HB Logo

Three Days at the Fair 48 Hour Race

May 16, 2014

151 miles, 48 Hour Race, winner winner chicken dinner

Strategy works 
The strategy i am referring to is being a minimalist at a 48 hour event.  Many people came to New Jersey to run loops on a very runnable mostly flat course at a fairgrounds in Augusta, NJ.  They brought with them tents, cots, sleeping bags, chairs, ice chests, barbecues, tarps, and many other comfort items.  Little did I know and being from way out of town did not afford me this luxury.  I have learned on these loop events that just because there is an aid station each one mile loop, doesn't mean you have to partake each loop.  Just because you run by your gear each loop does not give you permission to stop.  My strategy was to keep going because I didn't have the comforts of home every loop.  In fact, I didn't have anything so I had no choice but to stay out there on course.  This meant I racked up a lot of miles when others were inside tents or resting in their comfortable reclining chairs....gotta get me one of those.

The race was in progress for the 72 hour folks (60 people) when I started on Friday with the other 50 or so 48 hour people.  Marylou Corino was in the lead with over 100 miles for day one.  She was aiming to break her previous three day total of 250 something, which she did with 271 miles.  What a Mighty Mouse, energizer bunny, sweet person she is.  Marylou is the one who told me about this race and how well supportive the race director was so she is the who got me into this, and I thank her for that. Of course when we started at 9 am it was not raining, but threatenng and it was so muggy that you already felt sticky.  I thought it best to find a dry spot to put my drop bags so right next to the start/Finish and aid station I found a picnic table .... My home away from home. Not much of a comfortable place as one bench was super skinny and not comfortable for sitting or sleeping, perfect.  My fabulous friend Katy dropped me off, watched me get started and then left, again, strategy.

Well I did a Marilou Russell and started running with folks and chatting and reconnecting with those i knew and getting to know new people.  I am always amazed at how easy this is for Marilou so I have been schooled by her.  After all you are going to spend the next 48 hours with these people.  The first 10 to 12 hours of an event like this fly by as I am running well and I love to run so everything feels great.  I was fueled by gels (lots of different brands and flavors) and UCAN carb drink and coconut water.  Seemed to work fine as my splits were great.  Of course it started to rain early which felt fine because it got rid of the stickiness and kept everyone cool so running was fun.

I met several people from New York and New Jersey who shared with me all the other races I should do when I come back.  Such friendly and supportive people, supportive in an addictive kind of way.  Joe a 69 year old was quite chatty and we talked a lot through most of the first few hours while his much younger wife ran circles around us.  She was fast and part of a group each day that would do a marathon.  There were a lot of other events during the three days at the fair, including a six hour, 12 hour, marathons, 50K, etc.  so there were always fresh legs on the course.  Young Joe Fejes, world record holder always looked like he always had fresh legs.  I asked him why he was only doing the 48 hour as he usually does the three or six day events.  He said he has never done a 48 hour event and wanted to see how far he could go while holding a faster pace for a shorter time.  In January he beat Yannis Kouras with 555 miles in six days.  In this event he did 230 in two days.  Impressive to watch and he is supportive and sweet.  There is a short out and back section where you see runners. Each time we passed there he would wave or smile at me and I shared the same with him.  I guess that is why I appreciate the loop course so much.  You get to watch the race and interact with all the runners, not just the ones at your pace.

The second 12 hours contined on as the rain continued on.  Less and less people were on the course.  They must have snuck away to their tents or cars.  I didn't have a tent or car to go to (strategy) so I had to keep going.  As the night wore on it got colder so I put on more clothes and finally donned a rain poncho.  The wind was blowing and I am not sure if it helped but it allowed me to stop for a few minutes to visit my drop bags.  So at this point if Katy was there or I had a car I would have quit as it was miserable in the rain and wind and cold.  I had been wet all day so chaffing was awful and I could not get myself dry enough to put on additional glide so I gave up and kept racking up the loops.  I had no where to go and I didn't want to stop for fear of getting cold so I kept going....this was my strategy.  At least that is what I lied to myself.

