So this past weekend I participated in the Hinson Lake 24 Hour Ultra. It was such a great experience. The course is a 1.52 mile loop around Hinson Lake, the trail surface is maintained clay. There are some sandy spots that will slow you down but overall, an enjoyably runnable course which is good since you are continually running the same trail as many times as you can during the 24 hour period.
This was Kami and Gavin’s first time going to a race longer than a half marathon. I think they had a good time all things considered.
We got to the lake around 5:00 pm Friday evening. We took pretty much the only spot left to put up a canopy on the dam and set up my base camp for the weekend. Piles of food and running gear followed. We hung around on the dam for a bit. Ray The-K commented on Gavin’s skeleton hoodie. I was running numbers through my head, 100km (62 mi) is 41 laps. That meant I needed to do at least a lap and a half an hour. The ugly 100 mile notion kept trying to break through, “you only need to go a little more than 4 mph to get there” bouncing around my head. We ate at the prerace pasta dinner, hung around a little more and went to the car to sleep. Now that was a bad idea. We had a snoring elephant tossing and turning in the back seat. He managed to get more sleep than me. Then again, what is an ultra if you can’t experience it on little sleep?
Finally got out of the car around 6:30 or so. I ate a few mini bagels and some pop tarts changed into my running gear and wandered around aimlessly for another hour. Met up with some friends, talked goals and paces and the normal running related stuff. Got to the start area and heard about half of the announcements. 8:00 am, we were set free to run the trail. I started off at a 10 minute per mile pace which I should have known better than to try and sustain. But I did that for a little over 2 hours before dropping off to a more sensible 15 minute per mile pace. My plan had been to start off at 12:30 or 13 min/mile – big difference over the long haul. Kami made sure to make me eat and drink when I stopped by after each lap.
Somewhere around mile 15 or so, I tripped over a root. There are so few roots on that trail that I don’t know how I did it, but I did. My left shoulder absorbed the brunt to the fall. Slightly winded and barely bleeding I got back up and started running again. It wouldn’t be a trail race without a little blood, would it? That warranted a long break I thought. Antiseptic, Advil, food and water. I think this was around the point that Gavin went out to run a lap with me.
Lunch was pizza from Dominoes. Who would have thought that Dominoes pizza tasted so good? Kami walked my “pizza lap” with me. Gavin did a few more laps with me and started to get bored so I sent him to the aid station to help. He poured drinks for hours. Who said Mountain Dew, Coke and Ginger Ale aren’t running beverages?
Speaking of the aid station, they had damn near everything you could want- M&M’s, skittles, gummy bears, Twizzlers, Cheese-its, nuts, grilled cheese, PB&J sandwiches, soups, burgers, boiled potatoes and salt (my favorite for some reason), cake, cupcakes, and probably more that I can’t remember. I probably consumed somewhere around 10,000 calories or more.
Major splits (ultra distances, times approximate) 50km 7 hours, 20 something minutes (my slowest ever 50k), 50 miles 11 hours 30ish minutes (new PR at that distance though only the second time I have run that far), 100km was somewhere around 15 or 16 hours.
What started out as slow run laps became slower run/ walk laps before finally falling back on quick walk laps. No what ifs this time, I am happy with the outcome as I have never covered that much ground at once.
I ended up napping after 1:00 am for 20 minutes, did a couple of laps and took another 20 minute nap. Did 2 or 3 more laps, fell apart and slept for a little over 2 hours and started back walking as quickly as I could to rack up more laps. The long nap had a negative effect and I couldn’t get back up to a decent jog (I was actually walking faster). All told, I moved a little more than 77 miles. I guess with a little more work, I may be ready for a 100 miler in the near future.
Kami and Gavin were a great help, between the two of them they covered 11 laps with me. Kami ended up walking 7 laps, several after dark with her evil wings. They had EL wire attached to them so they stood out with a little glow overnight.
Next race on the calendar is the Medoc 10 miler on October, not sure why I didn’t sign up for the Medoc trail marathon. Then I’m off to the Crooked Road 24 Hour in November (still around 40 spots available if anyone wants to try a 24 hour event.)
You never know what you can do until you try so get out there!