Sunday, November 27, 2016

That time I ran for a day -- NJ One Day

So as you may recall, back in February, I ran the Febapple Frozen 50 and was the only female finisher.  For winning, I received entry into any other NJ trail series race.  I already had plans for the majority of races listed however the One Day was calling my name.
Running a 1 mile loop for 24 hours probably doesn't appeal to many people but to me, sounded awesome!   After running C & O under 24 hours, I thought I could totally run 100 miles again, lower my time and maybe even run more than a 100.  It seemed like running a short loop would make a lot of things easier.  I would have access to my crew and aid pretty much whenever I wanted and I wouldn't have to carry much with me, I thought it would be nice to run an ultra without a pack.

Of course, Emir thought it sounded absolutely awful but did agree to be my crew.  He also promised to bring his unicorn head to entertain me however he forgot it.  I'm still trying to work past that, but it's really hard.
Unicorn FAIL!!!!!
We left our house around 6 the day of the race and arrived at 8 at the Sussex County Fairgrounds.  The start was at 9 so it was perfect amount of  time to get my stuff set up along the course.  There were many others setting up their own little aid stations with tents, etc along the course.  It really was a very convenient setup.  I walked over to the start/finish area to get my bib.  They gave me the direction the loop would go so I realized I would come through the timing area and pass the indoor bathrooms every loop on my way towards where my stuff was.  Then my stuff was about .25 miles into the loop.  I was very happy and satisfied with the setup. 

As I was getting ready, I realized I had a woman emergency which I was not prepared like I thought because I had taken those supplies out of our bin for some reason.  UGH!  I was walking towards the bathroom when I ran into fellow Altra ambassador Megan who I had met online but not in person.  I said "nice to meet you, do you have a tampon?"  And just like a true ultra runner, she didn't blink an eye, reached into her supplies and said "here ya go, sorry I don't have more"   The whole thing made me smile just how well I fit into the ultra world.  I think almost everyday I realize how much I was meant to be a part of this group.  :-)   Anyway I didn't stay and chat because I knew Megan had serious stuff going on as she was trying to make at least 137 miles to make the National US 24 hour running team.  125 miles gets you a qualification however only the top  6 make the team and as it stood, someone would need at least 136miles.  Megan was able to get 141 miles, so amazing.  I was in awe watching her fly around that loop for 24 hours.  It was worth it to be there just to watch that!
congrats Megan!!!

Anyway, I myself had some lofty goals going into this race.  I felt like I had learned a lot and improved a lot since my 23:45 at C&O canal, so I figured 100 miles for sure.  I would definitely not be happy with anything less than 100.  That said, my other main goal was to PR the 100 miles so I needed to run 100 miles in less than 23:45.  Also given this was a mile loop where I didn't have to carry stuff and had constant support from Emir, I thought I could go faster longer than C&O.  I also thought it being a paved loop rather than trail, I would go faster longer.  So I also discussed a more lofty goal with Coach Caleb about going for 100 miles in under 20 hours.  It was definitely a stretch goal but he said I should go for it and if I slow down, I slow down.  Which I know is true but I was worried about going too fast in the first half and having my quads blow up like at C & O where I had to walk the last 25 miles.  Coach didn't seem to think it was a problem so I decided to try. 

The race started well enough.  It was a little chilly but with the sun I quickly warmed up and was just in a long sleeve running shirt.  I think I ran the first marathon in about 4:30-4:40.  I had been feeling really good in general although I could already tell I was not going to like being on this pavement for so long.  I could feel pain in my joints already which is not a good thing with 19 more hours of running.  I also for some reason starting feeling like I was going to cry, like every 2 seconds.  I really have no idea why.  Nothing was really wrong but I just felt like crying.  This lasted until maybe 32-33 miles and suddenly disappeared.  I'm not sure if it was a nutrition thing or a woman issue (my guess it was probably the latter) but thank goodness it went away. 

Nothing too exciting happened in the first 50 miles except my Angie called me and we chatted for a bit.  It really made me feel good to talk to her for a bit.  It had gotten dark somewhere toward the end of the 30s I think.  It was definitely getting colder but I didn't want to stop until I got to 50.  I told Emir this and he said ok and got all my cold weather gear ready.  He also had them make me a couple cheeseburgers without buns for my 50 mile meal.  The race aid station was really awesome.  They had a full indoor kitchen and would take orders for a wide variety of stuff and have it ready for you next time you came around.  It was really perfect. 
Ran a few miles with this wolf dog, he's 17!!!

