Friday, November 14, 2014

Hot in Cleveland - 2014 US National 24-Hour Report

Yes, I realize that I am several MONTHS late with this race report.  And it seems somewhat crazy to even bother now that the snow is starting to fly here in Cleveland.  But maybe to remind myself that cold weather isn’t so bad after all, here is my recount of the 24-Hour National Race this past September.

The race was held at Edgewater Park, close to downtown Cleveland.  Since the Park has been taken over by the Cleveland Metroparks, the facilities, beach and overall grounds are in much better shape.  This was the first time I’ve been back to the race since the Metroparks take-over and it was definitely an improvement.
As seems to happen every year, the weather forecast was all over the place in the days leading up to the race.  But on race day, it was fairly warm but not oppressive.  The wind was not blowing too hard.  I felt well trained and ready to run some big miles.
Before the race - running to support the Epilepsy Association!
As can happen in 24-hour races, however, what you plan doesn’t always happen.   I made mistake number one by using brand new shoe inserts.  I had just received them in the mail and noticed that they looked different but didn’t try running with them before the race.  It turns out that the company who makes the inserts changed their construction, making them “harder” so they would be more durable.  (Yes, crazy!)  By hour 4, my feet were very sore from the inserts and I had to stop to change into different shoes with my old inserts.
Early in the race, running with Beth McCurdy
I’m not sure if that started the domino effect or not.  But shortly after my stop, I started getting very severe cramps in my calves.  It was to the point that I almost fell over a number of times and I do thank all of the runners would literally stopped me from falling over!  It was frustrating.  I saw Dr. Andy Lovy on the course and asked for advice.  He said to eat bananas and drink cranberry juice, tonic water and ginger ale, which I did on each loop.  I also stopped at the medical tent to get a massage but my legs were cramping so badly that I had to get off the table and start walking again.  This went on for hours, which was very discouraging.
At this point of the race, I had to try to find something positive to keep myself going.  Usually, this is something that has to come from inside.  As it turns out, there were plenty of pleasant external distractions to keep me interested in moving forward.  Let’s just say that the atmosphere felt somewhat circus-like.  There were the “strong men” at muscle beach, the tight-rope walker (aka slack line guy), honey hut ice cream cones, and fire lanterns at night.  Added to that were picnics, yoga practitioners and friends stopping by. 
While all the Park activities were all good, I was still in running hell.  Finally, Dr. Lovy pulled out of his bag of tricks a potassium pill.  I took it and within minutes the cramping went away.   Wow!  I could start running again.  Of course by this time almost half of the race was over and I was way off the miles I wanted to hit.  When having a bad day, it is always very tempting to pack it in and I did toy with the idea.  Fortunately, several friends and my boyfriend, Roger, had already planned to stay the night so I didn’t want to spoil their fun!  Onward I ran.
My crew chief, Courtney, kept watching the standings that were conveniently available through an app download on her phone.  To get me motivated, she would let me know when I was within sight of passing a woman runner.  Throughout the night I started climbing up through the ranks.

At around 4 AM, an amazing storm rolled in off of Lake Erie.  I don’t think I’ve been in such torrential rain before.  The running paths were immediately flooded and we had to slog through ankle deep water for a period of time.  Just as quickly as it appeared, the rain stopped and we were left very soggy but quite refreshed.  After one more brief rain shower, the rest of the race was uneventful.  I ended up as the third place woman and just shy of 119 miles. 
Many runners seemed to struggle but, like myself, I’m not sure why as the weather wasn’t ideal but it wasn’t bad either.  One standout was newcomer, Isaiah Janzen, a 28-year-old from Iowa who ran 154-plus miles.  Also congrats to women’s winner, Jenny Hoffman, who hit 127 miles and second place Eileen Torres who ended up with 123.

1 comment:

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