Sunday, April 8, 2012

VA 24 Hour Race . . . my 2012 comeback run.


One thing that is consistent with my recovery from my October hip surgery is that nothing is consistent!  Good days followed by bad days.  A string of good followed by a few bad.  But even with the variance it is clear to me that things are improving.

So far my longest "long run" has only been 11 miles and that hasn't gotten longer in weeks and, believe me, my overall fitness has DRAMATICALLY declined since surgery.  I can just barely run 3 miles without walking!  But that too is improving some.  I have tried running 2 minutes and walking 1 minute and only lasted 7 miles . . . 5 miles "on interval" and then 2 miles walking back to my frickin' car when my hip "shut down."  This was one week ago.


So . . . with all this what on earth makes enter a 24 hour race?  And what on earth makes me think I can go over 11 miles?

Two words . . . Shannon McGinn.

Last year I was part of a 12-person ultra team "relay" at the VA 24.  I had just gotten my butt kicked at the Umstead 100 (stopping at 62.5 miles) three weeks before.  When I heard "relay" team I assumed it would be like any other relay . . .  one person runs, then turns the baton over to the next team member who then runs.  That's a "relay" . . . right!

Wrong!  I found out that THIS relay involved every team member running and then ADDING all team members distances to get a team distance!  But I had committed to Shannon and the other team members that I would participate.  Team members like Jonathan Savage, Ray Krolewicz, Sabrina Moran, Jessi Kennedy, Tom Gabell, Cheryl Lager . . . folks who had all WON 100 mile races!  And WON 24 hour races!  Plus . . . super experienced running friends like Amy Schimmel, Jim Plant and Charles West (Jim and Charles had finished 100 milers).  Plus, a new ultra runner Alanna Garrison-Kast.  That was our team . . . Team Awesome!

Shannon took all the pressure off me and just wanted me to try.  So I did.  I didn't have a good run but I did "stay after it" and ended up with just over 50 miles completed.  And Team Awesome won the relay by a rather wide margin.

That was 2011.  Now . . . its time fore the 2012 VA 24.

With my hip surgery in October, I told Shannon I couldn't be on the team but I would try to crew for everyone.  Fine . . . until Ray K decided to run another race within a week of this one so he told Shannon he could only crew.  Huh?  Ray K, the 100 mile ultra running legend, as a 'crew' . . . how cool is that!

So Shannon asked me to come out and "give it the ol' college try" and just see what I could do.  After some back and forth I caved and told Shannon I would come . . . but she should try and get someone else.  She didn't.  Shannon is quite convincing and she doesn't take "No" for an answer very well!  But I do LOVE that she thought of me as a "replacement" for Ray K!!!!!   :-)  (I'm guessing Ray is going to be pissed at Shannon!!)

So I'm a Team Awesome team member again this year . . . the second year of being the "Team Excuse."  That's right . . . if another team beats Team Awesome, the whole team can save face by says something like "Yea . . . we lost but we really didn't have a complete team . . . since Frank Lilley was with us we really only had 11 team members!"

MY 2012 PLAN

So . . . WTF am I going to do?  I can only run 3 miles without walking.  And the longest my hip has let me run is 11 miles.  Truth is I should NOT be doing this.  I know it and Shannon knows it.  She must have it out for me for some reason . . . maybe I offended her somehow.  Prior to this I actually thought Shannon was a friend.  But now I know the truth . . . she is trying to destroy me.

Anyway . . . I doing this race.  So I need a plan.  I'm toying with two possible approaches . . .

  • Plan A - Start off walking . . . and just walk . . . for as long as I possibly can.
  • Plan B - Run 1 minute and walk 2 minutes . . . and repeat until I just have to only walk.
With Plan A I would maximize my chances of completing a lot of miles . . . slow boring miles but miles none the less.  Probably the smart option.  But it's NOT running . . . and I'm a runner. 

Plan B isn't really a runner's plan either . . . but I would be running . . . SOME!  Plan A is the plan for a good team member and Plan B is a selfish plan to "save face." 

A 24 hour race is not a race about speed . . . its about covering the maximum number of miles in the 24 hour time.  I need to remember this!


My goal IS a minimum of 50 miles over the 24 hour time.  I just hope my hip has the same goal!  I'm wondering if perhaps I should take my crutches with me - just in case!

One final off-topic word of warning . . .

All us runners search for those little things that make a difference to our speed or endurance.  Here is a product that CLAIMS to be a "High Endurance" product.  But after using this product for several months I can detect NO improvement in my endurance.  Be warned of this false advertising . . .

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Littleton, North Carolina
World's Slowest Runner . . . well, at least in contention for the honor. Just your average "below average" runner.