Tuesday, July 31, 2018
Escarpment #8 is in the books (and now just 3 more finishes to reach the 200 mile club)! But the 42nd edition will probably be my favorite for a long time to come because – out of the blue – I managed a course PR! Even as I write this I find it hard to explain how, less than a month away from my 56th birthday, I ran a dozen minutes faster than my first Escarpment – way back in 2006!
Back then, at the relatively young age of 43 (soon to turn 44), I ran a 5:20:48 and was convinced that I’d return the following year and run it in under 5 hours! Ah, the hubris of youth! Needless to say, a sub-5 hour finish was my goal for those years. It wasn’t until my 4th finish that a realized that target was getting a bit further and further from my abilities! Thereafter, I focused on running sub 5:30 – and trying to beat my 5:20 PR (a more realistic goal).
Ironically, this time around I really didn’t have a goal in mind – other than finish and requalify for next year. I thought I could run a 5:30 – but honestly, wasn’t too confident about that because of my poor showing at the Vermont 100 last week. Not only did I DNF there, but I ran my lowest number of miles (44) in all of my 7 trips up there (my record has gone into the red, 3 finishes and 4 DNF’s – but that’s a story for another day). Were my quads sufficiently recovered for the downhills of Escarpment? That was the question that preoccupied my attention going into the race.
Okay, as for the race itself, I was slotted into the very last wave (20) – but actually went off with the 14th wave (and, ultimately, I think there were only 16 wave that went off). On the climb up to Windham, I fell in with a trio of runners who happened to be from Scarsdale – how bizarre is that?! There was a 4th member to their group (also from Scarsdale), but he was behind us and I never got to meet him. We reached the peak in just over 56 minutes – which was 2+ minutes faster than I did that climb back in 2016.
I had a handheld water bottle with me, but it was in my backpack. The weather would turn out to be so exceptional that I never took it out. Running from aid station to aid station without my handheld was a bit of an alien experience. In most years I could drink the entire 20 ounce bottle well before reaching the next refueling point! Also, for the second time in a row I had cut off gloves with me. I didn’t put them on till the base of Blackhead, but then wore them straight to the finish.
When I reached Blackhead I was surprised to see I was 11 minutes ahead of my 2016 pace (2:09 versus 2:20). It didn’t seem as if I was pushing the pace – and I actually gave back a full minute on the climb up to the peak, reaching it in 27 minutes versus the 26 it took me in 2016. Amazingly, at the elevation high point I found myself a solid 10 minutes ahead of my previous performance. But that was really the last of any big time gains. For the rest of the distance I managed to keep pace with 2016 (or again a minute here and there).
I picked up 4 minutes on the descent to Dutcher’s Notch and climb up to Stoppel Point, reaching it in 4:02 (versus 4:16). But coming off Stoppel, on that treacherous stretch of rock bed we have to traverse before the final aid station, I took my first (and only) fall of the day. I landed on my right side, bruising my forearm (the welt is still there as I write this) and my ego. But I wasn’t any worse for the wear and pushed on. The final 4+ miles from Stopple to North Lake may be the most technical stretch of terrain (even though all the real elevation change is over at that point).
Right behind the photographer taking our pictures as we come down off one of the endless patches of boulders that populate the last 2 miles was a signpost that read, .9 mile to North Lake. I took it in with a simultaneous mixture of relief and dread! My legs were pretty exhausted by that point, but that wasn’t road mile left to go – it was more boulder hopping! Even so, I just pushed on, knowing it would be over soon enough. When I finished, I was actually confused because backing out 1:05 (the elapsed time from my starting wave at 10:05) it worked out to 5:10 finish! I was both dubious and thrilled (mostly dubious, but I was sure my finish was a sub-5:20).
While I waited for the official results, Doug kindly offered me a beer! I found myself sitting in the sun sipping from the beer on one hand – and a coke from the other hand. There really isn’t a good explanation for that particular rehydration plan – ha! I also had a couple of peaches, but wasn’t up for anything approximating real food. When the results were posted my official finish was 5:08:03 (16:32 pace)! It was 2 minutes better than what I had calculated!
