TITLE NOTE: Today’s title tune is not for me but in honor of my ultra running comrades that competed in Outrun 24 this weekend. Young the Giant’s “My Body” is the perfect soundtrack for an amazing group of runners that completed a one-mile loop…over…and over…and over…even when their toenails turned black and blisters covered their feet. Read on, and be prepared to feel inferior, lol.
I am officially in taper mode for the Flying Pig (sub-4 WHAT?!), but I couldn’t resist O 24. Outrun 24 is a new trail run where the runners follow a 1.00244 mi loop for as many miles as possible up to 24 hours. Since I was only scheduled for seven miles and because several members of the CIG and my running BFF Sweaty Brian were running, I decided to volunteer. As an added bonus, the race was at my very own Chapin Forest (it’s mine; I’m the mayor…ask FourSquare!) AND I got my volunteer hours in for the Buckeye Trail 50K.
After a measly 4 hours of sleep, I headed to Chapin at 5:00 am to make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and stock the aid station with Gu, Nuun, e-caps, peanuts, pretzels, oreos, and everything else an ultra runner needs to refuel. I also pretended to start the fire but quit because I got reprimanded by Zack the Race Director for standing in the fire pit. Instead I laughed hysterically as the three Rockwell boys tried to figure out how much powdered Heed to add to the giant jug of water. In their defense, the instructions read, “Mix 1 – 2.75 scoops of HEED in 16 – 28 ounces of water.” After an ounce to gallon conversion conversation and a couple rounds on the calculator, they simply dumped the entire bag in. It turned out perfect.
As the runners checked in, the Pine Lodge became less of a race headquarters and more of a class reunion. Trail runners in general are very warm and welcoming, but I’ve found that serious ultra runners share a bond and friendship that cannot be described. The field was made up of some real heavy hitters – including Pam, who is so badass she ran Boston last month with a WEIGHTED PACK in 85 degree heat – but there were also a couple relay teams, a 75+ year-old guy (who later came back with a bloodied face but argued that he did not fall but instead “attacked the trail”), and people like me who were just out to run 7, 10, 15, or 20 miles. It was a party atmosphere, especially when I commandeered the speakers and introduced the world to the musical stylings of Andy Grammer. I also forced everyone to jam out to Selena Gomez, Art of Dying, Colbie Caillat, and my entire “Badass” playlist.
After the start, I cheered like a fool for awhile before heading over to the timing table (slash DJ area) to help log laps. Even though everyone was double timed with an anklet and a shoe chip, it was still necessary to keep a manual log just in case Y2K came late or something. The timing guy was a teacher and a runner too, and we chatted while calling out bib numbers as the runners crossed the start/finish line.
Time passed quickly and the miles started to add up. At 9:00 my volunteer boy-friends cajoled me into running my laps with them. To be honest, it didn’t take much to convince me. I zoom zoomed home, donned my new running skirt (yes, skirt!) and headed back to Chapin to log eight miles with the Rockwell guys. And what interesting miles they were. I don’t know what it is, but running always shakes out the strangest conversations, even with strangers. I laughed constantly for over an hour.
I wanted to run more but the little Flying Pig in my head screamed SUB FOUR OR BUST over and over at max volume until I took my anklet off, so I settled for more spectating. The weather was junk all day, so by 2:00 my hands and feet were frozen and I headed home to warm up. And – I can’t lie – to take a nap. I kept in touch all day with my CIG peeps who were still knocking out laps but sprung into action around 6:00 when my running BFF tried to quit at 44. I told him to keep walking around in circles, promising him Starbucks if he kept moving forward. I [literally] zoom zoomed to pick up some love in a cup and delivered it to Sweaty Brian around lap 46. We walked three laps together, and then I pretty much forced him to run his 50th mile.
I felt kind of terrible for making Brian run after I saw the blisters on his toes (especially after I stepped on his foot), but 50 miles is pretty badass. So proud. (:
BTW, The winning runner ran 115 miles in 24 hours. That’s my kind of crazy.