What an evening!
It’s time to use my blog for an actual blog post. I know it’s been a hot minute, but this is the perfect place to write all the words, thoughts, and feelings of an amazing night of running.
In my running world, I have come across some cool people and been on some awesome adventures. From strangers I have met online to people across town. Running really has changed my life.
Meet Michael. I met Michael through my local running club, Corridor Running. We actually work together on an ugly sweater fun run. A year ago, Michael’s son had a bone marrow transplant at the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital. At the time, there was an idea to run loops around neighboring Kinnick Stadium to give the kids something to watch. Fast forward another year with a thriving son, Michael once again encouraged the Night Watch. I decided I would join.
I am currently training for Grandma’s Marathon in June. I also have maybe a leg injury/shin splints or just a phantom pain in my leg. Somedays it hurts, somedays nothing. This means my training has not been the best, and I wasn’t sure what to expect from this type of event. I also have plans to do some pacing at Leadville in August, so this just fit with my schedule.
Starting at 8:25 PM on May 21 (sundown) until 5:40 AM on May 22 (sunrise) it was encouraged to run/walk loops around Kinnick Stadium. Parking around the area is open on the weekends. There was no cost. There is no commitment to participate. Each loop was about .46 miles.
With some pre-event FB excitement, I did vow to donate $1 for every mile I logged. I even had a sponsor to do that as well.
I was most excited to use my car as an aid station. I wouldn’t have to carry a hydration pack. The weekend forecast was also for high humidity and highs in the 80s, so running in the dark was a plus.
If you have followed my running journey, you know I have done a lot of strange things. I have run a few 50ks but I have never done an endurance event like this. I wasn’t sure if I should have taken more of a nap on Friday? ( I did rest for about 2 hours before starting.) I wasn’t sure if I should have ate pasta for breakfast? There were a lot of unknowns, but my house was only 3.5 miles away if things went wrong.
I rolled in a bit early, I get anxious and am always ready to go. I backed my car into a parking spot as I would have easy access to the pile of things I tossed into bags.
There was a reporter from a newspaper, and after some quick snapshots the event was under way. Michael’s son ran the first lap with us, then cheered us on for a little while at the make shift aid area.
For the first 2 hours, it was just running in circles. The humidity made for some soggy clothes. I wasn’t sure if my GPS was off or not. I felt it had me running faster than I normally run, but maybe I was?
When I hit 10 miles I changed my shoes as something didn’t feel right. (The beauty of my car as an aid station.) Then Josh arrived and took some photos of us. He walked a lap with me and before he left gave me access to a bathroom. The lack of a bathroom was probably the biggest issue.
After Josh left it was just more circles. Another one of my favorite things was that even though I prefer running at my own pace, there was always someone else lapping me. Every time Michael passed he would say my name and I would give him a woohoo! They may have become a little less energized as the night went on. I did run with Michael for a little while and he was telling me his plan of running 2 loops then walking at light poles. Looking back, I should have stuck to a similar plan. I will sometimes run 3/4 mile and walk 1/4 mile, but I couldn’t find the groove.
As midnight got closer, I was keep a close eye on the minutes and seconds. I wanted to make sure my Garmin recorded my run for Friday and my run for Saturday. At 11:58(ish) PM and 18.10 miles on Friday, I pushed stop and save. Then it was time to push run and start my Saturday run, which I did and made it another 1.46 miles. This would be for run streak day 785 and 786.
I was in need of some real food and dry clothes. I took a longer break and actually used my Orange Mud towel to change my shorts. I also had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and some chips. Up to this point I had been drinking water, some Tailwind, eating salt tablets and jelly beans.
I got back up and decided that I was going to walk the remainder of the hours, slow and steady – just keep moving.
Welp, around 2-3 miles into the walking a random pain appeared in my right knee. Something I had never experienced. I thought it was a combination of all the pavement and the running in the same direction, so I started walking in the opposite direction. It really didn’t get better. So then I was taking extended breaks sitting in my chair. I even had the Theragun with me, so I tried to massage the muscles around it and do some stretching. I even thought about the lack of hills and maybe that was the issue?
When I got back up, I would walk one lap without pain, then it would come back. So then I took a break. I would repeat this pattern for quite a while during the early morning hours.
Around 4 AM, I was going to quit. I didn’t want to further injure myself. I checked my Instagram stories and there was an encouraging message, so I kept moving and slowed my pace considerably.
Around 4:30 AM I was feeling hopeful and my audiobook had an hour left. Honestly though, that book was not very interesting, and I was only partially paying attention. I also discovered a pop machine on campus, ugh too late, where was that hours ago?
Then 4:40 AM came and there was only one hour left to keep circling. I then decided to just move, no breaks, take it easy.
It started to get lighter out, this was going to be over. I started doing runner math and though I could get 30 miles total.
Then Michael came whizzing past, where did he get this energy? It was crazy, he was moving!!!
At 5:35 AM I gave an effort to walk one more lap, I even joked if I wasn’t back by 5:40 would I be DQ’d?
I hit stop on my watch at 11.86 miles walked. This was a total of 31.42 miles for the event. I will donate $32 to the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital.
Throughout the evening people came and went as they pleased. It was cool to see fresh new faces and even some I recognized. There were 5 of us that were there the entire time. I know Michael had a total of 55.5 miles- AMAZING!
It was awesome to be part of this. Running has taken me on some of the most wonderful journeys, I’ve learned to never say never, running has never been cancelled; and I am ready to see what’s next.