The past couple of months I blogged some about the training I was doing for an upcoming 24 hour race. The goal was to cover as much distance as you could over 24 hours. The morning started off as a chilly one, but had warmed up by 9 am. The race course was a loop of about 1.18 in distance. This was great because it meant you passed by an aid table for food and drinks, plus a bathroom, every single mile. And I was able to park quite close to the crushed gravel track so when I needed to get supplies from my car (I removed and added layers throughout the day) it was convenient and didn't eat up much time.
My friend, Gloria, came down from Northern Virginia to do this race. She had a goal of at least 50 miles (which she met!). I didn't have any set goal. I just wanted to push myself and hopefully run further than ever before.
Here's a picture of Gloria, Pam Rickard, and I taken in the first hour of the race (photo credit: Matt Ross).
As the day (and miles) wore on I started having a lot of calf cramping, which was unusual for me. I think this was a fueling issue. In a marathon I would've eaten Gus every 3 miles. But I was craving salty snacks and they had the table of food so I was eating stuff like a handful of pretzels here or a handful of olives there. In retrospect, this was not substantial calories. I really enjoyed some salted baked potatoes in the afternoon.
Two of my running friends, Trina and Steve, came out in the late afternoon to offer company and motivation. I was just walking at this point due to the calf cramping. Although I was bummed I couldn't run any longer, I was feeling good mentally and was having fun. I was so thankful to have friends willing to come brave frigid weather just to cheer me along.
I saw a guy who had what looked like stickers on his calves and I talked to him for a bit about it (he had calf cramping too). He recommended Salonpas (which is what the stickers were) so Paul picked some up for me at CVS. I think they may have helped a bit. I also took arnica, which is a homeopathic remedy for sore muscles.
My furthest run prior to this was 34 miles. I ended up covering 46 miles total. Much of it was walking. I loved when it got dark and there were glow lights all around the track and you could see the bobbing headlamps of all the runners. Plus, the stars were amazing. It was a magical feeling, despite the cold and wind. I wished I could have kept going, but a muscle back behind my right knee started hurting at a level that suggested injury, and my knee was starting to give with my steps as a result. In addition, I had long ago lost the battle to some significant chaffing issues. So I decided to head home, which luckily isn't far from this race. Once I got in the car, I realized I was starving, and had to stop at Bojangles for a chicken biscuit.
I loved this race! The camaraderie among the runners and the race volunteers is amazing. I met so many interesting people and learned a lot from my own performance. I think I'll give this another shot next year, and try to at least hit the 50 mile mark. I've run a lot of races over the years, but this one really had that extra something special.