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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

12 Hours of Running

The 12 hour run on Saturday was one of the most intense runs I've ever had.  I woke up at about 5:40 in the morning to prepare what I needed for the day.  I had previously bought 5 bottles of pedialyte for the race, and so all I needed was a good meal before the race and during the race.  I had some left-over pasta from the day before that I was going to eat in the morning, but I needed food during the race, so I cut up some potatoes and fried them with salt, pepper, and some basil.  It was simple, but it had enough of what I needed... or so I thought.  My sister and I went over and picked up my other sister and a friend and off we went.

We left a little after 6:30 and drove down to Asheville, arriving there a little before 9:00, where I went and lined up to get my bib number, and then started to prepare everything.  I told them what needed to be done and how the course was, and what I needed them to do.  Suddenly, out of nowhere, a friend of mine just came and plopped down right beside me!  Aaron had told me that he wouldn't be able to come to the race, and so I thought I had only 3 people showing up, but with his surprise visit, I had four people in my support crew.

It was almost 10:00 so I had to get ready to run.  I ate a little bit, drank a little bit, and went to the starting line. I was nervous because I had no idea what I was putting myself into, but as soon as the countdown started, I focused on what I needed to focus on:  The task at hand.  As soon as we started, I moved up and ran nice and smoothly, feeling out what the course was like.  There were a couple hills and one horrible paved downhill, and with all the twists and turns, I went smoothly through the first lap, finishing it in 25:38.  My heart beat was at about 140 so it was pretty okay during that time.  I stopped and walked at that time, waiting til my watch said 30:00 to start the run again, and kept on going:

Lap 1:   25:38
Lap 2:   52:17
Lap 3:   1:21:56
Lap 4:   1:50:08
Lap 5:   2:19:24
Lap 6:   2:47:42
Lap 7:   3:17:56
Lap 8:   3:50:42
Lap 9:   4:23:08
Lap 10: 4:57:09
Lap 11: 5:31:33
Lap 12: 6:17:18
Lap 13: 6:56:40
Lap 14: 7:34:47
Lap 15: 8:38:17
Lap 16: 9:22:15
Lap 17: 10:00:22
Lap 18: 10:36:15
Lap 19: 11:08:44
Lap 20: 11:51:28

As you can see from the times above, I was going as planned in the first 11 laps, but after that, I got really off pace.  On the 12th lap, I decided to just walk to rest up and sacrifice a lap so that I would be able to get back into my old pace.  Unfortunately, I was not able to recover because I had been using too much energy, and miscalculated the amount of work I was  doing.  Although my heart rate had been on average at 140-150, I still had been using too much energy during the first half, resulting in the depletion of the energy in my muscles and liver.  After every lap, I made sure to drink 8oz of pedialyte so I was alright in regards to sodium, but 25 kcal wasn't enough for my body during that race.  After the 11th lap, I was tired and I still had another 6 hours to go.  Looking at the laps, I see that the downhill slide started between laps 6-8, when I was running 30+ minutes per lap.    As for the big gap between laps 14 and 15, I went over and got a 20 minute massage.  Although it didn't feel that much better and my muscles had cooled down, I learned of a new breathing technique, and I felt a little more ready to go out and run once my body warmed up.

My support crew made sure I was doing well, and kept up with how much effort I was putting in, but I still failed to calculated the amount of calories I needed to run the race.  I had to stop and eat pizza after the 15th lap, and although that slowed down my time at first, it provided me with enough energy to work hard on the last few laps I had left.  With that burst of energy, I was able to push through.  With a few seconds under 2 hours left, I had run 52.7 miles.  In order to achieve my goal to get over 62 miles, I had to be able to run the last three loops under 40 minutes.  I knew that I wouldn't be able to do the last lap under 40 minutes, so I made sure to push hard with all that I had for the first 2 laps, and was able to give myself leeway to finish the last lap.

Overall, I had a good race.  It was my first 12 hour race, and I enjoyed every aspect of it.  The camaraderie that the different runners had really encouraged me to go further (and hopefully worked the other way too).  Now that I've had all this experience, and a new personal record (distance), I feel as if I've gotten a lot of experience regarding the ultras and am going to be better prepared for the next race.

Next year's challenge is to beat myself and also to get first place.  It's unfortunate that I didn't get 1st place this round, but 2nd place is in itself an accomplishment.  Now for a week of break...

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