Sunday, February 22, 2009

HMRRC Winter Marathon

Hudson Mohawk Road Runners Club put on their 36th annual winter marathon at the SUNY Albany campus this past Sunday February 22, 2008. I originally intended to use it as an up-tempo long run while I simultaneously visited my friend Frank (who moved there a few months back) and his girlfriend Karen on Saturday. Coincidentally they live just two miles from the campus and we had a great time catching up on Saturday afternoon and carb-loading Saturday night at a great Italian restaurant.

I wasn't sure how I was going to feel in this race because I have never run/raced a marathon as part of a 104-mile week with no taper! I was a bit nervous because of this but kept telling myself that if I feel any type of abnormal discomfort that I would simply just back off, possibly walk, and ultimately finish the 27 miles I had planned on for Sunday regardless of time. Basically I was just going to play it by ear and see how it was all going to unfold...sooooooo here goes...

I arrived at the Physical Education building at 8:45am for a 10am 37 degrees, light wet snow, wind about 10mph...not bad conditions for what it could have been and what has happened in the past.

Immediately I saw some usual suspects... Jim L., Donny A., Joe H., and a good friend that came up from Cortland (who has won this race in the past) named Eric M. I took a couple laps around the 400m track to warm up and made my way to the starting line.

Joe H., Eric M., and myself agreed that we would take it out and just see how we felt. Also, Joe warned us to be careful as relay runners would be starting at the same time.

Off we went... 6:30/mi. pace for the first mile as we talked, caught up, shared racing plans for the new year, etc. We continued at a pretty quick pace, faster than Eric wanted to, and probably faster than Joe and I expected as well. It was a multi-loop course that offered just enough incline and decline to use different muscles periodically. I loved how I was able to stretch out my stride on some of the long downhill declines.

So we were 2nd, 3rd, and 4th place from the get go and the first place was way ahead. After ten miles we pretty much accepted that he was gone and we were just content not having to worry about him. We were all running really strong and wondered how long it would last. We came through the half-way point in about 1:23 and we were joking about how we were the "Three Amigos".

As the race progressed conversation became fewer and far between. At around mile 16 or so Eric M. dropped off and Joe H. and I continued pressing on as the wintry mix sprayed us and the roads. My fingers got pretty cold at this point from continuously spilling Gatorade on the gloves but I managed to warm them up again in order to have enough dexterity to get the little chunks of Clif Bars I had stashed in my Race Ready shorts. Joe and I passed 30K and reminisced about how we duked it out to the end last year in Wurtsboro Mountain 30K finishing 1st and 2nd place.

At about the 20-mile mark I noticed some normal fatigue setting in but I ate a little and drank a nice big swig of Gatorade. Right after that someone yelled to us that the 1st place guy was dying. I don't know if it was the food and drink kicking in, the new information, or both combined but something inside of me just said, "Go!" I kicked it into another gear that I was surprised to have given the circumstances and quickly lost Joe.

I continued to put more space between Joe and I and wondered how true the observation was about the leader. Mile 22 was a sub 6 minute effort and as I turned a corner I could see something, somebody off in the distance as I squinted from the spitting rain and snow. I was able to identify him by his bright green Brooks Racers that he wore.

Next we came upon the last aid station before the finish (Mile 24) and I noticed he was stopping to take a GU and drink. This is where I would stroll right on by as I quickly grabbed an out stretched hand of Gatorade. He looked at me as if he saw a ghost and said, "Good Job."

I didn't look back the entire way home and was honestly quite surprised of myself. I pushed moderately hard to ensure I had it wrapped up and came into the finish with a time of:


I cheered in Joe H. for a stellar 2nd place and Eric M. for a strong 4th...We did it..."The Three Amigos!" click here for results

I would like to thank all the wonderful, friendly volunteers that came out to direct traffic, hand out drinks and just be there for folks were awesome!

We shared some laughs and stories afterward, ate some vegetable soup, got massaged and just had some good clean fun. I left with a huge apple pie as one of my prizes and headed back to Ithaca with a feeling of pride and satisfaction as I am sure Joe H. and Eric M. did as well.

Miles for the week: 104

Monday= Easy 5 miles on treadmill at SUNY Cortland
Tuesday= 10.5 miles total (Speed workout) mile repeats (5) on treadmill at Island Health Club at a 5:43/mi. pace...(Yes, I gave into the treadmill finally due to inclement weather)
Wednesday= 12 miles in afternoon from Cortland campus, Gracie, to Rt. 13 and back; 5.5 miles at night on treadmill in apt. fitness room
Thursday= 9 miles in afternoon running from SUNY Cortland campus to Lime Hollow and back; 9 miles in evening on treadmill in apt. fitness room
Friday= 9 miles in morning on Warren Rd., Asbury, Farrell loop; 9 miles in evening running the Black Diamond trail with Cass Park add on with Max.
Saturday= 4 miles in morning on treadmill in apt. fitness room; 4.25 miles in late afternoon in Albany
Sunday= 27 miles running HMRRC winter marathon (warm-up included)

Well I got my racing fix that I was craving after about 2 1/2 months...Time to get ready for another week...Cheers!

Quote of the week: "Never really give in as long as you have any earthly chance, and above all don't allow yourself to fancy that you are in this predicament until the gruesome knowledge is absolutely forced upon you. For however bad you may be feeling, it is by no means impossible that the other fellows may be feeling quite as much, if not even more, distressed.~~~~Alf Shrubb


AnthonyP said...

Way to go. I was going to make the drive with some friends to this, but decided last minute not to because of the forecast for snow in Albany.

See you in April.

olga said...

I liked that marathon for its simplicity:) Awesome push at the end!

zsuzsanna said...

Hi Yassine,

saw you in a couple of races last year...this race at the end of a big week is awesome!!! Keep doing what you're doing!! Zsuzsanna Carlson

Ultra Chris said...

Rock on, Yassine! Sounds like you are in super shape and I am excited to see what you do to the HAT course.