So my mantra for this Labor Day weekend was, “Run all the miles … Eat all the food” and that I did!
From the “It seemed like a Good Idea 6 Months Ago” file, I signed up for a 1/2 Marathon on Saturday and an Ultra 24-Hour Marathon Relay on Sunday/Monday! Yea, I know, Crazy Runners! I get it, but hey, what else is there to do?
So here’s the back story. Last January I signed up for a new local race series called the “419 Grand Prix” offered by Run Toledo. It consisted of a Short Track (two 5k’s, one 8k, a 10K and 1/4 Marathon) and the Long Track (one 8k, two 10k’s and two 1/2 marathons). Of course I signed up for the Long Track, did you really have to ask?
Then, in April , during the post-race hours, after running the Glass City Marathon, my first Marathon, when I would have signed up to run to the moon, come on, ya’ll been there, a friend asked me to be on his 24-hour Ultra Marathon Relay team. So of course, without even looking at my calendar, I said Yes! How hard could it be right? It’s a Relay, for crying out loud!
So what follows is my ramblings of some 30 plus miles over the three days. Wait! Only 30 miles? Yea, like they say, the Devil is in the details.
Boy Scouts Half Marathon
So, as they say, it all started on Friday night at Packet Pick up. I love to volunteer for Packet Pick up. I meet so many new people, many that I’ve become friends with on social media yet never met face to face. I love the reach of social media, but I’m just Old School enough that I need that personal meeting to really tie a name to the face as they say. This night was no exception. My shift was for about 2 1/2 hours and the time flew by, meeting new runners and answering questions.
Saturday morning, I was up at about 4:30 am for a 7:30 am race. What? Dosen’t everyone get up at 4:30 am on their day off? I figure I wanted to be at the start line about an hour before race time, and it takes me about 45 minutes to get there, then there is the most important part, eating your pre-race meal to insure proper digestion time! Runners, you know what I’m talking about! One of the most important pre-race facts that all runners gather is, “Where are the ports-cans, how many are there, and what water stops have ports cans” incase the timing just isn’t on your side. On this day, everything worked out for the good! LOL.
I really love this race. It benefits the local Chapter of the Boy Scouts of America and growing up in Scouting, it holds a very special place in my heart. It is also a great course. This was the second year for the “New” course, that starts at the Wood County Fair grounds, winds around a small industrial park, right down the Bowing Green Ohio, main street, picks up the Slippery Elm running / biking trail for a mile or so, then passes through a golf course, past a Wind Turbine Park then circles back to the fair ground. All in all, a very scenic course.
This is a very flat and fast course, but today would not be a PR run for me, as I agreed to PACE the 2 hour 15 minute group. For those not familiar with Pacing, many of the more premier races off this service. Basically a person like myself, runs the race and sets a pace to insure that he crosses the finish line at the prescribed time. In this case, 2 hours and 15 minutes. This allows the runners to just focus on running the race, they don’t need to spend time and energy watching their watches or pace bands, etc. They just stay close to the pacer and they know that they will be on track to finish at that time.
I have paced 5k’s and an 8k, but never a half marathon, so naturally I was a bit apprehensive about doing it. There is a lot of pressure on the Pacer. Runners are depending on you and If you fail and don’t hit your set time, they may not hit their goal. A lot can go wrong for the pacer, and my biggest concern was, had I properly calculated my “Digestion time”. LOL. Last thing I needed was to have to hit a Porta-Can mid race, carrying some Huge Ass sign. I could see it now, “Sorry guys, I gota hit this port-can, keep going I catch up! LOL. Thankfully, that didn’t happen.
Temps were unseasonably cool and overcast. Perfect PR conditions. The gun sounded and we were off, as we settled into a 10:18 pace, I looked around to see a huge group sticking with we. But by about mile 3 or 4, a small group had started to break away. Then a few more at mile 5, then at about mile 10 or so, another larger group pulled ahead. I loved seeing that, I knew they were going to all have good times. The last 3 miles I had 4 or 5 runners that “If” they hit the 2:15, it would be significant PR’s for them and I was doing all I could to keep them in the race.
Pacing is so much more that just being a Robot and setting a Metronome pace, you are a coach, a cheerleader, a tour guide, a motivator, a navigator, a first responder (hopping I never need to take on that role), and a friend!
