Saturday, August 31, 2013

12 Hour Transcendence Ultra Run 8/11/13

This race snuck up on me and when I checked the calendar in June, it occurred to me 12 hours could require some specific training. So what did I do? I ran my 4-6 weekday mile runs, ran some marathons and some shorter races and hoped for the best. My daughter's soccer schedule included a tournament in Oregon the same weekend as the 12 hour. That presented a challenge. My husband's work schedule was hit and miss on the weekends so we couldn't make any definite plans until the last minute. We were down a car after it was totaled in an accident. Thankfully Jeff is okay after that scary incident.

Jessica, her best friend and I left for Oregon Friday night for the tournament. I wouldn't be home until after the race so I had to have everything packed Thursday night for the Sunday race which felt much harder than it sounds. I couldn't find both my gaiters for my shoes and that was the only item I needed but didn't have.

Jessica had a game on Friday and 2 games on Saturday. After her second game, I left her with her best friend and her family and drove a few hours back to Olympia. I was so lucky to have Andy Fritz offer his spare room for me to stay in the night before the race. I was either going to have to park somewhere to sleep, leave at 2 am from Oregon, or get a hotel room. None of those were appealing to me.

I had a little snack on my drive and as I arrived in Olympia, I was greeted with a rainbow!  I felt like that was a sign for me to just trust that everything would be okay.
Carb loading
Chasing a porta-potty. Is there a hidden meaning here?

Rainbow over Olympia
 Andy had a room bedazzled with running medals and had a banana and Gatorade waiting for me. I had some yummy cobbler Jody, Andy's wife, had made and spent some time prepping for the race. I filled 12 bottles with Perpetuem (one 12 ounce bottle per hour) which Andy just sat looking bewildered as he imagined drinking that much fluid. He was going to try Carb Pro which I don't think he enjoyed as much as he hoped. I used Perpetuem last year with great success. I then proceeded to get 12 sandwich bags and put in one pill each of Salt Stick, Anti-Fatigue caps, and Race Caps Supreme.  I had 2 separate race day outfits in ziploc bags and 2 pairs of extra shoes.  I kept Aleve, Tums, Excederin, Benadryl and a small first aid kit in a small cooler along with some Honeystinger Waffles, a bag of grapes, jerkey, trail mix and a bag of salt and pepper chips. The bigger cooler was filled with ice and my 12 bottles.  During 12 hours, you just never know what may befall you or what cravings may hit.

An ironman triathlete, Suzy Degazon, had helped me last year in my nutritional and supplement planning and I am so indebted to her for providing valuable information on how to not keel over during a 12 hour race.  Planning ahead by separating the supplements into separate baggies as well as the 12 bottles simplifies my race day so that I don't have to think too much other than knowing I need to be done with one bottle and one bag each hour. If you've never done an endurance event, you'll have to trust me that there are moments where you cannot think clearly, even if you are not dehydrated or lacking nutrition. It's what I call the "Race Day Idiot Syndrome." I've accepted the fact that there are many races where I can only do simple math and every mile is a 10 minute pace so I can guess my finish time.

Woke at 4:30 a.m., loaded up the SUV with my luggage and 2 coolers and followed Andy to Marathon Park in Olympia, Washington.  Did you know that this park hosted the FIRST trials for the Women's Olympic Marathon in 1984?  Read about it here: Marathon Park, Olympia.

I unloaded my coolers under a tree next to the running path and drove my vehicle to the street side parking.  I discovered last year that having my gear next to the path kept me lollygagging at the aid station. I didn't bring a chair. Or a tent. Or any other amenities which would make it tempting to sit down and relax. The bathrooms weren't unlocked until a few minutes before the race and I barely made it back to the start line before we were sent on our way. With 12 hours, I wasn't OVERLY concerned about missing the start by a few minutes.

The day was long and honestly I cannot remember the order of memorable moments. So in no particular order, here's what I recall:

I set out to keep my miles ideally under a 10 minute pace for as long as possible to build up a safety net for later in the day.  Most of my non-running friends or those who haven't ventured into distance races may be thinking, "Wow, 10 minutes miles. What a slacker." It's okay. I can take it. The cumulative effect of running is something to be experienced rather than explained adequately. Just know that yes, I can run faster; however, that would mean the later miles/hours would be that much more difficult.

Last year I set the course record at 67ish miles and my goal was to beat that, even having a sky-high goal of 70 miles. Sharing that goal seemed foolish so I muttered it to my husband and shyly mentioned the possibility to my friend, Sharon.  Some concerns about my goal were: (a) lack of decent mileage, lack of confidence because of (a), and (b) my right calf had been cramping since Friday despite (a) and not running at all Friday or Saturday.  My first steps were nerve-wracking as I waitied for a sudden charlie-horse but luckily my legs were especially kind to me. People passed me from the start and seemed to be running faster than my plan. I knew from last year that the sun rises and sets on peoples dreams and not to get caught up in the early excitement.

