Monday, August 30, 2010

Making Lemonade

So, as previously noted, Saturday's Skinnyman 50k was a big success.

Me, Todd, Phil and a dude named Berkeley Dave pushed off at 6 am on the nose. We kept the pace easy and tried hard not to let 29 year-old Berkelely Dave - who is a heck of a fast runner - grind us into fairy dust.

We generally felt good for the first 12 miles, except for Coach Phil, who was dealing with some GI issues that wouldn't allow him to take in liquids. He suffered in silence, as his nature, and took it out at his own pace. Coach Phil is a tough dude.

The first 12 miles of this run were interesting; they featured four pretty significant climbs that probably totaled about 3500 feet of climbing. That's a bit much for the front end of an ultra marathon, and it's inevitable that climbing like that will catch up to one on the back end of the course. And even though we generally felt pretty good, Todd and I ended up power hiking a majority of the big climbs, which was a strategy that I think served us well in the end.

Our crews - The Wife, Little Boy, Little Girl and Todd's wife Liza were amazing, and there is no way we could have done this without their support. They provided support at three critical junctions: Tennessee Valley, Pantoll (two times) and of course, the finish line.

I generally felt good throughout the entire race -- for the first time in a long while I could say that I was adequately prepared - though my feet really took a beating - and I mean beating - due in all likelihood to the downhills. At one point I had stop to bandage my toes, and I noted that my left sock was pretty bloody.

Todd's fitness was pretty high too; I was really impressed with his strength all day, especially considering that he wasn't able to train for these types of hills (and downhills too for that matter, which I think in the end took a far worse toll on us at the end of the day) back home in Long Island.

The only part where things got ridiculously hard was the last push from Stinson Beach back up to Pantoll. That was a relentless and seemingly never ending 3.5 mile push, but we got through it relatively intact.

Once we got back up to Pantoll for the second time (mile 27), the Little Boy joined us for the last push, which was mostly downhill. Having him out there was spectacularly meaningful for me, and I think for him too. It was pretty cool listening to a 10 year old talk non-stop words of encouragement to the two of us. I genuinely think he gets it, and he's going to be a heck of a runner one day. Actually, he's already pretty darn impressive. I hope he continues to enjoy running as much as he seemed to on Saturday.

So long short, we finished and all things considered, we finished pretty darn strong. There wasn't any minute during which either of us seemed to be in a crisis, which made for a more enjoyable experience. Our finish time was 6:50, which was about what I expected for a course this tough, but truth is if we wanted to, I think we could have gone faster. We were much more about enjoying the day and taking in the sites -- and boy, difficulty aside, this course was stunningly beautiful.

To use a tired cliche, I think Todd and I (by the way, Dave and Phil decided to turn it into a long training run and both turned around at Pantoll. I think their respective mileage was somewhere around 25-28 for the day, which is still incredible)did a great job of turning lemons into lemonade.

It bothered neither of us in the slightest that we weren't running an "official" race. I'd go so far as to say we enjoyed this manner of a run even more. It was great being out there all day with one of my best friends - on his birthday nonetheless - and it definitely goes down as a top highlight in my running career.

In fact, I'd do it again in a heartbeat. And I just might, because Todd and I think Skinnyman needs to be an annual event. That's something that's under discussion; more later.

Finally, another round of mad props to our most awesome crew. Without them, this event would never have happened. You guys helped make this a day that Todd and I will never forget.


Anonymous said...

The official Skinnyman 50K results are now posted.

How Howard managed to take first place, I will never know. Clearly the photo finish shows I crossed the finish line first :+)

Skinnyman 50K Official Results

Photo Finish


payro said...

Congrats to both of you! Nice work on the day, and clearly you were well supported by crew. Howie, you now own a course record - good work! Look forward to hearing all the dirty details from both of you.