So it was a great day in the Catskills for me (which may even be an early birthday present)! Now, as a result, the idea of running a sub 5:00 finish has been resurrected for me! Not sure that’s possible (this may have been a total fluke), but I will go into the 43rd edition with that time goal in mind :D
Sunday, July 29, 2018
Quick Recap of today's Escarpment Trail Run - 5:08:03! That was a solid 16 minutes faster than my last Escarpment 5:24:19 (2016) - and, in more amazing news, a PR for me! It shaved off 15+ minutes from my old 5:23:30 (2006) personal best over the course! At my age, any PR is a reason to celebrate - ha! But this one is especially sweet ;D
Maybe it was the perfect weather? Maybe it was going into the race with zero expectations (or nearly so, I was hoping to finish in 5:30 - or at a minimum, re-qualify for next year). Whatever the reason(s) - I'll take it :D
Here is my race report.
Here are the official race results from the Albany Running Exchange.
Saturday, July 28, 2018
It was hot and humid for the team 5 milers this morning (typical conditions for this annual staple, actually). I was on the fence about this one because I'm doing the Escarpment Trail Run tomorrow. But I decided it was important enough to run it easy to see if I've managed to recover from the beating my quads took in Vermont last weekend. Thankfully, all systems are a go for tomorrow (except for speed - ha).
As for the race itself, I had wanted to run 8 minute miles and finish in about 40 minutes. That turned out to be a stretch. I managed a 41:49, 8:22 pace - well off my 40:00, 8:00 target. While it was probably my slowest 5 miler in recent memory, it did serve its purpose. My quads have bounced back and I should be able to survive the down hills tomorrow :D
One interesting aside, on the way there - at the 125th Street Station - there was a distressed old timer from Brooklyn who had gotten "lost" on the way to Central Park. To make a long story short, there was not downtown local service. We had to go to 86th Street, cross Lexington Avenue, and take the uptown local back to 103rd Street. A day in the life of the NYC MTA :O
Here are the official results from NYRR.
Thursday, July 26, 2018
This afternoon I picked up my bib for the Team Championship races on Saturday. There are no shirts given out for these races. Instead NYRR has given out various running related goodies over the years. For the 2018 edition we get a running shoes bag! These are pretty cool, actually. I've only gotten this swag once before (if I remember correctly) - and it was at a trail 50k! Running shoes or not, it's a pretty nifty bag :D
As for the 5 miler, it will be more of a jog instead of a race for me. Coming off my 44 mile DNF at Vermont last weekend and on the day before my 8th trip up to the Escarpment Trail Run on Sunday, this one more about socializing with fellow runners and their teams! Taconic always comes out in force for this one - along w/post-race food and refreshments (e.g. beer) :D
If your at this one - say hello!
Monday, July 23, 2018
This was a tough weekend for me in Vermont. My race ended at Lillian's Aid Station, just under 4 miles from Camp 10 Bear. I really haven't had a chance yet to reflect on all the whys - but I started off slow, and just got slower - and when my ankle flared up, I started shuffling w/a limp... it was time to pull the plug.
My Vermont record now stands at 3 finishes, 4 DNF's - with my last 2 outings both DNF's (argh)!
Aside from my personal performance (or lack thereof, as the case may be) - everything else was great. As always the race organizers and volunteers did an outstanding job. And all the people I ran with were inspiring, to say the least.
Will I re-up for 2019? Without a doubt :D
Saturday, July 14, 2018
Hot and humid morning to run 4 miles in Central Park. But the Retro Run was still fun - and afterwards, a bona fide Good Humor truck handing out ice pops! There was also a band taking us down memory lane (mostly 70's stuff) - and that was fun too!
