Caumsett Park 50k out of Lloyds Harbor, NY was a fast and almost out of body experience for me. A continued "long reach" from beloved rock and roots and and sand of mountain trails...I arrived-driving from NC, on LI at 1am on Wednesday the week before. My mom was scheduled, and did have surgery that day and my brother Ron was here from FL to help support her anyway we could.
Although I was registered, I wasn't sure if I would actually run until the day after my Mom got out of the hospital. If my Mom needed me for sanity or recovery purposes, I would not run...if "all was well" at the time, I would run , with my brother Ron, "crewing" for me....
Wed-Friday we all (me, Ron and wonderful Michele -Ron's wife) spent hours at the hospital with Mom...I ran some-yet was very focused on family-not running. Plus my calf was swawking since last week's Tuesdays track workout w/Carrie and I have stayed fairly mellow-perhaps following the most classic "taper" I have ever experienced: 10 days before an event having a "long" run of 10 miles and several short speedy runs and several mellow walks...
By mid-day the day before Caumsett, Michele, Ron, Mom and I felt comfortable about Ron and I spending time together at the race. Mom came home on Friday -a home nurse would visit her to change dressings 1x per day and monitor vitals...
Ron and I drove out of Peconic, NY at 5:15am 3/1. Snowy and windy. The Long Island Expressway was slow and running only 1 lane. By the time we turned off to Sunken Meadow-there was barely any snow...and Llyod's Neck, where Caumsett is located received only a dusting of white stuff prior to the 8:30sih am start.(During the first few hours runners were dosed with intermitted flurries and bit-o-sleet-and some pretty impressive winds off the LI Sound!).
Ron was great as he was prepared to crew me on these approx 2.35 mile laps. He now lives in FL and borrowed my deceased Dad's old fishing and Sherriff's office clothing in order to be ready to "hang out" for my 13+ laps on the gently rolling and paved course. It was soo chilly-my hands-as expected, didn't work and he handed me water and NUUN and Cliff Shot drink and Blocks as the laps increased. I can 't express in words my genuine appreciation for Ron's support and willingness to help me..in the end, his assistance in chilly condintions very likely allowed me to reached my goal of running a sub 3:50.
I ran the first several laps with Connie Gardner (OH), and "Kevin"-a new aquaintance from the UK who was using this as a training run for an ultra this spring back home. Connie, as always is just amazing an I relished every second I spent next to her. She is sooo genuine in spirit- and I think we might be teamates on the World 24 coming up in a couple of months...she'd be a stellar teamate-AND we jabbered about other fun and challengeing trail endeveours we might attempt together before we are 50! (I am game -'though I love to be alone- I am learning the joy of reaching out and sharing responsibilties and successes with others!)
Eventually Jill came along and I babbled with her until I realized I was running too fast. My goal was 7:22 miles and Jill and I were running 7:09ish. She is 38, has 5 children and seems amazing. She is fast and tough and really pretty, and reminds me of Michelle Barton! I was running to finish in less than 3:50 and I was not in a place to race people...the stress of Mom's illness was enough. I could control my pace in the chilly and sometimes very windy conditions-yet not the performance of other runners. So I raced not other women, but my clock. And I felt totally, 100% Ok about not racing for a win or top postion.
Several months ago, I chose 3:50 as a goal because to this point my PR for 50k was 3:52:sih at Frosty Fifty 50k in '05. I felt certain, training for a controlled 50k on pavement would be doable with appropriate preparation. I did not anticipate the winds or little dips and inclines of the course (which I would up lovin'!-Ok the wind was uncomfortable at times, yet the inclines were comfortable and familuar-!)/
Anyway, to stop my aimless babbling. I am not ashamed to say I worked really hard my last 2 laps, employing postive self talks and goofy songs in my head (my fingers couldn't deal with the idiosyncrasis of my ipod), and my Mom's IV tubes and brother's encouragement to keep "it up"... It was only later, much-2 weeks ago that I learned 3:50 was a qualifying time for the USATF Woman's National Team! Whatever-cool as it may be to meet an organizational qualifying standards, I was pretty much focused on my own reasons for this pace!
Kami Semik squashed Anne Lundblads record(Yay Anne!, Yay Kami!) by well over 5 minutes! and Michael Wardian again won-yet a tiny bit slower than his CR from last year. Click here for all results!
Running a 7:21 pace for exactlly 3:47:59 was a new thing for me. I was sore. And thrilled! I hit my mark on a race I didn't deem my style! I was 15th person and 4th woman overall. I was thrilled. And still am! Yet afterwards-I was sick and threw up and when I got back to Mom's house tried to sleep for 1/2 hour. I was exhausted. Fast road 50ks are fully different creatures than anything I experienced before!
As I write now 36ish hours after finishing, Mom is still well and I am too! I will run pretty mellow for a few days, yet home to be back on dirt, at home by then end of this week running on dirt and continuring to prepare for Bergamo and AR 50 in the coming months!
The Greater Long Island Running Club did a fabulus job with this event! Thank you to all! And to Ron and Mom and Connie and Jill and Kevin and young spirited 3rd girl Amanda-WOW! And to Kami for her talent and encouragement as she laped me as I had 1. 5 laps to go. We both were running very well in the cloaks of our current realities and I I celebrate her strength
For now it is Snowy and icy on Eastern LI and I must sort out how to best get back to NC in the next 2 days. Mom is doing well-get because of the 1' of snow--her nurse couldn't come today. So I will be in NY untill a nurse can come (lilkey tomorrow) and a 2 days later I hope to be home w/ George and Mama Gray, back at work and again running on the dirt of the Southern Appalachians!