I made it to 50miles in about 9:20 so almost an hour slower than C&O.  For some reason this didn't upset me at all.  I still felt like I could totally make a 100 mile PR, I just knew that making 100 miles under 20 hours was not going to happen which was totally fine with me.  My legs were hurting me so bad and I was just happy I hadn't really walked at all.  I used the nice warm potty and checked my phone.  I had so many texts of encouragement from friends and my sister.  It made me so happy and helped me to tell myself I had to keep going.  I couldn't stop just because it hurt.  I wasn't injured, my body just didn't like the surface I was running on but that doesn't matter I still had a job to get done.  After potty I made my way to our setup.  I told Emir I wanted to sit for a bit while I ate and got warmed up.  Coach had told me to sit when I felt I needed some time off my feet which is something I didn't do at C&O.  I was so afraid of wasting time when in reality, taking a few extra minutes to give myself a break may have helped me gain time in the end since it might have meant less walking later on.  I also really just felt like I needed to sit for a bit.  Emir went to work getting me my warm clothes, filling up my bottles and just chatting with me to lift my spirits.  I wasn't totally down or anything but just a little annoyed and frustrated about how much running this course really hurt.  I probably spent about 10 minutes sitting.  I stood up and started convulsing because I was SO COLD.  It was the hardest thing ever to start running again but about a half mile into it, I felt much warmer and felt like my legs were moving at least as good as they were before I took a break. 

 There's really not much to talk about when you run a 1 mile loop 100 times.  Emir decided to go to sleep after I hit 70. 
If you were feeling bad for poor Emir, DON'T!!!  ;-)
He made sure I had extra water bottles all filled up so that I could just grab a full one whenever I needed it.  Even though I didn't feel so cold because I had many layers and my jacket is the bomb, it was FREEZING!  Which I think affected the way my body was going through calories.  I noticed that once it was dark and cold for a while, I became starving.  I could never eat enough.  I literally had food in my hands at all times.  Emir had thought I over-packed gels and chomps because I had packed full boxes, when he woke up there was only a few left.  I kept a supply of them in my pockets at all times so I didn't have to stop as many times at the main aid station.  In addition to housing those, I had many cups of broth, probably about 7 cheeseburgers without buns and several grilled cheese sandwiches.  The cold also had an affect on my supplies in that stuff kept freezing.  My gels and chomps I had to warm up in my pockets before I could eat them as they were solid.  The GU waffles we had also became hard as a rock so they had to be warmed as well.  I was just using handhelds for water and I would have to constantly blow hot air into them so that the water would come out because they were blocked with ice.  I guess at least it gave me something to do over those long, lonely overnight hours.
Just before dawn I think

Luckily I wasn't alone 100% of the time.  I met a few runners on course who I would run a loop here  and there with, chatting which was nice.  I also had met another Amy on the Trail and Ultra FB page who was running the 24 hour race.  Since everyone has names on the bibs it was easy for us to find each other.  I ran with Amy on and off which was great.  She's an awesome lady and I'm so happy we met.  She ended up crushing her 24 hour time and going over 100 miles which well surpassed her goal for the race.  I was so happy for her!  Unlike me, she was enjoying the pavement loop and wants to do the 3 day which prior to actually running the one day, was something I thought about but after 24 hours of hell at the one day, I decided against it.  Trails for life! 
Anyway after I started getting to the 80 something miles, I began to wonder when Emir would get up.  He was asleep in his tent and I remember several times thinking "It's SO COLD when you aren't moving, what if he got hypothermia and is unconscious?!"  But then I would remember I would have to go like 50 feet off course to his tent and was like "Oh hell no, I'm not going over there!"  Eventually he did call me and asked how I was doing.  I said I was fine and he reported he had refilled my supplies but was going back to sleep.  This was fine with me because I wanted to reach 90 miles before making another bit longer stop for food and potty. 

