I ran Merrill's Mile this weekend, its the 3rd time I've done this one. I LOVE it. Its about 45 minutes from my house, on a Ranger training base, a 1 mile paved loop. In 2015 I did 6hr and got 28mi. Last year I did the 12 hour and got 47.5 miles. So this year I decided to try the 24 hour
Dh and I had volunteered at one of their events in May, so I got my race fee for half off.
There are lots of my local running peeps there all weekend. LDR was there last year AND this year! I had one of those "David After Dentist" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=txqiwrbYGrs
) moments when I saw LDR hanging with local IRL peeps I know. IS THIS REAL LIFE??? Anyway, he is an epic legend as we all know and it was great to watch him do his thing once again, live and in person. Amazing.
After finishing the Yeti 50 last fall, broken and out of commission for about 6 weeks, I really had no idea if I still had the willingness to suffer and do Ultras. I was back running ok by November/December and had added some weight training to help my rehab of my hip/ITB/butt. By January I was feeling pretty great, running about 150 miles a month and doing weights a couple times a week. By March I dropped just machine weights and added HIIT training with weights and suddenly my running felt WAY stronger and better. I was recovering more easily and some LBs started to come off, FINALLY! In May I had a low month, my kids graduated college, I had family here for a week, then I got sick. And work was crazy (it always is in May) and then I had surgery. So I didn't even hit 100 miles that month. The longest run in the past 9 months was 28 miles in March at the Yeti 7/11, so I really wasn't even sure how much I could do at MM, but I was open to just going with it.
Dh was AWESOME as always. He set up a great base camp for me alongside all the other tents and canopies. We only had a tiny pup tent, but I figured I could at least use it to change clothes when needed. It was cooler than usual, only supposed to hit about 81 with a low in the high 60s. That is dreamy for July in GA. I started out with B, we did a few laps and I realized yikes, we are doing 9min miles. I told her I was slowing down (she was doing 12hrs), getting my gymboss, and doing intervals to keep myself in check.
I started with 3/1 but would occasionally walk or run with some people and disregard the intervals just to hang for a bit. I tend to not be a terribly social runner
I will run with people and love to listen to others talk and sometimes say a few words, but I am not a chatterbox (that is literally the only time I don't talk non stop). I don't do a ton of races, and when I do, I want to focus and know I did the best I could in the end, and I go by feel of my own body, so if I'm feeling great I want to run as long as I can and not waste time, or if someone I am with is going too fast for me thats not good either. This means I miss out on some of the fun, I'm not sure how to get away from that habit.
It was overcast most of the morning and loops were just ticking by. Dh stayed for a few hours in the am and headed home. It started to rain lightly around 1pm. YES. I love running in the rain in summer. At 3pm, 6hrs in, we switched directions. I had 25 loops in. It rained off and on until 5:30pm which was perfect for avoiding the mid afternoon scorch we usually get. It got a little heavy but not awful. I guess they had huge downpours friday, so we lucked out on saturday. I kept going throughout, then just changed my shirt once it stopped.
I should have changed everything bc I was going in wet clothes for another 3.5 hours as I was trying to not to waste time, thinking I would do as much as I can until 12 hours (9pm) and then anything else was bonus miles. Dh and kids came back around 7pm. He brought me some cheeseburgers
And my oldest son said he would run with me. I was now using landmarks to determine when to run on the first half and then running the entirety of the back half (as it has a slight downgrade). My son ran the last 6 loops of 12 hours with me, getting me to 50 loops (49.5). That's one more loop than I did in the 12hr event last summer, and also same pace for the first 6hrs!
All week I had told Dh he shouldn't stay with me at night, that I needed to force myself to be uncomfortable, and I wanted him to be able to sleep in his own bed. But when he said the kids were going home and he was staying I WAS SO HAPPY!
