Sunday, June 15, 2008
Queens Unisphere '100K' (50 miler) -June 14, 2008
Here's the good, bad and ugly of yesterday's Broadway Ultra Society Queens 100K (a last long training run for VT 100): The good was that the race was shortened, because of 88 degree heat and 99 percent humidity to a 50K/50 mile option. The bad was that the top runners dropped out --have never seen Phil McCarthy, an elite ultrarunner, more depleted. The ugly was that we had to do 21 2.3 mile loops of shadeless pavement!!! No hills like Pittsfield peaks or trails with beautiful vistas.
I drove to the race at 6 a.m. with Frank and Rob and we were way too comfortable at the start. I had questions about completing 62 miles in the heat and on pavement in a God-forsaken park in Queens (running while dodging boy scouts, bikers, dive-bombing birds, and strollng families and picnic-ers). At 7 a.m., we were off. About 100 runners started, 50 percent of whom were training for the VT 100 miler or some 100 mile venture. Crazy Bob told me that he ran 70 miles of Old Dominion last weekend in 100 degree heat -these people are crazy!!! I took my time on the first 6 loops, and stomach didn't feel super from the champagne and cake the night before! I started to get uncomfortably hot and actually felt dizzy ---I stopped at each aid station and got a cold sponge -the volunteers were great, and they had a hose on the course also. We had little shade on the course. Frank took off (he had felt good) and I didn't see him. At about mile 18, I started to lap slower runners who were laboring --I passed Rob who was taking a walk break. I started to want to walk more and more myself!! I passed the woman's leader Alicia (an elite ultra marathoner) who told me she had debilitating listes and also didn't feel well...by mile 26 I really wanted to stop, and each time I passed the start tent Ritchie (he race director)yelled out that he was thinking of stopping the race so for us to stay tuned!! I ran into Fran who had passed the marathon mark in 4 hours? and we ran/walked the next 3 loops together and passed the 50K mark. Both of us was just 'toast', as Frank said, with the sun beating down.
Pretty soon Ritchie yelled out that he was shortening the long course to 50 miles (yeah) and would giving finisher awards to everyone, regardless of their miles..he also offered a 50K option. Rob then decided to stop at the 50K. Frank and I were at mile 38 and I truly didn't think I could go past 50 miles anyway so was thrilled -alot of people did not look good. As it was my 50th b-day, and as Frank was stubborn and we both wanted the Grand prix points, we continued. At some point I felt better and cranked out the last 8 miles in a 10 minute pace --I think it was because I knew I would finish first by just finishing!! (only 3 other women continued -Alicia dropped out). and I would set a PR if broke 9:38...I passed Frank walking, and then he rallied to hammer the last 2 loops. I finished in 9:10 , good enough for that day -Frank came in in 9:47 --soon after we finished, the heavens opened up and we had torrential rain. Friends Lydia, Al, Ruth and at least 10 others were out in the rain!
What a day. despite the weather, the commeraderie at the race was great and we got alot of tips on the 100 from Nick and Grant, plus some good heat training.