This is the second year in a row I’ve done this 24 hour race. It’s a whole different beast from a trail ultra and one I have a lot of respect for. It’s hard in ways that are just not like any other ultra. There are different logistics to having your “stuff” available on a one mile route and it seems like that would make things easier. And not having really any elevation changes seems like it would be easier. But in many ways, doing 5-10 mile between aid stations with variety in trail in a traditional trail ultra is a lot easier than the one mile loops.
I’ve been off on my training since last fall. I took November and December essentially off and then took another two week break at the end of February when I developed some plantar fasciitis that started the week before Hagg Lake 50K. I had to drop out of Hagg Lake at the first aid station because it was pretty painful. Luckily the two weeks off seemed to take care of it and I was back to training again but the overall lack of mileage in the last four months was bound to be a problem.
I drove over early in the morning and got a good place for the Ultramobile. There weren’t as many people there this year as last year, probably because of the weather, I’d say. I happily ran into my oldest ultra running buddies, Jerry and Glen. We stuck together from the beginning and caught up on our lives over the last 6 months or so. It was a great pleasure getting to run with them again. Sadly, they didn’t have plans to stay through the night but I appreciated the time we did get to run together.
Rodney even drove over in the mid afternoon to say high and bring donuts. That was a nice treat and I got to walk a lap with him. He had a lame excuse to go back home and not sit out with me in the rain and dark all night. I guess love does have limits.
A lot of people came and went like last year and only a handful of us did the whole 24 hours. Since the weather was going to be so bad this year I thought it might be possible to actually place pretty well if every one else opted out of continuing because of the weather. Last year I did 84 miles on a lot more training so I doubted I’d do that well this year, but it was still my goal. 50-60 miles would be good otherwise. If not that much then at least the equivalent of my two long runs was a nice fall back. I hoped my PF wouldn’t be an issue.
It was a far cry from the 84 miles I did last year since I was in better shape then but I’m happy with my result of 75 miles. The weather was pretty awful off and on with rain showers but luckily no big wind. By 7 am on Sunday the rain started up again harder and eventually transitioned to snow. Who ordered that up?
I took regular breaks this year so I could keep going more efficiently but will admit that my entire time spent hunkered down in the ultramobile probably exceeded last year’s total. Thus, the deficit of mileage. I took a one hour break to put my feet up after 32 miles, again at 50 miles. Then slept and rested 90 minutes after 60 miles and then a longer sleep/rest break (2 hours) after 71 miles. I had enough time at the end to get back out in the snow and finish another 4 miles before the clock ran down at 9 am but I probably had enough time to do five. But by that time I had seriously lost my willingness to suffer. I had some significant nausea around mile 56 and that’s what encouraged me to take the mile 60 and 71 breaks. I think I just wasn’t eating enough and pushing my effort made it worse. Who feels like eating at that hour of the night/early morning?
I will congratulate myself that I was able to get out of the warm UM at all after each break, especially the ones that finished around 2 am and 6:45 am. Rousing myself out into the cold when it was raining again and I was really warm and cozy wasn’t easy. Body temperature management while running was an issue – I tended to get too warm running but too cold walking. In the end I didn’t walk much at all this year compared to last year since I felt fairly good after each rest break. But I dressed for it just in case so for the running my attire was too much. There are a few small hills on the route that I walked up frequently last time but this time I never felt I needed to.
I was able to get home without problems even though I had to navigate back part of the trip in snow, not a feat I’ve ever tried in the UM. And my feet seem to have held up fine and I don’t notice any problems with PF even though general foot aching is what go me to stop regularly to rest. This is a usual occurrence for me, unfortunately. Putting them up and relaxing more often did wonders. I just wish the effects lasted longer than 5-6 miles. And I wish I had time and place to do that on my 100 milers…but then I’d probably really have problems deciding to keep going and suffer longer.