Here goes. Ususally I cannot put together a coherent post, let alone an entire race report. Im used to writing reports on things I know nothing about, which explains by high mileage and ability to BS entire semesters of writing classes.
The Day Before:
I awoke at 5:00 am to Drive to Jason(Last Place Jason) and Shelly's house Having gone to bed at 3:00 am the night before, I was bit tired and reluctant to get up. As my snooze button was hit for the 3rd time, I decided that the trip would go smoothly if I actually arrived on time for our departure. The trip from my apartment at school to Jason's house was approximately 1 hour, so I packed my gear and headed out the door. I grabbed the essentials, my race shorts, my ragged vibram KSOs(which smelled so bad that I had to tie a plastic bag around them to hermetically seal them in my bag) with quarter-sized holes in the soles and upper, and an extra few pair of socks and underwear. I realized I had no gels, but Shellerz race packet mentioned food, so i figured I would be be okay.
The trip was one of the best car rides of my life. Everyone in the car was great company, and within minutes the ice was broken and the laughs never stopped...until we realized what was waiting for us the next morning... then we laughed at our own unpreparedness for this difficult task.
Later that night, we proceded to go to our amazing RD's house, where she and her husband Jimmy were kind enough to offer us food and drinks and good times. We, being the band of barefoot gypsies that we are, gladly accepted. After meeting some of the Ultrarunning Matters crew, and some of Sheller's friends, we took off for the liquor store to get the main ingredient for wine-based Iskiate. It was closed, so we had to settle for having a few more beers and some more laughs before going to bed.
I was unable to sleep the night before, making three nights in a row of less than 4 hours sleep. We awoke at5:30 so that we could grab coffee and donuts from Tim Horton's, which apparently is a NY delicacy.I then realized that I had not packed a single short-sleeved shirt, no running type apparel to cover my my scrawniy upper body. I had a choice between the Rocky Mountain Hardwear Polo I had bought from a Goodwill store, or my favorite hawaiian-style shirt. Both shirts would make an appearence during the race, as the polo resulted in chafing. We were ready to embabark on a journey that would be the longest run of our lives to date(with the exception of Jason, our fearless leader who has completed a 100 miler in vVibrams).
My longest run with respect to time was my 50k of september of last year(5:46). My previous longest run with respect to distance was the Kal-Haven trail run, a point-to-point railroad grade converted to a limestone bike path(33.4 miles, 4:22). Those races were two entirely different adventures: the 50k was a technical trail race which turned into a survival effort, but overall a success; the Kal-Haven was a fluke- I would have been happy to maintain 9:00 minute per mile pace, but instead averaged 7:40, clocking my third fastest 5k time in the final 3.1 miles of the race. I have been doing a rash of 5ks lately, mostly to be social and support the insanely fast members of my Western Michigan University Running Club, they have helped me progress my running in ways I only imagined before meeting them. Im a fast hiker compared to these freaks, including some of our "exiled" members who are great as well.
I started the race very nonchalantly, still wearing my hooded sweatshirt. I knew that I had a long day ahead of me and there was no need to start cold, or worry about a warm-up. I started toward the back of the pack, where I thought I would be comfortable. The first 2 hours were a blast! I was talking to as many people as I could, smiling for the camera, and trying to find a pace that was comfortable. After hour two, I began to feel sore and achy. This early in the race, this is not a good sign. I had run the 5/3 riverbank run 25k at 6:40 pace and felt better than I had at the 2 hour mark at 10:40 pace! This was a bad start, and I was discouraged and nervous. The slow pace was hurting my form, causing me to hit the ground harder and fatigue my quads. I tried to switch a few variables. I put on my party shirt- a blue hawaiian button down that I wear running occasionally just because I feel like it. That helped lift my spirits because its a rediculous thing to wear during an ultramarathon, but its my most comfortable shirt and I love it. I also tried on a pair of VFF treks, which were AMAZINGLY comfortable. The k-leather upper felt like an amazing pair of slippers: flexible and no support whatsoever- perfect.
The next hours were a bit sketchy. I climbed the leaderboard to spot number 5 on the men's board, where I would stay all day. I was very anxious being on the leaderboard, but it was nice to see my laps without having to stop. My ego was very fragile at this point. I honestly wanted nothing to do with being competetive in this race, and even the thought of it made me feel anxious. I ran with different people throughout the race, meeting , many amazing people with great stories, and telling mine a few times along the way. I did my best to keep a smile on my face and talk to anyone who looked like they were struggling... a little positive talk goes a long way, and what goes around comes around, so I wanted to help as many people as it would take to scrape me off the ground later. I connected with my travel partners many times made sure we were all still in good shape- my MI crew was amazing and I was proud of them all day.
In the final third or so of the race, I finally foiund a person I was a bit curious about since checking the "who's registered" link on Shellerz' site. I thought, "Theres another 22 year old strange enough to want to run in circles for 12 hours?" That was where Rebecca came in. The last few hours of the race seemed to finally pick up. We talked and discussed our running, all the while cruising around the path with much less pain than I had been feeling. My Crash/burn/crawl routine was saved by a much smarter plan. My newfound partners plan of 10min run, 2min walk was perfect. I may have even clocked more miles in the second half than the first. The time honestly flew by being in great company. Who would have thought that the two "kids" as we were called all day would be able to run the same pace for so long? Needless to say, I was implressed and thankful that she let me bother her for the remainder of the race. She undoubtedly saved me from myself and my arrogant strategy.
As we approached the last hour, we were reeling! we were so elated that we were about to a) double our longest run and b) complete our first 12 hour surpassing our mileage goals! I had the idea to attempt the last lap at ful speed, whether is was 2 seconds faster that our regular pace or not. The last lap was approaching, the clock read 11:51:20, and we decided to do one more before our "kick" we talked one more time, no believing that we were about to be done running... finally! The lap was coing to an end, and I was hopping on the rocks one last time( I hopped on the small boulders on the eastern end of the course every single lap as a way to move my muscles in a different way and appease my inner trail runner). as we approached the finish line, I readied myself for take-off, but wasnt expecting much. I crossed the tape line, heard the second-to-last beep of the day... and then it happened. I took off like a possessed person. My kick had started and I was finally taking long, smooth strides that didnt hurt, for the first time all day. The course finally felt short again as I sped over the bridge and up the hill one last time. I flew over the back stretch, passing second place finisher for the only time all day. I rounded the final corner, forgoing my rock-hopping for fear of my years of orthontics being wasted by bashing my face on one of the boulders. I flew around the corneer, seeing Jason and Shelley stainding there, smiling at me. I felt proud watching two of my mentors watch me finish my first ultra. I wasnt good at the math, but I knew I had clocked an 800 meter time faster than I've ever run for my running coach in practice. Faster than my final 800m of a 5k, I waited 11 hours and 55 minutes to run at 5:20 min/mile pace. A 12 hour warm up to run a 2:44 1/2 mile... smiling like an indiot. I can think of nothing else I wanted to do other than just smile and feel the wind rush over me forever. I stopped, had someone help me take off my chip, then went back after Rebecca. She looked strong finishing and I felt so proud for her, running such an amazing distance on such a mentally grueling course.
Then I hurt... I could hardly walk after the race, but I got to get up and get my award for 2nd place in the open category, and 6th overall(citation needed). The real reward? PIZZA! I was so hungry, and the post race food was just as delicious as the during-race food. I was so happy to be done.
2nd place men's open
63ish miles (130 laps on a .49mile loop)
Longest. Post. Ever. im going back to immature comments now.