Ok! So, I had heard about this race last year... I just loved the idea of a "fun" run... no frills, low cost, and just a lot of fun. Being a back of the back of the pack runner, having the ability to try and run for 24 hours with no cut-offs and easy support options was really appealing. This was the 3rd year for the event, and the first year it was run by Palmer Divide Run Co.
I convinced my friend Craig (2 time Leadville 100 runner) to sign up and keep me company... Craig is a great guy, and very supportive, and we had a great time.
|Pikes Peak Traveland Inc.|
AND.. not only did Craig come run this one with me, but (via his great fiancee Heather), we were sponsored by Pikes Peak Traveland (in Colorado Springs). The great folks there provided us with this 31ft RV to be used as our base camp! It was so nice to have a convenient way to stop to change out gear/clothing, use the restroom, and warm up over the chilly evening! Talk about luxury ultra-running! So a big shout out and thank you!
Now.. to the race. Palmer Lake is a .82 mile dirt loop around the lake, and has some really great views... of nature and of the multiple coal and freight trains that passed by on the track here along once side of the loop. I thought it was actually pretty cool to have them come by... especially to wake me up at night!
It was a little bit chilly and breezy in the morning, so I has happy to have the great long sleeve from Pikes Peak RV.. the rest of the gear included, Carson Footwear Red Zombie Racers, Injinji's (covering a fair amount of Rock Tape for my PF), Recofit sleeves, Orange Mud Double Barrel, Switch Sunglasses H-Walls, and of course my HPRS #Adversity trucker hat...
So... off we went at 8 am... (well 8:05 for Craig and I as I arrived late..oops). 113 of us in all were signed up and participated, although the structure allowed folks to run any time, for any distance etc... they just needed to log their lap counts during the 24 hour period. I know there some that came out to run a specific goal distance or for a certain amount of time. That is the cool thing about this event.. come run as much or as little as you want, and take a break any time! The trail was dotted with tents, and the parking lot with vehicles.. all as individual base camps for runners... It was also great to see so many friends and fellow ambassadors at this event... thanks Robbie Pike for grabbing this pic!
So... I kept this up throughout the morning and afternoon... and I tried to limit my stops at the aid station, as any length of stop during a lap would add up quickly! Additionally, the RV was on the opposite side of the lake, where I had my extra gear, fuel etc, which was another opportunity to stop as well. Stops aside, when I moved into the "ultra" marathon distance, I was feeling ok.. not great, but ok. Fueling had been good (I was using Fuel-100 Electrobites, Tailwind, fig newtons, trail mix, Mamma Chia pouches, and BACON.. yes bacon at the aid station!). And speaking of the aid station, the volunteers were GREAT... Chad and Jessi from Palmer Divide Run Co were ready to get me whatever I needed or do anything they could to help... not surprising in this community, but fantastic never the less... so THANK YOU! I never really bonked or even felt down mentally, so from that perspective hydration/fueling was great. My foot however was not happy... the PF pain had peaked at this point, and with 16+ hours to go, I started to worry..
Fortunately, the pain kind of leveled off there, and I didn't feel I was damaging anything, just aggravating the inflammation, but it stayed at a point where I could grit my teeth and keep moving. The great thing about this format of race was that I was able to see my family several times during the day. I didn't want to subject them to sitting around, so they spend the day with my sister-in-law, but came by several times... they boys ran a few laps with me.. as well as our dog Chips... that was such a great distraction..... and they brought beer!! yes.... beer, bacon, friends/family... now you know why I love trail ultra running!
In addition to my family coming by (and the friends I got to run with), I had a few friends stop by as well! Shaun (aka The Pikes Peak Guy) and his wife Cielo came by in the late afternoon to run 5 laps with me.. which was awesome. Gave me some type to just chat and take my mind off the fact that I was on lap 44 (36 miles)... And yes, those are all my little tick marks for each lap... I stopped at the aid station each lap to check it off.... perhaps next year I will try to do this every 5 miles, but will have to trust I can keep count, or track another way before stopping each 5 laps. 30 seconds a lap to check in added up to 40 minutes of not moving!
Eventually evening arrived, and it got dark.. and kind of lonely. Although I had been exchanging smiles and hellos all day runners... often twice per lap as we would swap up direction every now and then to keep in interesting.. when it got dark, it was harder to see with headlamps each direction, and I think also because many of us kind of got into a zone of just moving at that point. However as we got close to 9pm, or 13 hours in, there was a "beer social" lap... everyone picked up a beer ( or whatever they wanted) and we took a stroll around the lake... that was pretty cool. And even better, my friend Dione showed up.. grabbed this pic and walked a lap with me... or actually carried my beer while I was struggling to get my Garmin recharged and clear some goofy error messages! Anyway, it was great to see her and get a little boost when needed. It was also then that I decided I needed some real food. I texted my wife, and she showed up with a double burger and fries from Freddie's.... have I mentioned how much I LOVE her? :-) Took a break to eat that, and warm up... it was getting really really windy and I was getting cold circling the lake..
From that point on it got uglier by the lap... I layered on everything I brought, but was still cold. I huddled in my hood, dropped my pack, and just carried a bottle.. after 14 hours the run/walk mix was down to just a painful walk only, but I was still moving at a decent power walk pace. At this point my only goal was to get past 50 miles so that I would get a new distance personal record. 61 laps was the magic number to hit, so I just kept moving. I hit 61 laps (50 miles), and focused on my ultimate goal... which was to complete my first 100K (62 mi), or 76 laps... so.. that was only 15 more laps... that sounds manageable.. right? Basically those 15 laps were kind of a mind numbing march.... I daydreamed...I shivered in the wind...I thought I saw things in the shadows... I mumbled and waved to other runners...avoided stepping on salamanders (real, not imagined)...I tried to take my mind off the pain.. also, I fantasized about hot showers and sleeping.. and that all I had to do was text my wife.. I know she would be there. BUT... I also remembered reading this fantastic post from fellow HPRS ambassador and friend, Matt Rutledge... you can read the post HERE.. but what came back to me was the line.. "you can always quit later"... so I told myself... later, just later... in the mean time... left, right, left, right...
The 23+hour, 64 mile, put a fork in me selfie...
The results? Full results are HERE, but I ended up with 64 miles, 78 laps, 12 place overall out of the 114, 6th place male, and... a first for me, 1st male in my age group! Was it worth it not quitting? Absolutely... As with any ultra, I learned a lot about myself, made new friends, visited with old friends, and just enjoyed the warm embrace of the amazing trail running community.. that's what its all about...
Come run with me here next year!!
Thanks again for tuning in....