Sunday, March 29, 2009

Boston Blowout 30k - March 29, 2009

The weather forecast for the Boston Blowout 30k was calling for rain throughout the morning with temperatures in the low to mid 40s. Yesterday's 30k had done a number on my feet that left me with a few small blisters and some spots that felt like they were about to blister. I put some bodyglide and lambswool on my feet and taped them, but knew that if they got wet I would more than likely get more blistering problems. I opted for a running skirt over leggings and selected a light long-sleeved tech shirt and a thin pair of gloves. I also packed my light vest with lots of ventilation, but since I thought that the rain would be light I figured I would run without it. I met up with Jill and we checked in and spent some time catching up with some friends. The rain had now started to fall pretty heavily and the wind had picked up. As we walked out to the start line I stopped by my car to pick up the vest and get a pair of gloves for Jill.

I could not get my GPS watch to pick up satelites in time for the start and it took about 1/4 of a mile for it to kick in so my watch splits were all off. I also had my manual watch, which was good for the beginning and end of the race when I was able to locate the mile markers on the street. Jill and I wanted to run at a nice easy pace and to just enjoy the experience. We weren't even sure if we were going to run the whole course or if we would stop at the halfway point. We figured that we'd just play it by ear.

So with the rain pouring down and heavy winds it was pretty tough running in the beginning. We trying to avoid puddles at first, but then realized that it was pointless. I was happy to find out that the wetter my feet got the better they felt. It was like the cool water was soothing them and bringing some relief from the stinging feeling that I had experienced earlier. The small trail section proved to be quiet muddy and slow going, but I was able to follow behind Jason and find some of the drier parts to run on.

On the way down Beach road Jill and I laughed about Rob giving us permission to walk the speed bumps on this section of road. The bumps were actually like mini hills and there were 3 of them to deal with. However, we did not feel the need to walk these 'hills'! This section of the race always seems to go on forever and you feel like you will never get to the turnaround point. The good thing it is that you get to see all the runners ahead of you coming back from the turn around. We cheered for the front runners and for many of our friends such as Rob, Cindy and Ronnie. After the turn around on Beach Road the head wind was brutal and made it hard to maintain any decent pace. I believe that it was shortly after this that the rain stopped and for most of the rest of the course the wind wasn't too bad either, except for on Beach road. The rain did start up again later, but it wasn't nearly as bad as in the beginning of the race.

As Jill and I were approaching the start/finish area and getting close to starting the second loop it was time to decide whether or not to continue. My calves had been tight in the first few miles, but now felt fine and my feet were still relatively good so I was thinking that there was nothing stopping me from continuing other than just being a little tired. Jill said that she wanted to walk or stop, but also didn't really seem to have anything major that would stop her from finishing the race. When we got to the end of the first big loop Jeanette was there cheering for us. We ran the small loop and when we came out of it Jeanette was cheering for us again and ran with us for about a quarter of a mile. At that point we'd passed the point of no return and were on our way out to doing the big loop again. Thanks Jeanette for the distraction! We had run with Don briefly in the first mile of the race and had seen him again right after the first turn around. We were now wondering if he was going to complete the race or stop at the halfway point. My money was on him completing the whole race unless he was having major problems with his knee, but we weren't going to be sure until we made it to the turn around point a second time to see if he was still on the course.

At the turn around water station Andie, Paul and Julie cheered for us and provided moral support. We laughed with them and then headed back into that terrible headwind again. Jill and I were thrilled to see Don coming towards us on his way out to the turn around. Another runner joined us at this point and told us that she'd heard about us doing a 30k yesterday and said how impressed she was with us. She needed a little company and motivation to get through the final miles so she joined us. At this point my feet were starting to dry a little and now I could feel the blistered starting to form again with a bad one developing on my right arch. I was tempted to run through some puddles to get my sock soaked through again, but wasn't really sure if that would help it so I just let it be. I now went into auto-pilot with a mission to end the race as soon as possible so that I could take off my shoes and socks. We were a little past mile 17 and Jill and Kelly seemed to be having a nice chat and didn't seem to have any problems so I gradually started to pick up the pace.

