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Goals for Knickerbocker 60k

18 Nov

Tomorrow is my first ultra.  I am competing in the Knickerbocker 60k in Central Park.  The course includes a short out and back (totaling 1.5 miles) and then 9x 4-mile loops of the park’s inner loop (thankfully, it does NOT include the arduous upper or lower portions of the park).
Here is a link of the course.

I had a long debate with myself about whether or not this course was the best for my first ultra.  There are definitely some disadvantages. First, Central park is notoriously hilly.  And although the upper section is eliminated, there are still sections that can kill your legs after repeated visits. Second, 9x loops will be a HUGE mental obstacle, especially since we will be passing the start/finish line each time. I’m fully anticipating to experience the temptation of wanting to stop each time I pass it, especially in the later miles. Third, it’s only 2 weeks after the NYC Marathon, so I was worried I would not be fully rested for the long distance.

But, I’m trying to remain positive and remember the advantages of this race:
Refuel and hydration will be easy since we will be passing the water/snack station every 2 miles.
My supporters (husband, son, and one of my sisters) can see me run by more than any other race before.
My husband (and possibly a girlfriend) plan to jump in for a loop or two to push and pace me during the later miles.
The course allows me to concentrate on getting through 4 miles at a time.  From what I have experienced in my training and learned from other ultra runners, you need to break the race into manageable segments.  So I can’t start out thinking that I have 9, 8, or 7 loops to go…it will be crush me.
There will be a professional photographer taking our race pictures –> that means LOTS of opportunity for running pictures since we will be passing him nine times! =)
The weather forecast looks PERFECT for tomorrow – 40 degrees at race start and close to 50 by race end. Light winds and sunny.

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I wasn’t going to write an entry regarding my time goal for tomorrow’s race.  I’m extremely nervous about my first attempt at this mileage and didn’t want to make my goals public in case I failed.
Anything could happen in a race this long. You always hear elites saying that anything could happen in a marathon – and this is 11 miles longer!
My stomach might not cooperate, my legs may decide they are not up to the distance, or I may just have an off day of running(which happens at least once a week!).
I usually keep my goals secret (I sometimes don’t even tell my husband or family) because I don’t like failing.
But then I wonder – if I don’t run this race in the time I want, am I a failure?
I think back to where I was last year at this time.  7+ months pregnant, carrying much more weight on my body then I am now, waddling on my daily runs, and nervous that I would not get back into the running shape I had been in prior to getting pregnant.
I read a post from Mile Posts, a blogger I love, on a similiar subject and realized that no matter what the time clock says when I cross the finish line, I will have succeeded – purely for trying and pushing myself to the limit. And at the end of the day, I will have a new PR to put on my blog tomorrow!!
(http://www.mile-posts.com/2011/10/as-ready-as-i-will-ever-be-marine-corps.html)

Running the SI Half-Marathon @ 27 weeks pregnant

So, my first goal is to finish.  To say I am an ultrarunner.
My second goal is to complete the race in under 5 hrs 25 min (around an 8:45 min/mi pace).  My last long training run was a 30 miler which I completed at a relaxed and comfortable 8:34 pace.
Out and back portion: 8:30 (roughly 12 min, 45 sec)
Lap 1-6: 8:20 (3 hours 20 min)
Lap 7-9: 9:00 (1 hour 50 min)
Total time: 5:22:45

I’m not being more ambitious with the pace because I’m most concerned about how my legs will react to the hills.  Most of my training takes place on the Staten Island boardwalk – a gorgeous out and back route along the eastern portion of my hometown.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t give me much practice with running up hills since it’s flat as a pancake.

Gorgeous view on my morning runs!
No hills!

On long runs, I often repeat NEVER STOP, NEVER STOP (running) when I start to feel tired and want to quit.  Never Stop means SO many things to me and has become my mantra in recent months. I plan to NEVER STOP TRYING tomorrow!!

Rookie Mistake!

9 Oct

The SI Half Marathon couldn’t have been on a more beautiful day…temps in the low 60s, sunny skies, and a light wind.  Combine that with the 2 days off I decided to take before the race as well as this being my first race in about 18 months.


What do you get?


Me starting entirely WAY too fast.


Being patient in a race has never been my strong point.  I usually get frustrated with the huge crowds at the startline and consequently spend the first mile or so weaving in and out of the smallest gaps  between other runners I could find.  My fear during a race is that I start too slow the first few miles and then have to play catch up the rest of the race to get my pace down to what I want it to be.  So the result is that I usually overcompensate and go out faster than I should.


Yesterday was no exception.  I ran the first 3 miles in 7:07, 6:57, and 7:08, and the average for the first 6 miles was 7:13 – about 15-20 seconds faster per mile than my goal.  Also take into account that while the course is fairly flat, there are a few steep inclines over the final half of the race (it’s an out and back course).  So by the time I hit the first hill at mile 7.5, my legs were shot.  My 8th mile was an 8:04 pace!  Thankfully that was the worst of the hills, but I had a hard time finding a comfortable rhythm after that first hill.  I spent the rest of the race praying the miles would pass and that I could finally rest.


I ended up running (according to my garmin), around a 1:37:40 – which averages out to about a 7:25 pace.  So despite starting too fast and hurting the last few miles, it’s only about 3 minutes off my PR (4 years ago).  Overall, a beautiful day and a great run!!





*Note: According to NYRR, I finished in 1:38:57.  From what my watch read as well as what other runners were saying after the race, the course appeared to be about .15-.20 miles too long.


**For my splits, please go to: http://connect.garmin.com:80/activity/embed/120323770