A Staten Island triathlete and endurance coach ventures into the ultramarathon realm where there are seemingly no limits to human endurance. In 2013, he successfully finished the Grand Slam of Ultrarunning (picture of 2013 Grand Slam finishers above; I'm second from right), becoming only the 282nd person (since its beginnings in 1986) and only the fourth New Yorker to finish four of the oldest and most prestigious 100 mile ultramarathons in the U.S. in only 10 weeks.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Relay Race Report - 10,000 Meters at the Armory

This was really, really fun!

*all photos courtesy of Josh Pesin

Our little SIAC 10 man motley crew posing as a relay team actually did very well last night at the Armory (results pending). Everyone gave it 100% last night, evidenced by doubling over, coughing up lungs, and knuckles dragging on the floor. We were a tired team afterwards, but a satisfied and happy team.

As relays traditionally go in track and field meets, the relay was last on the docket of three races (the 3000m and 1500m were included). Although all of us came about 7:30PM we actually had to wait until 11:30PM to race.

A couple on the team did enter into the other two events to loosen up for the relay and to pass time. Meanwhile, the rest of us practiced smooth baton exchanges downstairs in the halls.

I haven't been to the Armory in 5 years. Just the setup of the track is enough to inspire awe. The track is like a stage, with stands lined everywhere around the track. People naturally get a feeling of stage fright when performing on the track. But once the event goes off, the adrenaline takes over, big time.

We were in the second heat of the day, which gave us time to watch how this relay actually worked in the first heat, and looking at the various baton exchanges. There were definitely some speed demons in the mix in which we just cannot hope to compete against. It's like they had some sort of rocket strapped to their back as they were just flying around the track at supersonic speeds.

When it came to our heat, we assembled as a team and assured ourselves that we will do well if we gave it our all.

I was sixth in the lineup and raring to go. Our team captain, Mario told us to ease the first lap then build on it. I don't think anyone really listened. :) Not me anyway. With the adrenaline pumping, somehow I knew I would go out like gangbusters on that first lap.

And so did the first runners on our relay. They were pretty much pumping around the track. When it came to me, I did the same thing.

The first baton exchange was a little bit off, as I started a bit late. The baton was safely exchanged to me, and I was off like a bat out of hell. I felt like I got around that track in a heartbeat, as I exchanged the baton to Adam, who was next in line.

Don't drop the baton Pete, don't drop the baton...

That was when the tiredness struck.

The first thing that I thought was, "I had to do 4 more of these? Good Lord!"

It only took about 4-5 minutes before it was time to rocket around the track again. This time, the exchange was a bit smoother. But it seems like the rocket was starting to run out of fuel half way around the track.

Out for another sprint.

Sucking it up and completing the second lap, I was winded. I had 3 more of these crazy sprints to go? Oh God.

The rest of the team was feeling it too, but we kept it up well. My third time around the track almost turned into a disaster, as the relay team in front of me dropped their baton and I had to swerve, in mid sprint, to avoid them.

The fourth time around the track I can feel my eyes start to go toward the back of my head. This was real agony here, and probably why I abandoned speed workouts 10 years ago. There is nothing nice about being anaerobic.

Go Adam go!!!

Lactic acid sucks. Period.

Still, I persevered and had one more sprint to go. This time, we lay it all out on the track and run like the wind.

Yeah right. I was in total survival mode.

Still, when it came to the last lap, I did push that last straightaway and finished the last exchange without a hitch. Doubled over, I watch the last 4 guys sprint around the track and finish well below our goal of 30 minutes.

We finished at 27:36. Not bad for a team unaccustomed to sprinting.

Good show!

Some of us celebrated our tremendous effort at Coogans Restaurant for an hour or more before heading home into the wee hours of the morning. All and all, it was a satisfying experience to be a part this team.

One big problem persists. Once this indoor track on Staten Island gets built (SITRAC), will I subject myself to more of this agony? I shudder at the thought.

Now back to ultra training!


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