I'm very happy with this run. It served several purposes: extra long run, all-night run, and test run for some new products. I am training for the Umstead 100 Mile Endurance Run (April 6, 2013) and I needed to get in an extra long run as part of my build-up. I have plenty of opportunities to knock off 20-mile training runs, but few chances to do a 50 mile run with friends. This informal fat ass event was a perfect opportunity...except the event is typically a 28-mile run. I asked the race director to add a 50-mile option...and he did! So, my mind started weaving odd scenarios of what would be possible...and I settled on a midnight start. Jeff, the race race director, agreed and said he'd come out at midnight to "see us off"--then go home to sleep and eventually return to start the 8am folks. Works for me!
I arrived at the small trail parking lots at 11:55pm and no other cars were there. Would I be the solo midnight runner? Nope. Within minutes, Gregg, Matt, and Dan joined me as 50-mile entrants. And Jeff carried through on his promise to start the event. At 12:02am we headed down the trail. My plan was coming together--an extra long training run combined with an all-night run. Doesn't get much better than this--four friends running at midnight and not planning to stop until we reached 50 miles. The weather was cold (20 to start with temperatures falling through the night) and the NW wind delivered a nasty bite. I was bundled up pretty well and only my hands and face got cold. The four of us ran together for about 16 miles, then we separated into our own paces...except Matt and I stayed side by side for the first 28 miles. At that point, we had completed the regular Riddle Run distance and it wasn't even 6am. Matt started walking more at that point, so I continued my run-walk strategy and kept plugging along for the next 22 miles. It was nice seeing other runners around 7am, then a flood of runners at 8am. I never felt really tired, so the sunrise didn't lift my spirits as anticipated. But it was a nice change to actually see the trail I was running on, otherwise, it was the same old "one foot in front of the other" for another couple hours. Finally, a few minutes before 10am, I finished my 50 miles. It was great to be done. I celebrated by hanging out around the fire pit (thanks Teresa), drinking a wonderful home-brewed beer (thanks Gregg), and eating a well-earned cream-filled cupcake (thanks Debbie). I waited until Matt and Gregg both finished their 50 miles, then went home for a nice hot shower and a full, luxurious, breakfast. Hard to beat the life of an ultrarunner.
My experiment was complete. In addition to accomplishing the extra long night training run, I was able to test-out a few new ultra choices:
- Hoka Stinson Evo shoes
- CEP calf sleeves
- Pepcid AC
- Tailwind Nutrition sports drink
- Road Runner compression underwear
All of the above worked like a charm! My feet felt fine in the Hokas all night...and today I feel less sore than usual. The CEP calf sleeves kept me warm and provided a little extra support for the muscles--no calf problems today. The Pepcid AC I took with breakfast (at 11pm) seemed to keep my stomach problems at bay...no stomach or intestinal issues during the entire run. Finally, my new sports drink from Tailwind Nutrition worked for the whole 9 hours and 49 minutes. My only supplemental food was Pringles potato chips and Honey Nut Cheerios. My usual chaffing issues didn't happen--maybe it was the new compression underwear--or just the cold weather. Still, running 50 miles with no hot spots is a success!
I now have 355 "Riddle Run" miles. Most of anyone in the world at this event over the last 14 years. Very proud of that achievement. I'm also one of only two people to have run at each of the 14 events--Tom Rice and I are steadfast regulars. Good job Tom. Always great to see you every January at the Riddle Run.
Special thanks to:
- Jeff for organizing this event every year. It's always one of the highlights of my year. Can't run an event that doesn't exist. Thanks for making it possible.
- Matt, Gregg, and Dan for coming out at midnight to run with me. You guys aren't even training for any races--thanks for helping out a friend!
- Debbie and crew for making the cupcakes.
- Tom for participating in his 14th straight Riddle Run--it's just you and me that have done them all--good to see you again buddy!
- Marty for coming out at 4am to run a loop with us...then spraining your ankle on those darn rocks before the icy drainage area. Hope you're OK.
- The other 50+ runners that came out at 8am to do the "regular" fat ass run. Great to have company on the trail after 40 miles!