2010 Hinson Lake 24 Hour
As usual, I'll try to use this race report to document what worked and what did not, as well as trying to give a flavor of what happened.
1 What Went Wrong
- Failure to Adapt. My biggest failure of the race was lack of adaptation, not just to the race conditions but also to my own conditioning. The weather forecast for the race was 94, with an actual high reported to be 97. I knew that hitting my goal of 150 miles was going to be unlikely in these conditions, and I so slowed up as the temperatures rose. However, I did not take into account that some of the heat adaptation I'd gained for Keys 100 had disappeared. I've been running only in the mornings with temperatures in the low 70s. As a result, though I backed off the pace, I did not back it off enough. Then when things started to cool off, I could not pick the pace back up. Even when the sun went down, I still felt like I was burning up.
- Retargeting. Once I realized I would not be able to pick the pace up again, I knew my goal of 150 miles was out of reach. I also knew that winning the race was not likely, as leader (Mike Morton) was way ahead of me. The lack of goals created a serious mental challenge of "what am I doing here?" (See Ivan, Amy and Vince below for the answer.)
- Digestion. I drank my Fellrnr's Go Juice for most of the race, which worked well and I felt nicely hydrated the whole time. I filled up 120 8oz bottle so I could grab one, drink it while I walked and throw the empty away. Unfortunately, the heat got to my stomach, and by late afternoon I had a slight stomach ache. I tried swapping to water, then tried some solid food, but that all seemed to make things worse. I had no bloating, just an overall ache and feeling of heaviness. The problems persisted after the race and even 24 hours later, my stomach is not happy with me.
- Chaffing. Unlike the Keys100, chaffing was not a serious problem in the race, but I still lost rather more skin that I would like. The fine dirt of the trail was part of the problem, as it got everywhere and acted as an abrasive. Having lost some weight, I don't think my Under Armor Heat Gear Top is fitting me quite right and is baggy under the arms.
2 What Went Well
- Shoes. The Modified Nike Free again served me well. The open toes did mean that I got sand and grit in them when I was walking on some of the soft trails with Amy and Vince, but other than that, they did great. (Interestingly, the open toes are not a problem when running, even on gravel or soft dirt, but when walking they scoop up all sort of junk.)
- Swollen Feet. Rather like the that didn't bark my feet were notable for not swelling. I would love to know why I had no problem, as normally I have some level of swelling on a race this long.
- Ice. Normally when the weather is as hot as it was at Hinson Lake, I would use an ice filled bandana, AKA Jimbo Bandana. I've had some issues with blisters on my forefoot due to my Skin Condition and I know that the ice bandana will mean my feet are saturated with water. As a compromise, I held some ice in my hands and rubbed my skin with ice, which helped a bit. It was a tough call, but I think I did the right thing. Using the ice bandana may have prevented my overheating and allowed me to hit my goal, but the saturated feet could have retriggered the blister and caused long term disability. With hindsight, I may try putting ice in a Ziploc bag so I get a bit of the cooling without the saturation.
- Walking Breaks. I walked on each loop, including the first one. The Walking Breaks were reasonably short, probably less than a minute. It was enough time to get a drink make sure the timers had my lap number right (they did every time). I think the regular walking break helped keep my legs strong the whole time.
- Transition to night. Running in the Dark is always hard, but the combination of Fred (Doom) Dummar's advice about mental attitude and the Petzl MYO RXP headlight got me through it. The MYO RXP is worth every penny when it comes to lighting up the trail. (See Running in the Dark for other tips.)
- Ivan. Ivan Castro is one of my running heroes and a source of constant inspiration. When I hit the point of asking myself "what am I doing here?" and running out of Motivation, I kept coming back to Ivan and the desire not to quit. There are times when dropping out of a race is the right thing to do, and I would have dropped if I'd had a problem with the blister on my left forefoot. In this context, I use the term "quitting" to mean "giving up". Many times the memory of Ivan's finish at the Midnight Boogie has kept me going when I wanted to lie down and cry, and this race was no exception.(As it happened, Ivan was at the race with other folks from Special Operations Recruiting Battalion.)
- Amy and Vince. I met up with Amy sometime after 4am, who had decided she could add in a few laps to get to 50 miles and I offered to keep her company. This helped provide me with a sense of purpose and the Motivation I needed. She was in good shape and running well, so when I met up with Vince I let her go on and helped him through his last few laps. Vince and I had traveled to the race together, so I knew he was aiming for 75 miles, with a stretch goal of 100 miles. I also knew that he'd had a rough day, but had managed to stay on pace for a 100 mile finish. When I started to pace him, he had a few more laps to do and only a little slack. It was great to run with him and see him finish with some time in hand.
3 Race Summary
- 8am-noon: I worked on keeping my pace slow, covering 18 laps (~28 miles) and feeling good.
- noon-4pm: I slowed the pace, but not enough, doing laps at about 14:30 (9:00 min/mile) and covering 16 laps (~24 miles)
- 4pm-8pm: My pace became rather patchy as I periodically tried slowing up to try to cool off, but it didn't help. 15 laps (~22 miles)
- 8pm-midnight: The pace becomes increasingly variable due to the heat and digestive problems. 15 laps (~22 miles)
- Midnight-4am: Less variation in pace and more of a general slowdown, covering 15 laps (~22 miles). I even resorted to walking a lap to see if it would help me cool off, but it didn't. A 1.5 mile laps is a long way when you're doing a death march, so I figured that was bad for my morale. I think I started running with Amy and Vince at about 5am.
- 4am-8am: Kept Amy then Vince company for most of this time. Vince finished at about 7:30am, so I added in a couple of faster laps (13:25 and 13:40) to finish up with. I figured that my digestive system could not get much worse and it was nice to stretch the legs out again.
Overall, I'm happy with how things turned out. I feel that with cooler weather, the 150 target is attainable. I actually made is slightly further than last year (133 compared with 132) though I did not realize that until my son worked out the distance for me after the race. It was awesome to watch Mike Morton looking sooth and fast on his way to 153.9 miles, having hit 100 miles in about 13:15. For more details on the race, go to http://www.hinsonlake24hour.com/. I can highly recommend this race to anyone. I had friends who came out for a long training run, then enjoyed a beer in the sun watching the rest of go around. Another friend came to do a marathon and ended up with over 30 miles! I'm told by Ray K that this is now the largest 24 hour race that has ever been held in North America, which is rather cool. It's also one of the best value races imaginable - $24 for 24 hours of superbly organized racing.