Sunday, May 16, 2010

Redmond Watershed 12 Hour

40.5 miles with 19 minutes to spare!

I went into this race with a goal of running for close to 12 hours and 40 miles. My minimum goal was a 50K. I knew the weather forecast was for around 70 degrees, which is a little warm for me, plus I knew I slowed down a lot after the 50K distance at Pac Rim, so I wasn't really sure I could get to 40 miles. I kept thinking that it was only nine more miles and I ought to be able to do it. I also kept in mind that each year at Pac Rim I struggle to get to the 50K point, then it seems like I get a second wind, and my legs and feet don't hurt as much. I was hanging on to that thought all day.


At the end of loop one, still fresh. Photo by Jane Herzog

The Redmond Watershed is a gorgeous forested area with some beautiful wide trails. Rocky in places, but not too technical. We ran a 4.6 mile loop then right before the aid station veered off for a .7 mile loop for a total of about 5.3 miles. Everyone runs the 5.3 mile loop till the last two hours. At that point a runner can continue going out on the large loop, but if they do not make it back by the 7:00 pm time limit, they lose the miles of that loop. The other option is to switch to the little loop when you know you can't complete a large one. However, this option only becomes available at 10 hours. I ran seven large loops and four small loops to reach my goal.

I started the day running nine minutes and walking one, plus I did a bit of extra walking on the hills. I ran two loops by myself, then Jane joined me for two. Jane is recovering from breaking her ankle eight months ago. It was pretty severe, requiring a plate, pins and screws. She's a fast walker and is walking with short running breaks right now. We went out at the 9/1 pace for the first loop, then I was ready to cut it back to a 4/1. It was good having Jane with me. That first loop we chatted away, making it go by really fast. The second loop, she kept me moving and reminded me to eat and drink. As we neared the aid station, she said she had one more loop in her and asked if I wanted her for the next one (loop five) or wanted her to sit one out and join me for loop six. I opted for loop six. By this point it was feeling warm and I was worried I wouldn't make it to my goal. As many of you know, the heat adds stress to my system, which causes my heart to act up (tight chest, skipping beats, short breath). In an attempt to manage both the heat and fatigue I reset my timer to a 2/1 just before the end of that loop. It worked well!

I went out for the fifth loop alone. Though I say I ran alone, what I really mean is with no partner. There were plenty of other racers out on this course that I chatted with as we passed. Scratch that, most of them passed me! I did pass the occasional runner though. We also shared the trail with a few bikes and horses, and quite a few local runners and walkers. Jane joined me again for the sixth loop. Midway through that one, I changed my timer to 1/1. It worked really well for the heat - one minute was not long enough for me to overheat or to raise my heart rate too high. I must say, it's nice to have some one fresh out there with me - Jane talked some sense into me more than once. I have a tendency to wait for the aid station to eat, or to change my clock over and she convinced me that acting immediately was a better idea - that it was prevention. What a good idea!

After the sixth loop (32 miles) I took a longer break - probably 10 minutes. I had some soup, almost a full pepsi and some fruit. I contemplated whether I really wanted to keep going. Turns out I did. I had the aid station lady make me a pb&j wrap with the addition of pretzels folded in. Best food ever! I walked out eating it, then gave myself another five minutes of walking to let all the food settle. I finished that loop - number seven - and had about an hour and 40 minutes to get 2.8 miles - four little loops - in. I dropped my pack and my water bottle, grabbed a pepsi and headed out. My plan was to walk one loop drinking the coke, then mostly run the next three. Jenny had stopped earlier at 32 miles and was in comfy clothes and crocs. She said she'd walk with me. When I came in from that first loop, turned around and started running, Jenny was right behind me - running in her crocs! She ran the last three loops with me in those crocs - I couldn't believe it. I finished 40 miles and still had 19 minutes till the 12 hour deadline. I thought for a second about one more lap, but decided to call it a day.

Eric and Steve finished the day with a 100K - 62 miles. It was their fourth weekend in a row of racing, all prep for WS100. Eric will be running and Steve will be pacing him.

It was a great day and I think I just might be out there again next year. We'll see!

14 comments:

Joe said...

Well, woo-hoo, you doctoral lady you!!! Excellent performance and that is the way to allow others to help you as well!! Very cool!

I'm impressed with how you've figured out how to eat during a run. I've never gotten near that skill. Thanks for teaching me!

Hope the blisters are manageable. But I don't suggest you start running in crocs either. Jenny is amazing!

Great report, great run!!

Irene said...

It's amazing how good a PB&J is when you're pushing yourself!

I am continually amazed. Congratulations!

Ironayla said...

Glad to hear all went well and you achieved your goal of 40 miles...especially since you were talked into going :)

Anne said...

40 miles in under 12 hours...you're my hero! What an amazing woman you are.

Thomas said...

Wow, on the move for 12 hours. Seriously impressive, again!

Wes said...

You are amazing, and I love the way you are tuned into your body!

Anne said...

The setting looks so beautiful in that photo. I wouldn't mind running "alone" for long stretches with that kind of course either. Nice work, Michelle.

LesleyG said...

Wow! I am just amazed!

Scott Keeps Running said...

Very awesome. Looks like training is going well for Eric as well.

Anonymous said...

(Jan, here...the gal in the raspberry sleeveless top and white hat) Thanks for the great post & recap! You did an amazing job in this event!! Thanks for talking with me from time to time out there - especially in later loopsand helping make a mile or two go much more quickly. It was my first ultra and meeting nice people like you made it a terrific experience.

Jack said...

Congratulations Michelle, that a fantastic accomplishment!

Darrell said...

Looks like you mananged this race very well, with the food and run/walk adjustments as necessay. Good for you. It is great the you met you goal and kept your heart under control.

Sarah said...

Excellent! There's nothing you can't do when you put your mind to it. :)

Sunshine said...

Fun to read your amazing reports, Michelle. Thanks.

We thought of you this past weekend when we got all the way West to Coeur d'Alene.