Monday, August 30, 2010

That was freakin' insane! aka my Transcendence 12 Hour report.

Me bad.  I should have written this report when all the details were still fresh in my mind.  It's only been two weeks and the edges are already losing their sharpness.

Me and the Prez.  I wore my Maniac shirt when I found out he'd be there.
I forget how I heard about this new race, but when I found out, I knew I wanted to be a part of it.  I like timed runs and I don't find running in loops boring at all.  There's something about the sameness of it that's challenging.  But I definitely need to work on getting better at it.  Running loops is deceptively difficult.  And of all my races so far this year (2 timed runs on loops, 2 road marathons,  2 trail marathons and 2 trail 50k's), I've felt the most beat up and had the longest recovery after the timed runs.

Getting ready to start and enjoying the cool air while the sun is still below the hills.
 Despite initially looking forward to this race, it came after two weekends of trail marathons.  So in the week leading up to the 12 hour, I was feeling a little tired (more mentally than physically) and not really that excited about heading up to Olympia for another race.  But when it became apparent that the day of the race would have record high heat, that lack of excitement turned into dread.  I'm not a heat person at all.  I run in the early mornings, so even when it does get hot in the summer, my run is already in the log book while its still cool.  I've never purposely chosen a 'hot" race (no Run with the Devil or Badwater for me) and the high for the few races this summer that were on hot days never got that hot.  But with the race lasting 12 hours, and with the high predicted to be into the 90's, there would be no way to avoid the heat.  Yet I really didn't want to DNS.  The only thing that got me to the start was the idea that it would probably be a sufferfest, but I'd be suffering with others.  And somewhere in the group suffering there would probably be a pretty amazing time.   As has been said before: "It doesn't have to be fun to be fun."

My friend Sharon and her husband walked a lap with me in the early afternoon. By this time I had changed into my white Armani dress shirt made of 100% Egyptian cotton (purchased a few days earlier at the Goodwill "bins".)  I was mainly concerned about sunburn protection, but soaked in ice water, the shirt kept me cool too.  It was usually bone dry after 2 laps.
So long story short, I toed the line at 6 am in a pretty good frame of mind.  Many friendly faces (familiar and new) were there.  And it was an amazing time.  Running in the heat...I think the high was 97 degrees...was pretty freakin' insane.  But it was a lot of fun too.  I was buoyed by the spirit and camaraderie of the other participants. And the volunteers were awesome!  Their encouragement helped a lot of people.  The start/finish/aid station was truly an oasis in the desert. They even had a body worker on duty to help with any aches and pains.   Early laps were quick with short breaks. But as the day progressed and the heat soared , it was easy to linger between laps in the refuge of happiness, popsicles and massages.

A nice surprise:  About halfway through the first lap, while running in  a small group, Jeff (above) came up beside me and said, "SOB!".  We had met during my bonk on the big hill a month earlier at the Siskiyou Out Back 50k.  He's running a 50k in every state and planned to be on the plane home to California before the 12 hours were up.  I enjoyed running a few (relatively) quick laps with Jeff.  We certainly look chipper in this picture, don't we?

I finished the day with 47.24 miles in 11 hours 40 minutes; there wasn't time for another lap.  Normally this would have been a disappointment, but I'm happy with that considering the circumstances.  A big positive was that my fueling was perfect again. I think I've found a formula for success that I can build upon.  I didn't experience a bonk or even real tiredness.  But after about 26 miles, my right knee started to act up.  I was able to tape it and that helped a little bit.  Then my left hip got really stiff.  There's something about running in circles (this was a 1.5 mile loop on pea gravel) that really beats up my body in a way trail running or regular road running doesn't.  So why do I want to keep trying?  I don't know for sure, but I've already registered for next year.

Happy to be done.  That wasn't so bad!


olga said...

I don't know why would you ever be disappointed, heat or not. This is freakin' awesome result no matter how you look at it! And to think a couple of years ago you weren't running a, my. A lesson to us all. Welcome to Texas, come and visit now:)

Backofpack said...

Good for you Sarah! I really wanted to run that race, but I was already suffering from the heat. It pretty much ended my summer racing. I don't know how you all did it - it was so hot! Glad you are doing so well - you deserve it after your long injury-recovery. See you somewhere soon!

DavidH said...

Congrats on some amazing miles! There is something nutty, yet surprisingly fun about short loop events.

Thanks for the inspiration!

Joe said...

I've been waiting for these details... thanks! You really did a cool job...the stop at Goodwill for the shirt was brilliant!!

Like Olga, I agree, it is amazing you did this so well, considering the issues you've overcome. Way to go!

I love systems... would welcome hearing about the food system you mentioned in this note. the new blog layout!!!

Addy said...

I'm so happy for you and how well your racing is going, even with all the heat and stiffness. You should be so proud!

Thanks also for all your encouragement. I'm definitely feeling a bit discouraged, and I'm really appreciating your responses :)

Pinkcorker (Renee) said...

I loved that line - it doesn't have to be fun to be fun! I'm glad I read that today; I'm doing my first 12 hour night run tonight!! I'm just catching up on your blogs again. You are awesome!