So it’s been a month since I last posted, but I have been very busy with the final race preparations getting ready for our second annual Delirium Ultra 24 Hour Endurance Race on February 9, 2013. At the same time, I was continuing to ramp up my training getting ready to run the 24 hour event.
Going into the race my last four weeks of training maxed out with 103 miles three weeks before the race with a 40% decline the week after (62 miles) and then a 33% increase the week prior to the race (80 miles). This had me feeling strong and fresh the week leading up to the race.
The 7 days prior to the race were full of last minute details and set up for the Saturday race. Friday morning Gary and I began setting up the finish line and marking the course. Paul & Kayla come out later in the afternoon to wrap things up and then Joe met us for dinner (oops, I forgot about lunch) prior to packet pick-up at Station 300.
As we wrapped up packet pick-up, Joe & Kayla each headed home to get a good nights sleep before I hand the reigns over to them the next morning. Paul and I stayed overnight in the camper, which didn’t leave much sleep to be had as we were parked next to the road and every car that zipped by felt like it was about to drive through the side. Morning was here before I knew it and I was out of bed by 5:30am placing the “Runner Xing” signs and making a last minute bread run at the local Publix.
The next 4 hours flew by and before I knew it I was kissing my kids and Holly and handing the microphone over to Lisa Sulka the Mayor of Bluffton to start the race. With 30 seconds left to go, Holly motioned me “come here” I ran over and she asked “do you think you’ll be up for a BBQ tomorrow after the race?” I gave her a thumbs up as I heard…. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 Go!!!!
My first lap was a chatty one with Beth McCurdy, and it was great to finally spend some trail time with her. We ran the next three laps together and got to hear the kids yell their “Go, Daddy Go”. After the fourth lap the heat really began to rise so I stopped to shed one layer and change over to a tank top. I comfortably settled into a 9:00 minute pace and began chewing away the miles. On my 9th lap I started getting tired. Not “oh, my body hurts I need to walk” tired, but a “oh crap, I’m about to fall asleep” tired. This only lead to negative thoughts and in a 24 hour race it was way too early to be thinking this way.
After my 11th lap I was done… mentally.
I pulled into the aid station and sat down by my gear and saw Paul. I told him that I was done. The lack of sleep over the last week had gotten the better of me and that “my head just wasn’t in for 100+ miles today”. Paul flagged down Kayla and set her over my way. I told her the same and she refused to “DNF” me. She suggested that I go lay down for a while and just see what I wanted to do at that point. I took off my shoes and then went back into the camper. I tried to call Holly to let her know that I was pulling out of the race but didn’t her. I started stretching on the bed and fell asleep instantly.
“Go, Gary Go” was all I heard when I woke up. I peaked out the window and saw Gary wrapping up one of his laps and I decided that the 90 minutes that I slept was plenty and that I would go help count laps. I sat down at the starting line and began crunching the numbers in my head. By the time I pulled off I was 1 Hour and 7 minutes ahead of my “fail safe” plan to make 100+ miles. I was now off the course for 1:45 and I knew that I could make up the time, but I needed to go NOW!
Powder on the feet, socks, shoes, and with my water bottle in hand I told Kayla that I was heading out. I took off at around a 10:30 pace just to stretch out my legs. As I rounded out my 12th lap, I told the counters to ”mark it and let’s go!” My goal lap pace was 20:00 per lap. Over the next 5 laps I was coming back around between 14:00 and 14:30 but now I was mentally back in this race. I continued to press on pushing harder but was trying to strategically back down to save enough for the second half of the race.
Night rolled in and the temperature dropped to around 39 degrees. I walked the last lap with Beth M. and Ray K. that closed out her win in the 12 hour race. The night pressed on and only got colder as the fog rolled in and everything began to get soaked. The Chicken Noodle Soup was perfect to warm the soul and keep you going for another lap.
Paul began picking up a lap here and another lap there with me and the company really was appreciated. The last 10 laps seemed to fly by even though they were by far my slowest of the entire day. I got to share laps with Joe, Paul and Kayla as I rounded out my 58 laps crossing over to 101.7 miles with 3 hours to spare. This time, I was in fact done! The goal was reached and I was happy to stop there. I scarfed down some pancakes and three whole oranges and stripped out of running clothes and got into something a little warmer.
It was great to be on this end of my goal and the battle to fight back after my early resignation made the victory that much sweeter! A long clean up process after the race, finally got me back home to shower and just in time to head off to the BBQ with Holly and the kids!