"Any fool can run well on a 70 degree day. It takes a special fool to run a 24 hour, in the rain, in November, with the temps dropping to below 25 degrees. You have got to be drilled off-center to do this." ~ Wm Keane
The weather called for rain in the morning, dropping temps as a front goes through, and snow during the night. So, it could be an interesting 24 hours to say the least!!
Friday afternoon I left for VA - Got up there for the early packet pickup and to hang out with some runnin peeps! Went to dinner with Tim and Pat at Frankie's to fill up on some pre-race pasta fuel and headed back to the park for the night.
I camped out in my Jeep and woke up early with the lights of the entering cars. I didn't even bother setting an alarm. I knew I would be up on time with all the activity going on.
Before long we were gathering at the start line and anticipating the starting gun. Just before the gun went off, Cindy told me she was going for 100 miles - she asked me what my plan was and at that exact moment the horn sounded. lol! I never did answer her. My goal was to do better than I did 2 years ago with 83 miles. 24 hours is a long time, and knowing that the weather was going to get cold and possibly snow, I didn't want to commit to the magic "100" number, but deep inside, that is what I wanted.
|Cindy Tim and I|
~ Fun ~ Laughter ~ Friends ~ Humor ~ Those are the 4 words I would use to describe the daylight hours of this race. Everyone was having a good time clicking off the miles and encouraging each other on. That to me is what ultrarunning is all about. That is why I love to be part of this running community.
I brought my same fuel plan that I had at Hinson Lake - drinking a protein drink every hour. I relied on that for the most part, and supplemented some gatorade and a few snacks from the aid station. Tim had me drinking gatorade or water most every lap to keep me hydrated to the point that I was having to go every few miles - thx man, but I am not going to dry out - lol!!
|Tom, Pam and I - I love the joy in this pic!|
I was very excited to see my name on the leaderboard early on. I was tied for 7th at 1:00pm and by 3:00pm I was tied for 3rd. :)
The sun started to go down and the night was beginning to close in. I had to put on a windbreaker to keep warm.
I hit my 50 mile mark well before my goal at 10:15. Crushed my former PR of 10:45 that I hit at Hinson 6 weeks prior. I was ECSTATIC! I figured I had a lot of time to tough through the night hours. I did a compete change of clothes and shoes and headed out into the night with Tim.
|50 Miles Done! :D|
I think it was about 2:00am and I was at the aid station and it SNOWED! OK, maybe it was more of a brief flurry, but still, it snowed!! How cool is that! :D It was also at that time that I had moved into second place on the leaderboard. woo!
I am not exactly sure what time it was, but I realized that unless we picked up the pace, the 100 in 24 plan would not happen. I told Tim to go on because I did not have it... He was concerned about leaving me as he knew I was starting to struggle but I sent him on - I knew he wanted that 100 and he would have to do it without me. He took off and started off after that dream....
The temps were dropping. I was thankful to have a warm coat - my core was not cold. I had my MTC buff around my neck and pulled it up over my nose to keep my face warm. The wind was picking up and was stirring up the dust on the trail. It was tough going....
After a while it really started to get really rough. I was getting frustrated with myself that I could not keep a faster pace but still pressed on. The temps were dropping just like my pace. The wind was picking up, blowing the dust around, and it was cold. My iPod was dead and I had no one to run with.... I pulled out my phone and called a friend who I knew would be up. They told me to think about that song "Sunny and 75" lol! yes, that is one of my favorite songs, but it was not sunny and 75. It was dark, windy, cold and 20 something degrees. I could not get out of the funk I was in.... I was having issues with my Achilles hurting - not sure if it was the cold weather or what, but it hurt - a lot! I backed off the pace to not make it hurt worse and cause further damage. I was also dealing with blisters.... again.... they never completely healed up from Hinson, and they resurfaced again at OBX.
I was still holding on to second on the leaderboard. First was out of the question. I was far too slow to even think of that. The only thing I could do is keep moving to hold that second spot and not fall to third. That is one thing that kept me motivated not to quit. Also my stubborn self that would not quit 20 hours into a 24 hour event....
Tim passed me several times out there. Each time I cheered him on. There was one lap where he passed me, and when he turned to look at me I saw it in his face how much he was struggling. My heart sunk. I knew where he was at. He was pushing through some tough stuff to get those miles in. I encouraged him the best I could, told him that he was doing great, he was on pace and to keep going!
Finally that sun started to come up. I knew that 8:00am would be coming soon!
I grabbed my fleece blanket from the car and walked a couple laps with Paul. Very reminiscent of 2 years prior when we did the same thing. :D
|2 very tired runners!|
I saw Tim at the finish. He completed his 100 in less than 24 hours. Very proud of how he did. Crushed his time from when he ran 100 at Umstead.
So I called it a day at just over 91 miles. I completed my goal of running more than 83 miles from 2011. 2nd female, 7th overall.
|Suck it up Buttercup!|
Bill Keane 92.04 miles … 6th Place
Amy Surrette 91.24 miles … 2nd Woman and 7th Place Overall
Marcia Godwin 50.37 miles … 43rd Place
Carol McClain 41.82 miles … 66th Place
275.47 Total Miles - enough miles to beat VT's cross country team ~ per Wm Keane :)
Yeah, I was disappointed that I didn't make 100, BUT I have to keep some perspective here. I just ran the OBX marathon. I had also ran 103 miles at Hinson Lake 6 weeks prior. Add in the weather and blisters - yeah, all things considered, I should be happy with it...
One thing I noticed in the days following the event as the pictures were posted on FB is how happy I was in every picture. I have been working through a lot of stuff and it has not been easy, but to see the happiness in my face is encouraging. Glad the cameras were not out in the wee hours of the morning tho - lol! Just sayin.... ;) no one is too happy at that hour!
CR24 is a deceptively tough race. Having run this race twice, I am trying to figure out what makes it seemingly difficult. There is that "just one hill", the cold weather, the gravel is a good surface for running, but the grit builds up in your feet and when the wind picked up it stirred up a lot of dust. I think one of the toughest things is the long hours of darkness. The sun goes down early and comes up late.... Its not like a summer ultra when the sun goes down late and comes up early.
I will most definatly be back. Top notch race - great swag, very well organized. I have some unfinished business here. One day I will finish 100 on this course. :) Til then, I will be happy that I made it to the VA record books again for most miles run in 24 hours - this time in another age division: http://virginiastateroadracerecords.com/VSRRR.html
couple added side notes from Wm Keane's research:
"You had a fantastic 24 considering the differences between HL and CR. I have connected a few dots that tell a compelling story:
1st Male ... HL 141 miles ... CR 103 miles
1st Woman ... HL 114 miles ... CR 98 miles
You ... HL 103 miles ... CR 91 miles
Me ... HL 101 miles ... CR 92 miles
Night Temps .... HL 70 degrees ... CR 24 degrees
Wind ... HL 0 mph ... CR 15-25 mph
Daylight ... HL 12 Hrs ... CR 10 hrs
The big difference was temperature and daylight."