As for the actual race, I was well off my target of 30 minutes. Maybe it was the easy five miler yesterday, but my legs had only one gear this morning - and it wasn't a fast one. My 30:56, 7:44 pace, was okay - and I'm happy with it. But it was the third race of the week(!) - and I may have left some of my speed may back at the Waveny XC Relay and Taconic Beer Mile :D
Here are the official results from NYRR.
Friday, July 13, 2018
Picked up my shirt and bib for the Retro Run 4 Miler this afternoon - one of those rare times I couldn't get to the NYRR until the day before the race! For some reason the shirt comes out as grey in the photo, it's actually blue! Not sure what sort of gremlins got into my camera to pull that off?!
More interestingly, however, was the NYRR summer book "library" that offered runners FREE copies from an eclectic stockpile of used running books! I didn't know about this (and it's available till 7/22 I believe). I picked up a book on the 1908 Olympic marathon and a short bio on Jock Semple! Wow - what a really COOL THING (that certainly deserves ALL CAP treatment)!
As for the race itself, 4 miles in Central Park tomorrow morning. I may wear a bandana, going "retro" to the way I ran in the 70s and 80s - haha :D
Wednesday, July 11, 2018
I love one mile races - and I lover beer. My fellow mile/beer lovers lined up for the always awesome Taconic Road Runner's Beer Mile (which tonight also included what appeared to be wine coolers and/or hard ciders)!
Last year I couldn't run it because the date conflicted with my summer session class. But back in 2016 I managed to run a solid 8:35 - something not to be repeated this time around. Four beers, high humidity, and slightly older runner... I eked out a 9:30 finish :O
Addendum: According to Strava, my moving time was exactly 6:59 - which meant that 2:30+ was "drinking" time. Well, of that drinking time, practically an entire minute was devoted to beer #4 - haha!
Another highlight of this event is that it's held in conjunction with our Club's monthly meeting. So after the running/drinking we climbed up the hill to the Gazebo for the results/meeting/food - and, it should go w/out saying, a bit more drinking :D
Here are the official results from the Taconic RR.
Here's the link to the Taconic Race Photos!
An impressive array of fluids nicely lined up at the start!
A bucolic venue for the meeting :D
I love the Waveney XC Series - but getting there after work can be chore. The drive to New Cannan normally takes me less than 30 minutes - but on a Tuesday night (like tonight), it's more like 40/40+ minutes in rush hour traffic. But then, on the way home, usually no traffic (again, like tonight) and I make it back in the door in less than 30 minutes. Okay, my traffic rant is over :O
As for the relay (one of my all-time favorite events), Rob and I teamed up to run the 3x 1 Mile repeats. I got to be the anchor (which gave Rob great opportunity to have beer waiting at the finish line!) leg of our team. We finished the 6 miles in 43:53, for a combined 7:19 pace. I didn't wear a watch/carry my phone, so didn't have my splits. Luckily, Rob was able to breakout out times from his GPS - 22:08/21:45. But, interestingly, his GPS measured the course at 1.04 miles (a bit long)!
That was a reversal from the short (very) 5K at Westport on Saturday. Still, a 21:45 worked out to a 7:15 pace, slightly slower than my 5K pace Saturday - but right in line w/the cross country terrain.
Only a couple of pictures this time around - some of which I "borrowed" (such as Francoise modeling this Summer's hot pink tee shirt for AG winners!)
Next up - the Taconic Beer Mile tomorrow night!
Here are the official results from ClubCt.
Saturday, July 7, 2018
What a great morning to run a 5K or 5 Miler? That was my dilemma when I woke up because which race, the Norwalk Summer Series 5 Miler or Westport Summer Series 5K, was still an open question. Ultimately it was the shorter distance - haha -that led to Westport and Longshore Country Club and lining up for the 5K. Truth be told, my legs were still a bit sore from the "speed work" at Van Cortlandt Park Thursday night!
