Croatan24 Race Recap 2015! ( Now Tideland24 )

JmartAMRResolutions

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(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.image

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.

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I took it to another level and labeled my boxes. Overkill? I don’t think so!

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.

READY!

READY! Hoka & Dirty Girl Gaiter LOVE!

Photo Credit- Susan Scott , SOS Photography

Photo Credit- Susan Scott , SOS Photography

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.image

The hard packed trail was easy to navigate with very few roots.  There were several bridges through the marshlands.

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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!

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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.

Mile 14, sock and shoe change.

Mile 14, sock and shoe change. My plan was to change shoes and socks every 14 miles.

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!

Trail Happy! 4:00pm, 8 hours in!

Trail Happy! 4:00pm, 8 hours in! Mary Anne does not even look like she has been running! Fresh as a daisy!

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Our support Crew! Cooler of ice and red coke! Yummy!

Our support Crew ! Cooler of ice and red coke! Yummy! Eli was the water runner. Willingly filling up our water whenever needed.  Gosh they were so helpful!

Race Crew- Clive!

Race Crew- Clive!

We pushed through the heat sticking to the 6/2 interval.

3:00pm I was drenched! in an effort to stay cool

3:00pm I was drenched! in an effort to stay cool

We welcomed the nightfall anticipating a much needed temperature drop.  The dust views of the trail were fabulous.

5:00pm, 9 hours in and still smiling!

5:00pm, 9 hours, STILL HOT and still smiling!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo -Susan Scott/SOS photography

Photo -Susan Scott/SOS photography

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!

Nightfall!

Nightfall!

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!

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The food tent is like the water cooler at work…you never know what you will hear! Great job Suzanne on all the grub!

Steve grilled some burgers and I happily devoured  along with a coke! Something I would never drink normally.  Gosh, it was so good!

Burger on a plate! Thanks Steve!

Burger on a plate! Thanks Steve! 2nd Burger of the day!

 

 

 

42 ish miles in!

42 ish miles in! Feet were feeling 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!

50 miles DONE!

50 miles DONE! Omg…that face Kmac! That is what 50 miles will do to you!

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.

Headed out for final 15!

Headed out for final 15!

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!

55 laps!

75.7 MILES, 4th Overall Female!

I DID IT!

75.7 MILES DONE! GOAL ACHIEVED!

GOAL ACHIEVED!

Highive from RD, Brandon Wilson. Thanks Wendy for this pic!

Highive from RD, Brandon Wilson. Thanks Wendy for this pic!

8+ minutes to spare!

8+ minutes to spare!

My ultra pal Jermey! (Picture from Kinston Mother Earth Brewing Half Marathon) Minutes after my finished asked me if I could imagine another 6 hours and completing 100 miles! I did not say NO!

My ultra pal Jermey! (Picture from Kinston Mother Earth Brewing Half Marathon) Minutes after my finished asked me if I could imagine another 6 hours and completing 100 miles! I did not say NO! He swore point to point races were better! This is a guy who is running Tarheel Ultra! 8 day race down the entire coastline of NC! (my kind of crazy!) Go Wendy and Jeremy!

YUCK! Horrific!

YUCK! Horrific! No wonder my shoe felt weird.

We watch the award ceremony and a special presentation for Brandon!

A RacENC buckle! He earned it!

A RacENC buckle! He earned it!

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!

After a 6 hour nap, Kate and Kayla doctored up my feet so we could head out for a celebratory dinner!

After a 6 hour nap, Kate and Kayla doctored up my feet so we could head out for a celebratory dinner! They also brought me a bowl of twix bars and balloons! AWESOME friends!

Bad Daddy's here I come!

Bad Daddy’s here I come!

Thanks Kmac for my AWESOME Koozie!

Thanks Kmac for my AWESOME Koozie!

Monday, I treated myself to a pair of OOFOS! They are not pretty but man are they comfortable! A post race essential for me!

ahhhhhhhh!

ahhhhhhhh! Swollen piggies and Cankles.  My only complaint was sore toes!

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!

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Shout out to AMY!…My ULTRA Running Inspiration

I am so proud of my sister Amy who completed the Hot Asphalt Lenoir County Ultra Run, organized by RacENC Saturday night.  Note I said last NIGHT not DAY……

This ultra, with 14  local runners,  organized by the local run club was an effort to enjoy a long distance run in their own back yard. Probably better described as in their  “back forty” given the fact their route was a rural, flat, route through eastern North Carolina farm land.

Amy and Ashley…..Smiling and mile 15

They did it simply for their love or running. My hat is off to all of them!  I honestly could not get excited about running 42 flat, asphalt miles, in August with NC heat and humidity.  If that is not challenging enough, they started at 5pm Saturday and ran into the early Sunday  hours.  Not only was it hot but it was dark!  Impressive!  Way to go K-town runners!

Amy, is my inspiration! I have her to thank for inspiring me to push beyond  my  two mile treadmill runs. She almost killed me on our first summer run in 2008.  A very HOT, flat, asphalt run with no water or distance plans (classic newbie mistakes).  Neither of us know how far we ran that day we just know we did it!  She pushed me through to the finish! That was the start!

We planed to train for  our first half marathon February 2009! Living 1.5 hours apart, we shared our training via phone and facebook! 1/2 Marathon day  arrived and unfortunately Amy was sidelined with an injury.  Not letting injury get her down, Amy rallied the family to  support me on race day! Amy was on every corner with one of her crazy signs. She organized the family and had them strategically placed along the course.  It was wonderful and a memory I will cherish forever!

Family Supporting my 1st 13.1!

That November, Amy and my kids ran me across the finish of my my first Marathon(OBX) 2009.

Earlier that day Amy concurred the OBX half marathon! Once again she rallied the family to travel to support our efforts. (Those who know her will agree….when Amy speaks…People Listen)

Amy continued to support and encourage me as I finished another two marathons.  Finally,  we planned to run the WDW Marathon, her first, January 2011.  Keeping with tradition, it was to be a family affair, however this time we would be joined by additional family members (sister Laury, Mom,  and brother-in-laws Lee and Jon).  They were tired of the sidelines and wanted part of the action.

Ready for Disney Marathon Weekend

Unfortunately, I was unable to make the marathon due to a HORRIBLE  upper respiratory infection.  I was so bummed not to cross the finish line with Amy in her first marathon.  I was forced to track her via internet from home.  I could hardly contain my excitement for her!  I was so proud of her and her accomplishment!

Fresh off her marathon high, we planned to run the Tobacco Road Marathon in March. FAIL! She got super sick and was unable to run!  Was this some type of omen?  To date, we have yet to run a race together.

Amy & daughter Chole WDW Marathon Finisher!

Amy’s Ultra finish is a great reminder that you can accomplish anything you put your passion  and energy into! I am excited to join Amy in her “Ultra Greatness” as I tackle my first 40 miler in December (Pine Mountain 40)  Perhaps, our race calendars will collide and she will join me              ( hint..hint) 🙂

Although our race calendars have taken us on different paths and distances, one thing remains the same… I can always count on Amy to raise the bar and push me beyond my limits!  I am forever grateful for your support.  Without your push, I would have never discovered my love and passion for running. Thank You AMY!

My daily inspiration…..given to me by Amy!

“Its that bond for female runners that makes me want to be a better runner- to push me a little harder” ~ unknown

Lets re-enact this photo with Pine Mountain, GA in the background!