Tuesday, September 6, 2011

FX 12 & 24 Hour Runs... Dual Race Reports...

24 Hours of Laps and Questions... 
Troy Malinowski's Race Report...

As we toes the line at the Germantown High School track, my son approached and asked to run a lap with me. So, as Robert said “Go” we ran together and ran a first lap of 2:33 minutes.
The second lap was uneventful at 2:37.
The third was again uneventful at 2:29
As I ran the fourth, it became uneventful at 2:32
The fifth and sixth laps were becoming common ground with times of 2:33 and 2:40, respectively.
The seventh was my planned rest lap and was walked at 4:16.
So, the challenge began …… along with the questions.
Let’s take a step back. Race day came and answered the weather question. The 5 a.m. thunderstorms woke me up. After some last minute preparations, we arrived in Germantown to find the signal lights out in the area, which included the High School. But the thunderstorms had pretty well passed.
As we toed the line, power was restored. Everyone mentally visualizing their goals. Of the known, Ryan Dexter planning to make the U.S. team with 145 miles. Jared Busen aiming for 130. Parker Rios shooting for a century. And myself looking to break another hundred this year. Ideally sooner than last year’s 23:43.
As we ran the first hour, we found our paces and settled in. I was a tad quick with just under a 5.75 mph pace. The next hour was better suited for me at a 4.75 pace. Unfortunately, the hours were passing in a see-saw pattern of various paces, but still on a 100 mile pace for the day. 
Then the light showers and humidity kicked in. I found it harder and harder to keep pace. My speed was slowing and the body was taking its toll. The wetness was chaffing everywhere. Dry clothes, udder balm, Vaseline……. just wasn’t doing the trick.
I changed shoes, but the heat had swollen my feet and the toe box was hurting painfully. What shoes can I wear?  After 2 miles, the first pair went back on. 
As the ninth hour approached, I was in dire need. How can I get the chaffing to stop? I called for back-up shorts. A pair of swim trunks was delivered.
Shortly after, Ryan called it a day with just over sixty-two miles. The humidity had taken its first victim. And about two hours later, Mark Janosky ended his quest at nearly fifty-five miles. 
As the twelfth hour came, my swim trunks were relieving some of the chaffing and I had recorded my fifty-first mile. I was halfway there, but the calves were just as tight as my shoes. I questioned continuing myself. I settled into a quick walk as running wasn’t an option at the time. After about an hour and a half, I tried running, but after a quarter mile, the energy wasn’t there. I attempted again after a little more walking. This run/walk pattern yielded about a quarter mile slower pace than walking alone.
It became time for a new goal. My goal last year was eighty miles and I was going to do it this year. I walked and kept slowly chipping away. Around 2 a.m., in the 16th hour, my lower back became sore. “I’ll sit and relax my back …..” and forty minutes later I awoke. I got up looking like a new born colt, as my legs wobbled around the track for a lap.
It was about this time that the previous day’s weather took its third victim. Jared was finished at just over ninety-one miles.
I continued walking and the back stiffened up again around four o’clock. I sat down and again forty minutes later was wobbling about the track.
As I walked across the line, Parker Rios crossed his 100th mile at 21:59:32. 
And two hours later, the 24 hours were complete. I accomplished 79.331 miles with Parker winning the event with 105.652 miles. But the big winner of the day was Robert and his crew of volunteers. Whether loss of power, heat, rain, cold winds …. Robert was prepared and always with encouragement. While I and others didn’t achieve our goals, I had an enjoyable event. 
And now, I ponder my latest question. Before the event, I commented next year will be spent volunteering …….. Unfortunately, that may very well not be the case.
As a side note, I placed fourth last year with 100.9 miles and fourth this year with 79.331. 
And also, it was requested that I sign some of the 2011 LPTR calendars. Please bring yours on Sept. 28th, if you wish as the other studs will be in attendance. 
Craig is currently “laying out” the 2012 calendar. Please get your pictures to Kevin for publishing.  

