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Six Days at the Fair

Augusta, NJ

May 10-16, 2021

The race is really titled 3 Days at the fair with many options for events, from marathons, 50K, 24, 48, 72 hour.  We chose to run the six day, over achievers that we are.

The day before the fair we, Jess and I walk and run to the nearby Whole Foods to get groceries.  Yum, they have really good food.  I might have bought too much.  Jess says it is never too much as you are running a six day. I usually don’t run or walk too much before big events so I’m trying something new.  Walking yesterday and running a little today loosened things up and let’s see if is serves me well right before six days.  (It did)

We get a ride out to Sussex County Fairgrounds where the race is to be held.  (We will also be picked up by this ride service which is the best decision ever as neither of us would have been capable of driving anywhere after the race). Right after we get all our bags in the RV the rain starts.  We have stepped into a brand new RV that has all the bells and whistles so we have all the room we need.  Already we can tell that it is set up correctly as there is no rocking or swaying when we move about.  So no giggles of pretending we are on a ship like the last time we spent days in an RV.

The rain is supposed to stop tomorrow.  I hope it stops before we start.  So now it is time to get nervous and excited and scared, all at once until this bloody race starts.  Yikes.  I am much better prepared for this, my second six day race.  I have been running a lot and ran a lot of miles in March and April.  I had several 90 mile weeks and basically nine good weeks of training.  I didn’t necessarily focus on walking but I did some good walking with my tall long legged friend Betsy.  So I will try to channel her when the walking begins as I want to get a big number.  My A goal in something above 350. B goal is anything over 333 which is what I did at ATY.  C goal is to get 303 which is what you need to get a three hundred mile buckle.  Let’s see what unfolds...

Day one
Feeling good and caught myself going too fast due to excitement.  Had to shut that down and concentrate on going easy.  Still hit my targets. Half 2:32. Marathon 5:25. 50k. 6:32. 50M 11:15.
Took a break to change socks, shoes and put on warm clothes, 15-17 min break, 100K. 14:40
75 miles 18:08, Time for a rest and to get off my feet.  Watch, phone and aftershokx need charging so I am multitasking and writing this up for future reference.  These race reports have been useful for reference.  Met some really nice people, looking forward to talking with them more when I walk more. Eating some really interesting vegan food, eating a lot and the stomach is okay with that so far.
63 miles before midnight, 25 miles from midnight to 9 am
Total for first day 88, great!

100 miles in 27:15

Only laid down for an hour from 3:10 am to 4:10 am.  So going give myself a treat and lay down for a bit more.

Day two
Stayed on course till almost 8 pm.  I think I got 34 or 35 miles in from 9 am till 8 pm.
Gonna rest now , Supposed to rain and I’m not thinking clearly, Feet hurt, used some cream on them, Buddha belly all day, But great beet vegan burger

No sleep yet.  Got back on course at 9 pm.  Only lasted three hours so tried to sleep again at midnight, not happening.  So back out on course from 1 am to 7 am.  Got my mileage goal, 150 so far (88 on day one and 62 on day two).  Now time for breakfast (yummy French toast) and an attempt at sleep, no sleeping yet but I am a champ at resting enough to get back out there for more loops.

Day three
At the end of day two I got to lay down for a while because I got my goal mileage early.

Beginning of day three I ran well and got 15 miles in the bank, the goal each of the next four days is 50 plus each day.  After 15 miles and less than three hours on my feet I went in the RV to sleep.  I laid down for an hour, no sleep.  I just keep trying and one of these times I will actually fall asleep.  After 8 more miles I need to get off the achy feet so I am in the RV with the AC on and my feet up typing this. The RV set up here is so great as we have electricity.  No generator to hassle with and oh the AC feels good on a hot afternoon break.  It has been hot today so I carried my hand held bottle so I could drink often and of course squirt people on their legs and squirt my own head and neck.  Windy and sunny, lips chapped no matter how much chapstick I put on.  The wind has done a number on my lips as they are pretty torn up, Chapstick only helps a little, using aquaphor now as it feels better. I might try to always have Vaseline, aquaphor and chapstick as my lips are in a bit of pain.  Ran in a tank top for most of the day, still hot, likely got sun burn.  Oops forgot sunscreen.  No real burn from the sun, more of a wind burn.

