Sunday, March 21, 2010

Pac Rim 2010

I did it! I met my basic goal of running, well, let's say moving, for 24 hours. I ran 67 miles - not quite the 70 to 80 I had hoped for, but I'm very happy. If I'm honest, I'm mostly happy to be done!

Everyone I talked to seemed to find the race especially challenging this year. I'm not sure what it was, but many of us were off our times from last year. Maybe the heat? The weather was in the high 30s at the start and moved into the high 60s by the afternoon. I think it affected everyone - though beautiful and gorgeous, those temps are unusually high for this time of year. Most of us are used to running in the 40s to low 50s right now, and aren't yet acclimated to high spring temps. For once I managed the heat well, staying hydrated, keeping my pace down and my electrolytes up. I worked at keeping my pace slow, knowing that I had to make it through the night.

I ran 50K with Jessica and Abi, then was on my own for a while. I didn't wear a watch or my Garmin, and although I caught an hour nap since I've been home, I've pretty much been up for 36 hours, so everything is kind of fuzzy around the edges. I am not sure exactly when Jenny waited for me, but she was sitting in a chair when I came into our personal aid station, waiting to run with me. I know after Jessica left, it seemed like it took hours to get through the 30's and up to 40 miles. I don't remember the 40s much, but again, it took hours to get through the 50s. I started the day running the long sides of the mile loop, walking the concrete bridge on one end, and through the aid station area and a ways beyond on the other end. Towards evening, I added a walk break in the middle of each long side. Sometime in the evening I also elected to walk two laps in a row - it really helped. It seemed to work all the kinks out and leave me ready to run again. I found myself doing that off and on for the rest on the race. By 7:00 am, I gave up on running and walked the rest of the laps. Technically speaking, I really stopped at 23 hours and 42 minutes - when I came in from my last lap, they told me there was 18 minutes left. Obviously, I could have complete the lap if I ran it. Equally obviously, there was no running left in my legs. I had just walked a lap in 21 minutes, so I was done. And happy!

As long as I've been hanging around ultras, I've heard of people falling asleep while running or walking. I always wondered how that worked. Well, I found out last night. I can't quite remember when, but there was a point where I told Jenny I had to have a short nap. I went into the tent and slept for 10 minutes - it was perfect and I came out ready to go (you should have seen me getting up from a sleeping pad on the ground - it was a laborious process!). Seemed like that refreshed me enough to get around five laps in. During that time Jenny decided she needed a nap, so I began running on my own. I think I was at 60 miles with a goal of getting to 65. Jenny was ahead of my by about five miles at that point. I was fuzzy-brained, so when she told me to wake her up when I got to 65, I took her seriously. I found myself trotting through the dark on my own. Pretty soon, I found myself staggering during walk breaks, literally dozing off as I walked. My eyes would cross, I'd see double, and I'd weave all over the path. I sat down on a bench to rest for a minute and fell asleep with my elbows on my knees. A passing runner woke me up when he asked if I was okay. I staggered through the next half mile, then went into the restroom. I fell asleep on the potty. I was aware enough to realize I needed a nap, so I went into the tent. Abi was curled up under a blanket and Jenny had the sleeping pad and sleeping bag. I sat down in a chair and started to doze off - Jenny was awake and though I was mostly incoherent, managed to get me to lie down under the sleeping bag next to her. I had my watch hanging on my bag so I set the timer for 10 minutes and went to sleep. I forgot to mention that by this time a cold wind was blowing and it was raining off and on, but I was so tired I flopped down in my wet raincoat and hat. The timer went off and I began the slow process of getting to my feet. I went back out and started trotting around. That went pretty well for three miles, then the whole stagger thing started again. I came weaving into the aid station, and there were Abi and Jenny, ready to go out with me again. I mumbled something about sleep and dropped onto the mat again. I think Jenny let me have five minutes. Then it was up and out. When I went into the tent it was just beginning to get light, and when I came out, it was finally daylight. Having my friends with me again and light in the sky made all the difference! I was at 63 miles and we had two hours to go.

I also forgot to mention two great things. Rob ran 50K, and when he was done, made a Starbucks run. That was wonderful and came at a perfect time. Jessica finished her 50K, then went off to clean up and rest, and came back with more Starbucks, which again, couldn't have come at a better time. Then she cooked us perogies! She went to sleep in her car after that, and came out to join us for the final few laps. We couldn't have asked for a better crew and cheerleader! Thanks Jessica.

Also, many thanks to the volunteers at the race. There's nothing better than to come in from a lap and have the lap counter call out your name and tell you how great you are doing. Many thanks to the graveyard shift lap counters: Amy, Joe Lee and Sarah. Joe and Sarah had a couple of encouraging conversations with me when I was tired and on my own. You two really helped me out!

I'm always reluctant to post mileages because I'm afraid I'll get it wrong or forget someone. Of course, I'm going to do it anyway! Eric - 100 miles, Steve -100 miles, Tony C. - 100 miles, Arthur - 100 miles, Jess Mullen - 116 miles (second overall, first woman), Tim Englund - 121 miles (overall winner!), Van and Lisa B - I think around 103 or 104 miles?

Blister report: Ball of left foot, big toe and second toe of left foot. Big toe of right foot. That's all. I didn't really feel them till I took my shoes off and put my Birkenstocks on. Then I felt them! I also have a red rash all over my feet, from the top of my socks to my toes. I could feel it itching and burning around my ankles at night and stopped once to change socks, and once to apply Vaseline. Other than that, just normal post-race stiffness.

That's it - my goal race for the year is complete. It's all fun and games from here out!

PS. I knew I'd forget someone! Linda W got an incredible 80 miles, Alison got 102 and Owen 100. You are all amazing!

PSS. And, Allison with over 100 and Owen with 100, and how could I forget... Jenny with 70, Abi with 45 and Jessica with 34? Plus, the title now reflects the actual year of 2010.

13 comments:

olga said...

Michelle, you rock, darling. And falling asleep on your feet - oh, man, welcome to the world of 24 hrs, where physical gets blurred with mental and often beaten by it:)You won!

Scott Keeps Running said...

Awesome!

Thomas said...

Wow, 24 hours of running. Unbelievable. Olga's right, you rock!

I can't imagine being so tired that you fall asleep during running.

Sarah said...

You're a rock star! Glad I was able to be a help. Exciting to see you go farther mentally and physically than you have before. And I'm amazed you already wrote this blog post too! My brain is still in a fog.

Sarah said...

P.s The year is 2010 (see your post title). ; ) : )

Joe said...

Just awesome, Michelle!!! Can't imagine such a thing. Congrats to you.

My best to Eric as well...100 miles!! Wow!! He's getting set for WS!

Sleep well this week!!!!

Anne said...

Amazing!! You are hard core my dear...I can't believe it. I can't imagine taking 10 minute naps and then getting up to run again. It sounds crazy and wonderful!! :)

Anne said...

Hip Hip Hooray! You do know that you had all the same signs of someone legally intoxicated, don't you? So glad you pushed through the tough spells and finished strong.

Darrell said...

I hope you got a good long sleep after that. Congratulations for running for 24 hours. That is just amazing.

LesleyG said...

Wow! That's just amazing. Congratulations, Michelle!

Sunshine Girl said...

Hey, I'm a Leslie G, too! You've got some good friends there Michelle - lways supporting, always sharing, and always running! Hip,hip hoo-RAAAY!

lizzie lee said...

You are my hero. Congrats. WOW, 67 miles!!!!!! Seriously Michelle, you are amazing.

lizzie lee said...

I love to sleep so much that I would've stayed in the tent and would've slept 10 hours!!!!!!!