When I signed up for the New Year's One Day "race" in Crissy Field (San Francisco), I hardly knew what to expect. But I did know that running a 1.061 mile loop with amazing views of the Golden Gate bridge, Alcatraz, Marin headlands and the privilege to run all day and night sounded simply too good to pass up.
I could hardly think of a better way to end 2012. The event offered a 6, 12 and 24-hour option. Yes, I paid to run around a loop for 24 hours.
There were 29 of us starting at 9am. The concept of running until 9am the next day was something I preferred not to think about. The 12-hour guys and gals joined us at noon and the 6-hour (aka sprint event I guess) runners at 6pm.
Parking was extremely convenient, race shirt/bib pick up was right then and there before the event and the weather was perfect. The transponders around our ankles would track our progress each time we crossed the "finish" line at the start/end of the loop. We would have access to a fully (and amazingly) stocked aid station every mile. Truly, we were spoiled by the organizers.
|could hardly ask for a prettier course for a city-race|
The first 5ish hours went by extremely fast. It was like running with old friends...except I didn't know anyone besides Peter (who told me about the race in the first place) prior to Dec 31st. The atmosphere was simply amazing. No pressure, just friendly running. Well, unless you are the guy who was going for breaking the course record (which he did by one lap!). He didn't talk much but I did see him fly by as he lapped me (frequently). The course was 60% dirt path and 40% asphalt (which hurt a little after 10ish hours).
|the impromptu running family...all smiles.|
My goal? I once hoped I would make 100 miles. After a few laps I knew that would not happen. As it happens, "old" injures die slow (and resurface often) and my joints/ some muscles chose not to cooperate. I was not having a good day, but I was determined not to make it ruin the party. I ran as much as I could, limped often, walked when I had to and rested when forced. I even got to share 2 laps with the amazing Yolanda Holder, for whom this was the 120th marathon for the year (setting a new Guiness world record). I ended up with 53 miles (50 laps) and I guess I should be happy I got that far. I had to respect my body and leave at midnight, so 9 hours early...but at least I am feeling happy and ready run again 1.5 days later! Sometimes, it's just not wise to push injuries when you don't have to...so leaving was probably one of the smartest running-related decisions I've made to date. And I don't make smart running-related decisions often.
What I learned...
A great thing about timed events is that there is no DNF (Did Not Finish). As long as you finish one lap. Mind you, this also makes it harder to incentivize moving when things get ugly (which they are bound to somewhere after mile 30 or 40). I also found it hard to "get in the zone" with the distraction of a super fun (and delicious) aid station every mile. Since this was my first time-based event, I'm not surprised. I also think I underestimated the mental/psychological difficulty of running around the same loop, in the same direction, for hours on end. It sounds so simple...and I guess it is almost too simple.
I don't think I could find a single complaint against this event. The lentil soup at night? Simply magical. Coastal Trail Runs - beautifully done and thank you for a spectacular ending to 2012...now on to race planning for 2013! Next stop: New Years Race Los Angeles, Jan 5 @ 9:30pm. I love 2013 so far...