Monday, October 9, 2017

2017 Hinson Lake 24 Ultra

The 2017 Hinson Lake 24 hour Ultra event would be my 2nd attempt at this course and several attempts overall to get closer to that long awaited 100m Belt Buckle.  In the past, I was simply going to attempt a new Distance PR but this time my goal was to get 100m inside of 24 hours.  If I was close, I had decided to continue after the race was over until I did in fact reach that century mark.  The course like before was 1.5032m around Hinson Lake in Rockingham NC USA.  It is a certified course registered with certification code NC14103DF with an entry fee of just $35 plus the traditional donation to the Richmond County Animal Advocates.  Thanks to all the volunteers and of course Jerry Lindstrand for putting on a great event! You guys rock!  Thanks Vac and Dash and other runners for some extra pics I used in this blog.  Most were mine but I did use a few extras that captured some missed moments.

Originally, I had planned to go alone but due to another friend, Rob Racine's inability to get the weekend off despite months of attempts, a mutual friend, Daron Heggie would be able to keep me company.  Daron and I first met as wrestlers through Todd Cochran a former wrestling coach at North Pitt High School I had helped coach a wrestling camp with at DH Conley while Daron was the wrestling coach at DH Conley High School at the time.  We lost contact for several years until we met each other through running.

Work took a hold of me Friday the night before the start. Consequently, I had to rush to Daron's house then to mine before we could leave.  Daron was very understanding and easy going about the whole to do but I was out of sorts within thinking about getting there and preparing for the race.  I had thoughts about if we would be able to find a tent spot as well as if it would be dark and if we would be able to get to the pasta dinner on time.  We talked a lot about everything of course from training to future events and family.  Thanks to Daron, the 3 hour trip wasn't bad at all and we arrived before dark and was able to check in and get our bib and some sweet swag!

Some of the cool stuff we got after checking in!  They had an old beer glass from last year's race I competed in so I was able to get it.  I chose the coffee mug for this year's event. I had several comment on liking my bib name "Running Sensei".  That was cool too but I was worried about night fall and eats.  So for those of you who are not in the martial arts, the term Sensei can be translated as "one who comes before".  Now this is typically in the martial arts journey of knowledge and in simplest terms it's a Japanese Martial Arts Instructor.  I have taught hundreds of students during my martial arts journey and am currently the rank of Sandan or 3rd Degree Black Belt in the Sakura Kumi Style of Goju-Shorin Karate and I'm also a 1st Degree Black Belt in the Korean Moo Duk Kwan style of Tae Kwon Do.  Of course I've grown to love running as well so I often use the term Running Sensei to title myself.

Well, after talking to the pasta cooks they said they had plenty and would be there as scheduled until 8pm so we decided to put up our tents first.  Unfortunately, after putting up our tents in the dark with a battery powered lantern, they had closed up the kitchen early around 740pm.  Bleh!  They did offer us some cake and salad.  We turned down the salad but broke down on some cake.  I gave them a few dollars for a donation and then we decided to take off for some eats.  We decided to eat at Wendy's.  I chose a bacon cheeseburger, tea, fries, and a chili but Daron was healthier in his choices as he ordered a chicken breast separate then a chicken salad and a water etc.  I was a bad boy I guess but hey I NEEDED Bacon haha.

Recently, I bought a double pack of USB chargers from Sam's Club for $30.  They are great! Each will charge 2 devices at one time.  They are good for 3 charges each.  They take about a minute per percent charge which is my only negative fact about it.  Once I settled down in my tent, I finished charging my devices.  I had already charged them to 100% but evidently being away from typical cellular towers etc drained the batteries faster.  

Before getting too late, I went ahead and Face Timed the family.  Here is a screen shot with my wife Gina and daughter Kamryn.  Landon said his good luck statement and off he went.

Using a Cool Running Website Pace Calculator, I calculated what my pace and lap time needed to be in order to complete the 100.714 mile course in 24 hours.  The time would include bathroom visits, eating, drinking, and any other time I would need to take care of things.





I then calculated the splits but thought it would be rough doing math in my head when I was tired so I had figured out the actual times and made alarms on my phone.  This would also be helpful when my Garmin Vivoactive battery died every 8ish hours.  Some of my alarms got deleted but this gives you an idea.  I definitely found this helpful and recommend it.

Beautiful scenes at Hinson Lake before the race started...
I was definitely up too early.  I had gone to bed relatively early so I was wide awake at 0500.  This was not good but the bathroom was calling...

It was a pleasant surprise to see that Brandon Wilson was helping to time the event.  Brandon Wilson had created and supported the original Croatan 24 Ultra and Graveyard 100 ultra events.  He ran part of the GY100 staff race with me when I endured 63 miles through sun, sleet, ran, snow, and wind.  Check out that blog entry for more details.


Here is a picture of my watch and the tapering before this race.

Picture of my tent setup before the race started

I love nature and simply attempting to be one with it.  Here is the trail with runners and their homes for the weekend lining the course.  The first on the left is my friend Daron's tent and my tiny 2 person kid's tent is the 2nd on left.

