This past weekend we traveled to Rochester, New York for a 12 Hour Endurance Run with some old friends and some new friends. The drive there was L.O.N.G. but I’d have to say, totally worth it. We laughed and joked and then somehow, Brandon and I were dubbed ‘parents’ of two 24, 5, 6, 7 year olds (really not sure of there age, what kind of ‘Mom’ is that!).
We drove to until 1am, to Pennsylvania and stopped to sleep for a while. Then headed out in the morning to Rochester. Besides lots of laughing and joking, the drive was pretty uneventful. We really had nothing planned to do that evening, so we drove to the race location and checked it out. Not like we wouldn’t get lots of time race day to check it out, but it was nice to see the loop in the sun. We also went to a Barefoot Running clinic with Jason Robillard at a local gym. That was informational, although we already knew Jason pretty well and have both read his barefoot running book. I did learn a few more things about the benefits of running minimalist/barefoot and the effects of traditional running shoes.
The evening before the run we had a nice group dinner at Chilli’s and set out our clothes for the next day, packed our bags, and got to bed early, that way leaving at 6am would be easier.
In the morning I dressed in my Brooks Women’s Capri, Zensah Compression Leg Sleeves, a Nike Skirt, Candlestone 5K race shirt, Smartwool socks that Sarah Englemann recommended (so thankful for those), and laced up my Merrell Barefoot Pace Glove (the shoes that made it possible). We arrived early at the race location, got our things put under the tent, signed in, pinned our numbers on, and got ready for the long day ahead. Still, the whole 12 hours was mind baffling, twelve whole hours, longer than the drive there, longer than I sleep at night, twelve whole hours. But regardless of if my mind could comprehend the run ahead, it was time to go.
I started the twelve hours in the back, literally, the back of the line. I knew that I run better after walking about a 1/2 mile first. I can run better after walking Lily up to school over taking off from home on a run with dead legs. So I walked the first loop, and ended up being dead last as I crossed the finish line. This is MY race, not anyone else’s, so I had to get over the fact that I WAS the slowest at that very minute.
I decided ahead of time to run every other lap that way I could last longer. My longest run to date was a 5 mile run with Brandon, the last 5 miles of his 50 miler in Florida and that wasn’t all running. I knew had to do a good job pacing or I wouldn’t make it to my goal of ‘ultra-marathoner’ status. I’m not sure how many laps I ran overall, but it was more than three miles, pretty sure it was more than 6 miles, almost sure I ran around 10 miles over the entire twelve hours. No, that’s not a BIG deal to most runners, but going from running two 5 mile runs IN MY LIFE to running 10 miles in one day is a pretty big accomplishment for me.
Once I started getting tired of running a whole 1/2 mile loop I started running half of the 1/2 mile loop. I wasn’t thinking much at that point, but I started running right after the bridge, which, one of our fellow Hobby Joggas was kind enough to tell me that I was starting my run’s at the only ‘up-hill’ on the course. Yup, not only was my brain not working well enough to figure out my laps to miles, but I was also working harder on my run from my choice of where to start. Duh. After that lap I decided my starting point was going to be in a different location, including more of the downhills.
One thing that was highly motivating during the race was the friends I had made on our trip out to NY. Every time Stuart came up behind me he’d yell “EMILY” and I’d fist pump. When Mark would pass by he’d ask how I was doing and I’d reply “Fantastic” even if that was a huge lie. Saying that I was doing “fantastic” actually made me feel a little bit fantastic, even if it was for a millisecond during the last miles. The “good job’s” and “way to go” and “looking good’s” were very nice to hear. As was my husband slapping my rear as he passed by. Every little bit of encouragement does go a long way.
Eventually I passed the 1/2 marathon distance, then the marathon distance, I was almost to my goal of being an ‘ultra-marathoner’. I was mostly walking now, with a few small moments of running and ONLY on the downhill section, but I was tired and sore. Very tired and very sore. I had been moving, non-stop, for about nine hours. There was no way I would have gotten back up if I took a few minutes to sit. Thankfully some of our Hobby Joggas were using our dry chairs to relax, that option was unavailable. I wasn’t about to sit on the wet ground. So I kept walking, kept taking a few running steps, and didn’t stop. My legs hurt, my hips hurt, my ankle hurt, and the side of my foot hurt, but none of that pain stopped me. I was going to make it to, at least, 31 miles.
It was raining, somewhat cold, and a little miserable. My glasses got foggy, and I decided to take them off, but then I couldn’t see and it was annoying. I put on my sunglasses, even though it wasn’t very sunny, but at least I could see with them on. They fogged less than my regular glasses. Every hour I waited to see the race report to find out how far I went. The laps slowly went up, later in the day they went slower. I think the last two hours I went a whole 2 miles in one hour. That’s a VERY slow walk for me, but those slow miles added up, and that’s all that mattered.
Brandon and I walked with each other for a half lap later in the day and I noticed him ask the counter guy how long he’s been running, so I asked that on the last lap. Oh yeah, 31.44 miles. I was DONE. I accomplished my ultra-marathoner status. So I walked back to the tent and sat down. BAD idea. In hindsight I wish I wouldn’t have done that. I regret not going the full 12 hours. Granted, it wouldn’t have been that many more miles, but it would have been the full 12 hours that I signed up for. If there’s anything I wish I would have done differently, that would have to be it.
But I can’t end with a negative thought. Holy cow did I accomplish a lot of PR’s. at Mind the Ducks. Minus my 5K PR, all the others were accomplished on May 14th, 2011 at Mind the Ducks. They’re not super fast or amazing, but they’re mine and I’m OK with that.
From my comfy chair under the tent I watched Brandon finish his 12 hours, accomplishing his goal of a 100K. That’s simply amazing. And he ran nearly the entire twelve hours. I’m so proud of my machine of a husband. WOW!
Once the 12 hours passed we packed up our mess and walked ourselves (that was the longest walk ever, if you ask us) to the park meeting house for the awards ceremony. Brandon won 3rd place for open men, which is super awesome. His award was a wooden egg, cookies, a card, and Jason Robillard’s Book, “The Barefoot Running Book“.
They also had an extra special award, most miles for a husband and wife team. I briefly thought, “Hey, maybe it could be us” but then quickly talked myself out of that option. I mean, really, I didn’t do THAT much, Brandon’s awesome, but I didn’t contribute that much to the miles… then they said the awards go to “The Mulnix’s”. Holy cow, how crazy is that!!! I’m pretty sure that makes me more proud of than accomplishing the ‘ultra-marathon’ status. Most husband and wife miles at Mind The Ducks 2011: 93 ish. The award was handmade wine, engraved wine glasses, a card, and Jason Robillard’s Book. Later we found out that all the awards, medals (or wooden’s), were hand made by the race director. That’s just awesome to know since they awards and cards are super nice!!! Way to go Shelley V.!
Then back to the hotel, which Brandon didn’t get us lost, but did take a different route, which was longer AND had a toll…. a shower, and to bed. I woke up super hungry at midnight, thankfully I had a snickers bar that we forgot to bring to the race, it saved me!!! Moving was painful, so only essential movements were allowed.
The drive home was long, Brandon is awesome for driving the entire way there and back. Matt and Ryan (our children) were the entertainment for the way home in between naps. Walking at the rest stops and gas stations was comical. We looked like a car full of 90 year olds. All sore and in pain.
All in all, the whole experience, however far the distance, was awesome and I would totally recommend it to anyone who asked and would do it again. I mean, when else would you have the opportunity to go for 12 hours??
My medal, or is it my wooden?