One Epic Run was a 24 hour run held at Croft State Park in Spartanburg on December 10-11. The race director, Joe Parker, mapped out a 3 mile loop that the runners would repeat for as long as they wanted.
I very foolishly signed up the for 24 hour event. I say it was foolish because I was not prepared for a race of this length. But, I went into it with the goal of doing as much as I could and to have fun. And I did just that.
December 10th dawned crisp and cold. The race started at 10:00AM and it was still quite cold at the start. We would find that it wouldn't warm up much at all during the course of the day and the nighttime would be even colder.
After a brief introduction, Joe started everyone on our journeys for the day.
I kept a jacket on for the first loop and decided to use the first loop to get a feel for the course since I would be running it repeatedly.
The first loop went by quite quickly and before I knew it, I was back at the aid station.
I shed the jacket, grabbed some food and took off on the course again.
I decided not to run with my Garmin because I wasn't running for time. I did however have on my Timex watch so I had a general idea of how fast I was completing each loop and what time it was.
The race was pretty uneventful for me. When I started on my 4th or 5th loop, I joined up with my friend Jason and his friend Daithi. We took turns leading during the course of the 3 mile loop.
Anyone who knows me knows that I'm extremely clumsy and it's not a trail run unless I fall. At one point, I was in front of Jason and Daithi. And what do I do? Yep...I bit the dust. Hard. The fall literally took the wind out of my sails. It took me a second to gather myself and Jason helped me up. I had jammed my shoulder pretty good on the fall and it was killing me. But, since nothing was broken and I could move my arm, we continued on.
When we got back to the aid station, our trusty massage therapist that supports us during our ultras was there.
I told her what had happened and she worked on my arm. She massaged it and stretched me out. It helped a lot. It no longer hurt with each step.
So, off I go on the course again. At this point, I'm being more careful so that I don't fall again.
I have to say that there were a couple of loops in the middle that I walked every step of. My thought was that if I was going to be on the move for 24 hours, I would need to walk some of the loops. And that's what I did.
Eventually, it started getting dusk.
After my 8th loop, when I came back by the aid station, I got my headlamp and headed back out.
I have to say that the 9th loop wasn't much fun. Even with the headlamp, I had trouble seeing the contours of the ground. After the fall I had in broad daylight, I knew that I had no business on the course in the dark.
So, I finished lap 9 and decided to take a break for a little while. So, I "checked out" with the aid station workers. I also needed to put on some warmer clothes since the temps had dropped to freezing after the sun went down.
I changed out of my sweaty running clothes into some warmer running clothes. My thought at this point was to go sit in my sleeping bag and cheer on the runners as they passed the aid station every loop. And then, when it got daylight the next morning, head back out on the course.
So, I get comfy in my sleeping bag, sitting in my chair. However, after sitting there for hours in the cold, I decided that I just couldn't sit out there until 7:00AM. It wouldn't be much warmer in the Jeep. So, I decided to call it a day and just come home.
I left my sleeping bag and chair for Denise, the massage therapist to use for the rest of the night. I gathered up the rest of my things and headed for home.
I'm disappointed that I wimped out around midnight. However, I can't complain with the 9 loops, or 27 miles that I did run. Seeing as how I wasn't trained at all for this, 27 miles was a big accomplishment. So, I can technically say I ran an ultra because it was longer than a marathon. I really wanted to run a 50k, but just didn't make the mileage in the daytime.
I learned from this event that I need to be prepared for such an event in the future. I also need to get a better headlamp that shines a little brighter. And I need to practice running in the dark.
One Epic Run was definitely Epic. It was great to see old friends and meet new ones. I love the ultra community because it's my family. It's where I feel comfortable and at home. I fit in because everybody is there for the same reason.
One Epic Run was my one and only race for 2011. 2012 will be much better. I've already signed up for a 50k at Conestee Nature Park in Mauldin, SC on February 18th. So, I at least have a short term running goal for which I need to start training for.