Marty Burian's Race Report...

80.4 mi    24:00 17:54 pace
I went into this, my first 24 hour event, with three goals. The first goal, which I figured was my minimum goal, was to set a distance PR (more than 50.02 miles). The second goal was to reach 100K, and would make me very happy. My "stretch" goal (which was also referred to as my "ecstatic goal") was somewhere in the 75-78.6 mile range (75 miles would be 24 5Ks in 24 hours, 78.6 miles is 3 marathons). Needless to say, I'm ecstatic. :-D

[Note: The 80.4 miles logged here is the mileage my Garmin picked up. My OFFICIAL total distance is 77.854 miles. The difference is due to the fact that any distance not done on the inside lane of the track doesn't count. So, any walking I did in lanes 2 or 3 as well as walking to/from the restrooms doesn't get counted in the official total.]

Upon arriving at Germantown High School early Saturday morning, Brett L. had already scoped things out and seemed to know the lay of the land. When John C. arrived, we started unloading our cars and setup home base (our tents, a canopy, folding tables and chairs, coolers and all of the food and drink we thought we'd need for the next 24 hours). We got a quick pre-race briefing and then took a few minutes to pin on our race bibs and put the velcro timing chips on our ankles. Before we knew it, we were at the start line for the countdown... and then we were off!
The early laps were almost comical. The idea of spreading your effort out over 24 hours means that you have to run an INCREDIBLY comfortable pace for the early portion. The initial plan was to run 4 laps and walk 1 for as long as I could maintain it. Assuming a 10:00 running pace and a 20:00 walking pace, that would mean a 12:00 average pace. Taking a break to walk after running a mile at what is normally an "easy" pace seemed crazy. But as time went on, that walk break started becoming more and more necessary... until I couldn't even run 3 straight laps anymore.
The first 6 hours went exactly according to plan. 30 miles. A 12:00 average pace. And, the completion of 24 mile repeats. But, it became apparent at that point that I could no longer maintain that run/walk ratio. So, I switched to 3 laps of running and 1 lap of walking. And then, 2 laps of running and 1 lap of walking. After getting a pre-arranged delivery of a Whopper, fries and a chocolate shake (thanks to my wife Kelley), I decided it might be smart to walk for a full mile to let things settle a bit before running again.
I absolutely DO NOT remember any details of hourly distances (though the race director had a giant board where hourly totals were posted), but my Twitter and Facebook streams show that I hit 36 miles in 8 hours and 50.75 miles at 12 hours. At that point, we took a break to eat dinner (I had pizza that my parents brought) and a short nap. After a little over an hour in the tent, it was time to get back at it. I figured in order to warm up a bit, it might make sense to walk the first few laps.
Unfortunately, at this point, all I was capable of doing was walking. For HOURS I walked. Countless laps and an unmemorable number of hours (I'm guessing it was 3-4 hours, but it might have been even longer than that). I even made the (very idiotic) mistake of walking a few laps without my chip on my ankle. I had taken it off to put on my compression socks during the nap, and when I got dressed to go back out onto the track, I neglected to include my ankle chip as a necessary piece of equipment. I notified the race director of my stupidity, he checked with the person in charge of timing, and (after the race) they were able to verify those 3 laps using the backup chip on my race number (which I was wearing).
Somehow, after a short break (and some magical Reese's Pieces), I was able to run again. If I could get back to running 2 laps and walking 1, I could get to my second goal (100K) by the end of the 19th hour. So, I ran. And walked. And got that 100K.
I've been told by others that mileage over 50 miles becomes exponentially more difficult, but it's one of those things that always seemed hard to believe. I mean, 50 miles is a LONG way... and it's tough. How much tougher could it really get that than? The answer is MUCH tougher. At one point, John and I started running numbers on intermediate goals. We laughed when we realized that we weren't sure if we could get 8 miles in 4 hours. But, that's how things got. Even WALKING a 30 minute mile was no longer a given. The trick, we figured out, was to just keep moving. Bathroom breaks, naps, changes of shoes, socks, etc... all of it counted against you. Because the clock never stopped.
