I started out being so nervous that it was really difficult to be slow enough to be on target pace but after a few laps I eventually settled in. I felt confident that I would have a chance to make my goal of 140 miles just from a cardio perspective, but had the same doubts as Joe Fejes who wondered if the “engine will remain fastened to the chassis after 20 hours”.
Those worries became very real after about 50 miles when my hip flexors started to hurt enough to make me question if I could continue. I thought I will just keep my rhythm and see what happens and it turns out that I forgot about it. Not because it went away but other things started to hurt. My abs were next, they eventually were so toasted that they didn’t provide any support at all at around 100miles. The rest of the way my lower back had to hold me upright or what I thought of what upright means at that point. Still, I completed the first 100 miles in 16:14 and felt there was still something left in the tank. In between my arms got also very sore, no idea why, but my Swiftwick arm sleeves really helped elevating some of the discomfort. At 120 miles I eventually hit the wall and got really tired and considered just walking it in but told myself to just try another lap, and another …. . The next thing I remember was that James yelled at me that I have 138 miles and 30min to go. I thought that the goal still can happen. At that point I accelerated with 100% will power, there was nothing else left in my body, and pushed as hard as I could for two laps and made it above 140 miles.
That I finished 3rd overall had a good portion of luck in it. The field was stacked with record holders, former national team members and a bunch of really strong and experienced runners. It was clear from the start for me that I was in no position to contest any of them with a fast pace, I had to stay my pace at all times. The big dogs were battling it out in the front at an unreal pace while I stayed patient. With time some front runners couldn’t keep the aggressive pace and slowed down and I slowly gained some ground in the ranking. Even though that wasn’t really the goal it was pretty exciting that a possible podium finish came closer as the race progressed.
Thanks to James Suh the race couldn’t have been any better planned. He constantly supplied me with seaweed/rice rolls every 3 laps or so and with lemonade Huma gels, Gatorade and water. The rolls were fantastic, very filling, and easy to chew and kept my stomach occupied while delivering a lot of energy. I could keep that rhythm for the most part of the race but kind of fizzled at the end where I just had gels.
All gear that I used was from Fleet Feet and worked flawlessly. My Swiftwick socks made sure I had no rubbing or blistering on my feet even though I had lots of sand in my shoes and the socks were drenched and Adidas Glide 7 felt great at all times.
Overall I am ecstatic that I reached my goal of 140miles and placed 3rd overall in a National Championship and have a qualifier for the 2017 National Team. The thing is …. 140 is good but not good enough to make the Top 6 that go to the worlds. This means, more training, harder training, smarter training and doing another 24hour challenge…soon. Stay tuned, the Cookie Monster will strike again.