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Fat Ox 48 Hour

November 19, 2021

Nardini Manor - Buckeye, Arizona

When you finish a 48 hour and feel good that means something, I’m ready for more!  (Which is great as I signed up for a six day soon)

Jess and I were supposed to travel together to Fat Ox but she broke herself (and is recovering) so fortunately Stef agreed to travel together. It would be her first 48 hour run and she did great.

Nardini Manor was the original course for Across The Years. Because it is a small loop and a tight course there is a limit on the number of participants.  As Aravaipa grew they naturally had to find a new venue because ATY hosts many runners.  The Nardini course is softer as there is more dirt and less or no pavement. This would be my first time at the manor.  The course is a short loop on 500 meters, totally flat, and it takes over three laps for a mile.  We changed directions every three hours to avoid repetitive use injuries.  On short loop courses there are a lot of distractions and it seems like it takes a while to build up the mileage because the loop is so short.  Chance to stop often is too tempting and distracting.

As some of you know, sleeping during a multi day race is not my strength.  I usually don’t even try to sleep during the first 24-30 hours.  And of course this would be another example of that. Meanwhile the champion of sleep, Darro was able to easily sleep a couple of times and asked me not to let him hang out in his comfy sleeping bag any more.  His walking strategy on day one proved effective as he passed many people up in mileage on day two when he started to run.  After about 40 hours or so of no sleep you start to not think straight which was going on for me.  I would try to lay down and the rest would help my legs but my brain was ebbing away.  Finally I fell asleep in the middle of the night during one of my rests.  I must have got about 90 minutes or so and when I woke up the song they were playing was Teenage Wasteland.  Well I felt like a teenager on something because I got up and quickly went out on the course and told everyone I had my brain back and could think.  I was human again. Yay.

I think it really helped to have two cots and a tent in a heated bigger tent, thank you Jess for giving Stef and I your set up.  It was nice having a home base that was comfortable and right next to the course.

Aravaipa food at their races is always good.  When I saw Momma Curry there I knew we would be fed well.  She always has good food and lots of plant based options.  Lets just say I might have gained weight on this run.  No issues with the stomach.  I used a liquid drink for calories early on with a few gels, ick, I know gels, haven’t been using them but when you are running in the heat they work well.  As I slowed to a run walk strategy I added real food into the mix and stopped the gels and my stomach was happy.

I changed my socks often and changed to bigger shoes.  My trusty left foot that rarely gets blisters finally got two blisters on two different toes.  I cut out my shoe to help one of blisters near my big toe and because I was wearing shoes with cut outs for my pinky toes those shoes took me the rest of the way.  Don’t be afraid to modify shoes as a little hole in a strategic spot can make all the difference.

Everyone always said that they can’t believe I like to run on short loopy courses.  That they would die of boredom.  I don’t get bored.  I meet people, I cheer people on, there are always lots of smiles. Fun.  This time seeing Olivier Leblond going after beating his own record was super cool.  He runs so smoothly and so consistently.  There were several times that he would pass me in the same spot for a few loops in a row and I would easily move out of his way as he flew past.  But there were also some occasions that he snuck up on me.   I can hear most runners coming up as they have a loud form and I can make it easy for them to pass.  Olivier has such a quiet running form that he would sneak up on me and I would awkwardly get out of his way or he would smoothly go around me. Great to see him throw down a big number on day one.  Sorry to see that day two didn’t work out the way he wanted.  Great to see him come back out for the awards and talk with people.  His crew was smiling and that always helps other runners. Thanks.

So I think this might be my princess race as I actually took a shower mid race. Who does that?  Well me.  They had a nice bathroom right next to the course and there was a shower so as a treat after I finished my hundred miles  when I was sweaty, salty, dirty and just icky. I took a quick shower, changed clothes and tried to sleep in the heat of the second afternoon.  Didn’t sleep but got off my feet and stayed out of the heat the second day.  This strategy worked and even if it didn’t I felt like I was a princess.  This race was not a big goal race as in five weeks I have the six day race at ATY coming up so my goal was to stay out there for 48 hours and practice eating, sleeping and walking and running.  I think I did that and did no damage.

During day one I was surprised that they couldn’t get the screen working.  The screen that you waste too much time looking at each loop as you go by to see where you are at with mileage, pace and distance.  I even accused Jubilee of making us run more and faster by not having the data screen up and going to distract us.  Well news to me, my sunglasses did not let me see the screen.  It had been going all along.  So when I finally realized this we were well over a marathon in distance into the race and I saw I was in third place, yay.  I sought out the first place gal and chatted a bit.  Later we would chat and walk a lot.  She was young and much faster than me and this was her first 48 hour. Great to meet Deb as I think she has a strong future in this multi day thing.  Lookin forward to seeing her at ATY in the 72 hour race. Also got some good intel on Arizona colleges as she is a professor at one. Aurora may be heading to the sun for college.

So why do I do these loopy courses?  You get to see the race unfold before your eyes.  You have a unique vantage point to see the top runners during their race.  You get to encourage people and be encouraged by people.  Food is always available. And you get to be a princess with great accommodations and even a shower. Run And Have FUN!

128 miles, 412 laps on a 500 meter dirt, pea gravel flat loop
80 degrees during the day, 50 degrees at night
2nd woman, 6th overall
44th run of a hundred or more miles
8th hundred or more for 2021

Notes to self:
Remember, don’t look at the screen too much as it’s a waste of time
You like loops closer to one mile or more
Even if you have walked a lot, you can still get back into running motion
Tape up the darn blisters early on instead of draining them every few hours
Bring all the socks you own so you can change socks often


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