2011 Hampton 24 Hour

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Hampton 24 hour is a 3.75 mile loop course in a 'P' shape, with the start/finish at the turn-around. It is flat dirt and gravel trails with good tree cover. The race is individual, traditional relay (one runner at a time) and cumulative teams. I was part of 'team awesome' that consisted of 12 runners, including some remarkably talented and experienced people.

1 Race Summary

I started off the race running most of the loop with a short walking/hydration break at the turn around, but after a few hours I realized the pace was too fast and I added a second walking break half way around. The first 12 hours were uneventful, though I was about level 5 on the Ivan Scale. However, I was aware that the gravel was going to cause me problems as occasionally I'd land on a rock painfully wrong. I checked my feet for blisters at the 12 hour mark and things seemed okay. After another hour it was starting to rain, and the predicted storm was obviously getting close, so I stopped at just after 13 hours to check the feet again. Just as I sat down the storm hit with an intensity I've never experienced before. Within minutes there were inches of standing water and apparently a tornado split nearby with each funnel going either side of the park. Having read the reports, it seems we were lucky as the storm killed over 40 people in the south east and was the most violent since the mid 1980's. At this point I decided to quit the race, as the rain would make blisters an even bigger problem. After the race I discovered that I'd quit too late and the weak (dystrophic) skin on my heel had re-blistered.

2 What went well

  • It was great to be part of a team, with some wonderful camaraderie and team spirit. The previous course record for a cumulative ultra team was 533 miles, and we broke that with over 800 miles.
  • My friend Charles acted as crew chief and did an outstanding job. With 12 of us on a 3.75 mile course he was always busy and provided practical and emotional support for all of us. My experience at Umstead watching the crews gave me insight into how to get the best out of Charles and his team of supporters.
  • Thinking of the 24 hours as a marathon equivalent, with each hour being a mile of the marathon helped me run a more strategic race. Thinking "it's 4 hours into the race which is the same as mile 4 of a marathon" helped me visualize how things were progressing. The only downside is that this knowledge was a little overwhelming at time.
  • Liberal use of moist wipes to have a virtual shower helped with the buildup of dirt and salt. It was warm, but not hot enough for the sweat to roll off, so salt accumulated along with the fine dirt. This is not only horribly uncomfortable, but it makes chaffing a bigger problem and also tends to block the pores.
  • I tried SportSheild lubricant for the first time on Jimbo's recommendation, first on some non-critical parts of the body, and later on my feet as well. Though SportShield contains the same basic ingredient (Dimethicone) as Hydropel, it seems to work much better.
  • Perhaps because I only ran half the race, I had remarkably little post-race soreness or stiffness.

3 What went badly

  • The biggest problem was re-blistering my heel. I'm concerned that this may become a permanent weak spot if I'm not careful. It's was seven weeks between blistering it the first time at Mount Mitchell and this race, which obviously was not long enough to heel fully, and this re-blistering will require longer due to the accumulation of damage. I may have to revisit my plans for the next 12 months to ensure I avoid any further trauma.
  • I really messed up the taper period for this race. I only decided to run the race 8 days before the start, but I typically only taper for about 5 days for an ultra, so it shouldn't have been a problem. However, I did an unusually tough workout the Saturday before that left me sore for the week. I was sore getting out of the car on the journey to Hampton, which was not a good sign. I used Charles' softball in the hotel the night before the race, and that seems to free things up.
  • Another failure of preparation was too little Heat Acclimation Training. Though the race was not particularly warm, I felt the effects more than I would have expected after running for an extended period. I wonder if the ability to compensate for the heat is reduced by exhaustion in the same way that cold compensation is.
  • I did not get on well with the 3.75 mile course. That distance was far longer than the other 24 hour races I've done, and probably needed more adaption of my logistics. I never felt that I hit a rhythm in the race. Only hydrating once per lap did not work as well as it would have on a shorter course, but it did not seem long enough to justify carrying a drink with me. I stayed reasonably well hydrated on my Go Juice, drinking somewhere between 2.5 and 5 gallons over the 13 hours as one or two 16oz bottles per lap. (I also ate two Oreo cookies and 5-6 Gel packs in the race.)
  • For some of the race, I noticed that I was Breathing a little more deeply than was normal for my Heart Rate, and on Walking Breaks I felt a little light headed, as if my blood pressure was low. I'm not sure what the cause of this would be.
  • I took less Caffeine during the race than I would have on a normal work day, and I may have suffered from some Caffeine withdrawal. Sometimes I will come off Caffeine in the two weeks before a race to avoid this, but not this time. There is conflicting research on how exercise changes the rate of Caffeine metabolism, but I think that at low intensity the clearance rate is higher than normal and at high intensities, it is lower than normal.
  • I had some pain around my Achilles (actually Retrocalcaneal Bursitis) that might be due to wear on my Modified Nike Free Shoes which have around 1,000 miles on them. Some slight wear on the heels may have created a 'negative drop' shoe that puts extra stress on the Achilles.

4 Details

Average Pace: 10:04
Heart Rate: Average=127, 99th Percentile=143, max 152
Calories: 8,238
Lap 1, 32:02, 3.75 miles, Avg 135 BPM, Efficiency=122.8
Lap 2, 30:50, 3.75 miles, Avg 139 BPM, Efficiency=122.8
Lap 3, 32:21, 3.75 miles, Avg 134 BPM, Efficiency=123.1
Lap 4, 32:05, 3.75 miles, Avg 135 BPM, Efficiency=123.4
Lap 5, 33:14, 3.75 miles, Avg 134 BPM, Efficiency=120.4
Lap 6, 33:23, 3.75 miles, Avg 136 BPM, Efficiency=117.1
Lap 7, 35:10, 3.75 miles, Avg 134 BPM, Efficiency=113
Lap 8, 35:24, 3.75 miles, Avg 137 BPM, Efficiency=109.2
Lap 9, 36:18, 3.75 miles, Avg 133 BPM, Efficiency=110.5
Lap 10, 38:36, 3.75 miles, Avg 130 BPM, Efficiency=108.1
Lap 11, 37:22, 3.75 miles, Avg 133 BPM, Efficiency=108
Lap 12, 36:49, 3.75 miles, Avg 132 BPM, Efficiency=110.8
Lap 13, 37:20, 3.75 miles, Avg 130 BPM, Efficiency=111.5
Lap 14, 41:42, 3.75 miles, Avg 127 BPM, Efficiency=103.6
Lap 15, 37:05, 3.75 miles, Avg 127 BPM, Efficiency=116.2
Lap 16, 42:39, 3.75 miles, Avg 118 BPM, Efficiency=112.1
Lap 17, 38:00, 3.75 miles, Avg 125 BPM, Efficiency=116.6
Lap 18, 41:54, 3.75 miles, Avg 118 BPM, Efficiency=114.6
Lap 19, 48:54, 3.75 miles, Avg 117 BPM, Efficiency=99.7
Lap 20, 41:41, 3.75 miles, Avg 121 BPM, Efficiency=110.9
Lap 21, 01:17:01, 3.75 miles, Avg 109 BPM, Efficiency=109.1