I really am of the believe that runners have a built-in amnesia that makes them forget past “horrible” experiences. Because, if I’ve done a feat similar to what I did on Saturday and hurt for days afterwards … why would I want to do it again?
Well … for the bling and t-shirt, right?
Well, okay it’s deeper than that.
One of the reasons why I raced 28.1 miles in one day was because I kinda had to, so I could make the Handcart Days Half Marathon my 100th race over 13.1 miles. I made the decision to make that race my milestone race about a month and a half ago and had to add a couple races to my docket to make it work.
It just happened that I had to do a couple double-double races. A couple of weeks ago I did a night-morning race which honestly felt a bit harder than Saturday’s feat. Fatigue was very much a factor during those races. At least on Saturday I got a nap in between races after a good night’s race.
But, still, that’s 28.1 miles I had to forge through one step at a time. And, it wasn’t easy. Even now as I am writing my review my feet hurt and my calves have been threatening to cramp since I grabbed my medal at the Dam 15 Miler last night. But, I also have a huge feeling of accomplishment that makes those physical pains secondary.
I did a lot of reflecting while out on the road and trail. My mind kept going back to my first few races and thinking of the biggest differences between now and then. The biggest thing is my involvement and friendships I have gained within the running community. To me that has been the biggest blessing in my running. The people I have met, befriended and ran with have all become a part of me and this little journey I have undertaken.
Luckily, I spent a lot of time running solo on Saturday, because there were a number of times I got a tad emotional about it too. I thanked God a lot for those friendships and my experiences. My mind also went a lot to my Grandma. Sunday was her birthday and she passed away just five months ago, if I had a number one fan of my running … it was her. I knew and felt she was proud of my accomplishments not just from Saturday, but in my whole effort of getting to my goal.
Anyways … this post isn’t about that. I’ll be writing more about that later this week actually. So stay tuned.
Let’s get to my race recaps.
I don’t know if I would have been able to do both races if I wasn’t sweeping Hobbler. But, sweeping isn’t easy. And, depending on the course it can be rather challenging. Since my job is to be as fast as the slowest runner that can vary from race to race.
But, sweeping is an easier recover than pacing or just running mainly because you aren’t going to complete exhaustion. There is a fatigue to worry about and for me I need to worry about my feet, because being on my feet for nearly four hours hurts my feet.
Since the race was in the Springville/Mapleton area I crashed at Jorge and Holly’s place. The original plan was to camp out in their front yard with other pacers. But, since a number of pacers found other places or just drove down the morning of the race, it was just me. So, Jorge and Holly let me crash inside on the couch.
Since the race started at 6:30am (unlike 6am for most summer races) the bus pickup wasn’t until 4:45am. This made for a leisurely morning with a 4am wake up call. Which was nice. Especially considering if I drove down from Bountiful that wakeup call would have been closer to 2am. I am really appreciative of Jorge and Holly’s generosity.
The bus ride up the canyon wasn’t a fun one for me. I didn’t realize how bumpy the canyon was and because of that I started getting some motion sickness. Not fun at all. Luckily, the drive was shorter than other races.
After hanging out at the starting line for about an hour the race was ready to begin. I brought along my back pack as my drop back, but because I was too busy talking with others I missed the announcement to get my drop back to the bus. So, I was forced to run with my pack.
It wouldn’t have been bad if it was my usual running bag, but it’s just a simple back pack with no extra straps or anything fancy like that. Luckily I wasn’t going too fast so running with it wasn’t too burdensome, it was just annoying. But, it came in handy have my full gambit of running supplies because I was able to share some Aleve and salt tablets with others.
Since I was the last runner I hung back at the starting line for the last runners to cross the starting line. This was nice because I didn’t have to wait in line to use the Honey Buckets. This is one real perk to sweeping. Of course that perk also has a downside … aaaaand … it’s safe to say that goes unsaid.
Once out on the course I kept my distance from the last few runners. I do this on purpose for a couple of reasons. One, I’ll play catch up so I get some good running in during the race (basically fartleking) and, two, usually the back of the pack runners aren’t struggling and more so enjoying the run. I’ll support where and when needed. But, the last thing I want to do is interrupt ones’ race.
For being a canyon race, the course was nothing like a typical canyon race. This meaning, there’s not much downhill. And, in the case of Hobble Creek Canyon, it’s more of a rolling hill course. Which isn’t BAD, just not a typical Utah canyon course.
The first six miles of the race were fairly well covered in shade, but once the sun came out it got hot pretty quickly. That’s where my salt tablets and Aleve came in handy. Not just for me, but for a couple others as well. I also focused on water and Powerade at each aid station. The last thing I wanted was heat exhaustion before my second race began.
The last three miles were the toughest. The sagging wagon joined up with us by mile 10 and closely followed me as I ran behind the last runner. The best part of this was the driver was listening to The Newsies soundtrack. I won’t lie, I was entertained and thankful. It was a good diversion.
During the last couple of miles I ran with the last runner just ahead of me. I could tell she was struggling some as she slowed down quite a bit. It turned out she was suffering from shin splits. Not fun. She was apologetic for being so slow, but I told her this was her race, not mine. My job was to help get her to the finish line.
Which we did.
Since we were the last runners across the finish line I grabbed my medal and beelined it over to get some french toast. The biggest perk being they gave me a WHOLE pan of it which I ended up taking home for my family. Talk about a perk, right?
