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Hawthorn Half Day 12 Hour Ultra

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Hawthorn Half Day 12 Hour Ultra

Post  Jeff F on Wed Jun 15, 2011 4:29 pm

Five years ago when I started running I would have never thought I would attempt a 12-hour ultra marathon; even a year ago I thought that people doing these types of events are crazy. Well, I proved that statement true; I am completely and totally insane.

Yesterday, I attempted my first 12-hour ultra with a goal of completing at least 50 miles. The event was the Hawthorn Half Day Race in Hawthorn Park just outside of Terre Haute, Indiana. The course is a 3.1 mile loop through the park and campgrounds with a combination of roads, grass trails and some single track. There is not a lot of elevation change with only one significant hill at around the half way point on the course. There were about 50 people registered for the individual, five 2-person teams, and ten 6-person relay teams. It was a great event and well organized. The weather was okay with temperature around 70 at the start, rain for the first couple of hours, some sunshine and high temps around 80, and then some cloud cover in the late afternoon.

I had no clue what my strategy would be, I was just thinking that a 12 minute pace would get me to 50 miles in 10 hours. I am not going to go into a blow by blow report, but I started out around 10 minute pace and walked the steep hill every loop from the beginning. I took a gel about every 45 minutes and an electrolyte tab every hour, beginning with the probably the 5-6 loop I began filling my hand-held bottle with ice and water every loop. I maintained the 10 minute pace for the first 17-18 miles and then began to incorporate a little more walking each loop. For about the next 15 miles I got myself into a pretty good routine with a pace just over 11 minute miles. I hit the 50K point around 6 hours; at this point I kept telling myself I could walk the remaining time and still exceed my 50 mile goal. While my legs were beginning to get tired from about the marathon distance until the mid-40 mile point my legs never got worse. My pace began to slip as I incorporated more walking but I was still maintaining a decent pace. As they say for ultras, start out slow and then go slower.

During my 14th loop I began to realize that my goal of 50 miles was achievable. A couple of other runners were encouraging me to keep it up to far exceed 50 but I could not find the motivation to go much beyond 50. That was good because during loop 15 my legs no longer wanted to do much running. It was at that point I did the math and figured 16 laps would get me to 49.6 miles and then I could wait until the last ½ hour and do one ½ mile loop to get me to 50.1. The last ½ hour of the event they have a short ½ mile loop you can run, as there is not enough time for most runners to complete the entire loop at this time. After completing loop 15 I talked another runner who had dropped out to walk the 16th loop with me; it took us just under an hour to complete the loop and we finished at the 10.5 hour point in the event, so I had an hour to wait for the final ½ hour. While waiting I walked over to the lake and walked in to cool down my legs; unfortunately the water wasn’t very cold but I think it helped a little. I put on a dry pair of shoes and socks and at the 11.5 hour I lined up to finish a loop to get me to 50.1. When they fired the gun I actually took off running, not very fast but I was running. After completing the first loop I felt pretty good so for added measure I did two more loops for a total of 51.1. I probably could have kept going for a couple more loops but I was very content with this distance.

I stuck around for the awards and food. I believe I ended up around the middle of the veteran men’s division; the official results have not been posted online. FYI – the overall winner ran 67.7 miles, not a record for the event but a pretty decent distance.
Today, I don’t think I am any sorer than I have been for some of my earlier marathons, but I am still not sure I will do a 50 miler again. My next scheduled event is an 8-hour in August, last year that was my first ultra and I quit at 32.9 miles (6.5 hours). Yesterday I was a little over 40 miles at 8 hours, so I may give that a shot depending upon the weather.

Later.
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Re: Hawthorn Half Day 12 Hour Ultra

Post  Dave-O on Wed Jun 15, 2011 4:52 pm

Yup, definitely sounds insane to me. silent

But great job exceeding your goals for the day. I'm not sure I could have started running again after a quick soak in the lake.

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Re: Hawthorn Half Day 12 Hour Ultra

Post  Jerry on Wed Jun 15, 2011 5:24 pm

Jeff, you waited an hour, then restart. That's funny. I wish they open the half mile loop earlier, then you can just finish first. Congratulations on achieving your goal!
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Re: Hawthorn Half Day 12 Hour Ultra

Post  Matt W on Wed Jun 15, 2011 6:26 pm



Nice job Jeff. That's definitely crazier than what I'd want to do right now. That's almost a week's worth of running for me. I hope you recover well. Keep up the great work!
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Re: Hawthorn Half Day 12 Hour Ultra

Post  Schuey on Wed Jun 15, 2011 6:42 pm

Wow great job Jeff, you have had one hell of a racing season so far this year! Keep it up buddy
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Re: Hawthorn Half Day 12 Hour Ultra

Post  Seth Harrison on Wed Jun 15, 2011 8:34 pm

Great job Jeff. The thought of doing the same 3.1 loop for that many hours is daunting. Congratulations on keeping to your strategy and surpassing your goal.
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Re: Hawthorn Half Day 12 Hour Ultra

Post  Chris M on Wed Jun 15, 2011 10:22 pm

That's just wacky. Impressive. But wacky. I don't think I could drive a car for 12 hours, let alone run.
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Re: Hawthorn Half Day 12 Hour Ultra

Post  Julie on Mon Jun 20, 2011 2:05 pm

wow! Congratulations! That takes mental toughness and that is awesome you did it.
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Re: Hawthorn Half Day 12 Hour Ultra

Post  John Kilpatrick on Mon Jun 20, 2011 2:14 pm

echoing the other site - that is awesome. You are a tough mother....

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Re: Hawthorn Half Day 12 Hour Ultra

Post  Mike MacLellan on Mon Jun 20, 2011 3:39 pm

Those timed ultras scare me a bit. Probably because it seems like they're a lot more mental toughness than pure endurance, and I'm not sure I'm ready to face the prospect of 12 hours. So, my hat is off to you. Great job getting through that one.
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Re: Hawthorn Half Day 12 Hour Ultra

Post  Pete B on Mon Jun 20, 2011 4:54 pm

You ultra guys are crazy - but that's what I thought about half and full marathoners after I had run my first 5K.

Congrats on achieving your goal, and surpassing it!
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