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!


LPack said...

Congratulations, Dawn. I'm proud of you! What an amazing feat!

whyte39 said...

I've been told everything happens for a reason, and believe your experience this weekend will prove to do you wonders as you continue running/biking/swimming/skiing/etc. You can now say you're an ultra runner. Every one of the 24 hour runners that I talked to on the course knew you had fought a tough battle, and to go as far as you did with your body not playing nice is more than commendable. It's bad ass.

Now there is nothing to surprise you next year. You went through basically everything this year. You know the course, you know what you can/can't run through.. Next year is going to be a cake walk. Please bring cake!

Mike said...

Like Alex said, bad ass for sure! I'm really impressed Dawn. Too bad your body didn't fully cooperate but I'm not sure how many people's bodies would cooperate for 80k of running. That distance seems crazy!

Hope you heal up quick and don't get too bad of a case of post race blues.

Jack said...

I just read this, Dawn. It is beyond amazing that you even tried, and beyond amazing that you fought your way through 18 hours of it. I call this a huge success. Great work, Dawn. Congratulations.