Some breaks were unavoidable, though. Since it had rained for a large portion of the early part of the race, chafing was a concern from the very beginning. We went from trying to avoid chafing to then doing what we could to deal with the chafing that had happened. It just seemed like things never dried out after the rain (even the tents and canopy had water on them when we packed up the next morning) Late in the race, I started developing a hot spot on the ball of my right foot. So, I stopped every hour to take my shoe and sock off, reapply Body Glide and then get back out on the track. Somehow, though, it never developed into a blister and I was able to keep moving.
At hour 21, we switched directions on the track for the last time (direction was changed every 3 hours) and you could see/hear people doing the math to see what they'd need to do to hit their goals. Despite spending HOURS thinking that if I pushed I might get to 70 miles, I now started to think 75 miles might be within reach. I limited breaks to simply reapplying Body Glide and eating more of those magical Reese's Pieces (thanks again John for bringing those!). Otherwise, I was out on the track, moving as best as I could at this point in the race.
Kristine Hinrichs ran the day 6 hour, and stuck around for another 4 laps to finish her 94th(!) marathon! She set a goal to run 100 marathons by the time she turns 60 and now has 16 months to run 6 more. Talk about an incredibly inspirational woman!
Juli Aistars, who I "met" on the ULTRA list and then finally met in person at the Chicago Lakefront 50K, was there running the night 12 hour. And she offered some sage advice: "Stay on the track". Thanks for the wise words Juli, but some of us are human. ;-)
Brett hit his 50 mile goal at around 3am and decided to grab another nap. I explained that I would wake him up NO LATER than 6:30, so he could (easily) get another 2.5 miles in before the end of the race. His previous longest run was 26.2 miles... and he was going to double it (he ended up with almost 56 miles total). John spent hours walking in pain, a combination of doing the entire race in his VFFs and having some pretty severe chafing. Yet, he was able to come back from the dead to chase down his 70 miles (ending with over 71).
There are many things I learned during this race. The first of the most important things (for me, anyway) is that I can run beyond my previously self-imposed limits. I was still running pretty well late in the race... including a "last lap fastest" at a 7:44 pace. Additionally, I do NOT like running while sleep-deprived. The hour or so nap that got me through this race was enough to keep me moving, but I wasn't happy about it for long portions (those hours of continuous walking, for instance). One of the reasons for me doing this event was to see if I'd be interested in running a 100 miler at some point. While I know better than to say "never" at this point (for years I said "never" about running a marathon), I will say that it's not something that's on my radar at this time (though I am hoping to volunteer and maybe even pace a runner sometime).
Thanks to everyone for your messages here, as well as on Twitter or Facebook! Though I wasn't taking the time to respond at the time (that would've extended the breaks even longer), I did read them all while walking around the track. The support I felt from afar was amazing!
Thanks as well to everyone who stopped by to show support in person. Kelley, Nathaniel B.Matt J.,John P.Ken V.Jessica D.Jeff M. (I heard you were there, but still haven't met you), my parents, Scott, Michelle and Noah (I *really* hope I didn't miss anyone, but if I did I promise it's just due to my brain not working for all 24 hours). I can't imagine how boring it must have been to watch us run (or walk) around a track, but I *really* appreciate you guys going out of your way to come cheer for us!
Last, but not least, I can't say enough about how well-organized this race was. The race director, Robert Wehner, knows what runners want and takes care great care of them. Both Robert and the aid station volunteers were tremendous! We didn't know what to expect, so brought a lot of food and drinks. Most of it came back home with us. Between the "standard" ultra aid station food (pretzels, chips, candy bars, water, Coke, etc), the "special order" stuff (Cousins subs, pizza, grilled cheese, burgers, etc) and keeping us all updated on progress, there was never a time when we needed something and they didn't deliver. They even delivered ice to our base camp and refilled our coolers for us!

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