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Hamster 32 Hour

August 14, 2021


Third time completing this race.  First time actually staying out on the course the entire time.

In 2016 I competed 39 loops which is the minimum for the 100 mile buckle and you complete 101.4 miles as each loop is 2.6 miles.
In 2019 I completed 40 loops because why not do just one more.  It was raining at the end and I changed in to dry clothes and did not want to go out and get wet so 104 miles was fine with time to spare.
In 2021 I told myself that this is a 32 hour race so stay out there the whole time and see what you can do.  I was doing math and at one point late in the race it looked like I could get 42 or 43 loops.  But alas after 100 miles everything started to get ouchy ouch and so one more loop than last time seemed sensible.  I completed 41 loops for 106.6 miles and second place behind my phenomenal friend Jess who did 56 loops.

Smokey air and the low 80s were the conditions.  Usually it gets cooler at night and it likely did but it sure didn’t feel like it.  At night it is always hard in the dark to keep keeping on.  During one loop Scotty asked if he could go with me and of course I said yes and warned him I was walking and running so not moving too fast.  Scotty is super fast runner but it was dark and we both had 60 plus miles on our legs so we went easy.  It was great to have company along the loop.  Then we picked up Jenny so we had a little pack of hamsters getting loopy.  This made the night running so much more successful for us.  Each loop someone felt better than the others and so we took turns encouraging each other in getting the loops completed.  We would stop at the aid station and eat or drink something or take a 5 min rest with eyes closed or sit in a lay back chair with feet up.  Then off we went to get more loops.  It was really great to have a pack to run with.

When daylight hit I felt good so started running more and at this point was calculating how much time I had left and how many loops I wanted to get.  My music perked me up and daylight always helps a sleepy hamster get going.  Jenny and I did a few more loops together and she finished her hundo. First hundred miler for her in over ten years.  The knee survived as did she.  Buckle baby.
Next it was me to finish my hundo and right behind me was Katrina.  So the three of us who had to settle at Strawberry Fields in June for only a 100k in 110 degree heat got our redemption at Hamster, buckles all around.
I messed with the great race director Gretchen and her volunteers as they wanted me to finish and give me my buckle when I finished 39 laps but I said I wasn’t done.  This was a 32 hour race and I was going stay out for all 32 hours.  So off I went for a couple more loops.  

Without my friends things began to hurt and my attitude that was previously positive diminished.  Then for my last loop my husband showed up and he escorted me around for the last time.  I got to show him the course and all the special hills we gave ugly names to.  He got to experience me gag and whine, the obviously pleasant side of ultrarunning.  It was great to walk in my last lap with him.  Fortunately I did not have time for another.  Let’s just say I planned it that way and took a couple of extra sit down breaks just to make sure.

Thank you Chris for walking my last lap with me and driving us safely home.
Thank you Keith for driving us up to the race.  Glad you got your run in with friends.
Thank you to Gretchen and her volunteers.  They really know how to put on a great race and they basically spoil us with good eats and all the support.
Thank you Jess for showing how it is done, just one (or in your case two) more loops than last time to PR on the course.  I would not have thought to do that just for fun.
Thank you to my body for staying tough and positive until the very end.  I appreciate every one of these events I can complete as I am just not sure how many more I have in me.  But when you see 77 year old Gunhild out there gettin in her hundo it is truly inspirational to be one of the hamsters on the wheel.

Some numbers for me in case I wanna be a hamster again
Half, 2:40
Marathon, 6:05
50k, 7:25
50M, 13:00
100, 28:33
101.4, 39th loop, 29:15
106.6, my watch had 107.5, 31:18
If you do this again, do a lot of hill training
Bring a handheld and try not to carry your pack as you don’t need it
Try to run two loops at a time before stopping at aid station
Looking back on 2019, I was about two hours faster, need to train for hills, so 43 loops for me is possible
Number 41 of a hundred or more, ya baby


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