Running twelve hours on a 3.37 mile loop along the San Pablo Bay and a Eucalyptus tree forest hasn’t sounded like my cup of tea. This was a race though that my wife has wanted to do for the last few years; however our schedule never matched up. Needless to say we signed up for it this year and I have to admit I had a lot of fun!
The Dirty Dozen 12 Hour Endurance Race is a wonderful way to run as much mileage you can for 12 hours in somewhat controlled circumstances. The party like atmosphere is electric and the comrade between runners made the event very enjoyable.
We got to the start/finish at 6:15 A.M. to get our crewing station setup, which included a couple of chairs, our drop bags, and a cooler of Coca Cola and water. Gale force winds met us but that didn’t squelch our enthusiasm.
My wife’s strategy was to go out slow and stay slow to get at least 10 laps or 33 miles in. Here strategy was a success and made that goal in 8:40. In fact she hit the 31 mile mark at 8:03. She ended up with just over 41 miles
|Sums up the first three laps!|
For me, I was afraid of going out too quick. I thought if I ran with a heart monitor and keep my heart rate a below 137 which I did effectively for the first 15 miles. However, this strategy backfired with my first 5K time at 34 minutes and 10K at 1:11. Keeping in mind that I had also hit the port-potty 3 times I was going too fast. It was really evident that when I hit the half marathon at 2:33 (my Lagoon Valley pace was 2:27 and my PR is 1:51), my pace way off and inside desire to drop that I really needed to rethink what I was doing and just enjoy the run and push and see how far I could go.
|Source: Allen Lucas|
Once I reached that decision, the run became much more enjoyable. The monotony that I feared on the run was non-existent. The only problem I had was a section right after the aid station on the course where I was feeling the pebbles through my Cascadia 8’s. At mile 23 (my traditional nemesis mile), I switched out to my Adrenaline ASR 7’s. A much stiffer shoe but tougher, I didn’t notice the rocks again until my last big loop.
|Allen going "Karnazes"!|
|Beth and I running our lap. Source: Allen Lucas|
|The Eucalyptus Hall.|
|Source: Allen Lucas|
All said, I completed 40.42 and finished mid-pack (50 out of 91 finishers). I am so happy that I set realistic goals on this one, because if I had solely focused on the 50 mile target I would have been crushed. But keeping in mind that I ran this with really no formal training schedule (more minimal than anything else) and weighing 30 lbs. over my best running weight I am extremely pleased with the results.
Things I learned
I have to admit I enjoy this style of race and Beth and I have talked about doing it again next year. Things I will be doing differently:
- I will pace myself better! Yeah, the heart monitor helped keep me from going out too crazily; however, I need to go out slower.
- Don’t fear the food! I felt so much better after eating real food and probably could have covered farther distances if I would have nailed this.
- Have a proper training schedule! My training since last year’s Napa Marathon has been more haphazard than anything else. This has been partly due to the stresses of starting a new company as well as a new schedule. This has also been the primary reason for the weight gain. I have to get back to a proper training schedule.
- Just enjoy the race and the atmosphere! This kind of race is so different than the seclusion of the point to point races (like the Diablo Challenge 50K). Once I settled into enjoying the event I was much happier.
|Source: Brazen Racing Volunteer|
- Stop Obsessing! Ok, this one is hard for me to do. I have a hard time shutting off my brain, so when I am running by myself I can be pretty hard on myself. Even leading up to the race I was psyching myself out obsessing on the details. When I was running with Mr. Notthat and my wife, my brain was shut off and I enjoyed the run. While running endurance races are 90% psychological, I can lock my brain into finishing, but I need to learn to enjoy the run.
So two ultra-distance events are down for 2013 and this year is looking a lot like 2009/2010 where we completed 4 marathons in 13 months. While I won’t say what events are on the horizon, I can say that there are a lot of fun runs coming up. Oh and Mr. Notthat beat me by 0.02 miles so it is definitely on like Donkey Kong for next year! On to 50 miles!