Monday, July 28, 2014

Endless Summer 6 Hour Race 2014 Recap

For a while I was worried that showing up to an ultra with no intentions of completing the ultra distance and no intentions of actually running a step would make me feel like an outsider or loser. I guess in the last 8 months since I've done an ultra I forgot how these races are full of awesome laid back people who really don't give a shit. Whenever I was chatting with someone and told them "Yeah, I'm only walking today. I had back surgery in March and I'm not allowed to run" they would just congratulate me on my Grandma At the Mall speed walking skills and tell me that it's fantastic that I'm out doing something as stupid as walking for 6 hours in July so soon after back surgery.

Going into this race I had no idea how my body would react to a long distance walk. I still have significant nerve damage in my right leg and random muscle spasms so while I mentally wanted to do well, I wasn't sure my body would be on board with that.

I filled my minivan with local running friends who were also doing the race and we all drove up to Annapolis together. In retrospect we should have left a little earlier because we got to the race with no time to spare. I was pinning on my bib during the pre-race brief and hardly had time to put down my drop bag before lining up to start. The race seems to get bigger every year, but it also gets better every year too. This year we had chip timing for the first time so we didn't have to check in with a volunteer after every loop and every logistical aspect of the race was so smooth and organized.

Sweet swag (nasty diet beer not included)


I was so rushed to get to the start that I didn't have time to focus on trying to find a blog reader friend who was also walking the race and I ended up starting with my next door neighbor. She was running it but this was her first time doing an event longer than a half marathon, so she wanted an easy pace so she jogged the same speed as my walking. Walking with someone who was running ended up being really motivating for me to walk faster so we kept a really good pace for the first three loops (12 miles). After seeing the times for those loops (less than an hour each for a 4.1 mile loop) I started doing Race Math in my head. I never do math except during races, but when I race, I must do math.




I realized that if I kept the same quick walking pace for the remainder of the race, I could have a shot at a 25 mile distance finish. Once I came to that realization, all I could think about was how much I wanted to get to 25 miles. I haven't done a race in a long time and I forgot how freaking bullheaded and stubborn I can be. Do you know who didn't forget? Alyssa. When everyone was putting in guesses for my distance for the race, she was one of the only ones who guessed a longer distance. I asked her why and she said that she did some math and factored in my stubbornness and competitive inner Race Bitch and that's how she came up with her number. I guess all of those ultras that she ran with me gave her a little edge in the betting game.




By the time I hit mile 18-ish (I wasn't wearing a Garmin so that's a guess) my legs started to yell at me. My feet were screaming at me and every time I walked down a hill, as I could fill my blisters hitting the front of my shoes. I didn't really care though because my back felt fine and I was in my stubborn zone and refused to slow down or take a break because I knew I didn't have any time to spare. It's sad really because the aid station was awesome. I stopped just long enough to refill my Gatorade bottle and the aid station workers were so wonderful. You know how when you were a kid and you went over to a friend's house and their mom was just awesome and offered you snacks and drinks and tried to do anything to make you feel comfortable? Somehow they found those women to staff the aid station at this race. At one point, someone was filling up my Gatorade bottle for me, another was getting a cup of ice to add to my bottle, and another was putting a cold towel on my neck. Endless Summer is still the leader in my book for best aid stations! If that's not enough to encourage you to sign up for next year's race, then just consider this: at some point during the race (maybe even more than once if you're lucky!), you will see this:

Both the Race Director and eye candy


It got really hot by the end of the race. It was humid all day, but at least in the morning it was overcast. I started passing more people once noon hit (I actually ended up going further than 25 other people!). It was a lot easier to stay cool with just walking and I also didn't have any issues with chafing. The primary irritants for me were the growing blisters on my feet and the muscles in my leg screaming "WTF are you DOING to us?" I figured if I just didn't think about it, then I could keep pushing the pace and make my goal of 25 miles.

At the end, I was walking with a normally super fast runner who gave birth just seven weeks ago. I was a little concerned that at some point her uterus would just fall out onto the path and I'd have to help her carry it back, but she held it in and she was a damn fast walker. She helped me push it until the end and before I knew it, the air horn sounded and the race was over. I had a flag with my bib number on it to mark where I ended and just the simple act of crouching down to put that in the ground made my legs scream at me. That's a mark of a good race.

So, how far did I end up going? Did I make my ridiculous made up mental goal of 25 miles?




But I came pretty damn close. My official results are 24.97 miles.

I bet everyone who bet like 15 miles feels pretty stupid now, huh? I'm just kidding, that was a totally reasonable bet and I wasn't even sure I could make it ten miles until I started.

*Edited because I can't math on drugs*

The winner of the $100 with a guess of 26.9 miles, (26.9-24.97=1.93), is Alyssa!

The second place winner of $50 with a guess of 23 miles (24.97-23=1.97) is whoever guessed under the name of "Friends of the Marines"!

The randomly selected winner of $25 is Erika Blaska!


If you won, please contact me via email (kara975 at gmail.com) so I can give you the money! If I don't hear from you within 72 hours, I will donate your winnings to the Semper Fi Fund.


I want to thank everyone for making this fundraiser so successful! Currently I have raised $4,850 for the Semper Fi Fund and that's amazing. It was great to participate in this race that benefited the Semper Fi Fund along side other Semper Fi Fund athletes.

No, that dude did not run in a kilt. 


