Thursday, November 20, 2014

Race Recap: NYRR NYC 60K

When I first heard about the NYC 60K, I was immediately drawn to it. An ultra in New York City? Count me in! With only 300 runners, this wasn't your average NYRR race. My friend Jocelyn had expressed interest for sometime about running an ultra. We had been searching for a race that would work for both of us and this race ended up being the perfect fit.

Heading to the start
Bib pickup was held race morning at the NYRR Headquarters. The start (in Central Park) was just a short walk from there. Jocelyn and I met up at NYRR and hung out in the warmth of the building until the race started (it was in the low 30s). She had a little concern about how this run would go, but I knew her marathon conditioning would be a strong base to get through the 60K (37 miles).

The course was a 4 mile loop in Central Park, which we would run around 9 times. In addition to the main aid station at the start/finish, there was an additional water stop about halfway into the loop. We were also allowed to stash our own food/drink bag at the main aid station, which was nice.

The sun was just starting to creep over the tall buildings that surround Central Park as we set off. There wasn't a cloud in the sky and we were treated to beautiful blue skies all day. After a quicker first lap than intended, we settled into a comfortable pace. While some would find running a looped course to be boring, I don't mind. Each lap I noticed something new. The fall foliage in the park was gorgeous which made for a picturesque setting.

As the race progressed, the park came to life with other runners, cyclists, and hansom cab rides. Jocelyn and I talked about anything and everything during the race. It's kinda funny how easy it is to open up during a run. Our steady conversation made the laps pass quickly. I was under strict instruction not to tell her how many miles we had left. The only numbers I could say aloud were the number of laps to go.

During the 4th lap I bumped into a fellow Nuun Ambassador and Hood to Coast teammate, Eric. He told me he was gonna try to come out and say hi and it was nice to see him.

Eric and I (Photo Credit: Eric)
As we came into the closing laps, I could tell Jocelyn was starting to hurt. I joked with her that this is where the real fun begins! She told me I could run ahead, but there was no way I was gonna leave her side. I've been in her position before I know how much it helps to have someone next to you. Besides, she was still running so strong!

During last lap, Jocelyn was pretty quiet, but I understood why. The hills of Central Park started to feel more like mountains, but she powered up each one, refusing to walk. Finish line in sight, we gave it one last push. We finished in just over six hours with a 9:48 min/mile average! I was beyond impressed. She ran such an amazing race! Watching someone graduate from marathoner to ultra-marathoner is pretty awesome to see. Oh, did I mention she had run the NYC Marathon two weeks prior?!?! #beastmode

After the finish, I saw Mary Wittenberg (CEO of NYRR) and went up to thank her. She looked at me and said, "I think I posted a picture of you guys finishing on Instagram." She pulled out her phone and showed me the picture and sure enough, she had. She asked me what my email was and sent me some other photos she took of us finishing. You rarely get that kind of personal touch at a race and it was coming from Mary, no less. Pretty cool!

Jocelyn and I crossing the finish line (Photo Credit: Mary Wittenberg)
Last, a BIG thank you to the volunteers. They were absolutely incredible. It was definitely chilly out there and having them come out to help and support us was fantastic. I don't think there was one volunteer that didn't cheer us on as we passed. I was blown away. I loved this race and would definitely run it again in the future!
Garmin Upload
Mary, Me and Jocelyn

Monday, November 10, 2014

The North Face Endurance Challenge Series - Washington, DC

If you're anything like me, as the year comes to a close you're already looking ahead to 2015 and the races you want to run. As trail races continue to grow in their popularity, it is becoming increasingly harder to settle on which one(s) you want to do. To make your decision a little easier (especially if you live in the Mid-Atlantic region), let me recommend to you the The North Face Endurance Challenge Series event in DC (ECSDC).

A celebration of trail running...that's the best way I can describe the ECSDC. Spanning the entire weekend, the ECSDC offers race distances for runners of all abilities. A 50 miler, 50K, marathon and marathon relay is on Saturday's menu. On Sunday, you can choose from the half marathon, 10K, and 5K. For those with little ones, there's a kid's run both days. The North Face ECS staff pour their hearts and souls into providing the best race experience for you. You will not be disappointed if you sign up!

I've run the ECSDC half marathon, marathon, and 50K. In 2015, I'm going for the 50 miler! While this won't be my first 50 miler, I very much look forward to checking this race off my list. I was set to run the 50 miler in 2013, but due to illness the week of the race, I had to sit it out. However, I was able to defer my entry to the 50 Mile Championship in San Francisco, so not a bad trade off all and all.

An important note for the 2015 ECSDC is that the date has changed. In years past, the ECSDC was held in early June. However, this year it will be held the weekend of April 18-19. Personally, I'm all for the date change as the June event was usually pretty hot and humid. April weather in the DC area is typically in the 40s to 50s, which will make for ideal racing conditions. For more information on the ECSDC (including registration information), be sure to check out their website here.

I'm stoked to be partnering with the ECSDC crew to help promote this awesome event. In the months leading up to the race, I will be writing blog posts on different topics, such as course previews (with lots of pictures), trail running tips, and progress on my training for the 50 miler. I'm excited to share my experience with you all and I hope to meet many of you at the race! Also, be sure to follow The North Face ECS (@thenorthfaceECS) and me (@DougCassaro) on Twitter. Tag your tweets with #ECSDC and #TNFECS to join the chatter!

Happy running!


Call for Comments
  • Which Endurance Challenge Series event are you planning to run in 2015? Have you run any in the past?
  • Will the ECSDC be your first trail race?
  • What type of topics would you like me to cover in future blog posts?