Monday, September 21, 2015

That Dam Hill 24 Hour Ultra - September 19/20 2015

 Returned to London for my third consecutive Dam Hill Race.    Previously I had done the 6 hour,  12 hour races and this year it was a first for the 24 hour event.    It was a hugely successful day winning  the Men's "Grand Masters"  category finishing 6th overall and was the third man ***

 There is no way I will remember everything I wanted to say about this race but I will give it a good effort.  I have so many thoughts of what I want to blog about and in reality only a small percentage make it into the post.   So here it goes ....

 Drove down the morning of the race ... did all the usual routines getting to the start line.   I decided to set up my chair , cooler and race supplies past the start finish.   I was invited to join Steve  and his crew Rhonda  and Clay so I was off to a good start.  Had bib number 12 which is one of my lucky numbers a good sign for sure.   It was a nice somewhat cool morning when we were off at 8am.   The winds were calm and the temperature slowly rose as the morning progressed.    Going long I always feel much better when I get a bunch of Ks behind me.   Lots of thoughts go through your mind early on as you settle in.   The first couple of hours were all about getting into a routine on the 2.25K loop.  On the hour I would gel and take in 500 ml of water.   I was also taking in water at the aid station about every 15 minutes.     Ran around a 6:30 - 7:00 pace through the first 2 hours.  On the 10th lap one of the faster 3 hour guys had a really bad cramp so I stopped and helped him out .   I provided my leg as a back rest whilst others massage his spasmimg  calves.  The guy was really fling throughout eh morning and as much as I felt bad for him I also knew that this part of running `fast`... these things just happen sometimes.   I give him credit for pushing so hard!       The next few hours I slowed a bit with the heat to some wheres around a 7:00 pace.    I can`t recall the exact time but throughout morning the clouds were building and there was rain and wind and much lower temps  in the forecast.    I had been running shirt free all morning and when the rain started I remained that way for another couple of hours.    I wasn't the least bit cold running and was actually too hot.  It rained pretty steady from about 1pm until 4pm.     The afternoon was where  the `thermal battle `began.   Heading out from the start finish we were head on into the cold wind the heading back along the lower part of the course the wind was at our backs and misapprehended along the Dam.    I found myself cold heading out and overheating heading back not a really nice at all.   I was through 50K in about 5hrs45 min and a very good pace to PB the 80K ( 50 Mile )  distance.    The afternoon was all about managing the temperature and getting through the 80 mark in less then 10 hours.       A few hours into the rain one of the spectators offered to go to Wallmart and buy me a shirt.   In spite of the rain and much cooler temperatures I remained shirtless until around 4pm.     My primary 24 hour goal was to hang in there and still be moving at 8am Sunday morning.  The other goal was to get to 100 Miles ( 160 K) in under 24 hours.   Closing in on the 80 mark 9 hours into my race I had allot going through my mind.  I thought about getting to 100K in 12 hours which was a very reasonable goal however I was concerned about the wet feet and the consequences that go along with it.   I was getting really tired of the Gels and was a little bloated and felt a bit nauseous too ,  like the food and water just wasn't being processed as quickly as I needed.    Passed the 80K at around 9hrs35min mark and decided to take a break.   Grabbed a Beer ,  Cliff Bar and Granola bar and headed for the car.     Took off the shoes and tool out the insoles and aimed the car heaters at them.   Changed into some nice dry socks and a long sleeve tech T.  Put my feet up on the dash and just chilled whitest I dried out.    I didn't really have a particular time frame in mind for my break but I know from past experience just how valuable this sorts of thing is after all I still had another 14.5 hours to run.   An hour into my break I decided to head back out.    Made a stop at the bathroom near my car and at that time another shower came through so I dove back in the car until it passed.   After nearly 1.5 hours away from running I headed back out.   I felt amazing ... it was like the day was starting over again.   The  food had all been processed ,  GI was 100% and it was so nice to be in dry comfy shoes again.   One of the best surprise of the race was waiting for me as I headed back out my Mother and Niece were waiting for me ... heard someone call my name looked around and didn't notice but then I heard it again and it was my Mother.  Had an awesome visit with them.  Although my family supports what I am doing its quite rare that they show up at a race so this was very special to me.... thanks Mom!  So it was nearly half way through the race by the time I got going again.    Before I took my break I was in 6th position overall and when I went back out I was on 6th position overall .  This was quite a motivator and I still had the `100 Mile ` thought!    While on my break I had also prepared to run at night throwing my headlamp on.   The loop is a paved park path and not really all that dark but a headlamp was mandatory.   I was looking forward to running through the night without worrying about tripping hazards.   Shortly after it got dark the park lite up with Eyes ...   I have never seen a greater concentration of Skunks and Raccoon`s anywhere.   Heading up the hill I came very close to punting a Skunk.... 2 more steps and it would have been airborne!  The first hour or two after dark I was moving well but looking at the lap times I really slowed down after 11pm.  I don't recall doing allot of walking but my lap times between 11pm and 1am  show a run walk combination was happening or I was just running along real slow!   This was also the time that I decided 100 Miles was not going to happen but I was committed to still be running at 8am.    I had a craving for a Beer and some food at a little before 1am.  First thought was to hit the lawn chair I had brought but it was getting cold and I knew I would freeze so I opted for the car.  The heat in the car felt great ,  the Beer went down slowly and  I was feeling rather tired so I decided to bundle up in my Parka and have a nap.  I wasn't really too too worried about when I woke up and to be quite honest it was a sleep that I don`t really remember sleeping.  It was really hard to get comfortable in the front passenger seat of the Corolla and I woke up absolutely frozen.  It was a combination of being cold and uncomfortable that brought me around and made me wake up enough to head back out.   I cranked the heat in the car and took at least 30 minutes to get suited up and mentally ready to get moving again.   Looking at the splits that little `Beer Break `took 4.5 hours ...YIKEs!   It was 4:40 am when I got going again.  Crossing the start finish I noticed that I was still in the 6th position overall ....needless to say I was quite surprised.  I felt great and was moving at around a 9:30 pace running slowly and feeling good.   I brought my Bluetooth speaker with me and when I was alone on the course I cranked the tunes.... tons of fund and enjoyment rocking the night away.   The winds had died down but it was pretty chilly some where in the mid to high single digits.    I was having fun chatting it up with Clay and Rhonda every lap.   Stopped around 5am chatting with Steve and crew but it was a little too long an I causght a really bad chill.  In spite of having gloves on my hands were frozen and I was not liking the cold so I decided on another Beer break with heat in the Car!   Well I dozed off again in the car .   It was the sorts of thing that you are sleeping but you really didn`t know you were sleeping!      So this ended up being a 90 minute break but I wasn`t really all that concerned I just wanted to have fun ,  feel great and end the race moving and that is exactly what I did.   When I headed back out at 6:50 am I had dropped from 6th to 7th potions ... again surprised.    It only took a couple of laps and I was back in 6th again the same position as at 5:30 pm the day before!   I  was moving well doing the last hour of the race logging another 8.5K.  Tripped the mat at 8:00:04 am logging a total distance of 123.23 km.

***  I was the one an only runner over 50 years old ,  there were only 3 Men in the 24 hour race and there were only 11 folks doing the 24 hour event!  ***


Robin said...

Nicely done, congrats! Even with all the breaks you did great. Nice that you had some family come out to cheer you on as well.

Anne said...

not realising you were sleeping hahhahahah