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NYC 100k report

skatey-mark's picture

I wrote up alot of this waiting at the airport Sunday morning, and put the finishing touches on it this morning...  Enjoy!



Artem & I arrived in NYC without incident, checked into the hotel, and picked up our registration packets. We chatted a bit with Marcia who was handing out the packets, and eventually left to grab a bite to eat. (There's a nice little diner right next to the Skyline hotel which had good food...) After that, we went to check out the course at Prospect Park. Artem hadn't done the event before, and I wanted to refresh my memory of the course anyway... Plus, we had a lot of time to kill (at this point it was maybe 3:00 or so.

We took the F-train to Prospect Park, not knowing any better. As it turned out, the subway station for that train is near the top of "the hill". Once we got into the park, it did look somewhat familiar, and I deduced that we indeed were at the top of the hill. So we started walking the long gradual downhill, around the bend to the start, then the slight uphill afterward -- all this time Artem is thinking that course is great! Then came the hill.... We made our way up it, and it's a bit of work even in shoes.... Then, when I thought we were at the top, we went to leave the park and realized that we weren't back to where we started yet! After the initial steep climb, there is a long, grinding climb which I did not remember AT ALL from 2004. (I remembered it being flat after the steep climb.) So we eventually get back up to the top, find the entrance we came in at, and got on the subway back to Manhatten.

Meanwhile, we called Danny who is now living in Manhatten to see if he wanted to grab some dinner. He did, and (after a 40-minute subway ride & walk to the hotel), we met Danny, Bethany, and a relative of Danny's (who was visiting from out of town) outside the hotel. We walked in the general direction of Danny's apartment and found an italian restaurant along the way. The food was good, although the portion size was a bit small. Afterward, we went to check out Danny's apartment (which has a KILLER view of the city by the way). When we got there, Danny suggested we take the stairs... Of course, Danny lives on the 39th (yes, thirty-ninth!) floor!! Not wanting to seem like wimps, we of course agreed, hoping the climb would not affect our legs for tomorrow!

We chatted with Danny & Bethany a bit, then headed back to the hotel to get some rest. We stopped at a store on the way back and got some food for breakfast (muffins for me) and some ice cream... :) The Skyline hotel (the "event hotel") is actually pretty nice. Room was a decent size, and the bathroom was good. Much better than I expected... We got our stuff ready, set the alarm for 5:30 (ugh) and checked the weather forecast. Now, we had checked it earlier and it said 30% chance of rain, high of 72. I figured those were pretty good odds, and the temperature would be perfect (maybe even a little chilly at the start.) Now, however, the forecast was saying 50% chance of rain (same temperature.) Not good... Although it appeared that, if it did rain, that it would stop maybe an hour or two into the race.


The alarm came on way too early for my taste, but we roused ourselves and got ready. I checked the weather report, but I could have just looked out the window -- it was raining... Ugh... I choked down my blueberry muffin (I rarely eat breakfast, so I'm generally not hungry when I wake up.) We headed over to the subway, with a different route in mind. The B/Q train has a subway stop right next to the start of the race, so that's the more logical choice. While we were waiting for the train, we ran into a couple other skaters and chatted with them on the ride. A couple train switches later, and soon we arrived at Prospect Park.

It was about 7:40 at this point, and the race was scheduled to start at 8:30... So plenty of time to get ready & warm up still. We chatted a bit and I eventually picked a (wet) place on the ground to put my stuff on. By 8:00 I was all geared up and started skating around to warm up. Many others were doing the same at this point. It got closer and closer to 8:30, and it was apparent they were running a little behind. Then, they announce it would be 20 minutes until the start. So, some more skating aorund to warm up. It was only drizzling a little at that point, and I wasn't as chilled as I thought I would be. In retrospect, I don't think there was *any* wind...

The Race:

So, finally, it's getting close and the countdown starts! We all take off and I see the pro pack pulling away in front, and I'm in the middle of no-man's-land. Danny and a couple other skaters pass me, and I decide to join them as they made there way up to the leaders. That didn't last terribly long... :) But we were indeed at the back of the lead pack for a brief time. "The hill" comes pretty early after the start, though, and the pack started breaking up. I felt halfway decent going up the hill, but was struggling on the flat parts... I was having to work pretty hard to stay in the draft. When we made the turn at the bottom of the hill, I *really* had to work to stay in the pack when we were heading back towards the start line. Shortly after completing lap 1, I considered dropping, and let a gap open... Then I thought I could probably hang with them until the top of the hill. (At this point, there were maybe 5 people in our pack.) When we got to the hill, something unusal happened... I actually felt really good going up the hill. I mean, it wasn't pleasant... But I wasn't struggling like I was on the flat (or slight uphill) parts of the course. VERY weird... So I held on...

