Tuesday, April 21, 2015

2015 Jordan Lake 12 Hour Challenge

"How much distance can you cover in 12 hours? Come find out on a trail run with views of beautiful Jordan Lake!"  These are the first words that greeted me as I perused the race sponsor's website.  I found this race on Brandon's RacENC website (he served as the official timer for the race), and since I am kind of a Brandon Wilson groupie, I thought "sure... he's not the RD so how bad can it be?"  (Side note:  Brandon takes great pleasure in the suffering of others.  It makes his heart happy.)  I NEVER run on trails, but I've always wanted to do a timed race so I signed up.  

Number 2 "I Can Do That"
Official Course Description

"The race will be on a 2.9-mile wheel-measured loop... all single-track trail and forested with numerous roots, some rocks, and two park road crossings. There are no water crossings but there are many glimpses of Jordan Lake. Most trail runners would consider the course moderately hilly."

MY Course Description

This 2.9 mile loop will feel more like 7, you poor fool.  The trail surface is practically interlaced with a labyrinth of roots, and some one (probably Brandon) trucked in several metric tons of rocks.  There ARE indeed two road crossings, but you probably won't see a car so you cannot depend of getting clipped by a vehicle to bring a welcome end to your run.  There ARE no water crossings, but there are several mud holes that you can carefully pick your way around until you can't at which time you don't worry so much about avoiding it. There ARE many glimpses of Jordan Lake... if you DARE to look up from the patch of imminent danger that greets each stride (or if you stop to take a leak). Most trail runners would consider the course moderately hilly, but I am a road runner so I would consider the trail "burro with a pack" hilly or "mountain goat" hilly.  Or "if it was any more hilly I would need a grappling hook" hilly.

And the RACE is On...

I arrive at New Hope Overlook with plenty of time to check in and pick up my bib.  I met the RD Erin Suwattana and the Aid Station captain Doug Dawkins as well as several of the other runners and volunteers.  (Side note: It never fails that when I look at other racers in their pre-race preparations, I feel like THEY know what they are doing.  It is not so much insecurity as it is a conviction that my 10 mile-a-week training plan is not much of a plan at all.  I DO have a cool water bottle, though, so I got THAT going for me.)  As we line up at the start/finish line, I suddenly forget how to put my Garmin in timer mode (its pitiful 5 hour battery life precludes using GPS).  Oh well, the start time is 7:02 am so the math won't be too difficult.  We enter the woods for lap 1, running up and down hills like an eager pack of wolves in a single-file line.  I quickly discovered what "single track" means- the path is narrow to the point that you have to pull over to let others pass and vice-versa.  I foolishly stayed in this swift line for over half the lap until I realized the true severity of the hills.  It didn't take very long for me to decide that I will walk up the hills and run down them.  My goal of 18 laps (for a 50+ mile finish) is looking a bit overly ambitious.  I would have to average 40 minutes per lap ALL friggin day.  My first lap was about 34 minutes, but I was fairly certain that I couldn't maintain that pace for long.  I remember seeing Jason Ledoyen with Brandon at the start/finish and saying "what fresh hell is this?"  All in all, I continued to "fight the bear" and didn't take a real break until after lap 7.  Even after lap 9, I was still on pace to do 18 but the wheels were quickly coming off.  After lap 11, I sat down with Brandon and Jason and had a nice long chat (after all, it would be rude NOT to).  I set a new goal of 14 laps to get a 40+ mile day, but I finished lap 14 with over an hour left.  Decisions, decisions...  I decided to get in one more (since I had already paid for the whole 12 hours and all) and finished lap 15 with a distance of 44 miles.  

My Road Shoe is Crusty and Sad
My Thoughts on the Jordan Lake 12 Hour Challenge

For anyone who knows me, I love hyperbole (or the use of exaggeration if you are from JoCo), and I employ it often in race reports.  It is NOT whining by any stretch.  Was I miserable for a considerable portion of the day?  As the Minnesotans say, "You betcha."  Is this a miserable race?  Not at all!  The whole enterprise was well planned from start to finish.  From RD Erin to Aid Dr. Doug and ALL of the volunteers, they are the friendliest and attentive crew you could ever hope for.  Case in point, I drank so much Gatorade early in the race, I switched to water.  After a while, NOTHING seemed appealing.  Then, Doug in his infinite wisdom brandished a most magic elixir- chocolate milk.  You know how the Waterboy has the special "glacier water"?  Well it was very much like that...  I was giddy as a schoolgirl again after that particular aid station visit.  (The smoke I had didn't hurt either.)  If you like trails and want to venture into the world of timed events, this is a great one.  

1 comment:

  1. Great recap! I died laughing. So accurate and spot on. Hope you don't mind I have quoted you and linked to your post in my recap. Hope to post today. Hope to see you out there again soon.