Saturday, November 26, 2005

Knickerbocker 60k Race Report

Knickerbocker 60k, Central Park, NYC, 8:30am

Temperature(Humidity): 32F(27F)-39F(34F),54%-33%

I was going to be in NY for the thanksgiving weekend so I skimmed through the NYRR calendar to see if they had anything I could use to burn my Thanksgiving dinner. I would have probably missed the Kickerbocker 60k on the calendar but I remembered Amy's report from last year (so she is kind of responsible for leading me to the dark side ;) ). I had wanted to run an ultra sometime in my life so this seemed like a good time to get the monkey off my back.

The conditions on race day were pretty chilly. It ended up being in the high 20s-30s with the wind chill, but when I woke up I found myself wondering why in the world I was abandoning my warm bed to even think about running 60k somewhere... Finally, I did take the train into the city and made it to the NYRR office. I was one of the first ones to get there so I ended up spending quite a bit of time people watching. The folks coming in seemed pretty hardy. I heard someone talking about how they enjoyed going on 32 mile runs on the trail that passed by their house :O Hmmm... what was I doing here again?

The Race:

The race comprised of one 1.46 mile out and back, and nine 3.98-mile loops around Central park. I'm pretty sure we ended up running more than that since we had to share the course with the others. However, I bet this is no biggie in ultras. I'm sure everyone ends up tacking on a little more especially in trail ultras. Luckily, I had got in some hill training for Steamtown so the rolling nature of the course didn't bother me. In fact being able to use different muscle groups probably was a good thing over 37+ miles.

I would have preferred to run in shorts and a T but I was forced to tack on another layer of longs both on the top and bottom. I decided to run without gloves so my fingers ended up getting numb in no time. Though it did warm up after a couple of hours before cooling down towards the finish.

When the race started everyone seemed to dash off as if they were just running a marathon ;). So after the first short loop I found myself right at the back, jostling for the last positions with an old lady who looked about 70-100 years old (hence forth referred to as old fit competitive lady: OFCL). Though out the first big loop OFCL and I seemed to be "racing" each other - I passed her on the uphills, she passed me on the downhills; I passed her on the turns, she passed me on the straights. The lady just couldn't let go :O Finally, at the end of the loop I though I had gotten past her. My strategy for the run was to try and run non-stop for as long as possible except for 20-30s walks at the water stops of each 3.98 mile loop to get in the fluids properly. As I stopped for water, OFCL pulled a Joan Bernoit Samuelson move from the '84 Olympics! She skipped the water stop! So the second loop was a repeat of the first loop. Finally, towards the end of the loop she gave in. I noticed that she had started panting. I hope this did not cost her the race. I did end up looping her later on. I passed and looped many others during the run but there was no one else like OFCL. I bet she has quite a story. When I'm her age I don't think I'll even be able to walk a mile.

I had wondered if running nine, four-mile loops would get a bit monotonous. However, I had never run in Central park(or Manhattan) before so it was kind of nice. After a bit I guess I had just zoned out and it would not have mattered even if every mile were different. For a lot of the race I ran on my own but for some parts I drafted off three different guys at different points. Each of them maintained a steady pace before I had to pass them. At the finish I introduced myself to them and complemented them on their race and pacing. I also tried to draft off a cute female but she soon started walking :( As expected there were no spectators but the folks getting in their runs at Central Park were awesome. They could relate to what we were trying to do and were constantly cheering us. Their cheers gave me quite a boast. A lady on a walk remarked to her friend - "This must be another Turkey trot". I am not surprised! After the thanksgiving dinner I bet we looked like turkeys and at the pace we were running at, we must have looked like turkeys trotting :)

Personally, I think going into the run I was pretty intimidated by the distance. At the halfway point I remember thinking "Ok. So I've gotten to the half. Great - now I've JUST got another 18.64 miles more to go." I tried to split my race into thirds and concentrate on each part. I also though about other landmarks to keep at it - the half marathon point (at 2:00), crossing my previous longest run (at 3:32), the marathon point (3:58), the 27 mile point etc. I was talking to a couple of experienced ultra runners at the end of the race and they mentioned that while a 50k race was slightly different from a marathon, at the 60k point there was a noticeable difference. I could surely relate to this during the run.

At the end I could not have been more satisfied with the way things went. I jumped into this race on a whim. I had done no specific ultra training. My longest run before this was 26.2 miles/3:32 hrs. I had just run Richmond two weeks back at race effort. Therefore, I had expected to hit the wall at some point and spend quite a bit of time walking. Being able to run all the way through was great! In fact each third of the run was faster than the previous third. It's good to be able to cross off the "run an ultra-marathon" off my TO DO list. I doubt I'll be running another ultra anytime soon. The JFK 50 miler sounds ... Hey, I didn't say that :O Don't put words into my mouth!


1-2 : 9:18(150), 9:13(156)
3-6 : 9:13(154), 9:03(164), 8:47(158), 9:30(158)
7-10 : 8:57(157), 9:01(159), 8:43(158), 10:05(157)
11-14: 9:07(157), 9:08(162), 9:02(161), 9:11(162)
15-18: 8:58(161), 9:00(162), 8:41(161), 9:58(161)
19-22: 8:44(165), 8:49(169), 8:32(165), 8:52(167)
23-26: 8:54(167), 9:09(169), 8:55(169), 9:13(168)
27-30: 8:29(168), 8:38(171), 8:26(172), 8:50(173)
31-34: 8:56(170), 8:42(175), 8:21(173), 9:14(172)
35-38: 8:52(169), 8:47(175), 8:20(173), 7:33(178)

Garmin : 38.02 miles - 5:39:39 @ 8:56, Avg HR- 165
Official: 37.28 miles - 5:39:39 @ 9:07
First 3rd: 1:56:13 @ 9:10
Second 3rd: 1:53:52 @ 8:59
Last 3rd: 1:49:34 @ 8:39


OA: 21/87(finishers), 110+ starters
Male: 20/69, AG: 6/11

For the rest of the year I intend to take some R and R time and then decide if I want to run a spring marathon. My main goal for 2006 is to spend atleast six months training properly for a fall marathon to see if I can get a reasonable PR and get closer to a BQ. I have not seen much improvement in my first six marathons (MCM '04-3:27, Philly '04-3:25, Boston '05-3:29, VCM '05-3:32, Steamtown '05-3:18, Richmond '05-3:23). There's even more work to do on my official PRs for the other distances half: 1:37, 10k: 43:30, 5k: 20:38! So that's about it for my last race report of the year. It's been a great ride for the last 13 months - my first six 'thons and my first ultra :x


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This article might be what makes me run the "knick" this year! Thanks so much. ~~~Dave

11/07/2007 11:44 AM  
Blogger CTmarathoner said...

that OFCL was *probably* Ruth --she is quite amazing!!!! She is my buddy from the Broadway Ultra Society age 68?? she has run endless 50 milers but dislikes 100s -she's too old for that -haha.

11/17/2009 5:20 PM  
Blogger Sub said...

Got to agree - she is amazing!!!

I just peaked at your blog - I'm amazed by your running too. Congrats on your 20th NYCM!

11/17/2009 5:49 PM  
Blogger Plodding Blogger said...

Wowser! I know I'm a marathon novice by all accounts, but I've never considered going beyond marathon distance or 'ultra'. Have you done so since?

4/26/2011 12:47 PM  
Blogger Sub said...

No :) I figure I'll always have time to go longer... For now I want to focus on getting faster since that's kind of limited by age. There are 2 ultras I want to run - the JFK 50 miler and Comrades in South Africa. I'll get to those someday :)

4/26/2011 1:00 PM  

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