Tuesday, May 18, 2010

'3 days at the fair' 24 hour race --Sussex Fairgrounds, NJ -May 15-16, 2010

finishing one more lap!

taking a well-deserved rest

taking a walking break...

Siri and Byron -the mens' 24 hour winners

the womens' winner Susan--her first 100 miles deserves roses!

The '3 days at the fair' 24 hour race was my third '24 hour' event, and while it was not my best in miles, it was definately the most fun. I had run Race Director Rick McNulty's Watchung Winter Ultra in 10 degree weather and wanted to try one of his warmer weather events..Frank and I wanted to run thru the night as training for VT 100 but we also wanted to run Greenbelt 50K, as trail training. But a 24 hour is what you make of it, and we had alot of friends entered--meredith, Fred, ray, Steve T., Shannon, Byron, etc. Another plus--the course was .86 mile loops and I have alot of experience dealing with the mental aspects of running loops from the B.U.S. events:-) So, Frank and I decided to enter ON TUES before the event-lol --we could carpool and put all of our stuff together -- and see what we could do for 'fun'--but a 24 hour event does take planning and commitment and if Frank was running he would make sure that I double-checked my packing list and that I didn't quit...the fatigue of Boston, Sybil 50K and Greenbelt 50K had left me with 'dead legs'--tried to rest last week but ended up going to Boston to visit my son and ended up walking 8 miles or so and spending hours on my feet --I have to say that walking alot during the week leading up to a 24 hour was a pretty stupid idea:( (the one thing bothering me during the race, besides my quads, were my feet).
The weather on Saturday was sunny and windy -pretty perfect except for the wind, which blew over our chairs-(. I left my house at 6:25; picked up Frank and all his stuff and we arrived at the Sussex County fairgrounds at 8:20.As we were driving in we saw the 48 hour runners out on the course!!! Right away i recognized Ray K., and Steve T. (who was stopping at 24)...we parked right on the course before the finish line/aid station and put out chairs, drinks (forgot water-hum..!)
and clothing/medical supplies...we walked over to the start/finish, where Rick, his family and kids and big Rottweiler had set up shop, and were camping for the duration of the weekend. Other tents dotted the landscape. Picked up our bibs which included a chip in the back; and were given a hat and water bottle (a hi-tek hand-held-yah!) --a 9 a.m. we were off. Right away, i felt pretty sluggish and tired --however, plenty of friends were on course and I decided to take it realllly easy and walk and talk with Fred, Ray and Meredith, just to get my legs going. Decided I might just got for 50 miles. I changed shoes and shirts after a few hours, and Frank, Siri, Susan and Byron went blowing by me every few laps -ugh...finally at about 50K (41 slowww laps), Marge A. showed up to pace/cook/volunteer --as much as I was not up to running (quads and feet hurt --all I could think of was 'good thing i didn't try and race the healthy kidney 10K-woulda been a disaster.. haha) , Marge wanted to run some slow loops --she had hoped to get in 20 miles but would stop when needed in the kitchen. This was just what the Dr. ordered, as I did want to stop. I was forced to run --and we did run 40 laps together, most with Frank,as he had cranked out 50 miles already and was 8 loops ahead of me and was slowing down due to stomach issues (my stomach hurt also --I was severely nauseous-- until i finally found a pepsid-ac in my drop bag). At about 9:30, after dark, we saw the most amazing fireworks, which lasted for 3 loops...(Rick said they were for a Sparta baseball game). Marge lasted til 3 a.m. with us (we got lapped by the 12 hour runners -they ran thru the night!!) and then had to go help prepare breakfast...thus started the 'witching hours' -3 to 5 a.m. where the road became desolate as most of the 48 hour runners were asleep. However, the roads were well lit, and I enjoy running thru the night and was beginning to feel better and found myself in 3rd place due to attrition (7 women started--2 ran 50 miles; one ran 100K and one got sick..)...so I plodded along and walked a lap with Meredith which was great. Poor Frank was dragging so could not run anymore, while i found i could run/walk, so tried to make up some time, even though the feet were really hurting (nothing like the 48 hour people though!!) -meanwhile my friend Susan was on her way to running 100 miles and marge went back out and paced her for a few miles:) Then it got light and I chuckled when went past Meredith's tent and her daughter Zoe was up, sitting on the grass and having a playdate!! Only 3 more hours to go!! At 7 a.m., Marge told me that the girl ahead of me was going to stop at 100 loops --I finished off my 100th with her, and wanted her to go on with me (we would tie for second and third) but her feet were gone...so I added one more loop and called it quits at 8:20 a.m. --could have run a few more laps but just didn't want to --too tempting to stop and finally put my feet up-ahhhh. Frank had finished 90 miles and was sitting anyway...and Fred was almost done. We watched, from our chairs, as the 48 hour runner Liz bauer ,who was setting a record of 205 miles!!, finished with Byron, Siri and the other frontrunner...amazing!!! And the mens' top 48 hour runners racked up laps until the bitter end --one also set a record? of 200 miles --truly inspirational!! also uplifting to see the kids run so many miles, 'effortlessly'..
After a change of clothes, coffee and a beer (wonderful), we hobbled back to the finish line where Rick awarded the top 3 in each race handmade pottery jars..i ended up getting second female for 101 laps,which was just short of 87 miles..
but what a great event this was, and def. want to go next year back more rested and in the mental zone so can run over 100!!! We had perfect weather, and saw so many friends and rick and his family did an awesome job to help each and every participant!! Rick's son ran 100 miles --now wish my son could do that!!!
Check out the great photos from the race!!!
and Frank's race report