….and My Story Runs On….
“the original fixed-time multiday running event celebrating the New Year. Runners have 24, 48, 72 hours or 6 days to cover as much distance as possible. Each runner is free to walk, stop, eat, and sleep whenever they wish, but the clock is always running!”
What does this mean? It’s basically you against the clock. You can sign up for minimum of 24 hours to a maximum of 6 days and log as many miles as you want or your body/mind will allow you.
I’ll be honest, I have very mixed feelings about this event. In 2014, my boyfriend and I volunteered during the midnight shift at New Year’s Eve and we had a blast! We decided to do it again this year and The Running University sponsored two volunteer shifts on New Year’s Eve so I received a free entry for filling those spots.
I was excited to have the opportunity to try this type of event out. The course is a 1.04 mile loop at Camelback Ranch and you basically go around the loop as many times as you want or your body/mind will allow you. I’ve done an event before that was looped but it was a 4 mile course so this was a first experience for me. Every 4 hours they change the direction so you go around the opposite way.
I ran this mostly with my friend Heather and we decided that we were “just” going to follow our training plan for the weekend and our plan was to do a 50K (31.1 miles). I also had dinner plans that night so I was on a bit of time crunch. We started at 9am (the 24 hour clock is from 9am-9am). The first several loops felt great…actually most of it wasn’t bad at all..as a matter of fact at one point I was thinking, maybe I can do 48 hours next year and do my first 100 miles…break it up in four 25 miles segments over 48 hours…that sounds doable, right? Well…..by the time I was done, I was done with those loops. Heather and I spent most of the time chatting together and with other people on the course. At one point she needed to make a stop so I kept going knowing we find each other on that loop at some point. I started listening to one of my new favorite Running Deep playlists that I purchased awhile ago and had not had chance to get into (guided meditation for runners). It was perfect timing to be zoned out and zoned in at the same time. I was also hoping to PR my 50K time. Doesn’t really mean a whole lot as this type of event is much different than running a 50K on a trail with an actual elevation profile. But still, I was running a lot more than I would’ve on a trail so that had to count for something. I did set another PR and I found my results from my Tom Tom amusing. Mostly the elevation profile and the map of my run. 😉
It might be easiest to break this up to pros and cons (of course just my opinion!). Would love to hear comments from anyone who has done these events!
- The course is a 1.04 mile loop so there is no way to get lost. It’s probably one of the safest ways to get rack up mileage.
- You set your own goals and it’s just you against the clock. This will also be a Con. For me, I liked that my plan was to stick to my training plan and I purposely scheduled dinner plans later because I knew that I could be convinced to keep going since I technically had many more hours to go. But if someone was “afraid” to do a marathon because there are normally cut offs, you can sign up for 24 hours here and finish a marathon no problem in 24 hours…you could crawl it!
- I’ve never eaten so much at a race! LOL There is a main aid station with lots of goodies. We purposely skipped it many times. I’ve taught my body to go for longer periods of time with little fueling but it’s so hard not to stop by and visit at the aid station…and maybe grab a few M & M’s or piece of pizza or peanut butter pretzels (my main trail staple). I’ve heard people say they actually gain weight on this event.
- No need to carry anything. There is also another water station half way through which means you really don’t have to worry about carrying anything with you on this race as you have it all right there.
- Seeing lots of friends! It was fun to see so many people I knew. Unfortunately because I was on a mission to get done by a certain time, I couldn’t stop and slow down much to talk with them as most of them were going longer so moving slower that I wanted to at that point. But there are a lot of local runners along with people who come internationally for this event so a great place to listen to people’s running stories and goals.
- Relaxed atmosphere. People are all just doing the same thing going around this loop…some running, some walking, some talking, some listening to music or whatever. There didn’t seem to be much “race” pressure that you can normally feel in a race. You get to do whatever you want when you want.
- Strategy. You basically create your own race strategy. I met people who were planning X amount miles in X amount of hours, some people were just going with the flow and people like me were using it as a training run. Your time, your strategy.
- The course is a 1.04 mile loop and all you do all day and night is go around in the same circle for hours even though they change the direction every 4 hours. One of the things I love most about ultra running is being out on a trail and seeing places I’ve never seen before. I don’t know how people do 6 days of this but all power to them!
- You set your own goals and it’s just you against the clock. As a running coach, this type of race can really push people to a level that I believe is not healthy. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for people pushing outside their comfort zone mentally and physically! However, to be smart about doing that, training your mind and body really helps too. I know several ultra runners that were out there and used to do this kind of mileage…however this race brings some people out that have not been spending the time training and it’s an injury or many waiting to happen. It’s easy to get wrapped up in your goal and I can’t tell you the number of times I heard people complaining about body parts hurting (there is a difference in knowing when you can push through “hurt” or “injury”) and when you are mentally exhausted, you are not always making the wisest decisions. It was painful for me to watch some of these people limping along (there is a medical tent on site and they do an amazing job…but I know people who wouldn’t go in there in fear of hearing they needed to stop). As much as it’s an inspiration to watch an 82 year old with a walking stick or a 10 year old achieve a 100 mile goal, it’s still begs the questions, when is too much too much?
So, 4 days later, do I still want to do 100 miles in 48 hours next year?
Will I do the event again next year? Hell yes! My plan would be sign up for the same 24 hours with friends, hopefully convince some people to do their first marathon, and have a walking/running party and just have fun with it!
Have you ever done a timed event? What’s your experience? Would love to hear your opinion!
From My Running Story to Yours….
(if you feel inspired to share your comments, do so below…I want to hear your story too!)