1 mile skied, 2750 meters swam, 48 miles biked and 411.8 miles run in 2013 races
Race: Operation Jack Northwest 6-Hour Run
Place: Tigard, OR
Miles from home: 14 miles
Weather: Teens-20s; Sunny;Windy; Brrr
A sort drive in the morning from my loft to the race, while picking up bestie Shannon to go run around in the cold meant I not only got to sleep in my own bed, I did not have to get up at 4 a.m. to get to the start. Those are rare treats for me I do not unappreciate. (Yup, I made up that word.)
Of course, in the four years of the running of this event (last year's recap) it had never been anywhere close to this cold. It wasn't exactly freezing - it was actually well-below. (Didn't think I was going that way, did you?) But we knew the sun was supposed to shine the entire day and about 85% of each of the barely under one-mile loops would be in that sunlight. (The RD says they were .94; I say they were .96)
With a starting temperature around 19 (and the "feels like" hovering around zero) 52 hardy souls ventured out in support of both burning off some calories and raising money to fight autism, as the race funds would go to Operation Jack, an organization started by my buddy Sam.
My personal goal was to get a 50k in and anything else would be icing on the cake. I paid special attention to the first 20 miles as I wanted to keep them on a nice clip, but after that it would just be running when I felt good.
First 20 miles: 2:33:01 (7:09, 7:20, 7:09, 7:26, 7:09, 7:14, 7:12, 7:25, 7:13, 7:16
7:32, 7:02, 7:28, 7:11, 7:14, 7:14, 7:13, 7:21, 7:21, 7:17, 7:25)
The day did not exactly warm up as much as it got less brutally cold. On the northwest corner of the loop, which stayed in shade most of the day, a fierce wind would whip up. Almost everywhere else on the loop it was not present but knowing you would be diving into the teeth of this brute each lap was not ideal.
Somewhere in the middle laps a fella I had met at a race a few years ago (Jon) went flying by me. I wasn't sure what method Jon was using but he was sure sprinting a few laps whenever he wanted to (case in point: I had the fastest one-loop run of anyone but Jon in 7:02; Jon ran a 6:33!) However, I routinely found myself catching and passing him. I assumed he was taking long breaks to replenish. The thing is, in ultras, it has been empirically proven that great distances can be covered in short periods of time by periodically resting. You might not win or set a course record but it is all but guaranteed you will do well.
Another bathroom break in the first 20 miles meant I was well-hydrated but gripping body parts in chilly weather is fun for no one. As I passed Shannon one time, she handed me two electrolyte pills. I had been drinking every three miles or so but mostly just water. Actually, ice water as it was freezing in the cups the poor volunteers were pouring our drinks into but t least I was drinking. It is easy to forget to hydrate in races where hydration is so readily available.