Posted on the Ultralist:
The nice part about a 24 hour event is that whatever you cover in that time period is what you get. Last year coming off serious health problems that affected my endurance I was able to cover 72 miles. This year after 7 months of running very little and about 6 weeks of a little training I was able to muster 45 miles over the first 14 hours.
Now to the rest of the story.
With the race pending, and frequent storms with heavy runs hitting the North Carolina area one had to wonder what race day was going to be like. We had some intermittent day between the storms when the humidity was low and the nighttime temperatures were really pleasant (reminiscent of last year). But the last storm that hit the coast moved inland and dumped copious amounts of rain as it slowly moved west across the state. As we headed to Rockingham on the morning of the race the roads were still wet. Not a good sign. Arriving at the race site about 7 AM under cloudy skies and temperatures around 70 degrees one could only imagine what the day was going to be like.
So after setting up the canopy and other gear to prepare for the day and night ahead we could only hope for the best. It’s a great venue for a 24 hour race. A nice 1.52 mile trail around the lake. Great volunteers and a well stocked aid station. All that plus a nice tee shirt all for $24. What else could you want.
As we were registering and milling around many familiar faces were present. Ray K, Doom, Jim O’Neil, Sue Norwood, Bill Burns, Bill Gentry, Brad Smythe, Scott Brockmeir, Chris Lowery, and many others that I got to walk and run with throughout the day. It’s the greatest part about an event on a course like this as you have an opportunity to chat each time they pass you or you pass them. And even the ever-lovely Mrs. Doom cast and all came out of her sick bed to cheer us on. And the newest addition to the Smythe family was also present with mother Andrea showing him off. Of course my wife was thrilled with that.
The downside of the race for me this year was my poor preparation leading into it. But I was hoping to cover as many miles as possible with my training partner Chuck Petersen as I could. The other downside was the condition of the trail itself. With so much heavy rain in the weeks and day before there were many spots on the course where water was flowing across the trail or sections of trail had much standing water. While trying to stay as dry as possible and to keep from losing control in the mud it made for a tough day. After a while the mud got slipperier and deeper and the draining water never seemed to slow down. In addition, the humidity levels never seemed to go down and neither did the night time temperatures. So it made for an uncomfortable day that I finally called to a close when my buddy hit his 50 miles and I decided I didn’t need to do another lap or two.
So after packing up and making the 2 hour drive back home, a nice shower to clean off the mud and grit, and some clean clothes helped ease the pain as the head hit the pillow.
All in all it was a good day, not as much fun as last year, but gave me a kick start to build my training on. Thanks again to Tom Gabell and all his volunteers for doing such a great job in putting on this event. Hopefully it will continue for many years to come.