After stretching out some and coming to, Jorge and I went and got our Slurpee for National Slurpee Day and I started to physically (meaning I took a nap) and mentally prepare for my next race.
I will admit, coming into the race I was a tad unprepared. Part of it was my fault and some of it was circumstantial. But, it turned out well.
After taking a nap at Jorge and Holly’s place and getting some food in me, I was ready to tackle the second leg of my adventure at Deer Creek Reservoir near Heber City. Even though I was rested and refreshed I was still worried about this second race because it was a 15 miler … on trails.
Not a good combination for speed in my book.
But, I knew I could do it and would do it.
The race began at 6pm and I had checked in at 4:45pm. But, since this was a low key race I didn’t really want to wait around for an hour. So I asked if I could start early. Which I was given the go ahead to do so. This made a lot of the anxiety I felt about being the last one on the course go away.
Jamie and I started out together and got the jump start. It might have been a little bit hotter starting at 5pm. And, it took me a little bit to get acclimated to that with salt tablets, water and some gels. That wasn’t as bad as when I almost stepped right on top of a snake. Luckily, it was just a gopher snake and not a rattler, but … still … it was a snake. And, if it wasn’t for Jamie’s keen eye I would have stepped on it for sure as it looked like a twig or divot in the middle of the course.
Ugh, I hate snakes.
It took Jamie and I just under two hours to get to the turn around point with about 3-4 runners who started at 6pm ahead of us. Jamie went ahead of me while I stayed at the aid station stretching and refueling. By this point the majority of the runners were catching up at the turn around station.
It was fun to run into a number of my friends along the course. Both as they were heading to the turn around point and back. I ran with a few of them for as long as my legs would allow it. But, after 20+ miles of running during the day the only thing I was going to be able to catch up with was a lethargic snail with a cold. And, I was fine with that.
My preparedness for this race was ruined with two things. One, I forgot my hiking pack. I could have sworn I had packed it, but alas it was right on my bed when I got home later that night. So I was forced to use my back pack again. Not comfortable.
And, two, my head lamp was dead. I tested it the night before, but when I went to use it at dusk I noticed it was completely dead. I think it may have accidentally turned on and ran out of battery? Luckily, I finished around 10pm when there was still a sliver of light left. Enough to see if I was going to step on a bunny or horse poop.
This just made me more grateful that I started an hour early.
The last couple of miles of the race were EXTRA tough. By this point I was above 26.2 miles, the most I have ran and I was just sore. I was tired. My race plan for this course was to walk up the hills and then run the down hill to give me some kind of consistency. But, mile 13-14, I was so tired physically and mentally that I forgot that game plan and I swear I was starting to run up hill and walk the down hill.
But, it was also during this time that my heart and mind seriously began to reflect upon the breadth of what I was doing. I started getting super emotional about it too. I am glad I was running alone because I have no doubt I would have looked like a hot mess.
I guess you could have called this HITTING the wall, but I am pretty sure I hit that miles earlier. This was almost like I went back to the wall to get hit again? It was a crazy experience to say the least.
But, once I got to the home stretch and saw the lights of the finish line … I was done. Just like that.
I lingered around the finish line for a while kind of bemoaning my hour or so long ride home. I won’t lie, I wish I could have called a cab to drive me home. But, after getting some water and bananas down me I mustered the strength to get myself back to my car.
After the hour long drive home I stopped by my Subway for a foot-long sandwich because those bananas and couple of cookies after the race didn’t cut it. I needed serious food. Luckily, my local Subway is a 24/7 location (how did my hometown get so lucky?) and I enjoyed myself a midnight footlong (that sounds questionable) before crawling into bed for a nice long sleep.
And, yeah, so that’s the story of the time I decided to run 28.1 miles in one day over two races.
And, the worst part about it all? I think I talked myself into running a 50K in November. Yes, a 50K. I’ve been wanting to become an ultra marathoner and of course I decided this around mile 18 or so of my miles.
I really have a problem.
But, I love it.
NEXT RACE: HANDCART DAYS HALF
THE GOAL! Well, not THE goal, but a HUGE milestone towards that goal. And, this was been a goal I’ve been leading myself up to this summer. It’s only fitting to hit my 100th race over 13.1 miles at the race that started little adventure, right?
The race is turning itself into a little party. I am pushing Elsha during the race and this past week Tim Gill signed up and is planning on running alongside us. There are also a few other friends who are planning on signing up as well. I am not sure if they’re planning on running with me. But, it’s going to be a party pre-race, mid-race and post-race regardless.
I am just really excited about this milestone for many reasons, but more so that I get to share it with my friends. The last time I ran this race I did so all by myself and by doing this with many of my friends is just a testament of how the running community has affected myself.
THE BUGOUT RUN! THIS WEEKEND!
There is still time to register for The Bugout Run this weekend. The event will be held in somewhere in Davis County on Saturday morning. Here are some more details about the run.
Register now so you don’t miss out on updates.
Oh, and did I mention that the race is FREE?!
2015 MONTHLY MILEAGETotal Mileage Breakdown for 2015 2015 Training Miles – 188.0 miles 2015 Walking Miles – 209.0 miles 2015 Race Miles – 213.65 miles 2015 Total Miles – 610.65 miles Monthly Total Miles for 2015 January – 78.8 miles February – 72.85 miles March – 115.3 miles April – 76.3 miles May – 97.4 miles June – 131.15 miles July – 36.6 miles