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24 Things about Hinson Lake 24-Hr Ultra

Vac & Dash at HL-24

Here are things that went through my mind during the 24-hour run, somewhat chronologically:
  1. "I get a decal, a glass, and a shirt!?"
  2.  "Where's Peter?" Peter came the night before and set up camps. Sometimes I think he's gifted with 48 hours a day.
  3. "Wow. People actually do plan to run the whole duration."
  4. "Mt. Hinson?" There's a section of the course with a slight incline. I'm sure it's a fitting name at some point approaching 100 miles. I didn't give myself a chance to find out.
  5. "Haha" - upon hearing someone telling Sharon and I that we are on pace for women's 24-Hour American Record at mile 3.
  6. "Maybe I should switch to my hybrid shoes." And I did. After the first 13 miles, I switched from my Altra road shoes to the Inov-8 TerraFly for a little more tread.
  7. "25.84 miles? Eh, so close." 17 laps on the 1.52-mile loop - not quite a marathon.
  8. "30.4 miles? Eh, another lap to make it a 50k."
  9. "I'm done until tomorrow." After finish the first 50k, the plan is to stop and try running again the next day to simulate a stage run.
  10. "That really hurt." My first massage since Blue Ridge Marathon, where they also provided post-race massages. Denise worked tirelessly for 24 hours on us stinky, sweaty runners and loved all of it. Thanks, Denise!
  11. "I'm bored. Maybe I'll get to 40 miles and stop." 
  12. "Where am I?" I heard someone yelled my name while I was running. I turned around and saw two familiar, but out of place, faces - Cathy and Don. They are my runner friends from Canada but have moved to Greensboro around the same time I came to Charlotte. We caught up and walked a lap together.
  13. "Do you guys need any volunteers?" I counted laps for a couple hours after I stopped at 39.52 miles.
  14. "This is actually fun." Aside from being corrected for a couple of missed laps, I was happy to sit on a chair, put up my feet, and sip a hot cup of (burnt) coffee.
  15. "Maybe I'll run with Sharon for her 17-miler tomorrow." More on this later.
  16. "Open cot!" This might be my best camping experience ever. Peter brought a canopy and a cot among many other things. I was warm, comfy, and got in a solid three-hour sleep. Getting out of the sleeping bag was a different experience.
  17. "Ouch!" The first couple steps were stiff and achy. I am not sure which was the greater shock: the 40 miles the day before, or running at 4 a.m.?   
  18. "Should I pick it up?" My speed, that is. I did try running with Sharon...but not for too long. After the first lap, that spot of light on the ground from her flashlight was pulling further and further ahead. Good try.
  19. "Passing on your left." I felt bad passing these dedicated runners who had run through the night. Here's me, having run only half their distance and waking up from a nap, moving swiftly by them. If they thought that I was faster only because I didn't run as far, they were absolutely right!
  20. "Last lap. Enjoy it." That was lap 33 - 50.16 miles. 
  21. "Should I run more?" That's a question accompanied with guilt, seeing others hobbling around, battling pain, soreness, blisters, overall tiredness and still running to reach their goal. I decided against it (not without guilt) considering where I am at in my training. However, in all fairness, I am not physically and mentally capable of running 24 hours even if it weren't for the WV Trilogy coming up. 
  22. "I guess I'm walking one more lap." While I was wandering around, I saw Ray came by and we started talking as he was still covering grounds and was planning to till the last second of the race. 
  23. "What's a banana lap?" That's a phrase I've heard people throw around throughout the day. I finally asked Ray, a veteran who holds the most lifetime miles at HL-24. The banana lap is where you'd go out on your last lap with a banana with your bib number on it shortly before the race ends. At 8 a.m. as the horn signals the end of race, you'd then drop your banana at where you are and a race official would measure the distance you've covered on that lap. Ray and I dropped ours at about half the loop. 
  24. "I was gone for a whole day and night!?" Teleported back to reality.
Happy running.

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