In the middle of the night after some torrential rains, it finally stopped.  I was waiting to change into a dry pair of shoes when the rain finally stopped as the forecast was great for the second day.  But I didn't want to risk getting my only other pair of shoes wet.  My feet felt icky on the bottom and people were talking about maceration of the feet which I know you sometimes cannot come back from and it often stops runners as you cannot tape macerated feet.  At around 7 or 8PM Katy came out to check on me.  She helped me change socks and try to glide up.  I texted her to bring newspaper as this was a trick Susie showed me.  It helped dry out the shoes.  She pulled out the insoles and dried them.  When I put on dry socks and the shoes again, they felt wonderful....for a few steps.  Actually even though they got wet again it still was worth it to change socks.  Probably kept my feet in the game.  My feet are notorious for blisters.  Only two blisters, one at 82 miles due to a U turn that I took too fast all day and one blister at mile 142.  This is great for my feet, love the new Altra Olympus shoes with the excellent space for my toes, all of my toes.

When I was  fixing my blister at mile 82 it was easy as I was still quite coherent.  The blister at mile 142 was not quite so easy.  I was trying to tape the little toe and I could not separate my toes.  I must have been complaining out loud as this other runner came over and helped me separate my toes.  Still not sure who this angel was but I thank her.

There were a couple of times that the rain seemed to stop or lighten up for a few minutes where shortly after it would pound on us again.  This seemed to go on forever.  On most of these torrential downpours I was somewhere out on the course asking the question, really?  I would sometime swear at the rain, it made me feel better.  I hoped that the rain wouldn't wreck my iPod, because there were very few people on course and my tunes were keeping me company.  One time I was at the aid station and I just couldn't go back out as the rain was blowing sideways and it was coming down hard, so I sat for a few minutes and watched, ate, and contemplated why I was here...and then went out for more loops.

Day two
Sunrise is early but before sunrise there were some birds going nuts, chirping and getting loud, kind of entertaining.  Now this race is at a fairgrounds so naturally there is going to be a chicken show and they brought in roosters the day before.  Of course there is too much going on and so the roosters are popping off all night long.  Even if I had a tent I could not have slept through that.  There is also a horse show going on during the final day. The announcer is on a loud speaker directing the riders to direct the horses, slow, fast, jog, walk....was she talking to the horses or to us the runners....I had a good chuckle with that.  See loops can be entertaining.

So I start eating real food on day two as I cannot stomach another gel or any more of the carb drink.  And of course they run out of eggs before I get my order in...well I already had my first breakfast (French toast) at 4 am and was looking for more at 7am.  So Nutella and peanut butter sandwich to the rescue, yum.  I really had my food intake dialed in as no stomach issues and I felt fueled well for most of the two days.  This is not always easy as I love to eat and often eat too much.  My secret was to eat every two hours on the second day.  I missed dinner because of this and when I went up to the aid station and asked what's for dinner, she said I missed it, something about beef tenderloin....I must have looked bad because she asked me what I wanted and started offering anything I wanted.  She suggested a toasted chesse with bacon.... I am usually vegan ..... And I said okay.  You put in your order with your bib number and then do a loop and when you get back around your order is ready.  My gosh, that was the best toasted cheese bacon sandwich ever...I must have been down a little on my calories at that moment.

Sunny and rummy, that was me as I had no sleep and survived the night.  I was close to getting 100 in one day so I was still trying to move it, move it, move it.  When I realized I wasn't going get 24 hours I thought at least I could try for under 25 so I hauled ass on my last loop to 100.  I must have looked like those single day runners, fresh legs.  Got it, new PR, 24 hours 56 minutes for 100 miles.  And that haul ass loop loosened things up so I was running well for a few more miles. I think I got to 110 or so with running and walking and calculating.  I am always calculating how many more loops I can get in the time left with the pace that I am going, 150 seemed possible which is what my goal was.  I think Katy came out to check on me in the morning before heading into New York City.  That was part of my strategy, send the only help you have away so you have no choice but to keep going.  Before she left I asked her to check on where I was in the standing as I hadn't cared to look until now.  She said I was in first with an 18 mile lead over the Swedish gal...oh s!?$&!

