Vol State to Double 24 Hour 2009 – Don Winkley

Don Winkley - Photo by Chisolm Deupree
Don Winkley - Photo by Chisolm Deupree

Vol State to Double 24 hr

Vol State
was a real wake up for me. I ran 57 miles on day 1 in about 12 hours. Ave 4.66 miles/hr. Never recovered from day 1 – Day 2 – 44 miles 3.23 miles/hr, dropping to a 41 mile day 5 at 2.88 miles/hr. Overall 314 miles in 95:19 hrs on the road average 3.29 miles/hr.

My signature race “La Transe Gaule” is an 18 day stage race averaging 42 miles/day and a cutoff each day based on 3.5 miles/hr. Obviously I needed to “get with it”.

Somehow inspired by the infectious Vol-State enthusiasm generated before, during and after the race I returned to Corpus Christi with a determination to actually “get with it”.

In Corpus Christi, TX I am blessed with great training partners and a lot of support from fellow runners 5k to marathoners. A local university coach heard a lecture where the researcher determined that training in heat/humidity produced benefits like training at altitude. I ran a lot, listened to my body, chased after faster runners I had no business chasing, recovered by waddling for 3 hrs to cover just 14 miles — but in the heat of the day.

Raced local 5k to 20 mile races with varying results – mostly because I love to race but also these races feed into my energy level and constituted my only real measured speed work.

North Coast 24-Hour Endurance race
was there on the calendar. So declared myself fit and ready to get measured. Arrived in Cleveland with no chair, no tent, no sleeping bag – this time I was going to RUN no prisoners. Thankfully Andy Lovy introduced me to his crew and let me setup next to him. This was a stroke of luck. His crew lady saved me on two occasions when I might have decided to “go to the car for supplies.”

I ran-race walked the entire 24 hrs with only a 15 min break for a ART massage guy to work on my tight hamstrings. Final tally – 99.48 miles which is possibly a 24 hr road record 70-74, I was extremely surprised at how easy it seemed, no problem running at night, actually had way too much energy at the end. All along I suspected at any minute I would be reduced to a whining dog limping along as a cripple with whole body cramps.

I spent part of the next day with Chisholm Deupree as we went to the Music Hall of Fame. Chisholm gave me the soft sell on his upcoming 24hr in Oklahoma City. He mentioned something about giving rings. I suspected this was only for the overall winners – but? He also described the race course, the participants, and Chisholm is just a great guy to be around. The hook was in the mouth.

Two weeks after Cleveland – I was already having withdrawal symptoms so I drove from the Chicago area to Grand Rapids, to do the Grand Rapids Marathon. My recent marathons have all been clustered at 4 hours. I decided to put some pressure on myself and wear a 3:44 pacer bib. Off with the 3:44 pacer guy, stayed on pace about 9 miles until a potty stop, never got back on pace but ended the day with a 2-3 year PR 3:50:09.

I recovered fairly well from the “fast for me” marathon and at the last minute realized the hook was set and I filled out the on-line entry form for the 24hr The Hard Way race. Oklahoma City was on the way driving from Chicago area to Corpus Christi, TX.

My 2nd 24 hr went well considering everything. Again I had no problem staying on the course. I had no special aid of any kind so lived with what I hauled from the car and placed along the course. After about 10 hrs I stopped worrying about laps and lap times – time to just enjoy running all night. There were lots of bad patches but I was just tired and not really motivated to do anything other than heel – toe. I never left the course or rested any. I did sit on the potty a few times. Except for the smell – the potty sits – no way can I describe how good just 2-3 min setting feels after running for a few hours. I never felt tired or sleepy but just a kind of general fatigue. Final result 89.43 miles. Average 3.72 miles/hr.

At 71 years old I continue to wonder when “it will be over”. I want to enjoy racing and sharing stories with all of you for as long as possible. My greatest regret is that I can’t remember all the names and faces of the enormous number of wonderful people who have befriended me over the many years. It’s a sport without match.

Thanks UltraDon

Don Winkley

Multidays.com The home of multiday running news and events.

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