Tuesday, March 27, 2012

24 Hours of Utah - Solo with lots of good friends

Maddie and I put in a half day of school on Friday then jumped in the car to head back out to Moab. This would be mine and Maddie's 4th trip to 24 Hours of Utah the Run.  Back in 2008, this race was my first real ultra running event thay I ran in preparation for the San Juan Solstice 50.  I returned in 2009 with my family to run it solo again and finished 13 laps (1 more than the previous year).  Ean walked the last lap with me that night and we had a great time being out on the slick rock together in the dark under a sky filled with stars.  I went back last year with a free entry (thanks to a facebook trivia contest) and a team of 4 other FCTRs.   We had a great time taking turns running and doing a lot of hanging out and laughing at the campsite.

This year was another solo effort, but I was joined in the solo running by Kyle and Scott (both training for their first 100s this summer) Cat, and Sam.  Also along for the fun were Maddie, Sarah and Leah (Kyle's daughters) Celeste, Jen, Dan and Danny.  So although I was running solo, I knew it wouldn't be too lonely.

It was a beautiful morning and the day promised to be hot.  We took out together on the first lap at a casual pace knowing it would be a long day ahead.  I was quickly reminded of how stunning the lanscape is here and I was so glad to know that I had the whole day and the night to be outside under the warm sun and bright stars admiring the beautiful vistas with good friends while I challenged myself to run as far as I could. 

I ran the first three laps on and off with Sam, Cat, Scott and Kyle.  As the day went on we spread out as a result of different paces, break times, and taking care of the kids, bt we'd still pass eachother out on the course (odd laps were run clockwise and even counter-clockwise, so there were always people going in both directions)
Kyle and I regrouped and ran my10th lap together, finishing 54 miles in just under 12 hours.
starting out lap 10 with some additional company who were on their way
 to the creek to make mud pies

Cat, smiling and moving steadily forward as always
Kyle hitting the point of his longest run ever!
 . . . and he keeps on going.
Sam heading out for another lap late in the day
Maddie was awsome all weekend.  Here she is running me in on lap 10.
10 laps down.    Photo:  Maddie May
After the 10th lap, I took a long break to eat and rest.  I had a wonderful bowl of Ramen prepared by Maddie and Celeste, dug out a long sleeve shirt and my headlamp and headed out alone for lap 11.  I felt really slow and weak as I started up the slick rock portion, but by the time I hit the backside of the loop, I was feeling much better and I ran the last 3 miles in at a decent pace.  I made a quick stop back at the camp and tried to convince Kyle to come back out for another lap, but he chose instead to stay in his tent and cry about the outcome of the Syracuse/Ohio State Game.  So I headed out alone again for lap 12 and I was definitely getting tired, but I finished it feeling okay just a few minutes before midnight.  I sat by the fire near the start/finish for a few minutes and gladly accepted a hot grilled cheese sandwich.  I knew I wanted to get out for at least one more lap and I knew I needed to go do it now, so when I finished my sandwich, I got up and walked back out.  Lap 13 was slow and painful.  I walked a good 90% of it and staggered and stumbled the rest.  It was still nice to be out in the quite Moab night.  I stopped and sat down at the far end of the course to rest and dump fine red Moab sand out of my shoes and socks.  I stumbed back in to camp a little past 2 am and I knew I was done.  Another lap would have been great, but I had nothing left to prove to myself or anyone else, so I pulled on some warmer clothes and climbed into my sleeping bag for a couple hours sleep.

At the awards in the morning, I was glad to see Scott and Sam and Kyle, who had all gone out for a final early morning lap and were feeling good about the day's accomplishments.  I took home the 3rd place medal for the men's 24 hour solo division.  Cat took home the women's 2nd place medal.  Scott and Kyle both ran farther than they ever had before.  Sam, Jen, Celeste, Dan and Danny all had a good day out running in a beautiful place.  The girls sang, danced, jumped rock to rock all the way around the campground and made amazing poop-shaped mudpiles in the creek.  A wonderful weekend outside with so many good friends doing what we all love to do.

Results here


  1. Great recap, Alex. Congrats on the 3rd place...you definitely grinded it out and deserved it! It was a great weekend.

  2. Way to lead the FCTR charge down there! Congrats on your podium finish!