(This race is now Tideland24 Great 24 hour race!)
During my New Years Day solo run, I decided my running goal for 2015 would be to run 75miles at Croatan24. I had checked off 4 out of 5 of my running goals so it was time to check off #1!
November 7th, finally arrived. I was excited to have recruited #BRF’s Katherine and MaryAnne. Katherine completed her first 50k with me earlier in the year and set her sites on 50 miles. Mary Anne skipped right over the marathon and set her goal at 50 miles as well. I have to say I am most proud of the fact just a few years prior Mary Anne said to me ” I don’t run races” I gifted her first “race” to her and she was hooked. My plan worked!
5 days out the weather forecast was horrific with 90% chance of rain. One thing was certain it was going to be wet. I learned early one, don’t stress about the things you cannot control. Adapt and make a plan.
I have to say my packing strategy worked out really well. I decided on my son’s sterilite camp truck we picked up this summer at Walmart for $20. It was perfect to store all my gear and keep it dry. I bought three additional clip boxes for foot care/medical, clothes, electronic misc. It was great! Definitely a repeat for rain or no rain.
We arrived at the Cedar Point Tideland trail head about an hour before the start. We had set up our tent/canopy the night before so we just needed to set up our chairs and gear.
8:00 am, 72 degrees, we were off!! Following the lead of current and former military personnel. I cannot think of a better way to start a day of running. It was a honor to run among so many military personnel.
The race beneficiary was the MARSOC foundation, which provides benevolent support for the families of active duty and medically retired Marines.
The 1.33 mile loop trail was very pretty. A great improvement over the alternate location where we ran the 2014 Croatan24. I now know why so many runners were grumbling last year. My plan, like 2014, was to run 6 mins and walk 2 from the very start.
The hard packed trail was easy to navigate with very few roots. There were several bridges through the marshlands.
Some runners found the bridges to be challenging but since I train on hills they did not bother me. I welcomed the slight elevation change to engage different muscle groups. Whoever said running “flat” was easy is dead wrong in my mind. The mix of flat, bridges, and one slight hill was just great!
The sun peaked out early and the temperatures began to rise. Temps peaked at 83 degrees. It was HOT! There was a slight breeze around the water that was very welcomed. There is no doubt the warm weather slowed me down. Thankfully, I trained all summer in the heat but it still takes a toll on you.
Notorious for feet issues, I taped my feet early on. Thank goodness for the tent that provided awesome shade and later shelter from the RAIN. The day was gradually getting hotter and we dialed in an ICE SOS to Mary Anne’s husband Steve who was headed over to the race to hang out. Ice is a must have race essential for me!
We pushed through the heat sticking to the 6/2 interval.
We welcomed the nightfall anticipating a much needed temperature drop. The dust views of the trail were fabulous.
Headlamps on, we were off into the dark. After Hood to Coast, I swore I was going to buy a better headlamp. While my headlamp works just fine, I really want a brighter light. NOTE TO SELF- buy a 200+ lumen headlamp before next night run. Katherine had an extra headlamp so I ended up wearing two!
I had been grazing on food all day! The girls could not believe all that I ate. Clearly, I have a stomach of steal. When the final race brief email arrived I opened the menu first! Big girl has to eat!
Steve grilled some burgers and I happily devoured along with a coke! Something I would never drink normally. Gosh, it was so good!
The rain finally settled in around 9:00 and did not stop for the next 6 hours! BUCKETS of rain and wind! Flash back to Hood to Coast! So much rain, the trails flooded ankle deep in many spots. FINALLY, the rain brought cooler temps. As I was running in the thunder and lightning, I was questioning my sanity. Thankfully, it was minimal! My next 20 miles were completely rain soaked. There was not a dry spot on my body. It was a great re-fresh from the heat of the day and enjoyed it. When your completely wet you have no excuse but to run straight thru all the puddles! There were snake sightings but fortunately I did not see any!
MA and Kmac were done! I was so excited for them! BUT, I had 25 more miles to go so I had to keep rolling! I continued on for another 10 miles and planned a shoe/clothes change at mile 60. 1:48am, I finally put on dry clothes. I took me forever to peel off the wet clothes in the cold. I dried my feet and added additional tape. Amazingly, the Kinesio tape was holding strong! Good stuff! Race essential for me!
I decided to take an extended rest. I set my alarm just in-case I fell asleep. No sleep to be had. I was freezing. Literally, shaking in my dry clothes under a blanket. Around 3:15am, I set off to finish my final 15 miles!
I decided to put my trail shoes back on. I noticed a weird pressure point on the outside of my toe when I put them on. I even took off the shoe to see if there was something in them. Nothing! Duh! it was a blister but I had no idea and it never crossed my mind.
It was hard getting started. For the first and only time, I broke my 6/2 interval and walked the entire 46th lap. At the end of the lap, I did some quick math with Brandon, RD, to figure out how many laps I needed to reach my 75 mile goal. It was at that point, I realized that I needed to stay consistent on my remaining 9 laps in order to reach my goal.
The remaining nine laps were long! I started seeing things. I swore I saw bears on the trail (it was the bridge), my next sighting was a dinosaur( it was a large fern)and finally a marsh rat ( it was nothing). I laughed at myself and ran on.
I was determined to meet my goal! I laid it down, picked up the pace and nailed a consistent pace for the final 10k! I was tired, determined, and running strong! Lap 53, with two more laps to go I was hit with a wave of emotion. I fought it hard, but ultimately let some tears fly. I worked hard to contain myself. Hyperventilating does not go well with running! It was refreshing and fueled me thru the final 2 laps!
Sheer Elation and gratitude as I came up the chute on my final lap to the cheers of all my fellow racers!
75.7 MILES, 4th Overall Female!
I DID IT!
We watch the award ceremony and a special presentation for Brandon!
8:15 am we hit the road for Raleigh. I have to admit, that was probably the most uncomfortable car ride I have had in a long time. I was so looking forward to a warm Epsom salt bath at home!
Monday, I treated myself to a pair of OOFOS! They are not pretty but man are they comfortable! A post race essential for me!
What a great run! I ran so strong! I persevered! I never considered calling it quits! I had FUN! Ultimately, that is what it is all about! 75.7 miles won’t be easy to top but I will have to make that happen in 2016!