Monday, July 8, 2013

Dirty Dozen 12 Hour - 40.42 Miles Completed!

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.
Beth braving the cold and wind before the race.

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"!
One of the most enjoyable laps was at lap 8, where I caught up with Mr. Notthatlucas!  While I was changing out my shoes I caught Mr. Notthatlucas going all Karnazes downing a slice of cheese pizza!  While I was tempted, I had been on a regimen of watermelon, potato chips, and Coca Cola, and having made three trips to the bathroom was not feeling that adventurous. After taking a break, he and I both set out.  I would have to say this was the quickest feeling lap of the race up to this point.  It was really nice to enjoy the conversation and I never thought of how I was feeling or over-analyzing my running the whole time.  Thanks Allen, it was really a highlight of the run!

Beth and I running our lap. Source: Allen Lucas
At the end of my 9th lap, I checked with Sam, race director, where my wife was and he let me know that she was also on her 9th.  I hit 30.33 miles at 7:40 and wanted to cross the 31 mile mark with her so I waited and took a break.  She was only 12 minutes behind me and she took a little time with her before we made lap 10 together.  Like I said above, we crossed the 31 mile mark at 8:03.  Mr. Notthatlucas caught up with us on this lap, and passed us.  I think the cheese pizza must have really kicked in because he was really going a great clip.  Again, I haven’t run a race with my wife in a while, so running this lap, her reaching her ultra-distance was awesome.  I am so proud of her.

The Eucalyptus Hall.
After the 10th I made the educated decision to sit for a bit and I let her go for another. I started feeling a twinge on my Achilles and did not want to push it.  I bravely walked over to the food tent and ate a sausage and a Coke.  This was a good decision, since after 30 minutes I felt good enough for another lap.  At this point I knew I could reach 40 miles and maybe 42.  I waited a little bit to see if Beth would show but decided to get going.  

Source: Allen Lucas
Lap 11 was my last big lap and it felt good.  I was able to run large parts of it and made it around in 45 minutes.  I made it back just in time for the baby loop to open up.  My decision was not to risk not getting back in time and get my final three miles on the loop.  Beth showed up after my first loop to secure that she had reached 40 miles (have I said she completed 41.11 miles) by doing one mini loop.

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.
Beth didn't know about the other picture! Source: Allen Lucas

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!


  1. I can't believe I went almost 8 hours without seeing you at all! I loved my lap 10 with you! Looking forward to next year and hitting 50 miles.
    And, just some what you are really saying is that Allen and I are mind numbing?
    : )

  2. HA HA HA - This will be the only time that mine and Dean Karnazes' name will ever appear in the same sentence!

    When I finished my 11th lap, I wondered about whether I should risk going out for another lap or do the short loops. In the end, my brain couldn't do the math about how many short loops I would need to get to 40 miles, so I chose the easy route and did a 12th lap (I had already worked out much earlier that every three laps was 10.11 miles, so 12 would be 40.44).

    I'm so glad the two of you came out for this and enjoyed it! There are many timed races like this around, but most are based on fairly boring 1 mile loops - I don't think I could survive one of those. But this course and all the perky people made this event fun.


submit to reddit