This year my family got me some good gifts, I got some good well wishes, and then on my birthday itself... I got to work a little over 12 hours with a 2.5 hour conference call at the end of the day sitting at work alone until around 7:30pm. Ugh.
So how to celebrate...? How about signing up for one of the Aravaipa Running Insomniac Night Trail Runs? The Hypnosis Ultra-Marathon. Is there any better (belated) birthday present to get for oneself? I think no!
60k of fun starting at 7:00pm running through the night at Estrella Mountain Regional Park in Avondale AZ.
100% pure awesomeness!!!
And I somehow managed to pull out a 4th place finish.
So anywho - prior to the race report itself, a song to set the mood. Keeping with the 'Boom' theme, I will go with this song as it shuffled onto the iPod(s) a few times - I had to use two iPods as I was out running for 7 hours and 27 minutes - Garmin stats Here.
So to the actual race report...
The race started promptly at 7:00pm, our Girls and the Mrs. missed the start as I asked them to get band-aids (we drove up to the place separately so they wouldn't have to stay the whole time) just in case as I forgot to bring them - which in retrospect was pretty stupid to ask them to do as at the race there were multiple first aid tents and am certain they had band-aids at them.
So the race started, there were about 30 people running the 60k (there were other races as well with many more people who were not stupid enough to run 60k in the dead of summer Phoenix heat), and I settled in somewhere around 10th by my count around the first loop (Here is/was the course).
One guy passed me probably around 3 miles and I was slowly able to settle into a rhythm without someone right ahead or behind me.
Soon enough I was at the aid station out on the course and sucking down Coke, Gatorade and water. And for whatever reason oranges and watermelon were the foods that looked good at just about every aid station stop, so I was sure to snarf down copious amounts of them at each aid station stop.
I was also doing a good job of keeping on top of my hydration throughout the race. Between these things, the food I brought & ate (Gu's and Picky Bars), and RedBull I was throwing back which I had in our cooler, I never hit any real bad lows throughout the race. This was key.
Anywho, I was through the first "Blue Course" 10k loop, and onto the 15k "Green Course" (the 60k course consisted of running in sequence the courses: Blue, Green, Blue, Green, Blue).
And while I liked the Blue Course, the Green Course did not agree with me. Too many up downs (even small ones) throughout, and too many sections I just felt like I couldn't "flow" - was just too choppy for my liking (plus I bit it / face-planted on this course the first time around it).
Also generally speaking about the courses - where they joined up for the end of their loops (so you had to run around the same 5k every loop - Blue and Green Course) there was a decently long section which was really rocky and choppy, and you couldn't really run with any kind pace at all. It was like a section of a twisted ankle or faceplant onto pointy rocks just waiting to happen. Oh how I hated that section each time around.
So anyway, here were a few good pics our oldest got of me at the start/finish area which each course looped back to:
Here I am doing ... ... ... ... something.
And then it was time to get some food.
Then time to look for something to drink.
Umm... Red Bull.
I remember commenting to the Mrs and kidlings "I feel great", after I the 2nd loop (so at around 40% done), and it was a trend which would continue.
So I just kept rolling, and I started to slowly pick people off and progress up the leaderboard. It felt great.
And the rolling along just continued. And I was having a great time along they way, hamming it up with other runners and the aid-station volunteers - the group of folks at the aid-station out on the course were great. They were joking, cheering, quick to fill up my fluids, and dancing to "Baby Got Back" & other assorted songs each time I rolled through, it was awesome. And they were there the whole time - from 7:00pm to 6:00am they said. That is some volunteering!
I also I got to see a good sampling of the Arizona desert night wildlife. I saw snakes (2), scorpions (too many to count), and assorted spiders. One spider looked big enough that it could have pulled me into it's spider hole if it had went for it - especially as I was in a pretty dilapidated state when I saw him - he could have chomped on me for months.
So I just kept rolling, kept avoiding low patches due to keeping on top of fluids and food, and soon enough I was on my last loop.
I have to admit I was pretty punchy at this point, tripping more than I should have, but before I knew it I was at the out on the course aid station for the last time, getting water dumped on me, hamming it up with the great aid-station folks one last time, and then bringing it in for the last two miles.
And with about 1 mile left, for the first time - this song shuffled on:
This is How We Do (knocking down 60k's)
I dig this song - total Flint MI (my hometown) song.
And I was feeling it (surprisingly as I was at like my 58th kilometer at this point) so started hammering it home for the last around mile at a decent clip. I was in my own little white guy listing to old-school rap music world. Great way to finish!
And then I crossed the line for one final time at about 2:27am (as the race started at 7:00pm and my official time was 7:27:07).
After chatting with some folks for about 20 min I then made the drive home, took a shower (wow was that needed), and slept for... all of about 2 hours. I woke up as my body was so hungry I couldn't sleep.
Anyway, just a great experience.
Time to take a few days off, slowly start back up, then get into my training block for a full marathon towards the end of the year. Speaking of which, after a summer of long runs gonna have to start getting back to speed work - ugh. I think I will need to ask for directions for how to find a track - at least I think that is what they call them :-)
Running is Awesome!