I hadn't eaten anything yet but had no worries since food was a mere 1.53 miles away.  The course looped around Capital Lake which had a paved sidewalk for about half of the loop with a runnable dirt section next to it just dirt the other half. Oh, how I missed my Dirty Girl gaiters! I stopped so many times to get itty bitty rocks out of my shoes.Dirty Girl Gaiters are found here and worth every cent if you run trails.

Rikki Bogue looped with me for quite some time and that was a highlight of my day. She's an amazing runner and I've been wanting to run with her forever!  I had pinned my number on my shorts and had to yell off the number for a number of loops as I passed the check in table. Each loop, I would either grab a bottle of Perpetuem, drop one off, grab supplements, grapes or a Honeystinger Waffle. I tried not to waste too much time and only sat down to either take rocks out of my shoes or use the bathroom. I never sat to rest all day.  I honestly don't know if I would get up again if I did.

With this short of a loop course and so many hours, it's difficult to keep track of standings. I just kept moving and didn't attempt to figure out if I was doing well relatively speaking or falling behind the average. Everyone seemed to be doing great and moving along at a nice clip. Steve Walters looked like he was on a mission and I just let him fly by me. Joe's wife was running and he had set up a table and offered runners help and a friendly smile and encouraging words. I really looked forward to his cheery presence each lap.

My stomach was doing really well this year but when pizza was offered, I had no interest.  The sun was up but after last year's heat, I had no complaints. I stuck to my nutrition plan like clockwork, not taking time to clean up my discarded bottles or baggies but kept moving along.  At the marathon distance, I stopped to change into my Brooks Glycerins, ran one loop in them and promptly changed into my second pair of Brooks Launch shoes. I love my Glycerins but they felt so heavy!  I got my ipod as it was getting lonely as runners separated. There were a couple hours when I didn't see any of my friends and I began to wonder if people quit. They didn't.

40 miles! I had been running with a new friend and we took a picture of my accomplishment.  I asked Joe if I did my math correctly: "If I run a 4:45 marathon, I will finish 67 miles..." to which he replied, "Yeah, right. A 4:45 marathon. Well, yes, that's right."  Later, Joe looked stunned as he was running with me and said, "Oh, you were serious about the 4:45?!"
40 Miles!
Jeff and my friend, Beverly, arrived around this time and they joined me for some laps to help pass the time. I was getting tired but didn't have any cramping or discouragement. I remember an hour or so when I had to tell Bev that she could just keep talking but I didn't feel like answering. Sounds rude but I know she understood. During that hour, it just felt like too much effort to talk.  50 miles and I stopped for a quick picture.

50 miles!
Ice cream! Rikki sponsored my run with a lime Popsicle and it was magical!  As I waited for it, I noticed how many people were at the aid station sitting, eating, having FUN. I had to get out of there before I got sucked in.  Must keep moving.  I remember playing Bust-A-Move on loop for a few miles. Also Ton Loc and Robin Thicke. Whatever it takes!

I finished 100k (62 miles!) and felt great. Well, great for having run 62 miles.  I wasn't told my standing in the race and I didn't ask. Just keep moving, just keep moving (in Dora's sing-songy voice). I figured out I had time for four more loops if I kept plodding along.

I got some cheers before my last lap and heard a rumor that I was in first. I really wasn't sure and the main thing that I was focusing on was I had just finished my distance from last year and still had time for another loop! I made up my mind that this was it after doing some simple math. I smiled the last lap and just before the finish, Andy Fritz cheered me on from the bridge. Just another straightaway and I was finished!  Cheers and some people telling me to go do one more lap! I told them, "YOU go do another lap!".  I had 14 minutes left and MAYBE I could have done it but my last lap was so happy, I didn't want to ruin that feeling.

I was on the runner's high and danced a little to some music before realizing that I was thirsty. Oh, and tired. Um, and a little sore. Hmmm.  It occurred to me that I could sit down. So I did. Here's the funny thing about endurance events; you can keep moving for a long time but when you stop, your muscles lose their fluidity and suddenly, movement is thwarted in every direction.

I felt the need to lie down and needed a bit of help standing. Last year I was nauseous and cramping. I felt relatively great in comparison.  I DID win first place overall for women and 4th overall.  This is the furthest distance I have run to date.  My moving average pace was 9:41 per mile and my average pace overall was 10:15 per mile. My elapsed time on the course was 11:45:56 while my actual MOVING time was 11:06:26. So I spent about 40 minutes stopped for one reason or another. Add the extra 14 minutes at the end that I had remaining and that leaving nearly an hour of semi-wasted time (getting nutrition and rocks out of shoes is not wasted time).

That's it!  My 12 hour which was more like an 11 hour, my second year running it, my second year winning it. Dare I consider a 100 miler?  

Hanging out with Andy Fritz - well, just long enough to take a picture!
What's more surprising? My distance or that my Garmin didn't die?

Steve Walters and I celebrating our first place finishes

Get up? You want me to get up?

Moving Time:11:06:26
Elapsed Time:11:46:37
Avg Pace:10:15 min/mi
Avg Moving Pace:9:41 min/mi
Best Pace:7:29 min/mi