Sunday, July 27, 2014

Endless Summer 6-Hour Run 2014

This is my second time running this race but it is the race that I spend the most time explaining.  The concept is actually quite simple; there is a 4.1 mile course that you run as many times as you can in 6 hours--when you are fairly certain you are nearing your last lap you are handed a flag and when the air horns blare you plant your flag with your bib number on it and that is your total mileage.

When I ran this race two years ago I was in AMAZING shape and had the best running season I probably will ever experience.  I was averaging sub 20 5K's and had PR'd my 10 mile, 10K, 50K, and marathon time--all in under 4 months.  When I did it in 2012 partial laps were not counted so you stopped if you questioned whether you would be able to finish 4.1 miles in the remaining time. This kind of sucked because I had almost 20 minutes left so while my distance is clocked at 36.9 for 2012 I think I could have finished 39 miles easy.  I was still cracking out cartwheels and headstands at this point and feeling zero pain.
⅓ of the way in and still loving life....
Photo by Denise Hyde

Fast forward to 2014...
This summer I have been out of town, teaching aerobics, going to meetings and taking so many medications that I can't tell if I'm sick and need medicine or sick from the medicine.  Either way the side effects are edema, weight gain, swelling, fatigue, nausea, headache, and dizziness.  None of these are super for running but I went from averaging about 60 miles a week to 12-18 a week yet I still decided that ES6 was the race for me.  It's the best ultra because you simply go for six hours and can drop out whenever or walk as much as you like as there is no set distance.

Here's the wrinkle--if I sign up on "UltraSignUp" this means I am running an ultra and that is defined as a distance longer than a marathon.  No excuses, no discussion, donkey ass stubborn.  Although I feel like I am designed to be an ultra runner, endurance, decent speed, and the ability to stop and walk and pick right back up--this was pushing my current abilities a bit beyond their limits.  The fact that I had taught 3 Body Pump classes in 3 days and woke up crazy sore both Friday and Saturday should have clued me in to take things a little easier--but I'm not bright.

You get to see this every 4 miles so it's all good.
Photo by Denise Hyde
5 of us drove up in the "Swagga Wagon" leaving Southern Maryland for Annapolis at 5:45.  We got there in plenty of time to hear the pre-race instructions and even listen to the National Anthem (best way to get race ready--especially when you're raising money for the Semper Fi Fund).  Temperature wise this was the coolest ES6 on record, we were excited and ready.  Laps 1-4 were great, I felt like I was on my average long run (all of the aerobics classes were still forgiving me for my lack of actual running time).

Lap 5 everything started to fall apart--I got a chance to run with our race director for a few miles and explain to him that we actually pack the van with women every year just by showing them his picture and explaining that they get to see him shirtless at least once every four miles.  Although he thought I was joking--this is EXACTLY how we get a large SOMD contingent heading to this race.

Later in the lap I ran into a friend and while having a nice chat I managed to get stung by a yellow jacket right where my sock meets my skin (day two it's a gorgeous black and blue swollen mess--lucky lucky).  This rubbed for the last three laps and while it slowed me down I think a lack of training and an abundance of health issues are what kept my mileage to incredibly low.

I finished my 7th lap about one minute before the six hour mark--hell yeah!  I kept running to plant my flag though.
As always this race is just one of those that are incredibly well run, as error free and friendly as they get with the BEST VOLUNTEERS EVER.  We always say that the volunteers are the best at almost every race--but they always are.  I was smiling and cart wheeling my way through but I have to say that I lacked my normal exuberance.  My body and my mind were simply exhausted from just surviving this past year.
....and walking today.  The best part is that I PAID to do this.
While running makes me extremely happy--this year has been full of set backs and re-routes in my life (totaled car, thrown out back, and illness in general--driving my daughter to and from NIH twice a week for clinical trials has been the icing on the cake).  Things are finally settling down and this race was truly an opportunity to just reconnect.  Reconnect with running, racing, with my AMAZING running friends and the running community.  It was the polar opposite of the Frozen Heart 50K (pun intended) and even though every muscle in my body ached and I chafed in places that connected with nothing but air--mentally I was soaring.
Holy Burning Quads Batman
Once the final tally is in I believe that I will show a finish in the top half of the crowd mileage wise (29 miles and change) but mentally I feel like I WON.  My quads and hams are singing heavy metal death songs and my back and calves are about to get their mouths washed out with soap given the language they set off in my mind.
Hangs Head in Shame
I feel ready again.  Mentally and physically I am ready to get back on the running wagon...finishing gross and disgusting and having one of my favorite runners ignore all of that nastiness and give me a giant hug simply because he was glad to see me sealed the deal.

Wife, mother, friend, sister, daughter, RUNNER.  For balance I need all of it.  This year I hope to replace "patient" with "runner".

Let the race begin.

8 comments:

  1. Love you! So proud and in awe of you. Glad you had a great race, and I'm sorry to hear you're having a year full of health issues.

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    1. On the upswing Lindsay--you more than anyone understand that life has ups and downs. Heck you sometimes ups and downs 5 times in a day--sugar wise anyway.

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  2. YAY KATHLEEN!

    from the non-estrogen minority in the van....

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    1. Non-Estrogen Man (your new nickname BTW--I feel like it's going to stick) you really were a trooper. There was a whole lot of female in that van--I mostly felt bad for you when we had you complain to the race director that next year he is to remain shirtless for the entire event =)
      Great run BTW =)

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  3. Kathleen

    It's lucky number 71!!!! Great meeting you on Saturday. You kept me laughing. I happened to see your post on the ES6 page and said "hey that's my buddy". Thanks for pushing me. Your post here tells me you are truly a fighter even though I knew when I met you. Thanks for sharing your journey...the good and the bad. Inspiring!

    Ajani (lucky number 71)

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    1. The pleasure was mine Ajani. You kept me smiling and wore 71 with pride--happy to share my lucky number with such a fine man.

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  4. I love when you actually blog, it's so fun to read :)

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  5. Thanks--don't know if that's you or the Lyrica talking but I'll take it!

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