We had seen LuAnne up ahead for most of the race and had run along side her once or twice, but at this point I could not see her ahead of me. I made a turn and then there she was up ahead. I decided to focus on trying to catch up to her so that it would help me to pick up my pace and get me to the finish line quicker. I was closing in, but didn't really think that I would actually catch her. We were getting to the start/finish area and would have to run the small loop one more time before being able to turn in to finish. I found myself going faster and faster as I could feel my sock rubbing more on my blister. I finally caught up to LuAnne and passed her right as we came out of the loop. I made my turn for the finish area and Jeanette started to sprint along side me while she yelled words of encouragement. After finishing the race I immediately took off my shoes and socks and then cheered for Jill and Kelly who were coming out of the loop to the finish.

Splits: 9:21, 10:01, 9:37, 10:00, 39:34 (miles 5-8), 9:53, 20:43 (miles 10-11), 10:07, 10:25, 10:16, 10:14, 9:49, 9:56, 9:01, 5:02 = 3:03:58 Official race time: 3:04:00 with a 9:52 pace.

I quickly shot over to my car to get my camera and was able to get photos of Don finishing the race.

What an amazing weekend! I got to run two 30k races in one weekend and got to do so with some great friends. Running with Jill is what really made it very special.

Jill and Cindy before the race

Don coming in from the last small loop towards the finish area

Don heading for the finish line

Cindy and Jill after the race

Me and Jill after the race

I just finished re-taping my feet

Jill - pre-race

Me and Jill

Jason and Don

Margaret and Cindy


LuAnne, Kate and Jill



Jill and Kate




LuAnne, Kate and Jill

Jill and Kate




Saturday, March 28, 2009

2009 Wurtsboro Mountain 30K Race

This is the first of two 30k races that Don, Jill and I have on our schedule for the weekend.

We met up at 6:30 am to make the hour and a half ride to Wurtsboro, NY. Don has been feeling some pain in his knee, but decided to give it a shot anyway. When we got to the race it was a little chilly, but much warmer than I had expected. Jill and I both opted to run in skirts and were wearing light shirts. Don, as usual, had a hat and a sweatshirt to start off with, but as we would see later in the race he ended up dropping off the hat and sweat shirt along the way. We also met up with Frank and Emmy before the start of the race. Emmy took a while to decide whether or not to run it due to a 100 miler that she and Frank are running next weekend. She finally decided to go ahead and just run it slowly.

Jill and I started out together and hoped to be able to run the entire first 4 miles uphill without any walk breaks. I had received some ribbing from some friends saying that we weren't allowed to walk. I had forgotten how much the first 2 miles of hill was 'pitched'. This made for a very awkward run with my left side much lower than my right side. I was happily surprised that my breathing did not feel overly labored and I felt pretty strong. However, at about 1.75 miles both of my calves cramped up. I had no choice, but to take a walk break. I tried to walk pretty fast, while still trying to get my calves to relax a little. After a few moments I started to run again, but my calves were still cramped up and my left hamstring and then right hamstring also started to cramp. I took two Advil and continued to walk/run, but then I started to get a crazy case of pins and needles in my left foot. This was now getting to be very frustrating, but I knew that the worse case would be me having to walk and run on and off until mile 4 and then I'd be fine. Luckily, I didn't have to do that because all the cramping went away around the 2.5 mile mark. I kept looking up ahead to see that Jill was running the entire time, which made me very proud. I picked up my pace so that I could catch back up to her and did so right before the top of the hill. At this point my legs felt very good and strong. Jill had met up with a guy called Ray and we talked to him for a little while before I went ahead to enjoy the downhills. I stayed ahead until a little after the 9 mile mark and then Jill and Ray caught up and then we ran together again.

We ran together until Ray got a burst of speed at about mile 12 and took off ahead of us. Go Ray!
Jill and I continued to run together for the rest of the race. We kept hoping for either flat or downhills sections, but it all seemed to be rolling hills. I finally saw Don up in the distance at about mile 16 and we picked up the pace so that we could join him. Jill was a little reluctant at first, but ended up sticking with me. We caught up to Don and he said that he was in need of ice as soon as he finished the race. He was now slowing down a lot to favor the knee so Jill and I went ahead. We had a pretty decent pace for those last few miles, but it was more due to us wanting it to be over with rather than due to us feeling good.

