Saturday, June 4, 2011

Queens 50 K
My First Ultramarathon
Alley Pond Park, New Pork
May 28, 2011

It had happened after finishing my 12th marathon, the Rhode Island Marathon, May 1, 201. Realizing that having several marathons under my belt, it's time to break the barrier  in my running distance by taking it to the next level. To run an  ultramarathon, by running more than the traditional marathon of 26.2 miles.

Less than a month, I've made the decision, I'm gonna do this; my decision had came after my marathon in Rhode Island. I am going to run the Alley Pond 50k on Memorial Day weekend! It is not really a big deal running 31 miles, no-brainer! It was only a marathon, just with an additional five miles. 

As a marathoner, I already completed 12 marathons, including 7 New York Marathon.  I still vividly remembered my first marathon in New York in 2004. The challenge of completing 26.2 miles is a daunting goal. But the need to go to the next level was due.

Two weeks ago I called up my running buddy Jesse James Gellor about my plan. Unhessitantly, he approved the plan and we decided to mail in our application with  our $25.00 check to the Broadway Ultra Society.

The race was organize by the Broadway Ultra Society, sanctioned by the Metopolitan Athletic Congress, the NYC Parks & Recreation and the NY Ultra Running Grand Prix Event. 

The course is a 3.45-mile out -and-back pedestrian loop on the Vanderbilt "Old Motor Parkway" in Alley Pond Park. The terrain is rolling with significant hills.

Race Day, we took the subway to Union Turnpike Station and transfer on a Q46  bus to Winchester Boulevard.  At 7:30 am, we were the first few people to arrive at the Alley Pond Park fieldhouse, the race venue, aside from tennis players in the park.

8:45 am, after  a race briefing by Race Director Rich Inamorato, he then introduces the New York ultra marathon 7-time champion Byron Lane and Phil McCarthy who just broke the 48-hour american record, running 257.34 miles non-stop  at the 3 days at the fair held two weeks ago in Augusta, New Jersey. Both are competting the race. I am  so proud that I am together with the  field of some elite runners.

Byron Lane (middle)

Phil McCarthy (Middle)

9:00 am, race started, I started with Jesse at a very conservative pace. 

And so it goes, lap after lap, I see the same people over and over. Volunteers at the two aid stations and the officials at the tent. The race was scored manually, race officials would then wrote down the splits the moment we ran through the start/finish station. They called out our names every time we got closer to the official table.

After lap 4, my wife arrived at the park to cheer us on. She stayed  under the overpass taking video and pictures on runners.

As the day progressed, so as the intense heat of 80 degrees plus. I was still with Jesse that whole time, pacing at a steady conversational pace. We sponged our faces with water mixed with ice. 

Fast forward to lap 8, alltough pain started to feel in my body it was nice to just run with someone.  Talking with Jesse the whole time while in motion was the only way to forget pain.

Finally the last lap, we said goodbye to the last aid station. Now was the time that I won't be back to the same course over and over again.  I kept myself focused and  I had struggled to lift my legs. My pace was getting slower but I was sure that I would finish.

We hit the final downhill and I sped up with Jesse James side by side .But Elliot Leet caught us up from behind with 100 yards to go. We  just kept our pace maintained now that we were so close.

Later on, I had seen the finish line. Proud to say!  A 50k Ultra debut!

In the end, Elliot Lee gave me a high five at the finish. Finished the race in 6:16:57, 9th place out of 18 finishers.

That's the journal of my first ultra and also my first blog entry.

Now, I am an ultramarathoner!

Here's the video link, thanks to Jesse James:

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