Wurtsboro Mountain 30K –March 15, 2008
This was my third year running this challenging 18.6 mile course and although I fear it, I keeps drawing me back and I feel that have to include it in my spring race schedule now every year. I first found out about the race from friends Frank and Don ---they kept talking about this Sullivan Striders Running Club race that started out, in the hamlet of Wurtsboro NY (about an hour and a half away in lower Catskills), with a 3.5 mile climb (and then some)….they also talked about the pizza and six foot subs at the end. The first year I ran Wurtsboro, I met the race director Myriam, and fellow runner Todd and also met up with my brother and sister-n-law who have a weekend house up the hill! on Wolf Lake. It is as low-key a race as you can find, with a different crowd and friendly atmosphere. The course climbs up and up for the first 3.5 miles, and just when runners think they have a break, it climbs again. It then winds its way long streams, lakes and back country roads –the last mile goes over a rustic one-lane bridge (my favorite mile as the race is almost over).
This year, I drove up with Frank and Don –Rob was going to go with us but got stuck in a traffic jam on 95, so had to drive up himself (he did make it)- it was raining when we left at 7 a.m. but then it stopped and later the sun came out –it never got out of the 40s, but we lucked out with the sun. The funniest thing about the race is the start –we all stood in the middle of the street and Myriam yells ‘go’. Since this was my 5th long race on asphalt, my main goal was to get thru without injury. My second goal was to come in the top 3, but that was out of my control. The first woman (who finished in a 6:38 pace) was out of sight from the beginning. I ran with a pack of 5 women, and Frank and others, slowly up the hill.
Our 2 mile split was 17 minutes and my quads were dying already –why oh why did I do that 8 mile run yesterday??? Race that 15K last weekend? Once he course leveled out, I ran with 2 other woman at about a 7:20 pace. Another woman passed me and so I settled into a pace where I was pushing myself hard but not to the limit –about 7:15-7:20s –to try and get away from the other girls. But more hills –argh. The beauty of the course takes one’s my mind away from the pain, and the middle miles seemed to go quickly. Around mile 14, I started to tire, ad my calves were tight –it was an effort to push myself at a sb8 min. pace. Myriam drove by and yelled that Frank was ‘hurting’ –I retorted that it was because he had run 70 miles that week! Apparently also, a man tried to pull a knife on one of the runners –strange but true. At mile 16 and 17 I hung on, very happy that my soleus muscle was not tight or hurting –it had been 8 weeks since I pulled it, and this race was the ultimate test. On the last mile, my friend Todd yelled ‘you can break 2:25’ so I went for it –2:24 (7:44 pace) and third overall woman – and a PR on the course. 2 years ago ran 2:25…Frank finished right behind me in 2:29 (he was hurting but he rallied) –Rob and Don and my friend Anthony finished and my brother Todd and my sister in-law Anne came to see us at the finish ---it was a treat to have them meet us. I jogged 1.4 miles (to make it 20) and then we went in for pizza, coffee, drinks, bagels –our ultra friends Doug, Barbara and Christine also ran. This race is worth a 22 miler in effort, so say the experts, so it is one of those races I love and hate. I’m glad it’s over but love the rolling hills and the people! And my quads are trashed today, so could only jog the TRR St. Patrick’s day 10K. But I got to see Anton, Dave, and got to drink beer on a cold day.
Next up in 2 weeks is the H.A.T. 50K, then Umstead April 5 endurance run (seems like a dream). Major goal in the next two weeks -to focus on work and taper down miles, to fully heal any muscles!!! Maybe one night run Easter eve.