I left driving late morning Thursday (after another cancelled day of school due to snow) and drove north towards NY. The trip to Mom's on LI's North Fork is 12 hours, NOT counting NYC traffic or any sort of stops...So when I make this drive for a long weekend-I am willing to go "all one shot" one way and the other way stop part way through at a motel. I "moteled it" in New Jersey Thursday night and arrived on LI Friday mid morning-planning all travel around the "rush hour" times. After arriving on "The Island" I drove up to Caumsett Park ran my scheduled 35 minutes on the race course. The course had been changed slightly since last year and I was pleased to get both a visual and experience on what I would be doing on Sunday at the National 50K Road Championships: 10 laps of the 5k. Cool!
The house where grew up and where Mom lives is 1:30 from there...so the journey continued. Time with Mom Friday and Saturday was wonderful! We shared meals, walks, conversation, scrabble games and a walk on the ocean. I don't think I ever before remember the body jolting thunder of the magnificiant waves rolling in. Both Mom and I forgot our cameras and were bummed. Yet we celebrated the windy, but warm day by finding a warm place out of the wind to eat our picnic lunch. It was gloriously sunny and warm (45ish!) Ahhhhh!!
This would be my 2nd year to run Caumsett Park 50k. Last year I ran with a goal of sub 3:50 as this was the qualifying time for a spot at the World Trophy 50k held in Gilbraltar in 2009. Last year I ran 3:47:59 and did get invited to the race-yet declined due to my lingering "itis" after Vermont 100. When planning this year, I did not plan this race until a few weeks ago. When I learned my "1st runner up" status would stay that way for World's 24...I knew if I had a hope of running for USA in 2010, I'd have to try for it at Caumsett and Mad City 100k on April 10th. As posted last week, Jill Perry (current US National Champion 24-Hour and amazing runner-human /woman /person ran together in AL at Cheaha...) We met again at Caumsett Park on Sunday AM. Jill is a tough, smart,strong woman and a Montrail Teamate of mine. I want all the best for her and have planned my training schedule around pacing her for the last 24ish miles at Umstead 100 on 3/27. We are friend and competitors. I love it! Anne Lundblad and I used to enter a fair number of the same races and I welcomed her presence-knowing that likely I would wind up following her...(only in "once in awhiles" did that not happen...)yet, if Anne were there, I would give my best. And I feel that way about Jill too! Thank you JILL! (Even when she outran me by 11+ minutes at Bandera 100k in January-I appreciate her helping me be a better runner and , I hope, human and friend! Anyway...
...Caumsett Park weather was breezy ok,-windy-yet the wind was obvious only on parts of the rolling course.
Highlights of the race:
-A sunny day with a range of running temps from 32-48 degrees
-Supportive volunteers and aid station workers
-Howard Nippert was there and encouraged/informed me-thank you Howard for you support! (I must admit I didn't recognize him right off and asked his name (He'd grown a partial beard, had a hat on that covered his wonderful shiny head and was decked out in warm baggy warmups that hid his chisled physice. ) Yet after a brief moment of wide-eyed surprise on my side, I think the mistake was understandable!
Lap #9 was interesting...It seemed like a festival of ultrarunning diversity...I noticed: ...Michael Wardian had already won-Phil McCarthy-teamate of mine in Italy '09 and current USA National 24-Hour Champion would run into the spots for top 10 men...Jill is current Nation'l Champ for 24 hour too...and Byron Lane former Nat'l 24 Hour Champ was there running very well Scott Dunlap who authors an amazing blog and who is a terrific runner ran by me...then I ran by Scott Juruck-who was not there to race this day, yet there for his own purposes...And the RD Tim, from Mad City 100k was there running the 25k and was very encouraging and supportive to me. The participants, and crews and spectators made me feel special as "#18". Thank you all, that encouragement was greatly helpful during my dud laps #7 and #8. I was just hanging on to conistentcy-yet not yet "smelling the barn"
With one lap left-I ran it as my 3rd fastest and worked hard-yet still felt steady. I watched the fast boys lap me and studied their body positions, experimenting with mimicking their relaxed arms and body positon.Those dudes were amazing and sooo speedy. Soooo...I was thrilled with a 2nd place finish of 3:43:48! Yay! Yolanda ran a speedy 3:34:26 and Jill Perry took 3rd in 3:47:49. Complete results here! Thank you to Jill and Howard and Carl and Tim and the bunch of otherfolks who offered high and enthusiastic encouragement. I don't mean to leave out the amazing men-there results are HERE too!