Tuesday, October 27, 2009

24 The Hard Way

While I am excited about my 24 hour run this past weekend, I have to spend a moment remembering someone else.
My cousin Jimmy (Married to my 1st cousin) died last week. He had Leukemia but chose not to tell anyone, including his wife and daughter. He aslo refused any treatment. So when he went into the hospital a week ago Saturday (Oct 17th) and died two days later, it was a big surpise to everyone. Who am I to question his decision. All I can say is the man was fun to be around. He was a coach and a teacher, and the funeral was packed with his fomer students and atheletes. Less than twenty-four hours after finishing my run, I was driving in the pouring rain to his service south of Dallas. And now, back to the run.
I got up Saturday morning not knowing how the days run was going to go. The plus is since this race was in Oklahoma City, I didn't have to travel, and could sleep a bit later than usual. Our race started at 9:00 A.M. Saturday morning. We started, and I started running very slow. This was a .97 mile loop so I was trying to keep my early loops under 12 minutes. As the day wore on, I was able to pick it up just a bit. I didn't ever want to go much below 10 minutes, because I knew I had a long way to go. After 30 miles, I decided to take a 45 minute break. The other nice thing about this being a local race was I could walk to my car. I laid down and listened to the start of the OU-Kansas game. After returning to the course I continued to run into the dark. While you might think that this continually running the same loop would be monotonous, it really wasn't. As night wore on I grew more fatiqued and decided to take a longer rest. When I came back I was into my 3rd time hitting the wall. I tried various things to get over it, but in the end only time would work. The night running was hard but I was never sleepy and even during my rest times I never went to sleep. When the day broke I had a mild recovery and continued to try to keep sub 20 minute miles. I was now walking the slight up hills and "jogging" the downs. They had a computer monitor just as you crossed the timing mat, and you could see where you and others stood. My friend Bill, who helped crew and pace me at my first 100 mile race, was running his first ultra. I could see he was getting close to 100 miles, and was hoping he would make it. That's him with me crossing the mat for his 100th mile. He ended up with slightly over 100. My total ended up being 87 miles. While that is my 2nd highest total ever, I was a bit dissapointed in having taken the breaks. Without them, and assuming I could have kept going, I should have been able to get to 100 also. On the other hand, it also tells me to be able to run longer without breaks, I need to train longer. My longest training runs were around 32 miles. I probably needed a couple of 50 mile runs. I'm not sure I need to do this again, but I'm sure I'll want to later.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Spirit of Survival Marathon

Today I ran the Spirit of Survival Marathon. From their website:
"The Spirit of Survival Marathon is unique because it is the only USATF certified race approved to run through one of the nation’s 547 Wildlife Refuges. For the individual looking for the ultimate wildlife racing experience, this event offers the opportunity to run while observing wildlife in its natural habitat."
Doesn't that just sound wonderful? Well I ran this race last year because it was on my birthday. It was unseasonably hot for Oct in Oklahoma, and I went out way too fast for this very hilly course. This morning it was raining and a bit chilly. The race is about 90 miles from Oklahoma City, and a group of us left the city at 4 this morning. It rained all the way, and was raining when we got there. But as it got close to start time, the rain eased up. It still was wet the entire race, but a nice gentle cooling rain. I promised myself since I now knew this course, I would run it smarter. And since I was treating this as a training run, I decided that I would get under 4 hours if I could, but not worry about it. I started out running with a friend, and as we talked, the miles seemed to go by easily. We ran the flats sub 9 minute miles, and the hills plus 9's. My friend had to make a potty stop, so I kept going and we didn't run together anymore. As with most marathons I had my ups and downs, but kept telling myself that I would push through the downs, and take advantage of the ups. I passed the 1/2 marathon mark at 1:58. I had no plans to try to negative split, but I thought that I could maybe have close to even splits. The second half I started getting fatigued, and we made a turn at mile 15 that turned us into a brisk headwind. But I kept pushing on trying to average right at 9's. When I hit around 20 miles, I allowed myself to walk for a minute. It was a struggle to keep running 9's. As I got closer I realized I could average 10's and make it under 4hours. I was able to stay close to 9:30's and finished in 3:58. Making my splits 1:58/2:00. Anytime my splits are that close, it's a good race. When I finished I was so beat I almost couldn't stand. I sat down and felt terrible, couldn't eat anything, but could drink and I had the chills. One of my friends who was driving said they have showers and you'll feel better. I doubted it, but since I was riding in his car I figured a shower was a good idea anyway. I got under the hot water and was feeling better in no time. The warm up did wonders. I'm sore of course, but feeling pretty good. Afterward we went to this famous hamburger place and had lunch. Back to the city and getting ready to go to work tomorrow. Get friends, great race, great day.