As for the race itself, I managed to squeak out a 21:37, 6:59 pace, unofficially. When then the results were posted, it became 21:39 (losing 2 seconds, officially) and the pace being adjusted upward to 7:06 - because the officially measured distance worked out to 3.04 miles! Yikes, so much for my sub-7 on a short 5K course - haha :D
Time aside, running at Longshore and along Compo Beach on a gorgeous Saturday morning is wonderful!
Here are the official race results from the Westport Road Runners.
Friday, July 6, 2018
Last night was a bit of speed work - 2 miles with a hill (Cemetery Hill, to be specific) tossed in - at Van Cortland Park. It was the VCTC Summer XC Series Relay - and even with a strong breeze across the flats, it was Hot and Humid!
The relay was 2x2, with each person running the 2 mile loop. I teamed up with Emmy (I believe we last teamed up for this one back in 2013?) and we managed to take second in our age group! That was good enough to score those fabled Lloyd carrot cake muffins as prizes :D
Here are the overall results from Van Cortland Track Club.
and the age group results, as well.
Thursday, July 5, 2018
Joey Chestnut set another world record yesterday when he ate 74 hot dogs in 10 minutes to win his 11th Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest - a 4th of July staple event! It wasn't without drama, though. Even though he beat his nearest competitor by 10 hot dogs, the scorekeepers got it wrong - big time. The actual count was underreported as 64 hot dogs instead of the correct, record-breaking, total of 74 dogs (and the runner up's total was also incorrectly underreported).
Thankfully, post-contest review corrected the totals! But, for those of us watching it live on ESPN, we'd have to wait for the taped replay later that afternoon. ESPN cut away immediately after the event and went to its next scheduled program - without waiting for the correction. That was pretty lame - and a real disservice to the viewers. Fortunately, the 4 PM rebroadcast (and subsequent ones) included the extra footage covering the mini-tempest.
Let's see if the scoring system is changed/modernized for the 2019 edition?!
Wednesday, July 4, 2018
Another great Putnam County Classic 8 Miler around Lake Mahopac is in the books. And, of course, this annual 4th of July Classic would not be complete without extreme heat and humidity! We had 315 finishers this morning!
After the race, the finishers were rewarded with watermelon, oranges, bananas, bagels, ice pops, and - last but not least - fantastic salsa and chips from "My Brother Bobby's Salsa" :D
For those runners who brought their kids, there was also a "mini" classic around the track just before the awards presentation.
Here are the official results from Taconic Road Runners.
Here are the race photos posted by Taconic Road Runners.
Sunday, July 1, 2018
July, as always, kicks off with the Taconic Road Runner's Putnam County Classic 8 Miler around Lake Mahopac! It's a volunteer gig for me - I can't remember the last time I actually ran the race itself. The very next day (evening, in fact) is a trip down to Van Cortlandt Park for the relay. And the week will end with the Norwalk Summer Series 5 Miler!
But the highlight of July will be the Taconic Beer Mile next Wednesday night! Last year I participated with non-alcoholic beer because I didn't have a designated driver (Hard Fast Rule for all beer milers). If I can get someone to drive me home, will move up to real beer - haha! Also that week is the NYRR Retro Run :D
The big event - in all respects - for July is a trip to Vermont for the 100 Miler. It's a rubber match, so to speak, because I have 3 finishes and 3 DNF's so far. This year I hope to notch finish #4 (finally) and get back to a positive posture!
The last weekend of the month begins on Thursday, with another evening race. This time in Central Park for the NYRR Runs 5K. Two days later (in a rare July appearance) are the NYRR Team Championships (normally run the first weekend of August). Last but not least - it's a trip back to the Escarpment Trail Run - one of my all time favorite races!
Here's how it looks so far:
7/4 - Putnam County Classic, 8M
7/5 - VCTC Summer XC Series Relay
7/7 - Norwalk Summer Series 5M
7/11 - Taconic Beer Mile
7/14 - NYRR Retro Run 4M
7/21 - Vermont 100 Mile Endurance Run
7/26 - NYRR Runs 5K
7/28 - NYRR Team Championships 5M
7/29 - Escarpment Trail Run 30K