Hourly Races, Looped Courses and Mix in Some Heat

I’m by no means an expert on these events but I’ll share what tidbits I’ve learned and maybe you can pick up a trick or two that might work for you.

First of all by way of definition, an hourly or timed race event is just what it sounds like.  Usually you pick an amount of time you want to run.  Most common is 12/24/48 but some will include 3 or 6 hours.  If it’s much longer than 48 hours it really becomes more of a number of days.  So you sign up for the amount of time you’d like to run, say 12 hours and you can run as far or little as you want or can in that time frame.  Typically you can’t change time frames once it starts, so you run and either stop at the end of the time you signed up for,  leave when you’re done or have reached your goal.  For example you may sign up for a 12 hour run with intent to run a marathon, you finish your marathon in 8 hours so you stop running.  But you can always stay and keep running your full 12 hours.  You are credited with whatever mileage you complete in your 12 hour time.  This can be a very good option for runners who struggle with cutoffs to achieve their lofty goals, makes for a nice way to get a long run in and reach a new distance PR.

Most hourly or timed races are on a small looped course of usually a mile or so.  Some are longer but I think around a mile is very typically.  The great advantage in my opinion to a looped course is you set up “camp” of whatever supplies you want for yourself and off you go.  Each loop (usually a mile) you are back to your base camp to get anything you might need.  These races also provide a main aid station on the loop close to where you set up your “camp”.  So it’s very easy to self support on this type of a course.  No need for crew or drop bags, the course is usually so short pacers are not needed as well and sometimes pacers aren’t allowed.  While this appeals to many runners, it may not appeal at all to others.

Here’s a list of what I might set up at my base camp:

Cooler (with ice and drinks)                                                                                                                   Camp chair                                                                                                                                                  Extra shoes, socks, variety of clothing options                                                                                     First Aid items I might need

Boom!  And there you go, all you need.

My experience with these timed events on looped courses has mostly been in the summer and in the hotter weather. I ran most of last summer (2015) in these types of events training for Habanero Hundred; a 100 mile and 100K race in Austin, Texas in August. The race start time was 12 noon in about 107 degrees.  I had to learn how to manage this kind of heat.  So here’s a few of my tips that helped me

ADAM’S HEADWEAR EXTREME OUTDOOR HAT 

This hate not only provides full covered around your neck, it has UV 45+ protection, a cool mesh liner, easy one size fits all adjustment and a neck cape with zippered pouch for ice.  Put some ice in the zippered pouch and this hat becomes a small piece of heaven in the heat and worth every penny of the $19.95 cost.HatMINT ICE WATER

Take a small ice chest and put some water and ice in it.  Add a couple of drops of Peppermint essential oil.  Now you take your bandana soak it in this ice cold mint water.  Then you tie the bandana around your neck.  It sounds simple enough, but something in the Peppermint oil is  very refreshing and cooling.  It’s a simple and easy trick to stay cool.  You can also add ice to your bandana before tying it around your neck.  Any brand of Peppermint oil works and you can find it at GNC or health food stores.

oilPOPSICLES

This requires a little more preplanning but well worth a little effort.  In the summer popsicles that come in the plastic sleeves are easy to come by at most stores (they come unfrozen but some stores sale them frozen as well).  So pick some up ahead of time and freeze them.  The morning of the race, you pack them in your ice chest and surround them by ice or ice blocks.  I find that if I stand them upright in my cooler they are easier to pull out.  The plastic tubes they come in are easy to open but hey just throw in a small pair of scissors and it’s so much easier.  Eventually they do melt but then it’s a slushy.  Something easy to grab, gives you a few calories and easy carry with you on your loop course and has a way with cooling you down from the inside.

popsicles

These are just a few ideas that work well for me.  Share your ideas.

Where It All Started

I guess we all have a story, never did I think mine was all that interesting. Many times people will ask me, “When did you start running?”, “why did you start running?”or “what’s your story?” These are the same questions I would ask others, my curiosity into their story, their beginning.  The responses I often heard, “I’ve run most of my life,” “I ran in high school or college.” At first those responses immediately intimidated keeping me from sharing my story.  The feeling like I don’t belong in the category of “runner,” no back ground or history of being a runner. But we all “have a story” and just like moving to the starting line of a race I put those fears behind me, this is my story to share.

My story starts as a full time mom of 3 kids and basically a couch potato.  Oh I played basketball in junior high and high school, grew up snow and water skiing, rode bikes and was always active outside.  But being a mom and working full time when my two oldest were young, I wasn’t very active.  As the girls got of age, my oldest daughter went off to college and number two was going to follow soon.  Our third child was born in 2001 and at that point I had become a full time stay at home Mom.

