tape my knee and, for long runs, some moleskin on the bottoms of my feet …. Ooops, I forgot the moleskin which would prove to be problematic!
I saw Betsy Mainiero before and at the start of the race and that was it. She took off and after the out/back, I never saw her again. It was her first 50 miler too and she rocked it. I crossed paths once or twice with Barbara Sorrell doing the 50K (she and her husband did both Sybil and LW!). Within my own plan, I had the pleasure of running the first 16 or so miles with Dave Obelkevich (organizer of the annual ‘Run around Manhattan’ in Ted Corbitt’s memory) doing the 50K. We chatted the whole time about life and running. Two things he said I remember very clearly. First, he told me that he always keeps good running form when he is tired as this is most efficient. This was replayed in my mind, especially later in the day. Second, he asked about my sudden interest in ultras. I was at a loss for words. We both laughed!
My body and feet were completely soaked by mile 5 and I realized by mile 12 or so that there was a blister forming on the bottom of my left foot. Nothing I could do about it until I reached the start/finish area again where I could swap socks/shoes. Darn it! It was too late …. damage done. I would run the remaining 30 miles of the race with that annoying, sometimes painful, sensation on my foot. Mental note for the next long race: Don’t forget to put moleskin on your feet, especially if it is raining, dummy! Aside from this issue, I had no cramping, no major aches/pains to speak of, but I did have a few mental lapses. It can get lonely out there between stations so whenever I caught up to runners in walking mode, I would walk/talk with them until I felt an opportunity to move on. And, when alone in my own hill walking mode …. I sometimes forgot to start running again because I was daydreaming. La-la land can be that way sometimes! Mental note #2 for the next long race: Put your iPod on your head for the last few loops and let the music pace you, dummy!
The weather may have been wet, cold and unfriendly, but the race volunteers were anything but! Here is how each lake loop went for me: At about 2 miles, I hit Kate and Jill Siladi’s station (with monkey/coconuts) where I got birthday kisses, hugs, balloons, cakes and cheers. Some guy even pretended that it was his birthday too just to steal a hug! At about 4 miles was the ‘soup kitchen.’ Here they had hot chicken noodle soup and buttery grilled cheese sandwich squares. I had a soup and sammie each time I came around. I think Betsy gave them the word as they were giving me birthday wishes too! At about mile 6, they had great cookies …. and, whenever I thanked them for being there, they thanked me for coming out! With all the eating, I think I gained weight during this race! Then, of course, there was the start/finish station where there was clapping and picture taking every time I came around. LW is a very well-organized race, with a nice finisher’s medal and tech tee with volunteers with hearts of gold. When I finished …. someone unlaced my timing chip for me because she knew bending might be a problem. Oh, the ice-cold Negra Modelo beer went down real well too!
With a ‘soft’ time goal of 9 hours, I am happy with my 9:31:06 (unofficial) time for my first 50 miler. Any thoughts of pushing to 100K quickly passed as soon as I saw Jen and Eric waiting/cheering at the finish. Post-race, my body is tired but no more so than after any long-haul race. The only thing to tend to now is that darn blister on my foot bottom and a slight tenderness around my right shin area (probably due to my awkward, blister-favoring gait). Perhaps, I’ll even be in good enough shape to do something off-road like the Long Island Greenbelt 50K on May 8th. We shall see ….