I originally registered for the 24 hour race last year planning on running 12 hours. Then the unexpected opportunity for a Boundary Waters trip opened up and I bailed on the race to go up North. I have been looking forward to this run for well over a year!The goal was set to run 100k or to keep moving for 24 hours. Getting to this race proved more difficult than I thought, however.
- My training and races up to this point were going well. Well, except for a new situation happening with my toes on my right foot. About three weeks ago I picked up some Hoka Stinson ATR's and went for a run (had been running in Hoka Challengers for the last year) and had some pain develop in my toes after a few miles. I was on a trail loop so finished up the 6 miles in pain. I replaced those shoes with the Challengers again and was hoping that would take care of the problem. While the pain has not been as intense as the original run it has not gone away. So while I had big goals for the race I knew that my foot might very well determine the results I would actually be able to achieve.
- Rain, rain and more rain! We have had so much rain that just one day before the race it was announced that the run may need to be cancelled. Either just the 24 hour cancelled or the entire event. I had taken Friday off work, my last paid vacation day this year, and I did not want to use it up at home. I started to research Plan B. The Grand Traverse race was happening in Duluth and I started to set plans in motion to head up north. The announcement was made on Thursday evening that the race was on with a possible short, short loop. I was so unsure what this would look like for 24 hours that I decided to head up North to run the SHT instead. I woke up Friday morning and as I saw the posts starting to come through on Facebook I started to have second thoughts about bailing on the race I had been planning on and looking forward to for over a year. After much indecision and waffling I decided to go to Goosebumps and hope for the best of conditions. It was the best decision! As a friend told me the race would be what I would make of it.
|Dave and I at the start of the race|
The loop was 1.85 miles, shorter than the previous loop of 2.8 miles. This modified loop was a result of all the flooding and high water and I was happy it was not down to a mile! I started out with Erich and Dave running their run/walk method. They were on pace for an average 14 minute mile. While the walking is great their walking pace is too uncomfortable for me causing me to over stride. I kept up for one loop and then had to cut them loose and continue on my own. I did end up catching back up with them on loop two but at my own pace.
My Garmin watch is only good for about 14 1/2 hours so I brought with a portable usb charger to charge the watch as I ran. I wanted to capture the entire run and also track my overall pace and mileage. Each time you completed a loop the lap counters would track it but I do like my electronic records for tracking. I planned on manually lapping my watch when I left the aid station. This helps me not spend too much time in the aid stations as my watch will show me my average lap pace including the non moving time. Well after the first loop instead of hitting the lap button I paused my watch instead!! Did not realize it until about 1 1/2 miles into the second loop. Boy this was not starting out good. Now I would have to do race math. Things could get interesting.
I ran by myself from the start of the race until around 6 pm when Kristine Tibor was set to run with me through the night. She was also running the 24 hour but promised she would stick with me and be my "pacer" for the night. This was awesome! Well back to the first four hours by myself. I struggled for much of these hours. My right foot started hurting before my second loop was complete and I knew that while I could possibly manage the pain and discomfort it would put a damper on my run. I was not having a very good run and could not stop thinking to myself that if I was already struggling in the first 20 miles of the race how could I expect to complete 62 miles?? It was a very good thing that Kristine joined me. She was able to keep me out of my head and think about other things as we continued to run/walk the loop. I was getting the loops done between 30 to 35 minutes including my aid station time. I tried to spend very little time in the aid stations and instead grab food to go. I started running with a handheld water bottle and after Kristine joined me I realized that I needed to ditch the bottle. I normally don't like carrying water bottles during my run and after at least four hours I think it was making me very crabby. So the plan was to just hydrate at the aid station on each loop. This worked out perfectly. I just made sure to drink each time through and because I was not experiencing a lack of bathroom breaks (I actually started to worry I was peeing too much, is that possible?)I figured I was adequately hydrated.
We had to pull out the headlamps just after 7 when it started getting dark. Fall is definitely here as our daylight hours are diminishing quickly. I was starting to experience waves of pain that would come and go in my foot. At some point I broke down and took some ibuprofen just to take the edge off. I was hydrating and eating well so was not worried about a negative impact. The funny thing is that it was not hurting any worse or different just still there.
Loops 21 - 34
We were back out and making progress at 1:45 am or so. It was still warm and humid and I was running in shorts and a tank. Unusually warm for a late September evening. I felt like a new woman after that break. My feet felt awesome and I had renewed energy. I was back in a happy place and started running some loops with an average of 15:30 again. I recall telling Kristine that I felt like a million bucks! Well at least that is what I think I said. I knew this feeling would not last for the entire 14 laps but I was going to ride that wave for as long as I could. I had pulled out my mp3 player sometime before Kristine joined me at 6 and listened to a Defeat the Stigma podcast with Karl Metzler but quickly changed to music to distract myself. I turned on the music yet again and put in one earbud to get through these loops. Talking had slowed down and Kristine and I were just concentrated on finishing each loop bringing me closer to my 100k goal. One part of the course had some runners running towards each other and it was fun seeing those runners ahead of and behind you running their own race. Nice thing about loop timed events like this is that you have no idea of anyone's mileage and, for me, I don't get those feelings of being "behind" like at Chippewa 50k on the out and back section and knowing all the runners coming back are well ahead of me in the race.
My memory starts to get fuzzy at places but my feet started to hurt yet again and I broke down and took one more dose of Ibuprofen. This was the last that I ended up taking. Kristine ran with me for about 10 more loops and when it started to get light she went and did her own thing. I had four loops left to complete my 100k and Erich joined me for these loops. He slowed his walk and run down to match my pace. I completed my 34th lap just before 9 am when the 6 hour runners were starting their race. I watched the runners start their race and then started my next loop with the intention of stopping at the car to rest for a bit again. I was on my own at this point so I knew that if I was going to run anymore miles it would be up to me to get moving again. I got back to the van, crawled into my makeshift bed and went to sleep.
Laps 35 - 39
I felt good on the first several laps and was able to do some actual running verses just walking. As I continued on though I was really starting to hurt all over. Not just my feet but my hips, quads and calves were taking a beating. By the 39th loop it was starting to be too much. I made the decision that this would be my last loop. I groaned my way through this loop and when I got to the aid station I knew I was done. There was still time left on the clock and there may have been the possibility of another loop but it would have been so painful I decided enough was enough. With 72.15 miles done I had exceeded my main goal and I was happy with that. With 72 miles completed this year next year I will only have to run 28 miles for that 100 mile Sweatshirt. Guess where I will be late September in 2017?
|Race Director adding up all the miles for awarding the accumulative 100 mile sweatshirts|
|Kristine and I at the end of the race|