So running kind of loses its fun after 6 hours, which I know because Saturday, I ran for 8 hours. For Walt’s 50th birthday, we went down to Danville, IL to run Howl at the Moon. It’s an 8 hour ultra. You run a 3.29 lap as many times as you can and the person with the most miles wins. You only get credit for laps completed, so at 7 1/2 hours they open up a mini (1/2 mile) course so you can get in more miles even if you don’t have time to complete another loop.
Walt’s ready to go with his party hat.
Dave only took pictures while we walked, but we did actually spend some of that 8 hours running. You can kind of see that going on here:
I ran 12 laps, plus 5 1/2-mile out & backs for a total of 41.98 miles (which I am rounding up to 42). I ran a pretty consistent race. The first 9 1/2 laps I ran with Anne and Walt, who have both done the race before. There were two parts of the course Walt designated as walking points, so even on the first lap we stopped to walk. I assumed that by the later laps I would be walking more than running, but I only walked at the designated spots. We changed shoes & socks during lap 7, so that was our longest lap. On lap 9 I was a little late in pressing the lap button, so lap 9 was about a minute and a half faster than the chart and lap 10 was a little slower. During lap 9, Walt’s knee started to bother him, so he took a walk break. Anne and I finished the lap together, but she was starting to pick up the pace. After 33 miles, she is gaining speed! I hung with her for lap 11, my fastest lap (we even stopped for Anne to get a rock out of her shoe), but I couldn’t hold that pace on the final lap. I could see her up in the distance, but was quite happy with my slower pace. I knew I wouldn’t have time to finish a 13th lap and the mini-course wouldn’t open until 7:30, so there was no point in pushing it just to stand around and wait. Which is what lap 13 is – the time spent waiting for the .5 out & back to open up. Lap 14 was 5 out & backs (2.5 miles). I was running under an 11 minute mile here with no walk breaks – that was all adrenaline and excitement about almost being done. I almost stopped at 4 laps, but I knew I had time for one more, so I pushed through. There was 2:43 left on the clock when I finished my fifth lap. Even on the best day I can’t run 1/2 mile at a 5:26 pace, so that was the end.
After the race we walked over to the barn for the awards ceremony. So many awards. I got three medals – I’m like the Michael Phelps of ultra running. The first one was for meeting my goal. My goal was 35 miles, so I completely crushed that goal. The second medal was for all runners who ran 35 miles or more in honor of the 35th anniversary of the Kennekuk Road Runners. The last huge medal was for the third highest mileage in my division (women under 40) (that’s after you take away the overall female winners; I actually tied for 9th in my division). The reach your goal award is a bottle opener and the huge age division award is a belt buckle.
For Walt’s birthday, I made a howl at the moon cake. The cake was chocolate with mocha frosting (both from Sticky Fingers Sweets); the moon was frosted in buttercream. I found a howling wolf cake topper on ebay and she sat on a grassy cupcake hill.
I also made some runner sugar cookies from Vegan Cookies Invade your Cookie Jar. Some of them suffered from typical runner ailments: broken leg, decapitation, but most of the arrived in tact.