February 23, 2013
My friend, Jim Tello, is putting on a 12-hour event in Bonita (a few miles north of the US/Mexico border). This is the guy who sweeps a bunch of races I have been in, therefore meaning that I run with him quite a bit. Laura is going, too.
The official start of the race was at 6am, but we were OK with not starting right on time, because the drive was almost 2 hours, and neither of us were going to win any prizes. However, we had some trouble getting out of Long Beach because of freeway construction – apparently, the 405/22/605 interchange is completely closed, so after a few tries, we drove 5 miles down Westminster and then got on the freeway (but it took us 30 minutes to get the 5 miles down the freeway!). We left pretty early but only found the start by about 6:45am and started when we were ready to go.
As with most 12 hour courses, this was a 5K loop, which would be run in one direction for 3 hours, and then the opposite direction, and so on. The course parallels a golf course for a bit, then curves around to parallel the road, and then is the shoulder on the road. All of this is unpaved. Then it turns onto a paved path through a grassy area, next to the steam train tracks, and then back onto a dirt trail going around a lake area, paralleling another street, and finally through the parking lot and back onto a dirt path by the library (where the “aid station” was located).
I was having side stitches from the get-go, and started out at a fairly slow pace. The first two loops I did in 36:00 and 36:50, and the next two in 41:00 and 41:30. This led me to believe that I would be walking probably the rest of it, so when I finished my 4th loop, I decided to walk a loop and read my book, New York by Edward Rutherfurd, a historical fiction novel about New York City.
While this seems crazy, reading and walking had been my training to get ready for my 100 mile race last year, and I can read and walk at a decent pace. By doing so, I could cover the miles and not be bored to tears. I finished my next 3 loops in 55 minutes (some delay getting my book out), 51:30, and 61 minutes. This put me at 35 Kilometers AND I was enjoying my book.
However, the hardness of the course was getting to my feet and so I did have to take a number of sitting breaks to relieve the pain.
This 8th loop took me an hour and 15 minutes.
In reading and walking the loops, it wasn’t 100% me being engrossed in my book. When various runners passed by me, occasionally they would walk with me and we would have a short conversation. I didn’t see a whole lot of Laura, but I did get to walk with “Badwater Brian,” Nickademus Hollon (who later became the 13th and youngest (at 22) to complete the Barkley “Marathon”), and John Wog (who I met at mile 40 of Blue Canyon Trail Race 50M).
I did a couple more loops in 55 and 72 minutes, and ultimately decided that I would continue to go until I finished my book (about 300 pages total reading).
I did my 11th loop in 60 minutes and finished my book midway through my 12th loop.
On the last direction change, I saw Laura and she said that as soon as I was finished, that she was finished, too. (On the direction changes, you only changed direction when you got back to the aid station. This creates the effect of runners passing each other in opposite directions, and having a chance to wave or say, “Hi.”)
Having stopped on my 12th loop, I was waiting for Laura to finish whichever loop she was on (she certainly had lapped me a few times). When she came in, I said, “I’m finished!” to which she replied, “I only need a few more tenths to get 50 miles.” So I waited for her to get in that last bit of distance.
My distance was 37.2 miles (or 60K) which tied my best (and only other) 12 hour race. Yay. PR!
Meanwhile, a second 12-hour run was beginning, as well as some of the participants continuing in a 24-hour quest OR 100-mile try. Mark Vishnevsky came down to attempt a 100-miler (but ended up running a 6-hour run with Michelle). I think loops are not for him.
Our “finisher’s medal” was a wall clock saying “Rohring Around the Clock” with a Roaring Lion in the center.
We had a quiet uneventful drive back to Long Beach.