In the last 100 yards, I was pushing (literally I think), two young ladies and they finished just ahead of me and I finished at 12:15:03 (chip time)! Not to shabby for a first timer, any they both PR’d. I was so proud of them.
All in all, a great experience and I look forward to doing more Pacing.
Oh, Yea, I said there would be food. But to digress some. Runners, why is it that in the last few miles of any long run or race, the subject always comes back to food? Who’s going where for breakfast, or what everyone is going to crush as soon as the run is over. Best part about the Boy Scouts Race is, PANCAKES at the finish line! Yes, score!
Ok, 13.1 miles down and now to the rest of the weekend!
Olander 24-Hour Ultra Marathon Relay
So on Sunday, September 3rd, through Monday, September 4th, the Olander 24-Hour Ultra Marathon was held at Olander Park in Sylvania. This is a beautiful park, with a 1.091 mile paved path around a small lake. Runners like it because it’s all contained, no roads to cross and it just long enough to not get to boring.
I was a member of a 10-person relay team organized by Aaron Hadu. Our team name was “Candu Run Run”, a play on Aaron’s Business Candu Creative. So it was me, Aaron, Tasha, Krista, Andrea, Marina, Amanda, Ray, Chad, and James.
There are two divisions, Individual, or Teams or you can do both. There are no set distances for any division, individuals or teams can decide the distance they want to run.
Individuals are each given an ankle bracelet (chip) and each time they cross the timing mat, 1.091 miles are logged.
Teams can consists of from 6 to 10 runners, (our team had 10) and they run relay style. Each Team is given one ankle bracelet and it is handed off from runner to runner and again, each time the “Chip” crosses the timing mat, 1.091 miles are looked for that team.
From 1993 to 2003, the National 24-hour Championships were held here at Olander Park. The USATF uses meters to log the distance. The Men’s record is 265,932 meters or as I convert it about 165 miles and the Woman’s is 238,022 or 147 miles. That serious BadAssery right there. Let’s hope we can get it back some day.
So on Saturday night our Team met at Granite City Food & Brewery, for the first time! Yea, that’s right, the first time. Why? Because that just how we roll. No reason to over plan, right? lol.
Our Team, minus me, won this event last year, so we needed a serious strategy on how to win it again. Our fearless leader Aaron, had us covered. He explained the plan and it was for each of us to run 3-laps of the Olander trail which would equate to about 3.27 miles, or about a 5k. Not bad right? Hey even I could run a few 5k’s. Well, not so fast. Well actually, yes, FAST. Aaron said, we need each of you to run your 5k’s at your 5K pace. Oh, Ok!! I guess! The next logical question was how many? He said 5 or maybe 6 or maybe more if we need to fill in for each other! Ok,….that’s a lot of 5k’s at 5K pace I thought. But, Ok, I’m in. Go big or go home right? Now my mind was wondering to the times of each run. No problem, Aaron had it all laid out in a Spreadsheet. YES, a spreadsheet. I love spreadsheets. Just ask my fellow coaches. Anyway, it showed that the race started at 10:00 am on Sunday and my first leg was at 11:40 am, then 4:43 pm, then 9:20 pm, then 1:50 AM on Monday, then 6:20 am on Monday. Lastly, Aaron said that starting at 8:30 am on Monday, each us us would run a 1-lap as a final leg. So that was the plan!
The plan was to pitch tents and set up a base camp at the park to work out of, so we met at the park the next morning at the Ass Crack of Dawn to stake out our “Turf”! By 8:00 am, tents were pitched, chairs were set up and we were off to “Packet Pick up”. At 9:00 am , we met for the obligatory “Pre-race” meeting, were the Run Toledo Race Director, Clint McCormick and Dave’s Running Wellness Director, Jim Pool went over the rules.