Jess is doing awesome and everybody wants to give her advice.  Some people are sweet and well meaning and some are competitive and want to use her as their muse.
I want to tell them all to back off and let her run her race.  She has had some interesting “conversations” with the lead male runner.  Let’s just say he is quite friendly towards her.  He even held my hand at one point during the race.

I am feeling strong as after a rest I can actually run at a decent clip, nothing fast but it looks like I am running with walk breaks instead of a shuffle.  Must have been all those miles of training.  This is great as the running allows me to keep my mileage pace under 16 minutes per mile, closer to 4 miles per hour.  When walking I only cover 3 mph.  One of the other goals I had coming into this race besides a number goal was to be able to stay in running motion all six days.  During my last six day race I pretty much shut that run thing down on day 4. During this race I will run though day five and only walk exclusively on day six.

After I got to 180 miles decided to try to sleep, I think this time I actually slept, yay.
Got up, went five miles now taking a break with my feet up.  When I get to this stage of the race where I take breaks, I try to get in as many miles as possible.  So I have these little goals of 5 or 10 miles at a time before sitting or lying down.  That last mile before a break can be hard, but doing it reminds me I can tough it out to be ever close to my goals.

Had a delicious warm chocolate chip cookie. Simple things. Yum.

It is afterall an eating contest and I am doing well.  No stomach issues, just a lot of good food.  Since they have so many plant based options and I have been listening to Plant Strong podcast, I have been eating well.  This may have contributed positively to my success at this event.  You do have to poop a lot when eating plant based or maybe it is just eating a lot in general.  Just in case you wanted to know.   Fortunately there are real bathrooms with sinks and soap to wash your hands, very civilized. Seriously , I have been not using any kind of gels or running drinks other than Nuun in the heat of the afternoon.  I think your digestion system works better with plants and whole foods and so I’m trying that. There is a lot of sugar involved and that is starting to hurt my tongue and mouth.  It may be the chapped lips can’t take all the sugar and sugar helps a runner get her loops.  So far so good.

Thought I would go another five and take a break but like a champ I convinced myself to get ten miles in before next break.  I’m at 195 miles and it is 3 am. Brushed teeth, time for rest.

Had a great conversation with Trishul Chern.  He has completed 3100 mile Sri Chinmoy race three times and many many six day events. He is a funny guy and knows all the data about ultra running. We walk and talk for several loops over the course of the event.  He is providing some good support for Jess and trying to help her stay focused on enjoying the run and not just the numbers and possible records she might set.

Yay sleep happened and I am ecstatic to report that my brain is now working.  I slept for two hours. That is all you really need to allow yourself to go through all the stages of sleep.  
Then got back out and got 200 and a couple more.  It is all about the loops. I still have time for a couple more before 9 am. So likely 55 for day three, yay.

Jess is rockin it and has the American record In her sights.  As long as she doesn’t blow up
She will be fine.  This brings a lot of excitement to the event as everyone is talking about the skinny tan girl, Jess, my friend and how amazing she is.  They comment on how positive and supportive she is while cranking out the miles.  I smile, she is a rockstar and a goofy gal.

I look on Facebook during one of my breaks and see that there is a lot of chatter about Jess and how well she is doing. I am glad she doesn’t see any of this as she is too busy running.  Trying to stay focused on HER race.  We don’t have crew with us so we have to take care of ourselves.  But some people at the race start offering to help.  Such a great community.  Our frig all of the sudden has gained food. There are also food donations on the counter.  People just want to help.  So sweet.

Since Jess is doing so well and I want to get all the miles we can, We both decide not to take showers til the end.  Stinky decision but one that will serve us well.  Why take a shower when you would just have to sleep with your clean body in a stinky sleeping bag. What’s the point?
We are washing faces and using wet wipes to get clean, Brushing teeth is so satisfying.
I’m a little worried that she has not slept.
I see her counting on her hands doing math to calculate how many miles she needs.
I try to suggest that she lay down for 45-60 minutes instead of just ten minutes.

New legs will be joining us today, quite a few people have set up tents along the course.  This will be the second group of 72 hour people with some 24 and 48 hour people as well.  The course allows people to set up tents and cars right next to the trail.  This is adding excitement to the event.

