Date: Sun, 1 May 2011 10:21:48 -0400
From: Mark Dorion
Subject: After 10 days in New York (and other news)
My heavy legs are currently trying to chase my kids (Amalia 3D 10,5, Toby 3D 6.5) all over New York City. Yesterday in between visits to the lovely Queens Botanical Gardens and the woods nature trails of Alley Pond Park, we ate breakfast at the Smile (many ultrarunners in there, as well as many race helpers– but as hungry as I was I could not keep up with my old friend Uttal at the breakfast table– more on him later!), lunch at the Panorama Cafe (funnily enough, Uttal was in there eating too), and a great late evening Indian meal at the Annam Brahma (where the great ultrarunner Dipali Cunningham works) where we again bumped into– yes– you guessed it– Uttal!
At that point he was on his way up the street to perform the part of a large mad bull in an outdoor play.
Uttal, when he helped me at a Canadian 24 hour in 1987-88, was quite slim, but has since filled out a bit. He is still very helpful and encouraging and entertains my kids. Perhaps the best meal we have eaten in New York City was two nights ago at The Oneness-Fountain Heart in Flushing. The Manager there is Shashanka Michael Carlsen, for many years a well-known Swiss race director (Basel 24 hour, etc.) who came here to New York 3 years ago and turned the Oneness Fountain into a true gourmet dining experience. My wife Helen (who is from England and also a gourmet chef) rated the desserts at the Oneness Fountain “as fine and subtle as any I have tried across Europe and America.”
A quick aside– I am so happy that one of my oldest running friends, Jon Olsen, ran a 7:12 100Km PR at Ruth Anderson while I was racing in Flushing Meadows. There must have been something in the air last week …
And my 10 day RACE? I have run approximately 200 ultras over the past 33 years. I have also run thousands of other races (most of my overall best races have been at distances between 1 mile and 26.2 miles, and I am told that by various coaches and statisticians). BUT– the 544 miles I somehow managed at the just-completed Self-Transcendence 10 day rates as one of my most shocking efforts. My training all winter had been sub-par, far below what it had been for any other multiday. I had a cast on my leg for a month around Christmas. As of one month before the race I planned to come to New York to help out for a few days, not to run. The only hope was that I had raced well at 5K to 13.1 miles in recent months– but we all know that 45-50 miles a week (with a few long runs of 18 miles) and sub-40 min 10Kms, 19:12 5Kms, etc are not the way to prepare for an ultra, right?
To paraphrase Forrest Gump, in life “you never know what you’re going to get.” As I told several different interviewers on day 10, I was “incredulous” to finish with a 21+ mile PR. I would have been happy with 450 miles.
The support and cheering out on the course of various ultralist members and many other friends helped greatly, but for me the biggest key was the wonderful, round-the-clock support of the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team and its many helpers and friends. This was a new journey for me, going a longer distance in one race than I had ever done, on a creaky old body. Sri Chinmoy wrote that “Encouragement is the heart of a new journey.”
For me that mantra works, even in chilling sleet and rain in the middle of the night in a 10 day race.
I will write a more colorful and detailed report later (promise), but right now have to rush away from the computer and chase kids off to the next museum. It’s all good.
Best wishes to all ultrarunners,
Mark D in The Big Apple