Monday, March 5, 2012

Caumsett Park, NY: 2012 USATF National 50km Road Championships, March 4, 2012

Women in black: Tracy, Jessica, myself and champ Shanna Ailes Istini post race when the sun came out!
Some races are mostly fun with some work; some are work with some fun. For me, yesterday’s race was more about work.

The Caumsett State Park course is a relatively flat/mildly rolling course of 5km, done 10x. This event is really 2 races in one: Caumsett Park 50km and USATF 50 km Championship Race, with the USATF event requiring those competing in the National Championships to be US citizens and members of USATF and follow slightly stricter rules. For this reason, finishers placing in the CP race and Championship race are recognized differently.

Entering race site on Sunday morning, as is often the case, no matter what state I run an ultra in, was a glimpse of many familiar faces (for whom I knew names: Roy Pirrung, Byron Lane, Michael Wardian, Todd Braje, and more)-and many more who were familiar-faced kindred spirits!

The run started at 8:30 am mild wind, 42ish degrees, cloudy. I enjoyed the first few loops running some with Tracy Meder, 32 from Ohio, and then I became a lone runner. For 4 loops I felt pretty good and was enjoying myself…yet after only 20km, I grew uncomfortable: hammies and glutes were not happy and I realized I’d tied my new road shoes too tight, making the bottom of my feet sore. Not much to be done, except slow a bit and suck it up! Loosening and re-tying the shoes wasn’t an option as my hands would barely function to handle an already opened Clif blocks package (Raynoids as always)!

By the end of lap 3 I was in fourth place among women and from what I could tell third of the USATF race. That is the way it would stay…though for several loops there was another woman running very consistently just 1-2 minutes back.

Before the run, I’d met a former 50M USA record holder from Washington State. His first name is Bill and he was coaching a handful of runners from the NW. He stationed himself halfway through the loop and offered me some much-appreciated encouragement each time. Thank you Bill!

I kept track of loops by associating each with something I could remember:
Lap 1 (c’mon that’s easy), Lap 2= twin (honoring Cher), Lap 3= me and 2 siblings, Lap 4= "4 score and 7 years", and so it went!

It was fun to cheer for Michael Wardian and some of the other fast guys as they lapped me 2x. In turn it was great to be cheered on by other runners as I lapped past them. During the last few loops I had some lapses in confidence as I slowed and felt sore (likely from all the downhill at Black Mountain Marathon a week ago)? I wanted an attitude adjustment, so took advantage of the new USATF rule, as informed by Roy that morning, of being allowed to wear ear buds and listen to music so long as the music player wasn’t a communication device. My little ipod shuffle served me well.

Not having a clue as to my fitness for this sort of race, I figured splits for a 3:45 last night. Those splits got tossed after loop 4 and I held on to hope to go for sub 3:50. I tossed my Garmin aside after that loop, and still had my watch, though had not turned on the chronometer-so I didn’t know if my time of day was in synch with race time or not.

With 1 loop left to go, I gulped Gatorade from my little disposable bottle and ran as hard as by stubborn hammies and glutes would allow. (23:13 would be the fastest of the last 5 loops for me). I think I made pitiful grunting noises more than once trudging through this last loop. The last  mile I was breathing hard and when the finish line came into sight all I could see was 3:48:and change…crossing the line I headed away from people gasping and crying with effort and relief. It took me a little while to collect myself enough to join others.

As mentioned earlier, this race was work. I am pleased with third place in the Nat’l Champ race and happy to have had the tenacity to get sub 3:50…yet I am humbled and glad to have this as a measure of myself as I continue training for WC 100 on 4/22.

Things I must put into place from this point forward:
Awsome race director S Polansky, Tracey, Shanna, Roy Pirrung and me
  • Long training runs okay-long races, even if run with perceived "non-racing" approach= not okay
  • Schedule regular bodywork sessions. I have been saving money not having this done; yet clearly I need this intervention.
  • After hammies and glutes calm down, start back with AIS several times a week.
  • Ask a friend to film me running and share with Howard. I have been wondering if my biomechanics are changing?
  • Get back in the habit of regularly taking vitamins and supplements, which should help my overall health, and running recovery.
Wrapping up the USATF race: I was # 16, finished 16 overall, third female, first Master’s, fastest split: 21:47 (1), slowest 23:50 (9).

I must emphasize that in the overall race, I placed fourth, Jessica Kennedy 28, from NJ finished second female, yet since she is not USATF did not place in that race. She was second overall in the non-Championship race at 3:39:38. She seems like a tough young woman-an avid ultra runner who will be coming to Umstead State Park for the 100 mile in April. Perhaps if I am there pacing, I’ll get to cheer her on!
The steady woman who I referred to earlier was Kathryn Martin, 60 from LI who set 4 new American age group records. Congratulations Kathryn!

Full results for all races here.

Toostie, photo taken last night
As I type up these notes, I am at my Mom’s dining room table with her cat Tootsie behind my head on her perch. Moms at church, the cat Tootsie is watching birds at the feeders. Mom lives on Eastern Long Island and as much as I came up for the race, I came up to spend time with Mom. Flying in Friday morning to Islip has given us quality time together. We’ve shared meals and talks and walks and Saturday evening Mass together, a few chores and just quality time. I have really missed her at hate to think of leaving to fly home this afternoon…but since people don’t earn paychecks visiting people they love, I must be back to work tomorrow.

Clothing and race nutrition:
Saucony Mirage Road shoes, Sugoi compression socks, Spider Tech tape protecting R calf, Mountain Hardwear Pacer Advance Shorts (2011 version), MH Way Too Cool Tank, MH arm warmers, MH Momentum gloves, MH running beanie, 2010 version, Tribal Silencer glasses (due to wind). Fluid and calories-approximately 16 ounces Gatorade, 8 ounces water, Clif Gel, 5 Clifshot Blocks.

Next up: Follow plan Howard gives me for training and stick to self-reminders outlined above!


Olga said...

Way to grind through! And yes, get that body work, because it'll be more money out on race fees where you don't feel as happy as could have with results. We all are getting older...or something like that. But we will fight it wisely!

Brett said...

Thats a heck of a result that close after another race.

But speaking of which, did you see Michael Wardian ran a 2:23 marathon on Saturday and then finished 2nd at the 50k Champs the next day? That is just downright crazy.

annette bednosky said...

I did hear that Michael ran that fast on Saturday and seemed to fly through the 50km. He is beautiful to watch and has great energy that follows in his wake!

Nexus Runner said...

I am still in awe of all the people who ran the 50K. I ran the 25K and it was really cool to watch you guys zoom past me a couple of times. Congratulations!