My friend Daron with his sister and their friend
Daron finished with about 53 miles beating his previous 42m record!!  He was 76th overall and 50th male
Liza despite nutrition problems endured an 11th place overall finish and 2nd female with about 92 miles!
Keishia Heggie-Street finished 89th overall and 32nd female with over 51 miles!

Richard Lilley's setup was across from mine.  He has ran every single Hinson Lake Event since it started!  He placed 8th overall with about 101 miles!

These races are like a runner family reunion.  You'll see some newbies like Rod and Leah but you can almost bet money on some ultra vets such as Bill and Ron.

Ron Wireman Jr.  earned a 2nd place finish overall despite getting sick.  He ran 127.772 miles for an 11:15ish pace!!

Bill Weimer earned a 56th overall/38th male place with 63.1344 miles (>100K)

Rod Jordan with GORUN had never ran an Ultra before but he could of fooled me with a 23rd overall finish/18th male with 75.16 miles!

Leah Lewis also with GORUN had not ran a previous ultra and amazed me with a 123rd overall/45th female finish with 42.0896 miles.

Clay Vick and I before the race...
Clay is a GORUN Ultra Man Legend in the making!  In the early days of GORUN only crazy fools like Educator and Marine Jeff Dufour had ran crazy amounts of ultras.  Now GoRun has many crazies thanks to the seed Jeff started.  Oddly, most of GoRun don't even know the Co-Founder Ultra Man Jeff.  Time has a way of slipping by.  Make each moment count!

Clay Vick finished 92nd overall/59th male with 51.1 miles!

Here I am with George Wannop!  Always a fun guy to chat with.  Despite a fall I believe he ended up 82nd overall/55th male with 52.6 miles.  

Mike Bailey ran some with me as well.  He didn't do any walking except for fueling up etc.  He told me his wife ended up having to work so he just decided to run the race recently.  He's ran about 130 marathons/ultras!  We met during the Graveyard 100 race.  I was the AS3 Captain.  Mike ended up getting 41st overall/30th male with 100K plus (64.6376 miles).  He basically did a 100K in just 13 hours before calling it a day.  Must be the cool shirt! RUSH!

Fun picture with my GoRun teammates Clay and Sherry Vick!

Sherry basically did this for a little fun and still got 239th overall/116th female with over 27 miles for nearly a 50K!  Sherry is a former ECU Varsity Letterwinner and previous record holding Diver for the PIRATES! ARGHHHH!!!!!

I think Bill W took this pic?

After passing most of the tents on the trail, I saw this sign.  Yep... a long way to go!

Like last year, there were a bunch of random gnomes on the trail.  Yep, they moved and yes you could move them too!  I didn't see a mushroom or other statue with a chip timer on them like last year though.  I really appreciated the gnomes.  They helped to make the time less boring for sure!

Holy Smokes Batgirl!!  Carissa Liebowitz and I ran some together but only by her grace as she was way beyond my level.  She placed 1st female and 3rd overall with 115.746 miles!!  That's a 12:18 pace folks for about 23 hours and 43 minutes!

I was doing pretty good.  Here is a picture of my watch after finishing the 1st of 3 marathons I completed in one day.  

These signs are great and intermittently change during the course of the race.  I think they should add some good ole Chuck Norris related signs.

David Solomon was with me and Jeff Dufour when I ran my first Ultra the Falls Lake Fat A$$ 50k on the Mountain-Sea Trail in NC.  The Race started north of Raleigh NC near the Dam.  It took me about 8 hours and 30 minutes to do a little more than a 50k that day.  It was COLD!  Check out that blog entry for more details.

David Soloman earned 78th overall/51st male with 52.61 miles.

This beast foot raced the whole thing barefooted!!!

John Richards finished 39th overall/28th male with 66.14 miles!!

Early on walking the sandy hill parts to save energy for later!

I hung out with my teammate Sherry for a little while.  She looked strong the entire day!!

This picture credit goes to Vac & Dash
Fortunately, I did not get friendly with this baby

Check out all the lily pads!!!

Mike Bailey

As they day progressed, more and more people either quit or rested.  I try to feed off gradually moving up the ranks.  It keeps me mentally focused and engaged.  I thought this setup was funny and of course humor is a great way to handle stress.

I don't remember this sign last year.  It was pretty cool!

This group created various signs during the day.  This was certainly a good reminder.

The Aide Station!
These folks were great.  They even had the hand sanitizer with the first aide supplies but I only saw me using it,  Hmmmmm.....

So nutrition was key in surviving this at any level.  I ate and drank every lap.  Here's a list of things I consumed:
fig newtons x8
potato wedges x3
Ramen Soup x3
Pizza slices x 4
Peanut M&M's x 3 cups
PB & Jelly 1/4 sandwiches x 5
Pickle wedges x 8
pickle juice cups x2
Gatorade cups x2 every lap completed
Pretzels cup full x2
Endurolytes x2 every hour
Sport Legs Capsules x2 every hour
Protein, electrolyte, beta alanine mixture about a cup every hour when taking capsules
banana halves x6
orange slices x 10
chocolate chip cookies x2

These 2 were some tough ladies.  They rested some but when they ran they sprinted past me like I was standing still.  I'm in the background stuffing my mouth while talking to some GoRun Teammates likely Sherry Vick, Jamie Connerton, etc.