During this part, my watch was down to about 15% battery so I grabbed the portable charger.  I was having a lot of difficulty trying to get it connected and put it back on my wrist.  I couldn't really do it with gloves on but I tried taking them off for a second and I couldn't do anything because my hand was SO COLD.  So I ended up plugging it in and shoving it all in my pocket.  So for a period of time I really had no idea what my mile splits were but I didn't really care.  I think it was mile 89 when Emir emerged alive so that was good.  I told him I would stop at 90 for a bit so he got stuff ready for me.  When I got to him at 90, I took my watch out and it had completely stopped.  Crap, the charger had turned off in my pocket and my battery got too low so it turned off.  While I had been looking forward to having 100 miles recorded on my watch since last 100 I still had my Fenix and didn't get any data whatsoever, I honestly didn't care at this point, at 21 hours into the race.  My legs were KILLING me and with the amount of time left and miles left, I needed to keep everything under 20 minute miles to actually finish 100 miles in 24 hours. 
yup still running
After the mile 90 refuel and just restarted my watch so I would know my pace to make sure I made 20 minute miles, I was off.  Maybe because the sun was starting to come up, I felt a lot better all the sudden even though I was in such pain.  I didn't really walk any full laps the entire race but I walked a few minutes here or there once I hit 70 but never more than maybe .25miles which I was VERY HAPPY with since at C&O, I walked ALOT from miles 70 on..  To my surprise I was running full miles at mile 90.  They were 16 minute miles but I was running.  I may have stopped to use the bathroom sometime between 90 and 100 but other than that I kept going.  I told Emir to hand me only food that I could carry with me.  He kept trying to push eggs and various other foods on me that I would have had to stop and eat for a minute or two but I didn't want that.  I wanted to just keep moving.  Sometime during mile 99, I don't know what happened but my body and legs completely shut down.  I really just couldn't move them anymore.  I came limping in and Emir said "you have plenty of time, don't worry.  And give it some thought to do a lap after 100"  I started crying and was like "I can't, leave me alone"  He said "Just think about it"   And I did think about it while I was out on that last lap but it was so hard, I couldn't move anymore.  I walked that whole last lap, basically limping like a wounded animal.  Emir was waiting for me at one of the last turns about .10 mile from the timing area.  I started SOBBING.  I don't even know why but I couldn't stop.  The RD was like "ARE YOU OK?!"  And I was but I couldn't stop.  Emir again started pressuring me again to do one more lap as I would have about 30 minutes and the RD said I had time for one more lap too.  I screamed "I'M NOT DOING IT!!!!!!"  I was just SO done.  I crossed 100 miles in 23:32 which is 13 minutes faster than C &O but I felt a million times worse than C&O.
                                                             My sad finish video

SO HAPPY to just be done!!!
I was in agonizing pain, sobbing and probably due to a small cold I had the week leading up to the race and running in 25 degree weather for like 16 hours, I had so much snot and flem.  My pants were covered in boogers and flem.  It was pouring out of my nose, my throat was killing me, I barely had a voice and I was coughing up the most disgusting crap you've ever seen.  I actually thought I had developed pneumonia and would be really sick but luckily after a couple days things started getting a lot better on their own.  My face was also literally ready to fall off .  My nose, cheeks and lips were so chapped.  They actually ended up peeling for a week after. So normally I would look back and be mad at myself for not doing one more lap since I had time but this time I'm totally not.  I literally had nothing left.  I gave it everything I had to finish 100 and get that PR.  Every ultra runner is different and has what they are good at.  Clearly pavement is not my friend but trail is.  Part of it may be that this year I trained a lot on trails and ran mostly trail races so if I did more on pavement, it may have been a different story.  That said, I don't really want to do more on pavement.  I love trails, I love trail races and I still love timed races but I will stick to those on the trail.  Nothing wrong with that. 

I'm still happy I did this race even though I didn't really enjoy much of it.  Don't get me wrong, it's a wonderful event.  So well run, the amenities and volunteers are amazing.  If I didn't hate running on the pavement so much, I would totally be doing the one day and 3 day.   It was a good experience and I don't regret trying it.  I've just learned that 26.2 is about my limit on road.  And it's never a bad day when you have a 100 mile PR.
TWO 100 mile finishes in 2016!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  1. Tampons, buggers, snot, flem, hamburgers, 100 miles, and Emir drinking IPA! Not many things better then all that! hahaha ... Seriously though I could never do that and you are a beast for getting it done!

  2. I am just so utterly impressed by your efforts! Absolutely incredible. I think I'd be snotting up the place a whole heck of a lot sooner than mile 99, that's for damn sure. Nicely done!!!