It was 19 degrees when I pulled up to the start line. As someone who LOVES running in the 30s (often in shorts and a tank) I wasn’t quite prepared for how harsh the loss of 10 degrees would feel.
I stood by my car, trying to summon the courage to shed the fleece pants I had over my capris as a wave of runners ran by. The race was in progress when I arrived but, since I knew I wasn’t going for all 24 hours, it wasn’t a big deal I was late (Pro: Saved $$ on a hotel! Con: 2.5 hour drive before running long distance sucks. The 2.5 hour drive home also sucks!!). My plan was to run an easy 50M and get out of there so I could recover for Rehoboth Beach.
It took about 10 miles to warm up and I ran a little faster in the beginning that I should have. But it felt easy and I wanted to take advantage of the daylight since we only get about 10 hours of light in this 24 hour race.
The course was flat except of one steep but really short hill and a gravel incline back up to the aid station. I’ll probably do this race again (it was cheap and we got sweatshirts!) but I will definitely invest in some Hokas and some gaiters because the rocks were bothering me. Under my shoes, in my shoes….my poor feet 😦 While I’m on the subject of the course, let me say it was a bit of a mindfu¢k. Certified at .95 of a mile and change, you felt like you lost a little ground with every lap. At 25 laps you want to be 25 miles into the run, but you’ve done less than 24. Even more cruel, after 100 laps you’re only at 95 miles. Meanest. Joke. Ever.
I ran almost all of every lap, taking breaks in the heated bathrooms, and stopping for food every few laps. I hit the marathon distance in less than 5 hours and realized as long as I didn’t have a major slow down I could pull off a 50M PR. I had a similar PR at Hinson but since I wore my Timex and not my Garmin, I have no idea what the actual 50M split was…other than it was under just 11 hours. My official 50M PR at Midnight Boogie of 11:39 was going down!
After 50k, I felt much better (both physically and about the safety of my PR) and much more sociable so I walked a few laps with my friends.
I got a little cold walking, so I ran a few laps with a new friend, one of the women’s leaders, who got me warm again. The pace was probably a little faster than what I should have been running, but it felt ok so I went with it. I took a break after a few miles to put back on my capris and enjoy the bathroom heat and back up with my fast friend (actually she lapped me, but who’s counting??) for a few more.
The sun set early, but I was sitting comfortably at 46ish miles when I pulled out the headlamp and inserted new batteries. The temps dropped fast and I picked up the pace to stay warm. Physically, I felt great, and it felt awesome to be running so “fast” after shuffling all day. I don’t know if timed races should really count since the courses are so easy, but I had a nice, healthy 50M PR of 10:33:33. I was in a really happy spot.
Then I saw the leader board.
It hadn’t been updated since 9 hours in but it was torture knowing that I was in a position to place well if I just kept going. I sat in a chair next to the bonfire for a while as I debated. Then I realized it was effing cold so I debated while I ran.
In the end I called it at 52.27 miles. Fingers crossed that I made the right decision and this time next week I’ll be happy with my Rehoboth performance. Most people wouldn’t throw in a 50M run two weeks before trying to PR a half…but I’m just crazy enough to go for it. Wish me luck 🙂