Monday, January 5, 2009

Across the Years 72 Hour Second Day Report

Day Two – This was by far the most difficult day, both physically and mentally. After going solid for 24 hours, your body is shot, you’re tired, sore, maybe blistered, definitely hungry. Maybe you didn’t get the mileage you were hoping for during the first 24 so now you’re a little down. To top it off, the second group of 24 and 48 hour runners is starting and they’re nice and fresh. You realize that your race is only one third over, you still have 48 hours to go. Ugh! Nonetheless, you press on, hoping to get at least a decent amount of miles under your belt for the day.
Optimistically I was hoping to cover close to 100 miles in the first 24. I didn’t so now what do I do to reach the goal I’ve set. Either I’ve got to pick up the pace or reevaluate the goal. I chose to reevaluate. Doing any sort of running was out of the question, at least I thought so. Walking a nice brisk pace was definitely doable though.
Even though I started out the day in 21st place, in a race like this, things can change very quickly. For example, John Geesler is a perennial winner or second place finisher in the 72 hour race. The guy is a machine and super nice to boot. The first day he threw down 98 miles. The second day he came up injured. I’m not sure what it was but it had to do with his heel. He was reduced to a slow limping walk. A lot of frontrunners would have called it quits. John isn’t like that. He knew that his race was over, but he continued to limp around the track shuffling out the miles. He spent a lot of time talking with other runners, his attitude was one of going out to just have some fun and enjoy the rest of the race.
Another couple of people who were in the front of the pack also had to leave the race early. This meant that I could potentially move up three spots in the standings if I maintained my pace and stayed healthy.
I ended up walking the vast majority of the miles I did on the second day. I just couldn’t bring myself to actually run. I probably could have done some running but just the thought made me tired. I’ve heard from others that the second is always the worst. Your body is breaking down, skin is getting raw, blisters are popping up, you’re constantly hungry, your digestive system isn’t working right. Sounds horrible and to think that I was doing this to myself willingly. What an idiot!
As far as my own body, I could feel a blister forming on a toe. Since I still had many, many hours to go I decided to get it fixed right away. Chris, the nurse on duty (he also ran the 72 hour race) took wonderful care of me. He popped the blister and taped up each toe individually and laid a strip of tape on the sole of each foot. He said that should take care of me for the rest of the race and it did. I only ended up with that one tiny blister. Note to anyone wanting to prevent blisters, spray cheap antiperspirant on your feet and tape them up with 3M’s millipore tape. Works wonders. Also wear some Injinji toe socks.
The day for me went pretty uneventfully. I stopped to take a short nap at around noon and got back out on the track at about 1:30pm, much rested. It was amazing how much better just a short little nap could make you feel.
Meanwhile, my friend Davy Crockett had started the 24 hour race that morning and was cranking out the miles. His speed made me look like I was standing still. But towards the afternoon he began having stomach issues. This slowed him down. Ultimately, he ran over 104 miles for the 24 hour race, good enough for 5th place. My other friend Juli Aistars was running the 72 hour race and was going for the women’s win. She was still running strong.
I hit the 100 mile mark at about 32 hours and change. The really sad part is that I ran the Wasatch Front 100 mile this past summer in about the same amount of time and here I am on a flat almost sea level track, not 9000’ up in the mountains.
Dinner time happened around 5pm again and lasagna was on the menu this time. Several bowls of that really picked me up. By 9pm that night, my race was half over. It was hard to imagine that I still had 36 hours to go and that I had already been out there for 36 hours. The second night was the coldest of the race. I’m guessing the temp got down around the upper 30’s and there was a slight breeze to help make it feel colder. I took another nap at around 10pm and once back on the track at around midnight, I started getting cold. As I shivered, it all of the sudden dawned on me, “Jim, you brought a wool coat, go get it”. So I did and felt much better. I wasn’t going fast enough to generate sweat, so wearing the coat really helped. Once again, hot potato soup was served during the night and this really hit the spot. At around 7am, breakfast was served. Pancakes again. Sure tasted good. I got my coffee mug out again and enjoyed another hot cup while watching the sun rise on the third day of the race. Only a little over 24 hours to go.
My friend Davy Crockett was now finishing up his race after covering a little over 104 miles in 24 hours. I was envious, I wanted to be done too. Oh well, Jim, keep trudging around the track.
Second day stats – 43.496 miles, around 8000 calories burned, not nearly that amount taken in, plenty to eat and drink, one blister, still very minor chafing, my feet hurt, my legs hurt, I hurt. Mental attitude, fantastic, I’m having a good time…….so far. I think I was in 19th place at this point.
Below is an elevation profile of the course. Note that the elevation difference between the high and low points of the course is about one hundred feet.
Stay tuned for the day three report tomorrow.

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