Adrenaline Night Run 65k (Insomniac Series)


It was a little after 5am Sunday morning June 9th when I pulled into my drive way.  I had been awake nearly 23 hours, 8 hours of that was spent running in the pitch dark of night, dodging spiders, snakes, and other creatures while enduring the Arizona heat.  It was an incredible and thrilling adventure.  Glowing from the experience, I wanted badly to spill my guts to someone, anyone, but everyone I knew was asleep.  I thought about hitting up twitter or facebook but said Nah.  I wanted to take a shower.

The race took place at McDowell Mountain Regional Park in Fountain Hills Arizona. It was HOT.  So uncomfortable, crawl out of your skin, shoot yourself hot.  The energy at the starting line was electric, with so many like minded people in their element; it is very contagious and hard not to be in the moment.  I was finally able to relax, as best you can before running 40 miles, since I had been very stressed for a few days.  I knew the basics; 40 miles, (5) 8 mile loop, aid every four miles, drink plenty of water, and make sure your head lamp has batteries.

I started of the race in 6th place just behind the leaders.  What the heck was I doing?  The pace seemed manageable but after three-quarters of a mile, I backed off a bit and settled into 9th place.  So many things raced through my mind.  I needed a game plan, I needed more water, Shit. A mile from the aid station and already needing water was not a good thing. The sun was nearly down, but I knew id still be battling the heat for hours. 

I was so happy to see Ice, not just ice water, but ice at the aid station.  It was a relief.  I poured it on my head and took a long drink as I quickly left the South Ridge. The course seemed to be run able with the exception of a few problem areas that I would need to carefully navigate through later on in the dark. 

The first two loops were the hardest.  It was just so hot.  I don’t usually run shirtless. But I finally decided to take off my top.  It helped.  Being self conscience I put my top on just before the start/finish aid station each loop knowing that’s were the race photos were being taking.  You can laugh; I am just not that comfortable.  

After finishing my second loop I was feeling a bit dizzy, my stomach hurt, and I was so nauseas.  I stopped at my drop bag and grabbed a second water bottle and a Red Bull.  As my water bottles were being filled I drank a few cups of ginger ale, forced down a few ginger snacks and took some electrolyte pills.  I was embarrassed as big drops of sweat hit the table and ground.  As far as I know, none of my sweat contaminated the food on the table, but no promises.

I left for loop three with a lump in my throat.  I dry heaved a few times and was actually hoping I could puke.  I once again took off my shirt, poured water all over myself; it felt so good.  I decided to walk and drink my Red Bull.  I was exhausted and had been awake now 16 hours.  So many things were racing through my mind at this point.  I turned off my head lamp just to see how dark it was.  Wow, it was kind of scary.  That’s when I told myself, “this is an adventure, have fun, do this for you.”

One thing I thought was really cool, at certain parts on the course; you could see both aid stations.  Also, if you looked around you could see the head lamps of the other runners.  Man it was dark and I was alone a lot on the course.  Now and again I would come across runners from the 26k and 13k races. I had not seen anyone from the 65k since leaving for my second loop.  I estimated that I was in 6th or 7th place and needed to keep moving. 

Before leaving for my 4th loop, I grabbed a second Red Bull.  This time instead of walking I jogged and sipped on it.  My stomach was still not felling well and I did my best to fight through it.  When I got to the South Ridge aid station for my fourth time, I immediately let them know that they would be seeing me one more time.  With 12 miles left to complete the 40 miles, my confidence and moral was on the up and up.

As my bottles were being filled I asked about Cristain Rios, a talented young runner, who had been dominating the race from the start. Come to find out he was about 10 minutes behind me.  Holy crap, I did not want to be lapped.  Before leaving, I was also told I was in 4th place. This jarred my mind and I took off in pursuit of 3rd place.  If the aid station worker was right, he had a 15 minute lead on me. 

I started my last loop, excited, and repeated out loud a few times “40 miles.”  I was going to complete my first 40 mile race, the longest distance I had ever run.  That’s when I heard the cheers.  Cristain had finished/won and damn near lapped me.  I pressed on with the thought of catching the 3rd place guy.   The last few miles flew by, it had cooled down slightly, but I was still drenching my self with water.

About a mile and half from the finish line, I seen the guy I had been chasing.  He saw me too.  It was hard to judge how far ahead he was, but when we made eye contact, it was on.  He picked up his pace and so did I.  It was a rush to be racing. I wanted so bad to over take him and pushed my tired body as hard as I could.  Then it happened, I slipped in the sand as I crossed through a wash.  I regained my balance and adjusted my head lamp. Damn it. 

I started to hike, I was bummed, but then I thought man you are about to complete 40 miles. I ran the rest of the way and crossed the finish line in complete relief.  I was exhausted and numb.  I sat down after a few high fives.  Per the preliminary results, I was 7th place and not 4th.  I am more then positive the aid station guy did not intend to mislead me, and to be honest, chasing that spot gave me the energy I needed to finish strong.  

I was completely satisfied and happy to find out the next morning I actually finished in 6th place overall.  40 miles: 7hrs 51 min and 13 sec.  It was such a great experience and has made me fall even more in love with ultra trail running.  Thanks again to Aravaipa Running!

 
Before it got dark
competitive loop


beer at 7:30 am and shirt

kid got me with water gun

cruising


 

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