At 10:00 am, the gun went off and Tasha, our first runner was off. We all wandered back to Bast Camp and monitored her progress. As she neared her 3-laps, next up was Krista, then Andrea, then James then Me, then Amanda followed by Chad, then Marina then Ray and lastly Aaron! Like clock work, I started my first run at 11:49 am. I sent a blistering pace, … for the first mile or so! LOL! At this point, I was serious re-thinking running 1/2 marathon the day before! Note to self: No 1/2 Marathons the day before running an Ultra Marathon, even if it’s only a relay. I finished with an 8:42 pace, not too bad, but way off my 5k PR pace of 8:11. The we cycled through the team and my second leg started at 4:34 pm, and at 77 degrees and full sun, I averaged a 9:04! Ugh!! Ok, when it gets cooler, Ill be able to run faster. Leg 3 came around and I started at 9:21 pm, and it was a 9:05 pace. Well, not great, but at lease I’m consistent.
Oh Yea, at about dusk, Tasha, who had never had S’mores in her life, decided to make some on the grill. Which I missed because I was running! Ugh! Yes, those are Fairy Wings. Thank to Bev Reinbrecht.
Another cute story courtesy of Team Mate Andrea Longenecker. At the 10:00 pm meal. A father approached Team Mate Marina Ederra, who was wearing her Fairy Wings, (it was a thing with some of the ladies on our team) and asked if his daughter could meet the “Tooth Fairy” and it you know Marina, you know she played the role very well.
After my leg 3, the plan was to get a couple of hours of sleep. Wrong! Even after dark, it was still warm and I was a hot sweaty mess. It took over an hour to cool down to the point that I could even think about laying down. Now It was about 11:30 pm and I had to run at about 1:50 am. I went through the numbers in my head. Need to be at the start line about 20 to 30 minutes before my start. Needed 10 to 15 minutes to warm up. You runners know, for a 5k, you have to try to warm up before your start. You can’t just come out of the gate running at “Pace”. To make a log story shorter. NO SLEEP!
Let 4 started at 1:56 am (planned 1:50 am) Damm Aaron, you nailed it. Only 6 minutes off over 15 hours! Good Job! This leg I finished at a 9:07 overall pace! Yikes! Slipping. Ok, really need sleep and Leg 5 would be better. But I needed to eat something first.
We had meals around the clock, the first was at 4:00 pm, then 10:00 pm, then 4:00 am, then a post race cook out at 10:30 am. All great food prepared with love by the amazing volunteers.
So I finished leg 4 at about 2:20 am, then ate something, then went back to base camp to get some sleep. Yea, right, that did not happen. We had to make some adjustments to the rotation, one runner wasn’t feeling well, and two others needed to leave for awhile, we shuffled and Krista, James and Andrea picked up extra legs, so time was spent organizing that.
So how were we doing at this point? Well at about 2:30 am, we were in second place behind the Cycle-Delic Runners by about 2 miles. Ok, there is still time.
Also, did I mention that all the while our relay team was running, Aaron, our captain, was not only running legs for our relay team, he was running his own individual Ultra. A major Bad Ass Runner! He finished at the 100k mark (62.2 miles)
So I ended not picking up any any extra legs, mostly because Krista, Andrea and James are also BadAss Runners and Faster than hell. So I just helped to keep everyone on schedule and cheered from the sideline.
At about 5:30 am, I headed up to the start line for my last leg, because after James ran, I would be reliving him. When I got there, it was apparent the extra legs were taking a toll on him. He was hurting bad. I offered to run my leg first so he could rest more, but being the Bad Ass that he is, when Andrea came in, he went out for his run. James Shively has my respect as a runner!
James came in at 6:23 am and I was out for my last leg. Having been up for over 24 hours and over the 30 mile point on the weekend, with the 1/2 marathon on Saturday, I also struggled. I ended up at a 9:27 over all pace. Oh well, it is what it is.
As day broke, we found ourselves still in second place to the Cycle-Delic Runners by about the same margin.
As proscribed, at about 8:30 am, we started our 1-mile individual legs. Krista and Andrea picked up extra 1-mile legs because of their warp speed. So at this point I had completed 5-legs totaling abut 17 miles, but with the extra legs James had run, and a few quick calculations, it was determined that he was only 1-mile away from hitting 26.2 miles or a full Marathon. So you can guess where this is going right? Yes, completely excused and nearly dead to the world, this guy summonsed up the courage and energy to head out for one more mile.
In the end we took second place by about 3 miles. Special shout out to the top three overall winers, all woman I might add, Emily Collins at 120.07 miles, Josephine Weeden at 115.62 miles and Debra Horn at 111.18 miles. Great job Ladies!
Until Next Time …. Happy Running.