Monday, October 1, 2012

My 18 Hour (should have been 24) Run

~Logo designed by Alex
One of my "support people". Thank you!~

I am a bit disappointed I couldn't have titled this - "My 24 hour Run".
My Dedmonton event of 24 hours of running..and I only got through 18.
I have to admit I am disappointed in me. 
Maybe not so much me, but my body...

Friday evening, 7 pm, the race director announced GO~
and the group of us took off on an adventure of running the same 4 km loop for 24 hours.
It was a perfect evening.

The moon was coming up, warm, no wind, leaves crunched under our feet, and we all ran together for the first part of the loop- making introductions and well- wishing one another.
It was a beautiful loop. The trail rolled  through decked out fall-colored trees.
And for the first few hours I ran 2 laps of this loop every hour. 
Right on schedule for my goal of 100 km in 24 hours.

Every lap I did I would run with someone new, or as the night went on- alone.
As it turned dark I donned my headlamp, but the moon was so incredibly bright I used it instead.
I lucked out and saw a gigantic porcupine lumbering across one section of the trail, and a coyote out for a stroll.
The beauty of it all  kept me going in more ways than one.
It was a perfect- feel good evening. One that made you feel blessed just to be alive and able to move.

~Taken by mom who came with my dad and my youngest to watch me run a few loops.
 Thank you!~

My head stayed focused, and the hours passed by incredibly quick.
After 5 hours I remember saying to myself, "I only have 19 hours more to run."
Who SAYS that?
I did. And it felt okay and good.

At 44 was the farthest I had run in my life.
At 52 km...I was over halfway to my goal mark of 100 k.
And it was around 2 am. 

For some reason...that was when my body started to ache.
It was bearable and I managed to run all flat parts and downhills, continuing on walking the inclines.
At the aid station I would use the foam roller and try to un~knot my legs...taking off on the next lap feeling okay. But a km in I would start feeling it again.
I could go in to detail about the pain...where it started and how it worked its way down my legs...but I will save you the boredom and just say that when it hit my ankles, I started to calculate the time left and if  I was going to reach my  goal. 

I began by running 2 loops an hour.
By the time the 12 hour group began their race at 7am Saturday morning, I was down to one 4 km loop every 45 minutes.
At noon, it took my 1 hour and 25 minutes to run (walk) once around the course.
I couldn't believe it was happening.

I kept telling myself to let go of my distance goal and make a new goal of just continue to move for 7 more hours so as to cross the finish line at 7 pm that night.
My head still felt sane, and although I was tired, I felt like running. 
I WANTED to run. That was what I WANTED!

~The Skeleton Runner~

One more loop took me to the 80 km mark. It also took me 1 hour and 40 minutes to do. At times I would just stop, look down at my feet/ankles and my head would yell. 
THEY weren't supposed to give out on me! They were what was supposed to keep me going!!

 1 pm: the Race Director and I had a chat.
I decided to stop and ice my feet/ankles and try to make them workable again...even if it only meant running for the last couple hours of the race.
Once I stopped...I realized just how bad things were.
And when I tried to stand, there was no support in my ankles.

Needless to say I felt devastated.
I hadn't stayed up through the night running just to quit at 18 hours because of useless ankles.
I HADN'T reached my limit yet!!
But my body had.

I sat a while watching runners pass by the aid station...wishing I was out there. Trying to will my ankles to fix themselves so I could continue on.
By 3 pm I knew it wasn't going to happen and I pulled from the race.
And talk about a head battle.
Kicking myself for not finishing, yet feeling okay with the fact that I had just run 50 miles for the first time in my life.
Telling myself I was supposed to keep it up for 24 hours, but realizing that I had just run 12 hours longer than I had ever done before.

Now as I sit with my legs elevated, monitoring baseball size ankles and hoping that someone will remember me up here as I cannot climb down the stairs....I am happy with what I did.
I didn't reach my mental 
But my body had.
And I kind of needed my body to continue.
Mind and body make a good running team.

I watched the race until the end, and felt honored to have been able to run with these amazing and determined people who had it in them to keep going.
I also was able to watch incredible Support Guy for the first 7 hours of my run...finish 55 km in 6 hours!! 
Which....leads me to my "crew".....

How I would have done this thing without you 3? I have no idea!
They got me what I needed/wanted through every hour, bandaged and  iced my feet, water/fed me, listened while I lamented, cried, and hysterically laughed in my tired state...and encouraged me along the 18 hours I did run.
Thank you guys.
(And I was told that somewhere in there I promised you all a trip? ;) We can chalk that up as mental-insanity from lack of sleep...but if you're all up for it...I know that the Caribbean is nice in January:D)

Overall: I wouldn't have traded this adventure for anything.
And yes... I am going back next year and trying that out again.
I KNOW I can do it. 

My head AND my body!