Our pack stayed together for a few more laps, but Danny & I were struggling a little bit. I forget which lap it was, maybe 5, but we had to let them go. So then it was just Danny & I by ourselves. Bu tthat's still infinitely better than skating by yourself. So we traded shifts in the front. I would take the lead up the steep part of the hill, and then we'd trade a couple more times for the rest of the lap. I still tell Danny was really laboring hard on the hill, but he hung in there. Danny kept saying he had "nothing left", only to start punishing me with a strong pull a few minutes later! I was drinking a LOT of water during the race, not wanting to have any chance of dehydration. (Not too likely since it was so cool that day.) I was also eating Gu pretty fast, maybe every other lap. (25-30 minutes.) But it seemed to be working. My legs were getting tired, but I felt like the pace was sustainable.

Around lap 7 or 8, the pro men lapped us for the first time, and it was still pretty big -- maybe 12 skaters, including Eddy. Not too long after that, I decided it was warm enough that I could peel down the top half on my skinsuit and go "shirtless"... The kept me really cool and felt great. A few laps later, we came up on someone from our original "pack of five". He apparently had his frame come loose and had to stop to adjust it. On lap 12, the pro men passed us again, although the pack had split now. The lead was a pack of four (no Eddy)... Eddy and another guy passed us some time later and I'd guess they were maybe a mile behind the leaders at that point. We passed the start line and it said 5 laps to go -- but of course that's for the leaders. And, sure enough, they announce over the PA system that we had 7 laps to go.

Even now, I was still feeling pretty good going up the hills. Danny was hanging in there, but would fall back a little bit sometimes. With so many laps to go, it would be stupid to go on without him, so I'd slow down a bit at the top and let him catch me (he probably would catch me anyway). So I'd get a very slight rest then. There were a couple times that I caught someone else on the uphill and tried to hang with them (leaving Danny unfortunately behind) but they always turned out to be too fast -- at least too fast for me to sustain that pace for the rest of the race, so I'd drop, take it easy, and Danny would catch me shortly thereafter.

So, getting back to lap 12 or so... We now had a pack of 3 again, and that lasted for a few more laps. I led up "the hill" of course, and then we rotated during the rest of the lap. I noticed now that the wind had picked up, particularly on the stretch from the bottom of the hill up to the start/finish line.  Definitely made pulling in front harder...  On maybe lap 15, our friend fell pretty far behind on the uphill and Danny & I were a pack of two again. The good news was that we only had to do that hill 3 more times... By this time, the hill is pretty torturous for me. My legs are definitely feeling the 50+ miles we've done so far. My calories per hour is over 800, which is really borderline on what I can sustain over multiple hours. But, 3 is such a small number, that psychologically it gives a little boost, knowing you're somewhat close to being done.

Oh - another thing... During the race, we'd of course see some familiar faces. We passed Brian a couple times during his marathon, as well as Bethany -- both looking strong. Brian was skating in a pack the times I saw him, but it seemed Bethany was doing a solo effort. That's a tough course to do by yourself -- I know because I skated the bulk of it myself 2 years ago... We also passed Artem, doing the 100k, and he definitely looked strong...

Danny & I keep chugging away... Soon it's two laps to go, then just one lap. I'm dead tired at this point, but I triumphantly hold my index finger up as we cross the start line, indicating that, yes, I do know we only have one lap to go and I'm pretty damn glad about that! :) Danny & I hit the hill and struggle up it. I rotate back shortly afterward and Danny picks up the pace... I'm hurting BIG TIME, but I keep telling myself I can tough it out a little more. We switch again before the downhill and get as much roll out of that as we can. I pull a little more after that, then Danny decides to pick up the pace and skates around me... I fall in behind, willing my legs to keep going. We get closer and closer... About 20 yards from the finish, we start sprinting. I pull around Danny and try to get my legs working... I'm trying to double-push but feel as coordinated as a pig on roller skates! They're just too tired to do what I'm telling them! But I do manage to accelerate and cross the line barely in front of Danny. Our final time: 3:51:46 (according to my watch - official time may be different.) I couldn't be happier about the time, and I know there is absolutely no way I could have skated it any harder. I was completely spent... Danny & I congratulated each other, then sat down for some well-deserved rest!

During the race, I kept waiting for the pro women to pass us, but they never did. But, we didn't have to wait too long before we saw their finish. A pack of 3 sprinted for the finish line. That was really cool to see -- I've never finished fast enough before to see any of the pros... After some time, I felt like I had enough strength to get my skates off and walk around... I hung out near the finish line and snapped some pictures (soon to be posted online...) And of course, hung aorund while they were raffling off prizes. (Got nothin...)