I didn't realize how much I would start to feel down when it got dark and I was suddenly sad about being alone all night. Thank god he never listens to me. It was 9:30pm, and I did a water jug "shower" and changed all my clothes and re applied "lube" to all the chafed spots. It was useless at that point. I was RAW in all kinds of spots.
My 2Toms that works like a charm in GA heat and humidity couldn't even cut it with the rain and sweat.
Once I got changed I just wanted to have a beer (or 5) and rest for a bit. I was able to get down half a stupid beer and I got into our mini tent to lay down. I was so tired, I'd really run that first 12hrs like it was all I was doing. Maybe not too smart. I just wanted to get prone and take the pressure off my legs and back. I laid down in the tent around 10pm. I tried to sleep but my body was throbbing
After about 40minutes I started to feel a bit better and saw all the headlamps circling and thought I probably should get back out there. Dh said he would walk with me. So I did a couple of loops alone and then he did 5 with me, just walking and talking. We had decided he would go sleep and I would do 7more with an audiobook to get me to 64 loops and then I could sleep. That went to shit as I started feeling super drowsy and horrible at our 57th loop. I now knew I could easily fall asleep. So we packed ourselves into that sardine tent and I was able to sleep off and on from 2am until 5am
Poor Dh said he could not sleep at all and just laid there
These bullfrogs were non stop, it was so annoying. DAMN YOU NATURE!
At 5:15am I felt pretty great and said I'm getting up and heading back out. by 5:30am I was walking loops again with the other zombies. Only used my headlamp for 2 loops as the sun came up and everything came alive again! People who were in for 48 hours that looked dead, some sleep walking when I saw them Saturday afternoon, were now RUNNING and looked happy. It was insane! It was amazing to see some who seemingly had never stopped all night. I have no idea how they do that.
I had been following the loop count of the other female 24hr runners. I knew the top 3 would all hit 100 (one did in the Friday to Saturday 24hr already) so I was out of contention for any award. However, there were 3 other women who were in the 63+ range (100k), so i knew I needed to get more than that if I wanted to move from 7th to 4th. The lady who won 24hr last year with 100 was back out again, though I made up the big gap (about 7-8 loops) I was still behind her. Another lady who had stopped at 63 was also back out. I calculated if I got 67 loops I could probably get 4th or 5th. but I was at 62 at 7:30am with 90 minutes to go, so I decided to try running the back (downgrade) half of each mile.
My body somehow cooperated
Dh came out of the tent around this time having finally slept and was like: WTH, You are running now?
Yep. I just kept walking half and running half. The other 2 ladies were done at 65 and 66 around 8:20am. I was at 66 right then, Dh said he would walk/run with me until the end and I knew I could easily walk and get one more for 67 to get 4th, but I kept up with my walk/run and got back after that loop with 18 minutes left. I was doing 15min loops with my little pattern so I knew I could get one more for 68.
Sure enough got that last one in 13 minutes.
to move up to 4th place woman and have used up all the time on the clock. Not sure how this race does this for me but I did the same thing last yr in the 12hr, doing the last mile in under 10minutes just to get one more in for 3rd woman. Apparently I'm more competitive than I thought.
Said goodbye to everyone and limped up to our car. Two of my buddies came in 2nd and 3rd women for the 48hr with 113 and 115miles! I changed again in the car and Dh and I headed home. We were both very tired and very hungry. Stopped at IHOP (IHOB?) and had a huge breakfast NOM NOM NOM. Came home and we showered and I slept for almost 3 hrs. Got up, ate some food, and went back to sleep for another 1.5hrs
My chafing is the worst result. IT IS BAD PEOPLE. I have raw giant welts on my back, under my arms, in between my legs and thighs.
But my legs etc are just tired, stiff but not awful!
The RD of MM asked me if I'd do 24hrs again. YEP. I learned quite a bit about myself and might plan differently, adding more caffeine, and changing clothes early on. Also looking at it as 24hrs, not 12hr race and whatever else you can get.
Maybe I AM still an ultra runner.
THANKS FOR READING