Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Relentless Forward Progress - Outrun 24 Hour Run

Relentless Forward Progress
Outrun 24 Hour Run-Kirtland, OH
April 27th, 2013

     The 100 miler from Woodstock was in the books.   The Fall 50 was a success.  The bad news?  Two stress fractures,  malleolus and tibia.  I knew that stabbing pain I felt at the 100 miler was not normal, but what feels normal in a 100 miler?  The good news?  Well, guess I have a good enough pain threshold to get through the Fall 50 Miler with an injury.   I was stubborn enough not to see a doctor until December.  By that time, he said I was fine to walk on a treadmill to start training for my next race.
       The Outrun 24 was the next big thing.  I had a few marathons prior to it (Martian Marathon -MI and Blue Ridge Marathon-VA) but they were just training.  Martian is a boring race, the course flooded as usual and was run through subdivisions.  The Blue Ridge was great hill training.  I ran that race with my podcaster friend Ashland Dave from the Running in the Center of the Universe podcast.  After Outrun 24 I would do the Pittsburg Marathon as a last long run for Kettle.  
     Outrun is a 24 hour race with three race distances as goals.  You can get a medal for a 50K, 100K or a buckle for a 100 miler.  I planned for the 100K with no time goal in mind.  This race was to be training for the Kettle Moraine 100 miler in June.
     What I knew for sure: it was about a 1 mile loop in the woods on a nice smooth path, if you tripped on anything it would be a stray M&M that some one dropped after the one aid station.  Nice bathrooms, heated and stocked with toilet paper would be available each mile.  There was one hill, the elevation gain/loss per loop was 65 feet.  I could also access my gear EVERY mile and not have to carry a pack all day.  Sounds perfect.
     What I didn't know: I would meet a crap ton of new friends!  I went to this race knowing one person, Mike (from Dirt Dawg's Running Diatribe Podcast, he was also my pacer at my 100 miler.)
I left this race with a lot of Facebook friend requests, including one from Joan (she will be mentioned in a later blog post.) If we lived closer she would be my BFF.  I also didn't know how inspiring these new friends would be, this race had an amazing vibe.
     I also met Peg.  Peg Leg.  The course "mascot."  She is a mannequin leg with race decals plastered to her.  She wears a Road ID and an ankle timing chip.  We would carry her for laps and see how far she would travel.  She wound up with over a 50K on the course.
     The race starts at 8:00AM on a Saturday and ends 24 hours later.  I had a plan to do 100K at this race for training for Kettle.  The aid station was well stocked and kept me going, especially the pizza!  You guys doing the 5K's need to rethink it.  Come over to the darker side of running.  We have things like cookies and pizza.  The other food highlight was a frozen coke a friend brought me.  I joked to Zack (the RD) that we needed a margarita machine.  The day was pretty warm.  He told me not to say that as the following year it would likely be cold and he would need to serve hot chocolate...if I only knew how true that was (flash forward one year when I wear every item of clothing I brought and am still cold...)
     The most notable thing of this race was a lady I met named Crystal.  She was so energetic during the race.  She and I chatted at different times but about 50 miles we had a nice talk.  She told me the furthest she had ever run before was 50K.  I asked her how far she planned to run, she said 77 miles.  I was curious about this as she would only get a 100K medal for this.  She said her family had a Biggest Loser type competition and lost 77 pounds.  She had promised to run 1 mile for each pound they lost.  She went on ahead of me and I was just left in awe.  That was a big distance to cover for her.
     I finished up my 100K and went back to the RV, had a nice hot shower and had a good night sleep.   I got up in the morning early enough to see the award ceremony.  I discovered that Crystal not only met her 77 mile goal but kept going ALL night and finished up with 106 miles.  ONE HUNDRED and SIX freaking miles.  Amazing.  What a machine.  I am in awe.
     There is some magic at this race.  Is it Zach-the amazing RD that gives you his cell phone number in case you have any questions?  Is it Peg?  Is it the fact that you run a one mile loop for 24 hours (or less) not knowing anyone when you arrived but leaving with more friends that humanly possible?  
All I know is I will be back.

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