Tag Archive | "jennifer mcnulty"

(Training Through) Race Reports: MoMa 50k and Asbury Park Marathon

I skipped the Mohawk Hudson Marathon on 10/10 in order to spend 6 days in Portsmouth, NH.   I decided to skip the race after my half for the Ulman Fund on 10/3.   My ACL had become very painful the day after that run, thus I imagined the marathon would have just left me home recovering for days.  Right now, I really need to be training not resting.  In exchange for a hard 26.2, I opted for 42 easier miles along some of the most beautiful waterside scenic routes.

Portsmouth, NH  has a wonderful running community.   The local running club ( http://www.coastalathletic.org/)    has links to group runs, pub runs, and trail and road races.    All the roads that I covered seemed to have a beaten down foot path along side the shoulders showing just how much runners are out there pounding out miles.   I mapped a  wonderful 13 mile loop through downtown Portsmouth and over the island town of New Castle, settled in the early 1600’s making it the oldest town in NH.   Hampton Beach and Rye are a short trip south from Portsmouth and a wonderful place to log some ocean and cliff-side miles over mildly rolling terrain.  The crisp 45-60 degree weather just made every run perfect.  Walk up to the window of the Beach Plum for a post-run Lobster Roll or some Pumpkin ice cream when in Hampton or stop by  Me and Ollie’s Café when back in Portsmouth for butternut squash/cranberry soup and a thick slice of gooey cinnamon swirl breac and it really it doesn’t get much better that this.

Skipping the marathon left me feeling good enough to run some mileage this weekend, so I attended to two local races: the Mountain Madness 50k and the Asbury Park Marathon.  My plan was to run while paying attention to my knee in order to stop before I do damage that would require rest and recovery.   There were not goal races, so I did not feel compelled to push through the pain.

Mountain Madness (MoMA)

Rick and Jennifer McNulty organize New Jersey Trail Series races (http://sites.google.com/site/xxctrailseries/Home).  The MoMa is in its second year.  The idea of running through the woods for hours and hours on a crisp fall day is so alluring.   I recall  feeling incredibly overwhelmed by the warm colors of the fallen leaves last year.  I looked forward to another beautiful day of slow hilly running.

The MoMa is truly second most difficult course I have run in NJ.  The first is another NJ Trail series run called Running with the Devil (RwtD), which takes place at Mountain Creek Ski Resort at the end of July.   At RwtD runners travel up 933 ft over 1 mile, then back down, and repeat for 3, 6, or 12 hours in the heat and humidity while being tortured by the sounds of people enjoying the adjacent water park.

The MoMa is much kinder, but the 50k loop over long hilly terrain is really quite challenging (for me).  Some sections are a bit too rocky for my trail running ability and I end up twisting my ankles a bit more than I care to tolerate.  Getting lost, as a group, is common.   Last year, a few of us were lost for a good half hour due to pulled markings.   This year, it seems the course markings were pulled again.  It became a group effort to determine where to go next.  This race is really beautiful, but runners could be disappointed if they expect to post a fast time.   As for me, after twisting my ankle four times, my ACL was not very happy.  It took just one very long decent around 13-14 miles for me to decide it was time to bail hoping to be able to run at least half if not all of the Asbury Marathon the next day.

Asbury Park Marathon

The Asbury Park Marathon is a fun race (http://www.runasburypark.org/index.html).   It is primarily a relay that takes place over a flat, fast, 8 loop course running through Bruce Springsteen’s home town.   The cool weather was absolutely perfect for a fast race.  The headwind in the early section of each loop was really the only obstacle.

As soon as I started, I could feel how the slow pace at the MoMa the day before left my legs feeling less than peppy. Regardless, I started just about sub-8 for the first mile.  It didnt take very long for my knee to rebel and knew I wasn’t going to run the entire way.   After 7 miles, I ran past my car, dropped off my gels and decided maybe a 10 mile run will be enough for the day.

At that point I met Art, who rode up to me on his bike and asked me if I was having knee pain.  Since my knee is taped, I laughed asking “Yes, how did you know?”  He told me that he is a physical therapist who just attended a seminar on knee problems in runners. He came to watch runners and talk to those who experience knee pain.  For the most part, I generally don’t engage men who ride up to me on their bike while I am running, but since there was zero creepiness about Art, I listened to what he had to say.  I ran a bit while Art rode and he asked if he could video tape my stride for a few seconds and discuss with me what he saw.  Since my run was almost over, I figured why not hear what he has to say.

Art explained that most runners try to strengthen their quads in order better hold the knee cap properly.   However, he recenty learned that the newer thinking is that the knee is being pulled out of place by strong quads and therefore the muscle groups that need the most attention are the glutes and hamstrings.  We discussed a few different types of exercises that could be done at the gym and I was off to finish my run.   I would love to hear more thoughts about this.

Just as I was about to finish off the run, I saw Colleen running along with her friend Valerie.  I met Colleen at the start and she is a Marathon Maniac who was working on her first double marathon weekend.  (Congratulations Colleen!)  I returned my chip at approximately the 9 mile mark  as I passed through the start/finish, I caught up  and talked with Colleen and Valerie while planning to stop once I reached my car at 11.   As I passed my car, I was feeling good enough to continue so I took things about ½ loop at time.  Once reaching the S/F line (very close to  my car), I decided to continue on.   Upon passing my car again, I decided I still was not ready to stop and went back out.  Again crossing the S/F line, I decided to continue on.   Briefly, I thought I would end up finishing the entire run.  That idea quickly vanished just after 16 miles, when I could feel my ACL  straining too much for my comfort level.   I ended up with about 17 miles for the day and 32 miles of wondering running for the weekend.

Thank you all so much for reading my posts.


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