The day after Thanksgiving, I drove from El Paso, Texas to Phoenix, Arizona for the Solemates Tryptophun 24 Hour Run put on by Mark and Sharill Hellenthal. This was an inaugural year for the run and I signed up after my Silverton race as a goal for additional training/long run challenges.
Since the race had a turkey related theme – Jennifer and I shopped and found an outfit for the run. The hat is in honor of turkeys. The minions are in honor of Mark H (who loves minions) and Ed Ettinghausen (since I had been his minion all year long in his Edventures for a worlds record). He was even hanging around me at the start of the race.
The race was around a loop in the White Tanks Regional Park. I chose the “easiest” loop (ha ha!) – called the Wishbone loop. This loop was 4.27 miles in length. There were two other harder loops available. I’m really glad I was not crazy enough to pick one of them.
Going into the race I had three goals:
- Don’t get injured (C goal)
- Go farther than at Silverton (where I covered 22 miles) (B goal)
- Do a minimum of 54 K (33.5 miles) since I turned 54 the week before
This race was tougher than I expected. A lot of ascents and descents. None were really long, but they wore at you. A lot of rocky sections on the course. I didn’t dare run on them because I had another race scheduled for the next weekend. No cloud cover during the day. Did you know that the desert gets hot and hot during the day? And there is a lot of sand there? And cactus? And no shade? Now I do.
Before the race started we found out that there were only 3 women registered for the 24 hour race. Nice! Guaranteed podium spot. There was a fast woman that we expected would take first. Deb Distante and I were debating which of us would take second. Her guess was it would be me because she had not been able to walk or run or train since Silverton due to health issues.
The turkey hat only lasted 3 loops. That wool got too hot. In the afternoon I took two long breaks laying in my vehicle to recover from the heat. I was not pushing myself past my limits in this race – just challenging my foot to see how much it had healed from both Plantar Fasciitis and tendonitis. After the first break – the woman that was in the lead told me she had hit 25 miles and was done. All I had to do was to surpass 25 miles and trip Deb if needed and I could actually win a race!
I ended up with my last two loops at dusk and then dark. At the end of loop 7, I caught up to Deb D and we walked together for a couple of miles. She was in a lot of pain and not sure how many more laps she could do. I admired her incredibly for keeping on through the pain all day. She was walking very slowly and I think the heat made those laps even harder on her because she could not get any shade during a loop.
The last loop I did alone in the dark. Pretty weird to be out in the desert alone. So quiet. So dark. I made it through and gained some confidence in running in the dark and alone.
I finished up for the day with 8 loops completed for a total of 34.17 miles. This means I made my A goal – the race was a success.
In the morning I woke up to find the race had ended and I won not only first place in the women’s 24 hour race on the Wishbone loop but first place in the overall women’s 24 hour race. I worked hard for that win and I will take it happily and enjoy the victory.