|Marathoners and Ultrarunners, basically.|
BLAST FROM THE NOT SO DISTANT PAST(JUNE 2015--finally had a second to post the race report!)
I'm an introvert and I don't like parties unless I'm hosting and it's a nerdy dinner party with a small group of worldly friends who aren't picky eaters. I also make sure never to arrive to a party early to avoid having to make small talk or withstand awkward silences.
At the MSNDHU, the loop was 1.25 on a crushed gravel track with a small quarter mile section on a packed dirt path. The aid station near the start was epic. There was the normal ultra fare- Hammer gels, Heed, an assortment of cut up fruit, CANDY CORN!!!!!, chips, pickles, potatoes, salt, gummy bears, Mountain Dew...
We brought our own sustenance, plus some extra items for total comfort. I
also packed some GF sandwiches, pickles, frozen watermelon cubes in
my pack, and other delicacies. The Fiber One bars weren't mine--I know better :)
There were all types of people of all shapes and sizes poised to run as much as they could in so many hours. Some came to try for their first half marathon, others came to test the waters of their first ultra. Yet others (veterans mostly) endeavored to add an "easy" 60 or 70 miles to their ultra resumes.
|I had more shoes in the car...obviously those little ones on the left aren't mine. I have FLINTSTONE FEET.|
At the urging of some new trail friends that I had met at the Double Tap 50 K Bearpalooza I signed up and began to prepare mentally for running the same loop a million times. I even convinced my friend Rebecca to join me for this momentous occasion!
I knew I wouldn't have any issues being on my feet for 12 hours since that last ultra I had actually completed took me upwards of 13 hours. I knew that running in circles for hours had the potential to be mind numbing and boring. I also knew that coming off of a DNF at Double Tap I would have to redeem myself (for ego's sake) and add another ultra finish to my running resume. My personal goal was to shoot for 40 miles, and I if I was able to, maybe more.
The unique challenge of this race would be that it would happen overnight. All races started at 9pm. I prepared for this by going to bed at 3am each night the week prior to the event and taking naps to adjust my sleep schedule accordingly. I also woke up early in the morning to run and work out, and then did the same at 9 or 10pm to ensure that I would be able to stay up throughout the night. This is very difficult for me as I normally wake up at 5am to work out and am fast asleep by 10:00pm.
|The Marmot Tungsten 2P tent on the left is DA BOMB. The other one, well, not so much.....|
|At dusk there was an angel.|
|And there were twinkling lamps, butterflies, and other sparklies at the back trail section of the course.|
|There were also faeries|
There were people that were in for three, six, twelve, and twenty-four hours. The numbers dwindled seriously after the 6 hour mark. There were a few left for the 12-hour and even fewer left for the 24-hour, because only truly demented people do that.
I ran and walked, walked and ran. Shuffled some, sat some. Stretched, changed shoes, talked with friends, offered encouragement to them, and received the same.
You know what? You actually can eat too much watermelon, which is basically a Fiber One bar in water. Lesson learned. The port-a-potty would be my best friend the entire night, in addition to my son's iPod.
I even gave Rebecca the side-eye when she mentioned that her feet were hurting after 16 miles.
"So? You keep going."
And she did. Rebecca finished a marathon that morning. She had never run any distance beyond six miles prior to the MSND hourly race. I was and am exceedingly proud of her! How many people surprise themselves like that in such a profound way? Rebecca is now a proud owner of a 26.2 sticker.
I did 32 miles and was finished. Done.
We both took a nap in the sun that had already dried up the copious amount of dew that had covered everything. At 9:20 we were given medals. At 10 we had breakfast, and at 11 we drove back to our respective homes.