What a day! I really had a good time at the Darkside 8 Hr Run this past weekend and I was surprised at how well I seemed to recover afterwards..Today's Tuesday and I've got some residual soreness in my lower legs and some lower back pain but otherwise I'm doing well. Haven't gone for another run yet, though, I'm giving that another day or so, trying to stretch my back and lose this nagging pain..
For a short recap, I'll say the Darkside Running Club really knows how to put on a good event..The volunteers were plenty, the water and gatorade were bottomless, and the pizza at the finish was delicious..The venue, Huddleston Pond, is just that, a small lake / pond, surrounded by a paved path which is partly shaded throughout the day. Our run began a little late, around 0725 hrs, with the women going first under an overcast sky. I was hoping it would remain overcast and cooler than the previous week and all in all it wasn't a terrible day weatherwise. The clouds disappeared around 0930 hrs or so and the sun beat down on us the rest of the day..
I saw several people I recognized from other events and spoke with several new friends. I met Kirsten and Sam M.who were also running their first 8 Hr event. My plan was to start slowly and then taper towards the end which I stuck to fairly well; I noticed myself huffing and puffing a bit at the start and had to slooow down right away because I was unconsciously keeping up with faster runners.
My nutrition plan was to eat a Hammer gel every 30 minutes, E cap on the hour, and 15 oz of water per hour..I brought some peanut butter and honey sandwiches to munch on when I felt hungry and thought I would stay away from the cookies and other stuff at the feed trough by the start / finish line. I stuck to my plan fairly well but was unable to eat the gel twice an hour.. I managed a few hours but then my stomach got a bit queasy and I stuck mainly to liquids. I tried to monitor my stomach and eat when I felt hunger but not force anything down when I was feeling queasy. I managed two sandwiches during the day.
I was able to run slowly for a few hours, not knowing how many laps I had run by my own choice, but eventually had to give in and walk. I would then alternate between running and walking and as the day progressed my walking periods overtook my running ones..My mantra remained "Run when you can, Walk when you have to, Crawl if you must, but NEVER GIVE UP!" It worked well for me and I was even able to run late in the race.
Not having any experience at running these long events and in this kind of heat (I have always avoided running in the summer heat) I wasn't sure what to expect. I knew I wanted a challenge, which I found, and I wanted to see what my body would do under the circumstances. I feel like I did a good job with my hydration, need more work with my nutrition, and just need more time running long races..I was able to experience the peaks and valleys that come with distance running and I hit some pretty low spots during the run..At least I knew to keep moving forward because the valley would bottom out eventually and I would start to feel better..I experienced this many times on Saturday. What a relief when you climb back up to a peak and really start to feel better and strong!
Anyway, I enjoyed myself, and this type of event was fun because the track was kind of small and intimate. We passed one another constantly, there was always someone nearby to talk to if I needed to, and seeing the front runners fly past for 8 solid hours was inspiring! Having my family show up at times to cheer me on was also special..Lifted my spirits at a time I was struggling pretty badly..
What a great time, I can totally recommend any race put on by the Darkside Running Club. Really first rate people.
Looking forward to my first run this week, prolly tomorrow.. Yeah, come on!