Thursday, December 20, 2012

12 Hour Transcendence Run - 8/12/12

Sunrise over contaminated Capitol Lake
Still fresh 2 hours into the race.

The event kind of snuck up on me as I had been busy thinking of other races and getting my older daughter ready to go to college in September. My thoughts have been scattered and one day I realized I needed to think about running for 12 hours when my body is used to 4 hours at the most.  Having trained for a 50 miler two years ago, I knew a small bit about the upcoming challenge.

I contacted Suzy Degazon, a fellow Brooks ID athlete and ultra extraordinaire for nutritional advice. My biggest concerns were cramping and eating enough but not too much.  Suzy gave me excellent advice and I promptly ordered Hammer products to support my endeavor.

Shivering with Sharon
My training consisted of my normal marathon mileage, finishing the Ragnar Relay and Tacoma Narrows Half Marathon. Nothing at this point could prepare me for running 12 hours so I just needed to focus on nutrition and running at a consistent, comfortable pace.

Erik, Sharon and I ready to tackle the day.
Jeff and I checked into a hotel in Olympia after getting my race packet. The elevator was right out of Tower of Terror!  I ziplock bagged hourly nutrition/supplements (Anti-Fatigue, Race Caps, Salt caps) as well as prepared individual bottles of Hammer Perpetuem drinks. My cooler was super organized and I had a plan to consume one bottle an hour along with hourly supplements based on Suzy's advice.

6:00 a.m. race start and we arrived about 5:45, enough time to greet my friends and start shivering in the cool morning air.  It will be impossible for me to describe 12 hours of running without boring you to tears so I will condense my memories as much as possible.

The morning hours were cool but comfortable. A few hours into the race and the sun was up and the heat was impossible to avoid. Shade was non-existent or few and far between depending on the time of day. I kept a comfortable pace around the lake, about 9:30 or so. It was difficult to tell who was in front or behind you after awhile. I felt comfortable and was taking in my nutrition like clock-work. Jeff went back to the hotel and came back to run a couple loops with me after 10:00 and then returned to the hotel, showered, checked out, went to the store before returning later. It's amazing how many things can be done in 12 hours!

It was HOT! By the end of the day, I believe it was recorded close to 90 degrees. I had a bandana and was filling it with ice to wrap around my neck. I had thrown ice in my cap but soon found I had a brain freeze and needed to dump it. One of our first tries putting ice in the bandana wasn't very successful as Jeff kept spinning the ice right out.  Andy Fritz used this to keep him distracted during his race.  Here's his race report.

I started taking in watermelon, pretzels, salted potatoes in addition to my own nutrition. At one point, I had Rachael, the race director, feed me a potato because my hands were filthy and I didn't want to stop to wash my hands first. My stomach was causing problems and I had to stop in the bathroom a number of times during the race. After 2:00 I began dousing my head under the water faucet each loop which helped cool me for the first quarter of each loop. I truly never felt bad at any point during the race despite the heat and bathroom issues which I will not elaborate.

As I passed the aid station later in the day, Monte Pascal was doing the Electric Slide. I was missing out on some serious fun! I found out sometime during the day that I was the second female but that she had stopped at some point. My husband, Jeff, informed me that if I just kept going, I should be able to tie or pass her mileage. The hours and order of events are a bit blurry but I can tell you that Jenni did start running again but somehow I did pass and stay in front of her mileage the rest of the day. I don't know her story but she ran 64 miles.

At one point, I stopped at the aid station and was rummaging through my cooler, not able to remember what I was looking for. About a minute went by before I remembered that I had to pee. That's what I was looking for!  My brain was a little fuzzy.  Jeff had been cheering me on each loop, all the while roasting in the sun and drinking beer. I asked him to run with me the last hour of the day not knowing he had been drinking!  I remember passing the 50 mile mark and getting lots of cheers at the aid station those last few hours.

Being told I met the 100k mark was amazing! Since my Garmin had died, I lost track of miles but felt sure I was one loop ahead of what was being reported. Betsy came running up the trail towards me when I had time for one more loop and told me that I was one more loop ahead of what I was told previously. If I hurried (ha!), I could tie the one guy who was ahead of me in miles.  I knew I had time for one more loop but two would require a 5k pace and there was no way I could do that!  I ran that last loop with a joyful feeling in my heart. I couldn't believe I had actually kept going for 12 hours and was going to come in as the first woman.

I crossed the finish line with Jeff by my side, finishing 67.05 miles in 11:52.  The first place male finished 2 minutes earlier with one lap ahead of me, 68.75 miles. I heard a rumor that he had actually stopped, found a place to lay down and was told that a "girl" was going to tie his mileage if he didn't get up and do one more lap. I don't know the whole story on that but found it humorous and good for him for getting up!

I was good for about 2 minutes of standing before my legs decided they were done and I found a place to lie on the ground. Without help, I might still be there. I made my way carefully over to a recovery tent and put my feet in ice water.  How is it possible to feel good for so long and as soon as I stop, everything wakes up to yell at me?

I knew I needed to eat but could barely get anything down without gagging. The awards were presented and Jeff made his way back to our vehicle to drive it to the finish line. I waited and the recovery area was nearly deserted by the time he returned.

The drive home was interesting.  Poor Jeff. He drove while I would occasionally start grunting in pain, my legs throbbed and shooting pains would throw me into spasms of agony.  I wouldn't recommend driving after this kind of race.  When we finally arrived home, I found I could get some food down and the pains subsided to a grumble.  Amazingly enough, I went out for 4 miles the next day and managed a 10:10 pace without pain.

This race is probably my biggest running accomplishment, though not my "fastest". It was definitely a Run Happy day for me.
Ran happy!
When it's this hot, the belly makes an appearance.

Done and still standing...but not for long!  Jeff put in a sold 9 miles throughout the day...powered by beer.  No wonder he's looking so tired.

Here's the first 41 miles before my Garmin died.