Sunday, March 30, 2014

Race # 33 - Lapper's Delight 24 Hour Run

Lapper's Delight 24 Hour Run

9:00 AM
Pinnacle, NC
Distance:  28 laps / 42 miles
Place: 16th out of 20 

I had a great time at the 2013 Lapper's Delight.  It was my first overnight run and I used it to prepare for MMT100.  I did 56 laps in that race for 84 miles.  This year I wanted to hit 100.

The race fell three weeks after a snow covered Holiday Lake 50k and we actually had some snow the week of the race that had me hoping and praying it would melt before the start.  If it was a snow covered course, I knew 100 would be out of the question.

When I showed up Saturday morning, the snow was almost completely gone so I thought there may be a chance at 100 miles.  I checked in with the race director, Glenn, spoke to a few faces I recognized and then set up my personal aid station at my car.  The course was modified slightly but still a 1.5 mile loop.  A course like this has advantages and disadvantages.  It's good because you're never too far away from the aid station but bad because it's not too far from the aid station.  Aid stations contain chairs.  Chairs are bad for ultrarunning.

Gemma and I before the race

Taking a bite of the leftover snow

They got me up too early for this...

Family pic before race start

We started at 9am and the first lap gave us a taste of what was in store for the day.  While the snow was minimal, it was melting fast.  There was one section that was a huge puddle we all chose to go around.  Soon though, there would be soggy grass covered puddles in multiple places.  The back side of the course was behind a line of trees and the snow did not melt as fast.  It would be a tricky spot to maneuver and not bust your rear.

All smiles for the start

I tried to run my own pace and not worry about the other runners' paces.  This is always hard to do, especially early in a race.  Your body is ready to go but remembering to pace yourself is key.  Eventually I slowed down and fell into a good rhythm.  After the first lap, I passed the aid station and grabbed a Krispy Kreme donut.  After the second lap, I stopped at my personal aid station and grabbed a slice of bacon.  Only in ultrarunning is it important to have a balanced diet breakfast of donuts and bacon.  Another reason I love this sport.

After four laps, my toes didn't feel good as they kept pushing up against the ends of my shoes.  I was wearing my waterproof Hoka Mafate's.  They had kept my feet dry through the wet spots but I could not continue with it like this.  Soon it would be detrimental if I didn't make a shoe change.  So six miles in, that's what I did.  The following lap I really found out where the puddles were as my feet got wet.  But my shoes would drain and my Darn Tough socks left my feet feeling dry until I circled back around and got them wet again.

I covered 10 laps, 15 miles, in three hours.  I knew I wouldn't be able to keep that pace up for the full 24 hours but figured I'd keep it going as long as I could.  It felt good so I ran with it.  As the day passed, I was making good time.  Mentally though, I kept doing a stupid thing:  Mental Math.10 laps in 3 hours, 20 laps, in 6 hours, 30 laps in 8 hours, etc.  Keep up the pace and that's 80 laps in 24 hours.  I was an idiot for thinking like this.  In hindsight, I needed to just say 3 laps to the next aid station.  Just keep moving.  Treating it like a normal ultra would have been a better plan.

Soon though, I was about to hit the 6 hour mark.  Sure enough, I finished my 20th lap right at 6 hours.  I decided on that lap that I was going to sit down for the first time.  Another stupid mistake.  Why did I even bring that chair with me?  I sat and contemplated what my plan was.  I didn't feel great.  I knew that it would be a long struggle if I kept going through the evening and into the night.  Was it worth it? 

The afternoon soon stretched into the evening and although it wasn't official, I had thrown in the towel mentally.  I knew I couldn't get 100 miles in 24 hours. Do I stay out and keep moving though, just so I'm not a quitter?  Or do I bag it and call it a day and recover faster?

Summer, Gemma, my parents and my nephews showed up as the sun was starting to set.  They were there to encourage me, but I wasn't in the mood to be encouraged.  Summer decided to take a lap with me and we talked.  I told her how I felt and brought up the Geoff Roes article I had read a long time ago where he talked about elites dropping when it just wasn't their day.  He said that while the elites compete to win or do well, if they don't feel like they can do just that, they drop because there's no point in beating up their body anymore than they should and force longer recovery times.  Yes they can finish the distance but what's the point if they knew they couldn't win.  Now I'm no elite runner, but the same holds true.  I could have stayed out there the full 24 hours and probably put up a good 70-80 miles, or more.  But that wasn't my goal.  And this wasn't an 'A' race.  With race #2 of the Beast Series coming up two weeks after, there was no point in risking it.  She agreed with everything I was saying.  So we finished the lap together, I told my parents I was stopping and went to talk to the RD.

Glenn was completely understanding and that meant a lot to me.  I told him my goal and that it wasn't going to happen and it wasn't my day.  He could relate and I immediately came to peace with my decision.  I had no regrets.  Yes I was going to miss being out there all night amongst the ultrarunning community which I enjoy so much, especially at this race, but bigger races were in my near future and this one will be back on the schedule in 2015.

I stopped my watch at 9h30m.  I had covered 28 laps for a total of 42 miles.  While it wasn't what I was hoping for, it was a good day and a good long run.

Garmin Data: