Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Dirty Dozen 12 Hour Endurance Run – 2014 Relay

Imagine him coming at you after 10 hours!!

Well, the expectations for this year’s race was low.  Both my wife and I had originally signed up as singles a month in a half ago with my goal of finally reaching 50 miles.  However, training to be frank, the training never occurred.  Second, we realized the weekend before that all of our usual babysitters would be gone that weekend.  So we decided that we would change to the relay.

This worked out marvelously.  It allowed our daughters to run the 6 hour race, both completing a half marathon distance.  And it allowed our son to run the 5K, which he has been enjoying lately.  It also meant that both my wife and I could run a lap or two with the girls and make a family event out of it.
A beautiful course.

Really, we didn’t have much of a goal distance going into this race nor much of a strategy.  We just wanted to have fun.  How it worked out, most of the time we would switch out each lap with me starting. Each lap was 3.33 miles long.  I had learned from last year not to go out too fast, so I felt a 12 to 13 minute pace would be fine for myself.  In the back of my mind I was hoping for at least a 50K distance for myself or at least 50 miles as a team, but in reality I didn’t really hold out any hope of reaching either distance.

Crazy time on the first loop - Source: Brazen Volunteer
I began the first lap at 7:00 A.M.  It was a slow first mile as is always the case and ran with my oldest.  Just after mile one, she took off making me feel a little bit old.  I was almost through mile 2 when I was warmed up and rearing to go and caught up with my daughter in the Eucalyptus forest.  We ran the rest of the way in and I handed off the bib to my wife for her lap.  

Myles at the 5K - Source Brazen Volunteer
That pretty much summed up the first 6 laps of the relay.  For my part, I ran a consistent 12 minute mile and change. The challenge I quickly came to realize was that the first mile was typically going to be my worst as I warmed up again and I was finishing about the time I was most warmed up.

By the time it came for me to do the 7th lap (my 4th if you are keeping track) the sun had come out and it was getting warm.  I had taken a brief catnap and a snack of salami and cheese during the time my wife was out running with our youngest daughter so I was pretty refreshed.  My 4th lap was going really well and by the time I got back around my wife suggested I go around one more time.  The combined pace for those two laps (my lap 4 and 5) again was 12:10 per mile.  At this point, I realized that this strategy was working well and there was now a stronger possibility of us reaching either the 50K to 50 mile goal.
Emma and I on the First loop - Source: Brazen Volunteer

It was time for lunch when I got back. Besides the typical trail aid station / recovery food found at a Brazen Racing event, there was also BBQ and Pizza.  I was pretty much excited to have a slice of peperoni and some soda as bizarre as that might sound to a few. 

Well the few then also would say that the pizza was also the cause of my slowest lap (lap 6).  As usual my first mile was slower, around a 14 minute mile.  My pace was strong during mile 2 at an 11 minute pace, wow that pizza was working!  Then I fell flat for the final mile to a 15 minute pace, with the overall lap averaging a 13:34 pace.  

  Me hitting my stride - Source:Allen Lucas
“OK”, I thought, “this is where I start to fall apart like I do at most endurance races.”  After 20 miles I had reached that wall.  I handed the bib over to my wife and settled in for another catnap.  After 15 minutes, I got up, used the bath room, and ate a little bit more.  I took a couple of Tylenol to help with the soreness.  And with about 15 minutes left from when I estimated my wife to be back I walked over to the aid station with the goal of looking for some sort of gel with caffeine.  No luck.  What I did find, though were some GU Chomps with caffeine which did the job.  By the time she got back I was refreshed and raring to go.

My lap 7 was awesome! I felt great and I ran most of it at an 11 minute pace. By the time I got back to my wife I was wanting to go again and her more than obliged.  This was a really strong lap also, and I felt great.  The combined pace for lap seven and eight was 11:48!  In fact, during the second lap I caught up and passed some who were running the 10K on fresh legs.  Boy that made me feel good.

Debating who should go on the last big loop - Source:Allen Lucas
When I got back, there was an hour and half (10 hours 30 minutes had passed) left.  This left us in a quandary.  I had lost track of our mileage at this point but I knew that both the 50K goal and the 50 mile target were in sight.  I was averaging about a 42 to 43 minute lap and my wife just under an hour.  After reassuring her that I was doing great and would not have a heart attack on the course, we made the decision for me to go out.  Then we would meet up in the final hour mini loop (a 0.66 mile loop) and trade off.  This decision paid off in spades with my final big loop (the 9th) getting done in 42 minutes.

Source: Allen Lucas - Thank you!

I was spent by the time I got back to the mini loop.  I handed off the bib and my wife went for two laps followed by 1 of mine.  I was done, however my wife came in on her final lap spent also.  I knew we were so close to the goals but I didn’t know how close.  I decided to run the final 20 minutes which allowed me two really slow laps, or just over 1.2 miles.  That final decision was a great decision, I ran 31.92 miles just over my 50K target and combined we ran 50.75 miles!

As I had mention in last year’s post about this race, I never thought running 12 hours on a looped course would be that much fun.  However, Brazen Racing does a wonderful time organizing and supporting this race.  This is an awesome race and I would highly recommended it to others.  

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