Only one blister on my left pinkie toe.  I thought I had a matching one on the right but it was just a swollen toe.  No wonder no liquid came out when I was trying to drain it, oops.

Day four
Had a bad morning, just couldn’t get going, not sure why in the moment.  Later I realize that I had just finished three days with over two hundred miles and I still has 3 more days to go.  I think the immensity of the position I was in hit me and made for a rough morning.
Still did 15 miles, Took a nap, Had an ice pop, Then starting running like i was on day one
Now at 7:15 pm, 10:15 hours and have 31 miles, Going sleep and go get more loops.

Fun to see Jess commit to going after American record. She admitted to me that she was going to go for it and see what happens and added that the race directors were in the know.
Lots of people are very supportive of her.  There is little I can do to support this amazing runner as she is so independent.  I do make friends and so when It was hot I was able to procure us ice pops.  When we needed ice, I was able to have a friend get us some ice.  When our lips were rough and pudding and ice cream seemed like a good option I was able to negotiate someone going to the store to buy some for us. Making friends when you are alone and away from home has advantages.  The RV next to us has been empty for most of the week.  Then our new neighbors show up and they are a bit loud.  I was already awake so when I came out of the RV I told them that Jess was coming in for a nap and it would be great if they could be quiet as she had not slept yet.  I also dropped that she was chasing a record.  These people, Kim, Chet, Vinnie were the best RV neighbors we could have asked for. They adopted us and wanted to do so much for us.  I almost felt bad when I said we didn’t need anything.  They were spot on getting us ice, pudding and ice cream.  They gave us the best avocado ever. All cut up with a little salt on it.  Truly what a nice group of people supporting their runner and us.

More chatter on the book face about whether Jess can do it or not.  Not sure I like people talking about my friend.  I might be a little sensitive after so little sleep.  I just want Jess to continue to run her race and find her bliss.  

Day four, tough day as you have a nuther 3 days to go. Still got my goal and some bonus miles. So 58 for day four. (88,62, 55, 58). As I’m writing this I realize I got 205 miles in 72 hours. Dayam that is good for me and a one mile PR.  I have run three other 72 hour races and this first three days of the six day was my best.

Day five you get into a groove
Nap some, run after the nap, then walk until the feet hurt, chat some and eat some, Then repeat.
I was really enjoying running after a nap as so many people were just walking so it was fun to collect loops faster.  Each night I would add a lot of loops and catch up to take third place then my young friend GG would wake up after her beauty sleep and pass me.  I think this happened several nights in a row.  
Day five was the end of Jess’s American record attempt due to shin injury, Bummer
A lot of people on the course were pulling for her, she handled it well
She will still stay on the course and walk as long as she does no permanent injury
Class act

Day five
Struggled to get 55 miles, but did it with time to spare which means I get to lay down.
During the wee hours Jessica from the east coast (another gal named Jessica) and I had quite a laugh fest and then decided to take animals on a loop, yup there were some figurines of dogs and we thought it would be fun to move them around the race course a little at a time.  We borrowed the dog and then got permission, oopsy.
The animals movement seemed to entertain people and they joined in.  Some people helped move the animals and at one point a plastic leg showed up, someone must have asked for new legs.  At day five in a six day race and especially the night of day five things get annoying or extremely funny.  The animals had a party on one section of the course called the out and back.  A stuffed pig even made a cameo appearance even though it’s owner didn’t realize it was missing.  This was one of those hilarious nights where you were looking for the exit and could not find it.  You had to remember you couldn’t leave because you had a tracking chip around your ankle.  Anything said was usually funny so a lot of giggling ensued and you can’t do math.  You also forget what mile you are on immediately after you pass the timing mat.  I think they have live tracking online not just for people to follow the race but for the runners themselves to remember what mile they are in.  I can’t tell you how many times I had to look at that online info to find the mile I was ononly to forget by the time the phone went back in my pocket.
Silliness during the night of day five builds up in anticipation of the L a s t Da y o n t h e c o u r s e, day six

Lately during day 4, 5 and 6  I was doing five or ten miles and then I would take a break.
This last Section I completed 13 loops so I’m tired. Took a rest and then going out to get some more.

