Sunday, May 15, 2011

Mind the Ducks 2011 12 Hour Race Report

Man, where to start? I ran this race a year ago as my first ultramarathon and it was such a good race, I had to do it this year, too. I made some great friends and knew that I had to come back and challenge the course and my previous distance once again.

The race report, though, really starts the Monday before the race. I had done an easy 12 miler the day before and I felt my achilles start to get tight throughout the work day. Tuesday, the pain was even worse. I iced it, took anti-inflammatory meds, and wore heeled shoes to give it a rest. Thursday, I went to a sports medicine doctor and he agreed with my self-diagnosis of achilles tendonitis. He said it was really minor and if I kept up my routine and added some stretches the physical therapist gave me, he'd clear me to run. You have no idea how big the smile on my face was when he said that. I could have kissed him...almost...hehe.

Friday morning, I took a flight in from Philadelphia and met my mom in the Rochester Airport (she took a flight from Baltimore). The toy of a plane I took made me feel so motion sick, even hours after the ride. We quickly went to pick up last minute things, then ordered some delivery pasta. Nothing like a good carbo-load the night before the race!

We woke up and headed to the race location. We were pushing it on time and got there with just 10 minutes before the start. Got to say hello to runners I met last year, including Jesse Scott ( Jesse and I have kept in touch through Facebook and it's been great to become friend with a fellow ultrarunner who is part of the younger demographic like myself. We've talked about running mostly, but also just our lives in general and I was very happy to see him again.

Before I knew it, the race was underway! The first hour went by quickly, but my achilles started to tighten up a bit. I was freaked out that I wouldn't be able to do the whole race, but popped a few ibuprofen (not ideal and I avoid taking them normally to spare my kidneys, but my achilles needed to not swell up). I was able to keep the pain at bay for the entire race, which was awesome.

Like last year, I found myself starting in about 8th place for the women. I also decided to stick with my plan last year of being the tortoise in the tortoise and hare story. Last year, I kept my same pace the entire time and was able to sneak into second place while others slowed down. I knew it worked last year, so I tried it again this year, just a bit faster.

Surprisingly, the hours zoomed by. I employed a 27/3 ratio of running to walking, which allowed me to break up each half hour easily. I would try to snack on something in each of those 3 minute breaks and took an S-cap every hour or so. I was able to chat with some runners I met last year as well as some newbies to the race. I love the ultra community because it is so supportive and people are generally extremely friendly.

As the hours flew by, I was able to slowly creep up the leader board. The forecast predicted rain and while it only misted or lightly drizzled for most of the race, there were a few hours of hard rain. Surprisingly, it didn't bother me, but I think it pushed away runners who were ready to quit anyway. This was good for people like me who weren't quitting for anything as our competition dwindled.

Right before the start of the race
One thing I would do differently next year is drink and eat more. If I wasn't doing my walk break near the aid tent, sometimes I'd forget to eat. Also, water kept sloshing in my stomach, so I found myself drinking less water because of that. It kept my stomach troubles away, but meant that I wasn't hydrated enough. I was lucky, though, that I was still able to push through and make it.

The interesting part of the race came in the last hour and a half. I had been averaging 10:20-10:30 min/mile pace not including my walk breaks. With an hour and a half left, I realized that if I wanted to hit my high goal of 67 miles, I'd really have to keep my pace on track. I thought, "If I'm going to really leave it all on the course, this is my time to push it." I then picked up the pace to around 8:50 min/mile pace. I was zooming by everyone (minus Jesse, of course, as he was just killing all day and ended up (unsurprisingly) the first placed male overall and ran 77 miles). It felt great to feel fast at the end of a 12 hour race and for once, I felt intimidating.

With one hour left, I was only 1 mile away from 2nd place and she was left walking the last hour. I was able to lap her enough to surpass her by a few miles and was able to cut the lead of the first placed female by 2 miles (she still dominated and ran 71 miles...crazy!). I found Jesse with about 2 miles left and we decided to stick together like we had last year. He was able to keep me going and it felt superb to finish with a friend. We pushed along the last laps and finished at the same time. Couldn't have been happier!!!

Myself with Shelley, the RD with my 1st place female open award
(sorry for low quality, it's from my mother's Blackberry)
Again, Shelly, the RD, put on such an amazing race and the volunteers were fabulous. I loved this race even more the second time and cannot wait to be out there next year! I also have to thank my amazing mother, who walked the entire time in the opposite direction so she could always see me (walking about 45 miles) and who kept me going by either grabbing food for me to eat or just being a goofy person and keeping my spirits up. Couldn't have done it without her!

Final stats:

Miles: 68.8 miles
Place: 2nd place female, 4th overall
Toenails that will be lost: 3-4
Feeling: Like I'm on cloud nine (minus my body, which hurts like hell)


  1. truly amazing effort rebecca. i was so stunned at the results, i almost thought a mistake had been made... you did so much more than last year!! was great to have you and your positive attitude out on the race course. see you next time!

  2. Great job Rebecca! You should be so proud of yourself.

  3. Amazing pace Rebecca!!!! You crushed it! :)