As far as how I'm feeling post-six hour walk, well...everything hurts and walking is awful and stupid.





My back is a little sore, but it feels the same level of sore as I would just being on my feet all day. The actual walking part didn't seem to irritate it. I felt like crap on Sunday morning but that was mostly due to starting a nerve pain medication (I went to the doctor on Thursday) and it has some pretty gnarly side effects until your body acclimates to it. I had nearly constant muscle spasms in my calf and hip area during the walk but that's not abnormal either. Life is pain.





If you lived close to Maryland, would you ever run this race? Have I talked you into it?



Out for a six hour stroll
Photo credit to Denise Hyde

28 comments:

  1. You're amazing. That's all I have to say.

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  2. My Husband is actually transferring to your area in December and now I kinda want to do this race next year.

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  3. Love this...love that we both felt compelled to share the eye candy. Hopefully they'll open up registration to past participants a week early next year. Given all of our positive advertising it's going to break the MCCM sell out record for 2015 =)

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    1. Oh and I am behind on my cartwheel:vote ratio which will be rectified at Veteran's Day 50K. I'm sorry my body hated me after yellow-jacket sting.

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  4. Nice work!! It actually looks like an enjoyable event, but is a 4 mile loop long enough or do you go nuts running (walking) the same path?

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    1. It's at a nice park so there is a lot to look at. I saw about 50 different breeds of dog (they have a dog beach and a dog park at this place) and a deer with twins, a snake, and a wedding...all in just six hours! :)

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  5. Congratulations on the distance & raising such an awesome amount for your charity!

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  6. Hey lay of my low ball guess. It's the USA's fault for not joining the rest of the world with the metric system. I wasn't running so for me maths is hard!

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  7. It was great to meet you and thank you for giving me the courage to sign up for this one, even as a slow ass walker. The race support was the best I've ever seen and I will definitely be back next year to hit that 20 mile goal if it kills me!

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  8. Congrats! You are an inspiration. And Hell-o race director. My goodness, he is pretty.

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  9. Way to go!!! You are awesome - I would totally walk this race with you. It would be good practice for the 8 hours of walking I'm going to do at the end of August at the State Fair...but with more fried food and less eye candy. And more "these colors don't run" tattoos. MURICA.

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  10. Wow, great job! AND ON NO TRAINING. I, haven't walked more than a mile in over a month, and I'm really looking forward to getting back out there and hurting myself again.

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  11. I read most of this thinking, "what kind of maniac would CHOOSE to do this race?" and then I saw the race director and instinctively pulled out my credit card to try to sign up for next year. (Down, girl.) I get it now.

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  12. Congratulations! Woo-hoo! 25 miles! You realize that is more than most able-bodied healthy-back people could ever do. Truly amazing. And all the money you raised for Charity too. A lot to be proud of. You should take up competitive speed-walking, seriously, you'd totally place in a race-walking division, some races have those. Anyway, I only did a few more miles than you, and I was trying to run. Made it to 29.7, so fell short of my 30+ mile goal, but still the longest distance I've ever run. Thanks for walking with me for a bit. It really helped me during my low point at ~24ish, turned the mood around for me for my last 5-6 miles. I appreciate your advice, especially the one about not wasting so much time at aide stations, but grabbing food and walking away. It is killing me that I was only 0.3 miles away from my goal - if only I could have those 5 minutes back that I was dilly-dallying at the aid stations eating ALL OF THE FOOD, I would have made it to 30. Oh well. Lesson learned. I will be back next year for this fantastic event! Especially now that I've seen the race-director in person....

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    1. By the way, check out the official results again! You made it to 25.272 and I made it to 30.042! I made it to my 30 mile goal after all! I couldn't believe it. After the prelim results were adjusted, my friend emailed the race director (who is super nice) just to make sure, seemed too good to be true, and he said we earned it. The course measured 4.15 each loop not 4.1. Yay! Congrats on making it past 25 miles!

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  13. I submitted a terrible guess... And I'm also trying to figure out how to work this torture/race into a family vacation plan just for the eye candy!

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  14. I'm very impressed with your walking abilities. That's a long way to walk! I would totally consider doing this race, especially after your review and seeing the awesome swag. Maybe next year. My only issue is that it takes place in the summer. I'm not so keen on running in the heat and humidity. But at least it is a timed race so I could take it easier if I need be.

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  15. I would gladly walk many, many miles if I had that kind of eye candy to look at. Holy thighs (and abs. and shoulders.) Batman!

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  16. I remember your post from last year about this race and it went to the top of my "first possible ultra" list. Of course, my marathon took over 6 hours so you know, I have some work to do to make a 6 hour race an ultra. Psht! Details!

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  17. Congrats on the distance! Sounds like a fun race.

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  18. Awesome job!!!!! Both with the walk and the fund-raising. Now I feel compelled to see how far I can walk in 6 hours.

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  19. That is so awesome! In a weird sort of stalker-ish way, it gives me hope for myself. Congratulations on doing this with such style.

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  20. If I was able to donate this time, I would have guessed 24 miles even (going on nothing but the fact that I can walk a 15 min mile. 6 x 4 = 24. MATH!). So I'm feeling pretty good about that guess that never happened right now. Plus I would have beat Alyssa, but I guess she can use the money for that whole "baby" thing.

    Nice job on the race! You kinda look like you're running in that last picture.

    Nice job on the race

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  21. Once again, math comes through. Yay, math!

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