Sunday, June 11, 2006

Need For Speed Relay

Today the reservoir dogs participated in the inaugural Need For Speed 60 mile relay. Despite organizational problems, I had an awesome time! This relay consisted of 9 legs, each with varying degrees of difficulty.

I stayed over at the 'rents last night when my dad dropped me off at my apt around 3AM. Even though i was supposed to meet the first group at 5:30 in Union Square, I figured if i were to take a nap, I would oversleep! Hence I stayed up and killed time by watching MTV's Next reruns.

The team was split into two cars. First group was dave, eve, kyle, paul and I. The other was Kiki, Coach, BigIr and Quincee. After an hour drive to Bear Mountain, we congregated near the start line and met up with Bob, Julie and Christian. Although everyone had to line up at 7:10am, the race didnt start till 7:30am. Bob and I was standing in the cold and breezy morning. Man, was i bitching around...especially when i was wearing a singlet!

I was given the first leg of the race and from what i remembered, the description of the course from the pamphlet was:

"Moderate - approx. 8.2 miles. This leg is on paved roads. After crossing the Bear Mountain Bridge, runners head down the “Goat Trail”, the only portion of the route closed to traffic. Runners make their way through Peekskill and finish at Blue Mountain Reservation. The first 4 miles are moderately hilly. After the “Goat Trail”, the route is generally flat."

My response? Complete bullshit...moderate hills my arse! My strategy was just to go at a moderate pace and see how my left achilles was feeling. If I feel good after awhile, then i will put on the nitro, otherwise, I was aiming for a 7:30-45 pace. Anyway, the race began with a slow descent and a turnaround to the highway and onto one of the bridges.

The views from the bridge were breathtaking and I was basically rubbernecking the scene and soaking in the naturual beauty of New York consisting of serene lakes, vast foliage and regal valleys. Although crossing the bridge was nice, there was a bit of bottlenecking. It definitely threw me off a bit as 4 of us couldn't pass the guy going at a medium pace. The daunting task came after the bridge. It was basically a LONG, windy and extremely hilly road circumventing a mountain. Going uphill, I was telling myself: "BULLOCKS When the EFF will this hill end?", rest assure, I remained positive because every hill has its in a sweet descent!

I find it VERY hard to pace in this race, simply for the fact there were NO mile markers. Not only were there aren't any mile markers, the directions of the course were badly executed. Runners had to follow black arrows pasted on trees and signs. Sucks eh? Without any mile markers, to determine if i was doing well or not, I just picked each runner apart, try to pass them and find a runner who I think runs at a good pace. Hence, I totally stalked this dude with the BLUE reach the beach relay shirt. After many hills, running on gravels and entering Blue Mountain, I found the first exchange and passed it onto Dave.

My final time for the first leg (8.2 miles) was 56:09, 6:51/mile and in 12th place. I was extremely happy with the breaking a sub 7 on a tough route! What a relief to be done and just chill for the remainder of the race.

After the exchange to Dave, we had to drive to another exchange so Paul can run his next leg. Dave did an awesome job. His route was the most challenging simply for the fact that it was a trail run and the roads were muddy and uneven.

Let me further lament upon this race and tell you how HORRIBLE the directions were! We were given verbal directions with NO MAP. With miniscule street signs, it made matters worse. I couldn't tell you how lost we were in the beginning! After plenty of discussions, luckily we made it in time for Paul's exchange. Paul came in third in his leg. To digress, driving to the second exchange I was in awe with the ambiance near the dam. I will definitely add this for my to-do list for future trails!

On the third hand off from paul to quincee, i finally got to meet nyflyergirl. She was awesome! She just ran the 10K and is doing the relay. Good for her!

The next legs were followed by Kirsten who did a 10K the day before and is running the 10.2 mile leg, the longest leg of the relay. Amazing eh? The next handoff was followed by Eve, who unknowingly had to run an extra 1.7 miles (total of 6.7 miles). I just hope the organizers would've told us this earlier so we can make some preparations. Anyway, Eve bravely soldiered on and passed the next leg to Kyle. Kyle made up some good ground for us as he passed through several teams (thanks bro!).

The bitching around will continue as Irwin's leg was the MOST POORLY organized. The directions to get to the last exchange was so confusing and to make matters worse, Irwin's course was POORLY marked and found a bunch of runners confused and didn't know where to go. One runner had to use her cell-phone and contact her team for directions while Kyle, Dave, Paul and I followed Irwin and made sure he was going in the right direction. Fortunately one of the volunteers helped them out and we arrived at the last exchange. Getting to the last exchange was sheer mayhem!

The last leg was Coach's, unfortunately due to the poor directions from the organizers, they got lost. While we waited for them, like a machine, Irwin finished his leg with ease, made a lot of ground for us and had to pass onto the next runner. Frantically, Irwin yelled out: "who's gonna take this leg?!?!??!?!" Since coach wasn't there, we had to make a split second decision. To be honest,with food in my system and since my achilles wasn't in tip-top shape, I definitely wasn't ready. Despite all of this, Kyle and I volunteered, but Irwin handed the chip to me so I took off.

While running, I felt horrible. I chugged up a whey protein shake 5 minutes before and a friggin' peanut butter sandwich. Even worse, I wasn't sure if i did the right thing to take coach's leg. I knew how psyched up my coach wanted to run for this leg. Eating 5 minutes before a race resulted to an unpleasant feeling as i felt a throbbing pain on my left abdominals midway through the race. Nevertheless, I just ignored the pain, took long/easy breaths and moved on.

The final stretch was 4.7 miles and had 2 big hills but definitely wasn't as bad as the first leg. Near the end of the stretch, Paul, Dave and Kyle cheered me onto the finished line and near 25 yards to the city, my hamstrings and calves cramped up. What the EFF is going on?!?!? I ignored the throbbing pain again and hobbled to the end like a complete village idiot with a total time of 36:29 (7:45/pace) and placed 11th. It sucked, if coach were to run this, he would kill this route with a sub 6! Coach is the best and without his help, the rez dogs would NEVER be the same! Mad props to him-

The total team time was 8 hours and 27 minutes (8:27/mile pace) and our standing was a respectable 20th place. AWESOME JOB TEAM!

Despite the HORRIBLE organization from the inaugural relay, the whole team had a blast. I guess it is expected and the organizers will be meeting up with a list of lessons learned and how they can make it better for next year.

Special thanks to the team, since we pulled it through with an excellent time. Dave and Quincee did an incredible job organizing this race from the beginning to the end. Also Kyle was great to offer his car and food for the group (thanks for letting me drive your SUV!). And lastly, Coach, you are the best! I totally couldn't do it without your help in all the speed workouts!

Lastly congrats to the other dogs Julie, Christian and Bob (you rocked on the first leg - that was MAAAAADDD difficult!)

My lessons learned? Never drink a 20 oz whey protein shake 5 minutes before a race. Also despite several fallouts in the race, the team pulled it together and made it an experience I won't forget.

Aloha and Cheers,



Blogger Brooklyn said...

Nice race report; glad it turned out good overall.

8:29 PM  
Blogger nyflygirl said...

was great meeting you're awesome too :)

i agree, the the organization of the relay could have used some work, but i think with an inaugural race, snags are to be expected, and all you can do is make the most of the situation, which is what our team did...we're still talking about how much fun we had.

7:18 AM  
Blogger Rupal said...

Wow, you definately look constipated in those pics, it is cracking me up!!! you should really try to take a duece before your runs!

2:46 PM  
Blogger stephruns said...

what a small world - glad you were taking the chaos easy.

4:01 PM  

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