Fell asleep hard ! yay!  Woke up early.  Ate ice cream, yum. Day six was a day for ice cream for breakfast and Ice cream for lunch and because our frig turned off or broke we had kinda soft ice cream.  Our brains were too tired to figure out how to fix the frig so we did our best to consume all the ice cream we could.
My lips and tongue are so chapped that the only thing I want to eat is ice cream, pudding or something soft.  Back at it for more miles.  Ouchy ouch feet hurt.  Well Everything hurts.  Took a full lap to warm up.  Did a few laps in the sun with ice on my neck.  Need more ice cream.

Day six
Got up and realized how spent I was and how much my body performed when asked.  Very thankful I trained hard so I could stay in the game this long. Body hurts bad, So took it easy
Tried to shuffle and was able to but not for long. Realized that this would be a walking day
So adjusted goals.
334 definitely gonna get this as it would be a new pr
350 likely, I have the time, should get this or I will be disappointed
373 nope, at some point it was suggested I do 600K which is 373 miles, I was on track for this and needed 55 miles on the last day, I got 40, but the best part was spending most of the night and morning with Jess as she was walking.
I’m happy with my decision (although I do see 600K as a future possible goal)

Got my pr at 5 pm on day six
They let me ring the bell and gave me part of a freeze pop, Not enough of a treat, So I decided to take a shower, O M G, Felt so good to get clean, If I’m only walking, might as well be clean. Also taking A shower when I’m finished with 350 might happen in the middle of the cold night and with wet hair I might not go back out. So this gives me the best chance to get all the miles, I feel good, clean.

Slept a little then walk four laps, rest for an hour, walk four laps, rest for an hour. Jess and I called people and entertained ourselves through the night. We gained respectable mileage without hurting ourselves. And we got to giggle together, precious good time with my friend.

And it felt so good to be in that last lap, this is it, just one more lap.
We both did three to four more miles than planned just to see the sunrise, cheer on our new friends and enjoy the end of six days of relentless forward progress.

Ended with 358 miles, 4th place Woman, Coins for 250 and 500 cumulative miles (151 from 2014 and 358 from 2021). Got to sign the 500 mile poster
Watched Trishul Chern sleep through his awards, priceless

Clothing, What to bring, notes for next time
Definitely need two pairs of socks for each day, three if you have that many
Shirt, skirt, tank, and long sleeve for each day, fun to don a diff outfit each day and limits how much you smell due to not showering
Tights for over night, pants are good to have but it really wasn’t cold enough for big pants
Coats, variety, rain coats, diff weight puffy coats and ATY coats
Gloves, beanie, hats, buffs
Just bring all the clothes, you will wear them all

People in Jersey are great. At the end they started giving us a hard time.  I take this as they want us to come back and we have been accepted.  Wonderful experience with great people.

dad race director and timing, Mom kitchen, Sister kitchen and anything else, Son, night kitchen crew, Daughter, awards
We were well cared for and the food was the best.  Lots of vegan vegetarian and omnivore options. Order what you want and by the time you come around the lap, your food is ready with your name on It. I tried all of the vege burgers, one even was made of mostly beets.  They had a cool set us for soups and other dishes where you served yourself from crockpots and the spoons hung below the pot. Lots of rice, potatoes, mac and cheese, even green beans and mushrooms.  Oh the French toast on wonder bread each morning, yum.

I had been eating mostly plant based whole foods for about three weeks before the race.  I decided I would continue that the best way I could during the race.  The race offered lots of options so it was easy.  My body responded well to this.  Going to keep it up not just for my running health and overall physical health but also to support our planet and reduce climate change.

So of course we told people we would be back and we will.  I no longer say never again at the end of these types of races.  I like challenging myself and seeing what is possible as I age. So far so good, gettin better as I go.  But most importantly I enjoy running and the people I meet.  Looking forward to many more miles of conversations.
Thank you for all of your support.  It was fun to pop onto the book face and see you all cheering us on.  During the low moments it really perked me up.  Remember

Oh and I have to go back because apparently I left my buckle and coins there at the awards ceremony, sad face �� too spaced out at the end, but I did make it home to Seattle safe.


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