Sunday, June 9, 2013

Black Mountain Monster 24 Hour

 June first I ran the Black Mountain Monster, a 24 hour run along the trails and grounds of Montreat College in Black Mountain, NC.

The course was a 5K loop, consisting of a mix of single track, grassy field and a half mile of pavement. Some nice rolling hills thrown in there as well. I originally had planned to go out to Black Mountain on Friday night, but I wound up staying in town Friday to help work the GenerationUCAN booth at the Raleigh Ironman Expo. So, we left at the ass crack of dawn on Saturday morning. The 24 hour individual run had a very user friendly start time of 10am, so that certainly helped as far as making the four hour drive on the same day as the race.
 We arrived around 8:30am and set up our little staging area in "tent city" where the start/finish line was. My friend Hannah accompanied me on the trip to help crew for me and maybe run a few loops to keep me company as well. We noticed we were one of the only people not to have a canopy or tent. I seemed to recall the forecast was calling for a chance of rain, but not until Sunday, so we should be fine, right?
 We could feel it getting warm already at 9am, so I knew it would be a long day (and night). At 9:30am I had my Generation UCAN shake, some Klean Electrolytes and got ready for the start. My friends Andy, Beth and Kelly were also running the 24, so I would at least be able to see some familiar faces along the way.
 True to form, the race started and I immediately went out too fast on the first loop, jacked my heart rate up and became a sweaty mess. Only 23 hours and 30 minutes to go, you *&^%$% idiot!
  Lap number 2 was slower, and I was already struggling to find a rhythm. The first six hours were just a struggle for me. Nothing was in sync. When my heart rate was good, my legs were tired. When my legs felt good, my breathing was crappy. The heat was taking it's toll and I knew that would have a bigger effect further on into the night.
Perking up!

  Things finally seemed to get better by late afternoon, when a nice breeze had picked up. I was getting in some good laps, walking the hills and running the downhills and flats. I was doing good with hydration, keeping my hand held full and drinking often. I had changed into a dry shirt, switched out of my Altra Lone Peak 1.5 and into my Saucony Kinvara 4 and stayed on the grind. It was slow going. I kept thinking about that old Aerosmith song "Chip away at the Stone". That phrase became my mantra of the day.

 I finally hit the 50K mark after about eight hours. Ughhhh.  I was taking a lot of breaks at the start/finish area, mainly to grab a UCAN shake or a bit of Hummus, fill my water bottle and towel off a bit.
  Hannah had joined me for several laps at this point, and that was a huge boost. Now it was getting dark, so Hannah took a break to get some sleep. I put on my headlamp and headed back out. I was walking quite a bit at this point, but I was still moving, tacking on the miles. I knew I would not beat my PR of 86 miles at Hinson Lake 24 from last year, so I set my sights on 100K. Things were going okay thru the early part of the night, then around 1:30am somewhere near my 50 mile mark, it began to rain. Just a few drops at first, then it picked up to a steady rain. I immediately thought of Hannah, who can sleep rather soundly, laying out there in the field, along with my gear, getting soaking wet.
  I picked up the pace and rumbled into the start/finish area to find Hannah already evacuating herself and the gear to a spot underneath a canopy where the musicians had played earlier in the day. While not completely soaked, pretty much all my gear was depressingly moist. I hung out under the shelter waiting to see if this rain was going away. It did stop, only to pick back up  minutes later. I was three laps away from 100K, but I was done. 17 laps, 85K, 52+ miles.
 We schlepped our gear up the hill to the car and decided rather then try to drive back home at 3am, we would grab a nap in the car and head out first thing in the morning. What followed was three hours of restless rotation, trying to find a comfortable spot in the car. By 6am I had enough, and we drove into town to get gas and grab a cup of coffee before the trip home.
  Several of the local police officers were in the convenience store drinking coffee when we strolled in. We looked rough! It probably looked like we has just come off a Meth bender. I am surprised we were not held for questioning!
Coffee Please!
  The ride back home was an endurance challenge in itself, but we made it home safe and sound. Although I was somewhat disappointed not to get more miles in, I didn't get injured and I learned a few things. There are worse ways to spend a day.  I will be back at the Black Mountain Monster Next year, shooting for 100K and beyond!

My Endurance Hummus Recipe:
1 15oz can of Chick Peas, drained and rinsed
Juice of a Lemon
2-3 Garlic Cloves, minced
3 Tbls. Tahini
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
Place first 5 ingredients food processor and pulse to blend. Then with machine running, add small amounts of water until desired consistency  is achieved.
You can also add in half an Avocado in final stage of blending.
Sprinkle with Paprika or ground cumin.

I usually spread this on corn tortillas and keep them in my pack for a quick snack along the trail!   

1 comment:

  1. But the first 30 minutes were spectacular! That's all that matters, right? Eventually, I'm going to have to actually run one of these loop races. I'm not sure how you nutjobs actually keep going when your chair, your food, and your escape vehicle are all within sight every lap.