I was having fun ...now the pressure is on, can I hold off this young thing who came all the way from Sweeden.  Who is this person, what is her bib number....have I even seen her on course...nope and I wouldn't see her much as we always seemed to be on opposite sides of the loop.  

I kept walking and chatting and I had a couple of spots where I was still running so the second day was going well.  It got hot so I peeled lots of wet layers off.  The sun felt good and for the fresh legs who just got started it must have been real hot, comfortable for me.  I had planned to sleep In the early evening of the second day, just a short nap to get me through the night, so I was looking forward to when Katy was coming back.  The little car with its soft seat seemed like it would be comfortable compared to the picnic table.  Throughout the day I took three breaks of about ten minutes each.  Now if you are going to take a break why not do it in style.  Marylou's team said I could use one of their four reclining chairs anytime I wanted. So I did and everyone was worried that I wouldn't get up once I sat down with my legs up....ten minutes was just fine, I got up each time and went for more laps....had to keep ahead of that gal....I am too darn competive.  Now I have to get one of those reclining chairs as they are magic for the legs during a multiway event.

People are nice...they offer beer to runners....during the race....what's up with that....I was vulnerable, no sleep, hot sunny day, thirsty.....gosh golly.  Luckily I was able to avoid this as I saw a guy bringing hostess cupcakes to the aid station, chocolate.  I was a lucky one and had me one of those.  He told me that was a whopping 200 calories or so, just what I needed.

Katy came back from NY and we chatted on a couple of loops.  I wanted to get to 125 before I took a nap.  It was just getting dark and I wanted to be in a tired place before I tried to sleep.  Even after 125 miles and being up for almost 36 hours I am not a good sleeper.  125 done, the Swedish gal was still 15-18 miles behind me and I really hadn't seen her all day, is she really here?  Katy got me settled in the car and left to go read her book.  I started to drift off and must have slept for a while.  I woke up to loud music, of course at the fairgrounds they were having a dance and I think I woke up to "Happy," the song.  I wanted to sleep more and laid in the reclined seat for as long as possible but I was getting cold.  Strategy, don't leave the keys with the runner, they might turn on the car and get warm and cozy.  I had no choice but to put my shoes back on a get out there for more loops.

I looked at where I was in the standings and I now only had a ten mile lead, had to get moving as she might catch me...

Katy walked a fast loop with me because laying down for one and a half hours really helps you get going.  Strategy, send your support away so you have to stay out on course all night.  Sweet Katy offered to come back in the middle of the night and I told her no.  If she stays away I have no choice but to keep going.  So I walked all night and I chatted with runners.  They started a 24 hour that morning and a 12 hour at 9 PM so there were a lot of people out.  Some people would talk with me in the morning and say they enjoyed the chat last night....that made one of us as I don't remember who I was chatting with.  I do remember talking to someone who worked a farm with maple syrup trees, doesn't that sound yummy.  Ultra runners love food, we talk about it a lot on the run.  At one of the stops at the aid station they had pot stickers, next they had yams, never a dull moment when it comes to food.

I kept going and wondering where was that gal.....finally we meet up at the aid station and I am at one if my lower points, need food, need a break.  As I am sitting there she tells me she is not going after me, only trying to hold on to second place.  Somehow I do not believe her as she is fit and fast and I see her running at times.  Even after my nap, I am now 15 miles ahead of her, she must have taken a break too.

Walk, walk, walk, walk slow, walk fast, just walk.  Now I am trying to figure out whether I can get to 150 easily.  Easy to me in 2 miles an hour, counting sitting a few minutes each lap to get off my achy feet.  I can do this as I am still cranking out 18 to 20 minute laps.  Can't go too fast otherwise I would have to go more than 150.  Katy comes back and walks the last three laps with me and even though I have time for four, i tell her no we are doing three to get to 151 and done.  I ring the bell, new PR for me. And then we watch people finish for about 15 minutes which is quite celebratory.  Katy hands me an celebratory apple fritter.  What a strategy to get me to my goals.  Some people would say I wasn't prepared with the right equipment and support...I say it was strategy.

Return to Race Reports

Go to HudsonBeeks Home Page