We eventually headed back to the hotel and got cleaned up. We ran out to a Rite Aid and got some baby oil so I could soak my bearings. (Artem decided his where fine...) Then, we finally went for some BADLY NEEDED food. My brain was getting a little fuzzy from calorie deprivation... We decided mexican would be good, and found a place over on 9th st. I think it was called "la Cocina" or something like that. We pretty much inhaled the basket of chips. The food came later and was pretty good, although like the night before, the portion size could have been bigger. After eating, we decided to walk around on Broadway. I saw a bakery on the way and got a brownie. After we were on Broadway a while, Artem wanted Starbucks, so we stopped in there. I got another brownie-type treat (toffee almond bar or something)... We eventually made our way over to Danny's place, this time opting for the elevator instead of stairs!

We chit-chatted there a while, and later headed over to the race "after-party". It was pretty low-key. The K2 rep was handing out coupons for free beer which was very cool. We ordered more food (crab spring rolls for me) and chatted some more. Turnout was pretty low at the party, so we didn't stay too terribly long. Plus, we were obviously tired and would need sleep soon. But that didn't keep us from stopping at Cold Stone for some ice cream on the way back...

Race results:

So that's about it... I'm at work finishing this up now, and just saw the link to the official results posted on racereports.net... http://www.easternseaboardseries.com/2006stage5results.html So, I search on my name and it appears I came in first among all categories except elite men. 19th place overall, which put me slightly ahead of a few of the elite men. (Danny was right behind me so was 20th overall.) I also saw in the writeup on inlineplanet that the times this year were slower because of the rain. Of course, turnout was a little low, so I don't really think my placement would have been as good if more people had shown up. But I still couldn't be happier about the results! It was a hell of an effort, but seems to have validated the long hours of training and dieting this year...

- SM -


eebee's picture

What was your NYC 100k 2004 time?

Great race report, Mark! What was your 2004 time? Sounds like you blew it out of the water this year.

skatey-mark's picture

my 2004 NYC 100k experience

Here's my writeup from 2004, in case anyone is interested...



The short version is, I finished in 4:40 or so...  I was not in nearly as good shape that year (my A2A time had gone up from the previous year too.)  I got dropped (or rather, my survival instinct told me I needed to drop) on lap 2 and skated the remainder of the course mostly by myself.


That was a big learning experience though.  Because, after all that skating by myself, a pack of 2 or 3 skaters finished within 5 minutes of me.  I dropped early in A2A that year as well, only to be passed by many others later but didn't have the energy to stay with them.


So what I learned in 2004 was (aside from needing to train more and eat less) was that if I drop out of the pack (or get dropped) the best thing to do is to slow down and awit for the next pack (if I'm reasonably sure there is one coming.)  Instead, in 2004, I calculated how much I had left to skate, and what pace I could accomplish that by myself, and just resigned myself to skating alone.  That left me weaker and unable to latch onto another pack when I'd eventually get passed.


I'm not sure how well that would have worked this year, since the turnout was small -- I'm not sure there would have been a pack to grab onto...  So it's good I was able to hang in there.  But I did have a chance to try out that strategy at the Detroit marathon back in May...  When I dropped (like 5 minutes into the race) I could see the other pack behind me.  They certainly would have caught me no matter what, so by skating slower and resting I was recovered enough to jump on when they caught up. 


- SM - 

roadskater's picture

Athens to Atlanta A2A Roadskate 100K Plus 25 Miles

Yesterday when thinking about the comparisons between the New York 100K and Athens to Atlanta, it dawned on me again that A2A is like doing a metric century, then going out for another 25 miles. There are other ways to think of it, to break it down, but that's one of them. It doesn't work too well for me to think of it as 38 (Dacula) plus 49! I like the second "half" to be shorter! One way to think of it is everything before the last Escher up left in Clarkston, then the long slog home along railways and city streets. Significant points for me are always the 69-mile mark before Silver Hill, the Lickety Split in Stone Mountain's Micro Five Points (after the .75 mile downhill and the 1.1 mile uphill on Silver Hill Road), and that last brutal hill at Clarkston. Ahh me thighs are burnin' jus' t'inkin' on't.
roadskater's picture

New York Metric Century 100K Skate Awesome

Wow, Mark. I wrote a longer reply before, but as I'm "borrowing" wireless signals from neighbors of folk I'm visiting, methinks I deserve to lose some stuff! Mainly I was wondering what you are thinking this translates to for A2A. In a perfectly same world it's under 5h30m but one would think on an open course with unpredictable support and varied terrain, this would slow you quite a bit. Any thoughts? I certainly hope for happy results for you there, as you've trained, thought, analyzed, studied, learned, applied, equipped, and lots more this year. If the season ended last weekend I'd say it's been a huge success! I know you're looking forward to t2t and a2a, each in its own way, and I can't wait! I'll be slow but I'll get there! Tell us more stories from NY100K when you think of 'em.

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