Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A Day At the Beach - North Coast 24-Hour Report

Well, one thing is certain - weather reports are almost never accurate!  This would hold true for last weekend.  I was expecting very pleasant temperatures for the 2nd Annual North Coast 24-Hour race.  Instead, the temperature during the afternoon rose to a toasty 80 degrees and the nighttime temperatures only dropped to the mid-60s.

So what does this mean?  Well, in my head I was thinking cool temperatures, which is my perfect running weather.  I am NOT a hot weather runner.  I had calculated out a plan to run 71 miles the first 12 hours and 63 miles the second 12 hours based on nice, mild weather.  Once the race started, I should have done a few things.... slowed down a bit AND increased my electrolytes.  Of course, this is hindsight.  So, I did neither and set out to run the 71 miles for the first 12......
Smooth sailing early in the race.

From the start, the temperature did seem hot... and I totally spaced out that I would need sun screen.  For goodness sake, it's almost October and we hardly ever have SUN in Cleveland....  Another mistake.  I am very sun-burnt now to say the least...

Roger and Dee relaxing in the shade while I bake in the sun...

In the early stages of the race, I was running like clockwork, completely on the pace I had set out to run.... until about 5 hours into the race.  Then, my calf muscles started to cramp.  I first thought, no problem, I just need a little potassium and so ate some bananas.... but more cramping.... to the point that if I ran very fast I had to catch myself from falling over.  Hmmm... this is not good.  I kept struggling with this thinking the cramping was a temporary condition.  Not so.  It just kept getting worse.  By hour 6, I stopped in the medical tent to get a cranberry pill and a leg massage.  That provided temporary relief before the cramping came back.  It finally dawned on me (DUH!) that I needed to drastically increase my electrolyte consumption.  I started doing that and after a number of hours the cramping went away, although my calf muscles were really sore from all that cramping and remained that way throughout the race.

At the 12-hour mark, instead of 71 miles, I only had 66 miles.  That was pretty discouraging.  Under these circumstances, it is very easy to quit.  I thought there is no way I'm going to have a good race and why put myself through 12 more hours of torture for nothing....  But, the one positive in having a race like this in your home town is that I had TONS of friends stopping by and crewing for me.  They were all committed to camping out overnight (some actually looking forward to it!) so I didn't want to disapoint anyone by quitting and spoiling their fun....  So on I trudged.

Just a few of my crew members having fun.....
 Since I was so sun-burnt, my body temperature felt like it was boiling.  Every lap the entire race I poured water over my head.... even throughout the night.

Between the hours of midnight and 3:00 a.m., I had a burst of energy and was passing runners like crazy on the course.  Not sure if it was do to consuming Red Bull, or my large and boisterous cheering contingency or that my legs were finally starting to recover enough from the cramps to allow me to run again....

In for a pit stop in the middle of the night... calves still bothering me.

By morning the wind picked up along the Lake and it looked like it was going to storm.  The rain held off but one section of the course was pretty windy. 

Looks like whitecaps on the Lake... storm appeared to be brewing.
Sunrise was around 7:00 a.m. and the race seemed to fly by until the official ending at 9:00 a.m. 

Less than a loop to go until the END!
The second half of the race I managed a little more than 60 miles for an official distance of 126.225 miles.  Many people had dropped out along the way so to my surprise I ended up 4th woman and 8th overall.

Courtney and me with my race marker marking my distance.
Congrats to winners Serge Arbona and Connie Garder for running fantastic races!  Also 2nd place woman Anne Lundblad and 3rd place woman Anna Piskorska ran very solid races and were very impressive.  You will all represent the US well at the 24-Hour Worlds competition next year!  Full results can be found at the NC24 website.
Me and Anna P. after the race - Anna doesn't even look like she ran!

1 comment:

  1. 126 miles and 4th place with those problems is a great result! And, though it might seem a trifle mean, it's good to know that even top runners have days where small problems build; I had a day like that where you lapped me at FANS something like 15 times. The US team looks like they could improve over last year's world championship results (and I think you'll be on it).