Monday, July 2, 2012

Run Between the Suns - 12 hour endurance trail race

So this past Saturday, June 30th - I wrapped up the month of June by completing my third ultra run, and my furthest distance so far - 40 miles in about 10 and a half hours.

I was excited, and not very nervous about this race, because it was being RDed by a friend and fellow runner from the area, Jeff Nelson, and his wife, Heather Nelson.  They put in a ton of work, and in the beginning, when they were first talking about putting the race together, I had said I would volunteer, but later, I decided it would be a good middle of summer test for me as I prepared for the 100k in the fall.

Friday night I had a good dinner of salmon, quinoa salad, and drank plenty of water.  I knew it was going to be a scorcher on Saturday, with predicted temps in the high 80s.  I packed myself 2 drop boxes with extra clothes and shoes, gels, enduralytes, plus a cooler with lots of ice and Gatorade.  I knew the aid station would be well stocked, but I wanted to make sure I had a reliable source of food and drink that I knew had no soy.  Soy has been giving me the "instantly run to the nearest bathroom" syndrome, so before races, I've been avoiding it like the plague.

So I had everything packed.  I even got my ipod ready.  The course would be a 5 mile loop, and if I was going to try for 40-50 miles, I wanted to be sure if I wasn't running with someone, that I had music or a podcast to keep me going.

So Jason and Eli and I woke up early and got down to the course.  It was great seeing so many people I knew, and once I had hit the restroom one more time and greeted some of the people, pinned on my number and reset my watch, we were off.  I fell into step with Katie, and we kept up a good pace and kept each other entertained.

And so it went.  First five miles we did in a little over an hour.  The course was hilly, but not terribly so.  I told Katie the hill size were pretty much perfect, because just about when I wished I was done going up a hill, it leveled off then went back down.  There wasn't much exposure to the sky, a few bits around a really beautiful and clear lake, but the cloud cover was holding, and the temperature wasn't awful, but I was sweating a ton.  I made sure I took enduralytes, drank, but not too much, and had a gel whenever I was feeling a bit hollow.

I didn't eat anything first time through the aid station, but I did hit the toilet, then we kept going.  10 miles.  We weren't passed much, and kept fairly steady pace.  I felt a little ick the second time through the aid station, hit the restroom again, and felt much better.  I tripped over a root on the third lap, but just got up and brushed it off.  Landed on my hands, not my knees, and I was fine.  I was feeling good, and Katie and I kept going.  We were caught up by a few of our friends, and it was nice to see and visit with people each time we came through the aid station.

15 miles.  I stopped and stretched each time through, sat down a bit, ate a bit.  The boiled potatoes with salt were my lifesaver, and so was the cold Gatorade.  I also took to dumping water over my head each time, which I think kept me refreshed.  I was already soaked with sweat anyway.  I also kept slathering sunblock on, even though the clouds were staying put.  The breeze was also very nice, and keeping us running strong.

I can't say enough about the Aid station.  It was amazing to come in and have bottles filled and anything we needed taken care of.

Jason had taken Eli off for a while (It's hard to entertain a 4.5 year old at an endurance event), but by the time we came in from our 5th round (25 miles) They were back.  I gave my kiddo a sweaty hug, then we were back to it.  Katie said she wanted to get 30, then would be happy.  I begged her to do to 35 with me, then I was going to walk one more loop to get 40.  The sun decided to come out then, at mile 30.  I was still feeling great.  A little sore in the hips, but each time I stopped and stretched at the aid station, I was good for another go.  Katie was getting a little down on the 6th loop, but she perked up again for the 7th, and then we met her husband and another friend on the 7th looped, and we walked the last one together, for 40 total.
I am so happy with how this event turned out.  The course was great - long enough to not be boring, but not too rough on the body.  I didn't need my ipod, because Katie and I chatted most of the loops, and kept encouraging each other along.  And hell if I didn't feel the best I have the next day after the race.  A little sore, but of my other ultras, this was the one I hurt the least after.  Was it the cool down loop?  Was it the stretching?  Did Laurel Highlands give me an extra kick in the teeth training wise?  I'm not sure, but I'm happy and still kind of... in disbelief that I ran 40 miles in 10 hours and 38 minutes.

It was an amazing event, and I'll be excited to do it again next year, and see if I can squeeze in 45, or maybe even 50...

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