May 28, 2016

Triple Race Report: Umstead, 3Days, 40th Birthday Run

For lack of a post in some time, I now give you three quick reports in one place.

Umstead - April 2-3 - 100 miles - 27 hrs, 41 mins, 4 seconds

The main take-away for my 2016 Umstead race report is that 100 milers don't get easy.

I have, at this point, gone 100 miles or more in thirteen individual races, and I would be lying if I didn't say the intimidation factor has diminished over time. However, 100 miles is no joke, and even though my ability to finish one isn't in question, the temptation to approach a 100 with a casual "I've done this before, no big deal" attitude should be resisted because there's nothing but pain and suffering down that road.

Poorly prepared, I relied on the kindness of my friends to get me through this race. I had two of them volunteer to come down - at considerable expense - to pace me. And if I've ever needed a friend to get me through a race, this was the race where I needed them. Both of them expressed how honored they were to be able to come and help me, but from my perspective they were being overly charitable towards me - and I'll forever be grateful to them for it.

Melissa paced me for miles 50-75, Ami paced me 75-100
I have completed about a third of my 100s without pacers, and consider them a "nice to have" but not necessary. In this race, I honestly don't know if I could have finished without them. And they also made it a lot of fun. Very grateful.

Three Days at the Fair - May 12-15 - 72 hours - 161 miles

Stephen Banfield and I at the fair

Three Days At The Fair, which is a 72-hour fixed time race in which the format is "how many 1-mile loops can you complete in a set amount of time", is my favorite race on the calendar purely because I am a social being and races like this lend themselves to people who like to mix "hanging out with friends" with "running extreme distances." I went into this race with a rather soft 156-mile personal record, with an aim to beat it by a rather large margin. I didn't beat it by nearly as much as I wanted, but still managed to have fun. Recap: Thursday was hot, and we all suffered. Friday was raining, and we all got wet. Saturday was mild and sometimes drizzly, and we all kept going.

Notably, my son Joey entered the 24-hour race held on Saturday, and walked around the course with his friends (other kids of people involved in the race), and before he was finished at 9am Sunday had completed 28 laps. Since a standard marathon is 26.2 miles, at twelve years old he can honestly claim he's officially completed an ultra-marathon.

Marathon-running kids. 
Steve's Fortieth Birthday Run - May 21 - 40 miles

On May 21, I turned 40 years old. Naturally, I wanted to run 40 miles. I started shortly after 5am from my house in Mahwah, and ran down to Saddle Brook. My friend Suzanne was there at my house at the crack of dawn when I left and joined me for the first couple of miles. That really meant a lot to me.

Suzanne and I at 5am
It was about ten miles to the northern end of the Saddle River County Park Path ("duck pond"), and the path itself is six miles long to its southern Terminus at Saddle Brook. I then YoYo-d the path a couple of times, with a few loops here and there, until I got to 40. At mile fifteen, Anne joined me for the last twenty-five miles. Ami joined us at mile 31 for the last nine miles, and Joey was there for the last mile. Afterwards, we celebrated with beer and pizza. My kind of birthday.

All of us right after finishing