Fast forward to 2012, at the age of 48 I was basically overweight and out of shape, then a friend invited me to start hiking with her.  It was also a bonus that I could get my 3 dogs out of the house.  Not to mention that for the first time since living in Georgia, this was an opportunity to begin to explore parks and recreation areas that I’d never been to before.

To expand my hiking opportunities my friend encouraged me to join the Atlanta Outdoor Club (AOC), a club focused on hiking and other outdoor activities.  I was welcomed and inspired by so many outdoor enthusiasts in the AOC.  Soon I was joining faster fitness hikes and I began to really enjoy the challenge of trying to keep up with the fast pace hikers and was even starting to jog to keep up.  These weekly hikes became a 5 1/2 mile jog for me.  Next my friend asked me if I wanted to run the Peachtree Road Race.  I had never done anything like that, but living in Atlanta for over 20 years, I knew it was biggest 10K event around with 60,000 participants.  I immediately said I would, figuring running a 10K (6.2 miles) couldn’t be that much tougher than my 5 1/2  mile fast hikes.  I could at least finish it, plus I’m always willing to try most anything at least once. So in 2012 running the Peachtree Road Race was my first race ever.

Peachtree2

My daughter Katie and I right after my first Peachtree Road Race

Before long I signed up for other 5 and 10K races as well as running often with another friend who I met in the AOC who was a more experienced runner.  As a beginner and having no fitness back ground I started signing up for weekly trail runs with the AOC to build a base.  These runners did more than just run with me, they waited on me, they supported me, encouraged me,  and taught me that I could do whatever wanted to do.  I was slow at first so after one of my first runs with the group I began to bring my dog Summer, an Italian Greyhound, for company.  She’s still my best running buddy and joins me on all my training runs up to 30 miles and runs a few races with me too.

SheMoves ATL5

 

On the AOC fitness hikes I met Stacey who became and still is a good friend. Stacey was a runner and really wanted me to do a half marathon with her. That seemed like a long ways from the 5 or 6 miles I had gotten used to running but as I said, “I’m willing to try anything at least once.”  However, others had cautioned me to train and not just jump into it like I had done with the Peachtree Road Race.  So we agreed on the Georgia Publix Half Marathon in March of 2013, and I began to train for the longer distance.

While training for the half marathon, Stacey asked me about running a marathon.  At this point I wasn’t sure I could do a half marathon and I’d never even thought of running a marathon.  A marathon wasn’t even on my radar.  By now Stacey and I were close enough friends that I knew her background.  You see Stacey was a breast cancer survivor of 10 years.  She was a young, single mom when she was diagnosed with breast cancer and had to undergo a double mastectomy, chemo and several additional surgeries.  She had turned to running during her recovery.  Running a marathon was a bucket list item for Stacey and I knew immediately if she could go through all that, I could run 26.2 miles for her.   We signed up for the October 2013 Chicago Marathon and spent the summer and fall training.  We had the best time running together and a great first marathon experience.  She will always be my initial inspiration for running a marathon and continues inspires me as a friend and cancer survivor!

Chicago37.jpg

Stacey & I before the Chicago Marathon

Would I run another marathon?  The first marathon I ran for Stacey but I felt like I wanted to run another for me. A tough question with a passionate response…”YES”.  Two weeks later I upgraded an Atlanta Track Club 10 mile race to the Atlanta Marathon.

After two more road marathons in early 2014 I finally did my first trail marathon.  The trails are where I began to run and enjoyed most of my training runs.  The feeling of running through the woods, the challenge of climbing the mountains and the technical nature of the trails really developed my passion for trail running.  The community I found during that first trail marathon hooked me.  The trails are where I truly enjoy and love to run.

Now that trail running had become my happy place, a month later I did my first 50K, an Ultra Marathon (any distance longer than 26.2 miles is considered an Ultra Marathon). Again I thought it would be one of my “try something once and done” type things.  But now the trails had become my love and the distance was an enjoyable challenge.

Soon with some encouragement from another running friend I began a quest to run a 100 mile race.  Not only was this something way out of my wheel house, I had never even heard of it before.  But the challenge was something that excited me.  How could a middle-aged mother of 3 who didn’t even start running until the age of 48 begin to consider such a thing?  So this is my journey.

I am an ordinary woman, wife and mother. My faith and family are of most importance to me on this journey that I am embracing. A journey that takes me through the good, the bad and the difficult, the ups and the downs along the way, and what keeps me going. 
A trail running mom on the path to run 100 miler! I truly believe that EVERY STEP IS A BLESSING! Posting and sharing little bits of trail wisdom as I go!