Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Circling around Lake Quannapowitt

I try to embrace the purist in me when running, I run on feel, I enjoy the surroundings no matter where I run as long as I’m running and I don’t consider myself a competitive ultra runner but when the opportunity comes a knockin especially after 20 hours and 100 miles under foot sure I can get competitive. Finishing in 1st place at this weekend’s 24 Hour Around the Lake Ultra was spectacular, marvelous, amazing, splendid, fabulous, superb and brilliant just to use a few adjectives.

Friday July 25 7P.M.

I started the day with no expectations planning to enjoy the day from start to end and possibly reaching a goal of 100 miles by Saturday night. I immediately paced myself with a 25 to 5 minute run/walk ratio to save the wheels and body from bonking early on plus it’s easy to remember in the later stages of a 24 hour race when the mind starts to wander walk every 25 and 55 on the clock, combined with proper fueling, race nutrition, my wife Cathy and dad organizing my gear, keeping track of my splits, mixing my drinks and getting food in me was an extra benefit, they certainly took care of me. As night time approached I was told the temperature for Saturday was expected to reach the high 90’s so I changed my strategy and ran more putting the miles in the bank before the heat would slow me down. Lake Quannapowitt is a beautiful place it was especially picturesque when the moon and stars began to fade from the sky as dawn approached, all was quiet in the bustling town of Wakefield and the sun broke through the horizon unleashing a spectacle of colors in the sky which then proceeded to reflect in the stillness of the lake.

Saturday July 26 7A.M.
It was morning and I was still shuffling along. On Saturday my family came out to show their support and paced me throughout the day which kept my spirits high and feet moving. As the day grew hotter and hotter and I managed to keep up a decent pace, lap after lap after lap. With a little over three hours until the clock officially struck 24:00:00 I was approaching the 100 mile mark 32 laps, with this in mind I ran my hardest to finish. When I came in for a time check Tim told me I was just ten minutes behind the men’s leader and a lap behind the women’s overall leader. So after a brief discussion with my crew I decided to have another go around. During this lap I passed the men’s leader at mile 2 of lap 33 and made some time over him then the women’s leader just stopped I passed her and later found out she had dropped at 33 laps so all I had to do was hold on and walk/run another lap for 34, my wife Cathy quickly borrowed someone’s running shoes and we both set out for another lap around the lake. We both kept a watchful eye over our shoulders but I couldn’t take walking for long before adrenaline had me running again I came in at 6:04P.M. and anxiously waited to see if the other runner could come in and muster up one more lap so we all sat there waiting. I think he came in around 6:20 and said he was done. That was good to hear! Running multiple loops on pavement wasn’t as bad as everyone makes it out to be, I’ll take a little pavement for all the wonderful support, volunteers and local atmosphere surrounding the event. I had a great experience at 24 Around the Lake, I received a nice trophy for the mantel which my kids are running around the house with calling it the Piston Cup from the Disney/Pixar movie Cars; I also received a nice bag full of running gear courtesy of the race sponsor North Face. Thank you Kate, Tim Maul and to all the volunteers for a wonderful experience at 24 Around the Lake looking forward to the official results.

As a husband, a dad and a runner keeping balance is not easy and what came about this weekend was built from a foundation of hard work and dedication I continue to improve, grow and learn many new things about life as a husband, a dad and a runner. Thanks for sharing this journey with me.