Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Quick FANS 24-Hour Recap

My first 24-hour event was a glass half-full / glass half-empty type of result.  Per my last blog post, my goals for the race were: 1) Hit 100 miles in 16-17 hours.  2) A-goal of 140 miles.  B-goal of 130 miles.  C-goal of just surviving after 100 miles.  I can say that I hit my C-goal, but the problem with that is I didn't hit 100 miles until 20 hours into the race. How did the race evolve?  Let's first start with some details of the race itself.

The race starts at 8AM with a 0.78 mile out and back and then turning around again at the start finish to begin a long day of 2.14 mile loops.  The out and back makes it possible to count lap 46 as the 100th mile.  In the final hour, runners have the option to run a short course of 1/8th mile out and 1/8th mile back as many times because if you go out on another 2.14 mile loop and do not finish it before time is up, that last loop won't count.  There is an aid station with fluids at about 1.2 miles into the loop and then the main aid station at the start finish. The course is about 50% asphalt and 50% easy trail with only a few tiny hills.  Most of the course is shaded but when it isn't, the sun and heat can be powerful if it's one of those days.  For the 2016 race, the air was humid and it felt pretty hot in the direct sun.  Part of the course is directly in the path of planes landing at the nearby airport.  It's cool but also deafening when a plane about 200 feet above you flies overhead.  As you cross the start/finish line each loop, there is a large event tent set up with about 8 people sitting in it with binders and they take down the time when you cross each lap.  It's all manual, no chip times so you have to make sure they see you and get you as you cross.  It's not difficult or annoying, in fact, it was quite nice because someone would read off numbers of the runners and the runner can yell over to the specific person responsible for that runner and let them know.  For example, Leslie was responsible for taking down my laps the first 6 hours.  Next was Joe, then Heidi.  After that, I was too delirious to remember now who was taking my laps.  I wore my purple tutu for the race and that was a very big help in making sure they got me because it's impossible to miss me crossing.  All the volunteers were fantastic as is the case in all ultras I've done.

I have to give an incredible huge shout-out and thanks to Mary Harvey who introduced me to her crew of local Minnesotans Willie, Grace and Grace and let me use their amazing tent and helped me with whatever I needed and provided support throughout the race.  Mary was going for 100 miles in under 24 hours and also a little more than 100 just for proving she can.

I wrote the stuff above a week after the race and then proceeded to not write anymore.  It's now late August and I want to finish the recap so I won't provide as much detail.

I ran the first couple of laps with Mary.  The pace we were going was definitely too fast.  9s and mid-8 minute miles.  I was greedy and wanting to bank some time and really blow away my A-goal.   I feel like my nutrition was spot on.  I was drinking water and Tailwind Nutrition.  After roughly 30 laps, I finally looked at the leader board and saw I was in 1st place by 2 laps (lap 28 I think since there was a delay when they post the paper).  I knew at that moment I was screwed because I jinxed myself.  Literally, one lap later, I start to feel pain in my hip.  This forces me to slow down and walk a little.  Unfortunately, it persisted so I took some Tylenol hoping that would help.  It did for a short time but ten my other hip started hurting.  The blow that really killed me was looking at the leader board again and seeing how I was now in 3rd place somehow.  I believe I was on lap 33 and the leader was lap 35 or 36.   This just sunk me.  When was I passed?  And how was I lapped?!  I knew things weren't going to get easier.  My body was falling apart and my mind had let me down.  I tried to pull things together but mentally, I wasn't as strong as I would have been had maybe I still been in the lead or if I wasn't in pain this early or if I just didn't have stupid thoughts.  For example, I hit the 50-mile mark in a little over 8 hours. I should have been happy but I felt like I was too tired at this point and thought about how I ran the JFK 50-miler in 7:57, so I should be feeling great at 8 hours in this flat course.  So knowing some of my goals would likely not be reached, I started to fade and didn't care.  At night, I was really tired.  My lap splits continued to slow.  I was stumbling along the trail at 20-minute miles at some points late at night and did not allow myself any Coke or 5-hour energy because my goals were missed and now I just wanted to get to 100-miles, take a nap and then see how I felt.  I eventually got to 100 miles in about 20 hours.  This was even slower than my Tesla Hertz 104.5 mile race that I finished in 19:20 or something like that.  I was really disappointed in myself.

After I hit the 100-mile mark, I crawled into the tent and tried to nap.  It was f'n freezing though so 30 minutes later, I stumbled over to my car (Mary's crew later told me I looked like death), turned on the heat and passed out there.  I woke up close to the 22 hour mark and felt good.  I decided to see how much I can easily do and maybe support Mary to get her to 100 miles because I heard she was struggling.  I went out and ran and felt damn good!  I was able to rock out some 9-10 minute miles, probably could have gone faster but I stopped and walked a little with Mary or other people occasionally.  In the end, I finished with 109 mile which was good enough for 4th place male and 5th overall.  Yeah, I'm happy with that result but this race was a personal test for myself that I believe I failed.  I failed it because I didn't pace properly.  Lesson learned the hard way.  Mary got her 100 miles and I believe did 101 total.  She also took 4th place female and more importantly, her crew and tent won an award!

I must give a big thanks to Bob Higashi, the photographer at the race.  This guy was walking around the track in the other direction taking photos for about 16 hours out of the 24.  He was amazing and every time I saw him I had to fake it and smile and do something silly.

I did enjoy the atmosphere and everything about this race.  A 24-hour race around a 2ish mile course was something.  I definitely want to give my goals another go and more importantly pace well to accomplish that task.

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