01 October 2014

Hinson Lake 24 Hour Race Report (2014): It Was Awful, But an Awful Lot of Fun

                Hinson Lake 24 Hour Race has a special spot in my heart: it was my first 24 hour race (which I won the first time) and really turned me on to 24 hour races. No matter your finishing results, you get to run with and meet and chat with a ton of different awesome people at all sorts of paces. SO MUCH FUN!
                I knew going into this race that I wouldn’t run my best, as I had run 105 miles the week before at The North Coast 24 Hour National Championships, but hoped since I hadn’t PR’d, maybe my legs would be decent, good enough for 100+ miles? Not exactly. My legs were tired, and a stressful week of work, plus not enough sleep, plus lots of other things going on in my head did not leave me well-rested. I took a nap the day before and literally had to pull over 20 minutes from the start of Hinson to stretch because I was too exhausted to keep driving. Not a good sign, but remember, I don’t often pay attention to bad signs. Sigh.       

                Hinson Lake is an awesome 24 hour race – the fee is $24 and you get a tshirt, bumper sticker, pint glass (Good because Wayne and I are always breaking the ones we have!), and food, and 24 hours of running fun! The company is great – I love all of the runners and end up chatting with tons of great people. The course is a 1.56 mile loop around the lake – it’s pretty, there are some small rolling hills, but it’s mainly flat on dirt, sand, and boardwalk. There are tons of tents along the course and fun signs.
                At the start, I took off, chattering and laughing, enjoying and remembering the course. What a beautiful day. Soon enough, my pace slowed to 9:20s, which is definitely not terrible, but I usually go out a bit faster, with less effort. These 9:20s felt tough. Oh no.
                “My legs feel so tired,” I told Shannon. We ran together for a while, and she seemed strong at times, but she ended up not having a good day either and dropped. I was very sad to see her go. My legs were feeling tired before 2 hours.
                I ran with Jonathan Savage, who told me about his brown recluse spider bite and his recovery. He promised his wife to only run 50 miles, and only that much if he felt okay. He ended up quitting at 50 miles, feeling good. We talked about stress and how it impacts running. Talking always helps, and talking while running is the best. If only I could find a therapist who wanted to go on long runs with me…I would have no problems, I’m convinced.
                I reached the marathon in under 5 hours and the 50k in under 6 hours. Compare this to last weekend’s 24 hour (with the marathon in 4:10, 50k in 5:05). I knew it would be a bad day.
                I talked to Ray. He was weary, still. Running for 52 days straight from 6a.m. to midnight on concrete will do that to you.
                I hung out with Kelley, I hung out with Joe, I chilled with lots of amazing people. It was fun.
                I had my set up of various bags next to Brett. Brett’s dad was 100% awesome and his name was Wayne. He called me “babe” and was sweet, hilarious, helpful, and nice. Brett ended up taking a 3 hour nap.
                After it got dark, I just crashed. I curled up on the air mattress Wayne had set up with Wayne’s sleeping bag and passed out. I got up, and slowly began running. My blistered feet felt better, and my legs were still tired, but I could do this. I knew 100 miles would be almost impossible.
                I took a 5 hour energy shot. I ran with music. I danced while I ran. I chatted. I walked Mount Hinson, that giant mountain they put on the course. I napped in a chair. I got up and ran more.
                About two and a half hours from the finish, Rich and I began running together.
                He gave me a red bull and we talked each other’s ears off. We mostly ran, but we’d walk Mount Hinson.  I don’t remember what we talked about – dissolving marriages and cupcakes and blisters and this race and that race and oh this race and yeah that race. I ate a lot of pink cupcakes.
                Oh, the food. This year I ate homemade cookies and pizza that I took the cheese off of and animal crackers and cheese its and lots and lots of pink frosted cupcakes. Oh, how delicious it all tasted. At least my stomach was awesome! Yay!
                I ended up with 94.6 miles, or 93.6, something like that. Ugh. Depressing. So close, yet so far. And I still know that’s a pretty awesome effort – esp since I ran a 24 hour last weekend.
                My legs felt tired and my body was exhausted. Stress has been seeping in everywhere lately – it sucks. My blisters were out of control – I stopped to cut moleskin and cover them, but they were a horrendous mess and I think I scared my little sister when she saw me popping them afterwards. Yum.
                So Hinson? Not my best race. Nope. Not this year. But fun –yes. Lots and lots and lots of fun.

                I WILL BE BACK FOR SURE NEXT YEAR. I hope there will be pink frosted cupcakes!

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