Scatter my ashes here...

Scatter my ashes here...
scatter my ashes in the desert...

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Getting Tall: 12 Hour Race at 24 The Hard Way

What was it that Steve Martin the comedian used to say about getting small? I did the opposite today. I got tall, by standing at the top of the podium.

The short version is: I am still waiting for official results for distance to be calculated by the race staff, but I can tell you what I know. I ran over 63 miles, and I'm guessing it was about 63.8 based on where I finished. They go out and measure the distance for your last partial lap.

I won the race overall. I was ahead of the second place finisher, also a woman, by about 8 miles. We chicked some ass!

And, I don't have the official word on this, I am just going by the stats listed on, but I believe I set a women's course record by about a mile. The old record was 62.6 miles.

So, all in all, a successful day.

I got decent sleep the night before the race, about 7 hours. In general I haven't slept so well on this trip. But I didn't feel sleepy when I woke up so it must have been enough. I did have a slight sore throat this morning, I wondered if it was just from the way I slept, or if it was the beginning of the crud that everyone else at work has been getting lately.

Later in the race I talked with another runner from Oklahoma and he said his allergies were terrible today, so I guess it could have been that. I guess I'll find out in the next day or two, if I am diseased.

It was absolutely FREEZING, especially for the first 5 hours of the race. We started in the dark at 6 am and the grass had a hard frost on it, we did luck out with no wind, which is a good thing because I was bundled up in 3 layers most of the day, I think adding more layers because of the wind would have slowed me down.

There were people out there in tank tops or shorts, and I was wearing my thick long sleeved PVHS foundation shirt, my fleece jacket from Across the Years, and my two layer fleece and windshell Hind jacket, plus thick gloves. I had my thickest tights on, plus my knee high calf compression sleeves on underneath. I finally got rid of the outer jacket around 11 am, but that was as far as I dared to strip. I think maybe it feels colder because of the humidity.

I went out there to run hard, and I knew I was risking blowing up. Instead, what happened was more like a slow leak than a blowout. I ran 17.5 laps in each of the first two 3 hour segments of the race, 15 laps in the third, and about 16.5 in the last 3 hours. So I didn't slow down all that much.

Each lap is about 0.96 miles. It's a certified course, all asphalt. There are three hills along the loop, and I walked these, or parts of them, in the middle of the race. They are short and not very steep. In the end when I was picking up the pace I ran them, and they aren't that bad. There's one big aid station tent where the chip timing mats are, and they had a display, like Across the Years timing system, where you can see each lap and the time, and your total distance and number of laps.

There were three portapotties fairly evenly spaced along the course, and they weren't occupied all the time. And there were flags from different states around the course, my favorite was the Arizona flag, which was about 1/8 of a mile from the timing mats, so it always gave me a little boost to kick it in to the aid station on each lap.

My hydration was perfect, I took 2 S caps per hour since I figured I'd be sweating a lot underneath my layers of clothing. I peed once an hour, and didn't have any blisters. I did get a little quad cramp in the last 2 miles but I was picking up the pace to about 8:30 miles, and it never got so bad I couldn't keep running. I did contribute nicely to my running bra scars, despite applying more aquaphor several times during the race. I felt that in the shower! Searing!

I said I wouldn't be satisfied with less than 100K, and I surpassed that, but not by much- less than 2 miles past it. But I really can't expect to be setting any PRs right now, I haven't trained for it and I am much slower now than I was in 1994. But I am happy that I ran hard and consistently. I didn't stop at all except for pee breaks. I grabbed things off the table, I had everything organized well so it was within reach, no stopping or searching necessary.

I have to admit I was getting a little disapppointed with my 50 mile split, but I got over it quickly. I'm just being impatient with myself. Again, I haven't trained to get faster at these distances yet. I went through just a hair over 50 miles in 9:18:45, and my 100K split was somewhere around 11:40-11:45. Not sure, because those points aren't marked. I don't know what I was expecting. Maybe something with an 8 in front of it, I guess. I'm not there yet, but I'll get there, and get beyond that too.

Things were very well-organized. Chisholm, the race director, is getting married, right on the course, tomorrow afternoon. He is also running the 24 hour race right now. I guess he likes to stay busy. Congratulations, Chisholm.

I got to see Chisholm's dad, Harry. He happened to be standing next to my table when I came through on one of the laps. I hugged him, it was so good to see him, an old ultra icon from days past.

I also saw another superstar, Jack Christian, out there. He is a machine. I was running behind him, and we were running about the same pace for a while, and talked briefly, but he is in the 24 hour. I ran with Don Winkley for a while, and another runner, John Hargrove, who has been around ultras for years.

There was also a super fast runner in the 24 hour race, Jon Olsen, who ran 158 miles this past year as a national champion in the 24 hour. He kept lapping me, but was really nice and always said something encouraging every time.

I had to get a picture with Chisholm before I left. He said next year they will only have 24 hour race, and I'm seriously considering it. This was an awesome event. Everyone was so nice.

Actually my whole trip here has been amazing, everyone here, the hotel, in the restaurants, downtown at the memorial, every place I've been people have been great.

Including Dora in the 24 hour race, and her husband Ben, who helped me set up all my equipment on Friday, and dragged it back to the car for me after the race tonight. I appreciate that more than anything, trying to deal with stuff after the race is the hardest thing you do all race day.

I wore my smiley face earrings, that must be why I ran so well. They go well with my salt-crusted face.

It's time to recover and get some sleep, I have a long drive tomorrow. I feel pretty good after my shower and a huge piece of lasagna. I don't feel trashed at all. We'll see what an 11 hour drive will do to that tomorrow.

One more thing though...I didn't break the rules for driving on this one, because I ran 12 hours and the drive was only 11 hours.

Drink a beer for me when you read this, I'm too tired!


giraffy said...

That's amazing. You amaze me. Congratulations!!

Alene Gone Bad said...

Thanks Heather!

Mike said...

I've never done a timed race...sounds like fun. Congrats on your win!

Alene Gone Bad said...

Thanks Mike! Timed races are great, it's a whole different way to run. It's tactical and it's a great way to learn how to pace yourself. Try one sometime...

They also are more fun because you get to see and talk to all the other runners, not just the ones who run your pace.