Unfortunately, I didn't end up leaving West Chester until close to 730pm, so I didn't get up to the Fairgrounds till about 11pm. I made my quick "Hello" to the usual late night suspects: Johnny (and his awesome wife Diana), Jessi, and of course Rick and Jen (the two rockstar RD's), and then called it a night early. Sleeping was AWFUL, as it was brutally cold. I felt horrible for all the runners out trekking around the loop in that chill. Troopers... they were troopers!
|Happily running while its still cool :)|
The 24 hour group which I was part of started at 9am Saturday. It was relatively cool in the morning, so we ended up taking off at a pretty decent pace. A few laps in though, we quickly realized it was going to be a LONG day and ended up taking some quick walk breaks and snack stops. I ran with Johnny and his wife Diana for awhile (her first 24hour event), which was awesome, as we really got a chance to chit chat!
By mid-day the temperature was in the mid to high 70's. With no shade, the sun really takes a toll and its easy to become exhausted and dehydrated. I tried to watch my fluid intake as best as possible but I'm still new enough at ultras that I haven't mastered the enough vs too much. I ended up taking several breaks in the shade during the heat of the day to try to conserve SOME mojo. I even went into the bathroom several times to splash cold water all over myself. One crewmember of another runner had some sunscreen and loaded me with spf 100- THANK YOU WHOEVER YOU WERE!!! I have no idea how some of the 72 hour and 48 hour guys were still moving so well!! I remember at one point being passed by Darren as someone called out he was on mile 223... TWO...TWENTY...THREE? Did I hear them correctly? I really got a good slap in the face with that one as I think I was on mile 30 and he was flying past me! Talk about still having fresh legs and still being passed by someone who has already completed 7x what I'd just done. Amazing....
By 4ish, I was back on the loop moving at a steady pace... some running... some power walking. I decided I was just going to have a good time and let whatever mileage happened happen. I met up with a guy, Bill Gentry, who was on a mission to beat his 183mi record from last year, so I decided to walk with him for awhile (which happened to be FANTASTIC conversation and great company). The two of us walked at a 15-16mi pace for hours which helped the miles fly by easily!
At 9pm the 12 hour group hit the field. It was quite impressive seeing some of these rockstars take off flying. Early on, Bill and I saw one dude FLY by.... he actually looped us once or twice PER LOOP. We decided that either he was some rookie who was going to burn out and give us a nice show, or some stud who knew what he was doing and would crush the field. Sure enough, after conversing with Rick, we learned he was Mark Manz, who placed 3rd at Umstead just 6 weeks earlier. Impressive... quite impressive... being lapped hour by hour by this kid sprinting loops. It makes me tired just thinking about it.
Anyways, back to Bill and I. We decided to call it for the night around 1030pm for a brief siesta. I made it to 44ish miles and felt like a quick nap would help get the mojo back for the nighttime hours. I vowed to wake bill up at 1am to get back on the track as we had a mission... to get him past 184 miles!! So I grabbed a bite, hit the car, and in the solitude and quiet of my car made my executive decision that I was done at 44miles and was going to sleep for the remainder of the night. My legs were starting to hurt and I was tired... not to mention I had to work Sunday night, so I didn't want to do anything stupid.
The alarm went off at 1am and I layed there thinking about Bills mission, and my lame ass being finished. That is, until a text came through saying that I did good with 44 miles. I came with a mission of 100k, and bailing that many miles short was suddenly UNACCEPTABLE in my mind, despite some pity text saying that 44 miles was good enough. I rolled out of the car, found my sneakers, and headed to Bills tent to get him up and at 'em for a few more laps!! Grateful that I woke him up, we headed out... looking a little unorthodox all hunched over and filled to the brim with lactic acid to boot.... but we kept moving. By the time we made it to the Aid station Vinny had showed up and was manning the hot foods. Total rockstar that kid. Thanks for the encouragement even as I was walking... I owe ya!
Bill and I finished another 6 laps for my 50 miles before I officially called it quits. My LCL was just not having any more, and I figured if I felt well enough in the AM I'd hit a few more laps then!
|Sunday awards ceremony (with Diana)|
This is my just-rolled-from-car look. Nice huh?
I definitely had a great time at 3 days... met a lot of very inspirational people... and found that despite an 0.8mi MIND BOGGLING loop, its do-able. I will definitely be back next year... who knows... maybe even for the 48 hour :)