Wednesday, January 11, 2012
this was my third trip to norrie point for the mid-hudson road runners club "recover from the holidays" 50k - and by far the warmest, most runner-friendly of the three. in the prior two, 2008 and 2011, the temperature started in the low 20's and never worked its way beyond the mid-20's. there was snow and ice on the ground each time - enough that i wore trail shoes for what is essentially a road race within a park! this time there were no snow covered roads, no trail shoes, and temperatures that started in the low 30's and rose into the high 50's! good enough to run in shorts!
the course consists of ten 5k out and backs, with two decent climbs along the way. my goal was a sub-5 hour finish, which basically worked out to ten sub-30 minute 5k's. it would be my longest run since the brooklyn marathon in mid-november. since brooklyn, my longest runs had only been between 10 and 12 miles - so i was decidedly under trained for the 50k distance. be that as it may, i looked at it as an over distance run that would kick off my winter base-building training.
in what eventually turned into two separate races, a solid 30k and a grueling 20k, i missed my target by six minutes. my 5:05:45 finish, 9:50 pace, while the fastest of my three 50k's at norrie point, was decidedly unsatisfying because of the increasingly painful calf cramps that bedeviled me during the last four out and backs. that not to say i didn't enjoy myself - it was a great day to be outside and run long!
during the first half my splits were pretty consistent, and i ran a 2:14:58 for the 25k. that pace would have netted a sub 4:30 finish (which wasn't in the cards given my training mileage for the last month and a half). if i ran could run the remaining four 5k's at a 30 minute pace, i'd have 4:45 finish (which i thought was doable).
10k 26:06 52:09
15k 27:48 1:19:58
20k 27:16 1:47:14
25k 27:43 2:14:58
at the end of the second 5k i took a couple of minutes for a bathroom break. at the end of 25k i took a couple of minutes to go back to the car for some gu and fluids. aside from those breaks, i felt fine. the second half went off according to plan:
30k 29:30 2:44:28
but that was the last solid 5k of the day. mid-way through 30k i began to feel calf cramps sneaking up on me. this issue has nagged me at races of various distances - and i haven't found a satisfactory explanation for what brings them on, and why sometimes they just go away and, other times, get worse. today it was definitely the latter :(
at the end of very end the seventh out and back, just before the 35k split, i was hit with a pair of cramps that made my legs seize up, just as i was crossing the road to cut a tangent. if it wasn't so painful, i would have laughed out loud at the jerky series of pirouettes that i made with locked legs as i tried to get out of the roadway! but i wasn't smiling but wincing. one runner came up and asked me if she could get me some help from the aid station. the second runner that came up asked me if i needed help getting back to the aid station - my right calf was still knotted so tightly that i couldn't stand! somehow i weathered that setback and finished 35k - in what was my slowest split of the day.
35k 36:22 3:20:50
the remaining 3 tours of the course were a combination of running and walking (whenever the cramps returned). it was a real struggle - and a lot of runners offered help and encouragement along the way. i missed my split for 40k, so it took 1:09:53 to reach 45k. at that point, with thankfully only 5k left to go, i managed to wrap it up with a 35:02 out and back. what an exhausting way to finish a race! so while i was happy to have it finished, i was frustrated at how the last 20k played out.
afterwards, nachos and beer at the hyde park brewing company, quickly erased memories of the last 20k :D