My splits: 10:02, 10:48, 12:30, 9:45, 8:41, 8:46, 8:17, 7:56, 8:22, 8:40, 8:21, 8:44, 9:12, 10:05, 9:32, 9:08, 8:43, 9:03, 5:23 = 2:51.58

Official race time: 2:52:01 and pace: 09:14

We crossed the line and then went right to my car to get some ice for Don. Once Don finished we all went inside the school to get refreshments. I went for the pizza and Gatorade! Yummy!

I feel pretty good for tomorrow, except for some blistering and hot spots on my feet. The forecast calls for rain, but at least the course is really flat.

I almost forgot to mention - It turned out to be a beautiful day. The sun was out, the temperature was ideal and there was a nice breeze to cool us down at times. The scenery along the route is really a sight to see. There are trees all around and flowing water along most of the course. At one part there was a cute little waterfall flowing down some rocks. The views along the way certainly helped to take your mind off the long distance to be covered.

Race Results:

Don and Jill

Kate, Don and Jill

Frank, Jill and Don

Emmy, Don and Jill

Emmy - Finally decided to run the race

Don approaching the finish line.

Don icing his knee and Frank

Frank with his favorite pyramid

Empty pizza boxes

Myriam preparing to annouce the awards

Monday, March 23, 2009

Spring Equinox 8k - New Canaan, CT - March 22, 2009

The Spring Equinox race was almost forgotten this year with all the craziness with the bad weather or forecasts of such resulting in the postponing of some Boston Buildup races. With no other local races on the schedule for the weekend, a few of us e-mailed Jim last week to suggest that he put on this race. Jim was nice enough to grant our wishes and put it together at last minute. I'm not much of one for running an afternoon race, but I did want to show support and thought it would be nice to get off the couch for a little while on a Sunday afternoon. I had run 16 miles on the Trumbull rail trail with Jill, Joe L, and Cindy on Saturday so it was another race with no real expectations.

It was probably about 10 degrees colder at the race site than in Norwalk. The sun had gone behind some clouds and a bitterly cold wind was blowing. I had elected to wear a running skirt, but was happy that I at least had on a long sleeved running shirt. Slowly people were starting to roll in. I talked a little with Andrea, who was there to volunteer and also chatted with John, Don and Rob. Emmy showed up about 5 minutes before race time and told us that she had won her division in the 15k in New York that morning. Frank decided not to run to the race since he was drained after a long morning in the city.

The race started out on Oenoke Ridge and then went along West Road, Turtleback Road and then back to Oenoke Ridge. I started out at a reasonable pace in the first half mile, but felt like I was stuck in the masses with us all running single file on the side of a busy road. I decided that I wanted to get away from the pack despite the benefits of the people ahead blocking the wind. I passed a group of runners and set my sights on Don, who was a little ahead of me. I continued to run with him in sight, but he gradually got far enough ahead that I figured my chances of catching him were slim to none. I ran most of the first half right behind a guy called Luis, but after the hill on Turtleback I passed him and tried to push the pace a little. Roy passed me and made a comment about whether or not we had a hope of catching youthful Don. The race was mostly downhill after Turtleback with a slight uphill in the final stretch. The sun made an appearance and the wind died down at times too. My mile splits were 8:03, 8:09, 8:26, 7:48, 7:03 (7:16 pace) for an average pace of 7:57. I finished the race in 39:29 (my watch time) right behind Roy. As I crossed the finish line Ronnie told me that she thought I was the 3rd woman to finish! What a wonderful surprise.

Emmy was nice enough to run the race with John who is just starting to ease back into racing for the season. He was struggling with some cramping in his legs, but managed to tough it out and finish the race.

We all hung out for a while after the race. We ate bagels and talked about the 30kms coming up this weekend. I'm so glad that I decided to run this race since I had such a good time. The long sleeved shirts that Jim made up for it were really cool too.

Course map:


The cool race shirt

Emmy coming in after sticking with John for most of the race.


John crossing the finish line


Neil and Andrea

Ronnie and Julie

Roy and Rob

Don and Emmy

Don, Emmy, Rob and Roy

Don, Emmy, Rob, Roy and Kate

Ronnie, Jim and John

Jim, John, Kate, Don and Emmy

John, Kate, Don, Emmy and Roy