Deborah & Rosemary were always all smiles...
In the deep background was my GoRun teammate Rod Jordan
Rosemary finished 109th overall/37th female with about 47 miles.
Deborah finished 90th overall/33rd female with over 51 miles.

I walked most hills but when I noticed I was slipping in my pace, I walked less and ran more.  I didn't run fast but simply a little jog where I was walking before.  This was helpful if I anticipated the need to take supplements or use the bathroom.  

This was a new creature on the trail this year.  When you are running far, any distraction from new stuff is a cool way to keep motivated and focused on the task to run.

Daron & Keshia
Brother & Sister

This was a new gnome this year too!

There were some kids who had fun moving the gnomes.  Their parents had to remind them not to actually "hide" them but to just move them.

I was squinting so bad I didn't notice that my friend Jamie and I were photobombed!  Funny!  Check out all the lily pads!

Jamie Connerton finished 120th overall/44th female with 43.6+ miles!!

Ron and Nathan
As I mentioned before Ron Wireman Jr.  managed a killer 2nd place finish.  Nathan Maxwell also did awesome with finishing 27th overall/20th male with about 74 miles!!

Of course, I loved this sign since I'm a science nerd and yep I love some Star Wars and Star Trek too!!  Seeing kids out there really made me miss my kiddos but I'm not sure how they would do for that long period of time without me playing with them etc.  My high energy kids would be bored.  That being said, I really appreciated the variety of signs out there and every kid and adult out there supporting runners.

This was a view looking back as I neared my tent on the shady part of the trail.  Photo credit I think went to Vac and Dash or at least another runner.  I appreciate all the pictures folks took that I didn't for sure.

Time to put on the headlamps.  It was significantly brighter in one part of the course when comparing to another part and especially in the trails.  I made a good decision to get the headlamp early.

View opposite of the Aide Station

Another Ultra Runner now timing events...

This monitor was cool except for the reminder that the leader was ahead by a gizillion laps!!  I was so doing well and on track to get that Hundo... ugh... funny how things changed quickly.

Without a doubt my wife Gina's texts were great motivators as well as tools to keep focused.  I would eventually make the executive decision to stop due to my left Achilles Tendon becoming increasingly more tender.  I feared that that tendon would pop and I'd end up in some boot and not able to run for several months.  With my upcoming Marathon in December in Little Rock Arkansas, I had to  prevent any type of major injury.

No, I wasn't happy at all.  My PR distance was 84 miles so I was close to a new personal record.  I did do enough to do more than 3 straight marathons(78.6m) with 79.6m plus my walk back to the tent.

The winner Mark Manz finished 91 laps for 136.79120 miles at a 10:27 pace overall with chip time of 23:49:52 out of 329 competitors with 159 men.  Mark is only 32 so he will keep getting better!  Congrats Mark!!!

A couple of badges of honor on my left foot.  In most ultras I have switched shoes around 50 miles however this time I kept my Saucony Kinvaras on.  I felt good so if it wasn't broken I wasn't fixing it.  My feet were sore but I actually didn't feel the blisters during the run.

It's a wrap...  I originally planned to finish up and go to sleep before waking up to drive home.  Daron was originally getting a ride from his sister but she had decided to go home.  Since I stopped running around 4 am, I was able to get a couple of hours of sleep.  I drove about half way and then Daron drove us the remainder of the trip back when I could feel the lack of sleep creeping on me.  Once we got to his house, I only had a few miles left to get home.  It sure is hard to move after sitting for a while!

I was so happy to take my clothes off and get a long shower!!

These are just a few of many texts and messages I received.  I appreciated the support and mostly for keeping me realistic about the situation.  It did help me feel better but I was still upset about not meeting my goal.  I was so frustrated and fought within about what to do.  I knew with my tender Achilles tendon that I would not make the Hundo but battled about just walking to at least get a PR Distance which would at this time be anything above 84ish.  But what if I detached or injured in someway my Achilles?  How long would I be out?  I guess I made a good decision but then later when my Achilles didn't really bother me 2 days later I was revisiting this. Bleh.  

The Reverse Taper can be just as bad as the taper before the race.  Just a warning for all around to be aware that a runner may be irritable etc.  Of course, I did manage to do some light workouts in martial arts and lift weights to help with this.  I have a busy job working in Behavioral Health Occupational Therapy too.

So what's next?  In December I'm running the Jacob's 3 Bridges Marathon with Jarrod Quinlivan in Little Rock Arkansas.  Afterwards, I will be running the Light 2 Light 50 mile Ultra in the NC OBX in February.  My spring event will be with Martin Coward as we do the team Fiesta Biathlon.  I'm still trying to decide on an ultra for the fall with Phillip Hamrick but who knows?  Maybe we will do Hinson if we can't decide on one.

Time waits for no one... What's your next adventure?