What a great weekend. As the race director wrote in an email, they don't know if they are planning a running event or a family reunion. This was my second year doing this, and I feel like I'm part of the family and will be back for many more. The ages of the participants ranged from pre-teen kids to 70+ year old veterans. There were world class runners and some who had never run farther than a 5K or 10K. There were even families out there participating together including a woman walking with her daughter and granddaughter. There were many stories out there and 24 hours in which to share them. Here is my story. One word of caution, though, the blister picture is at the very end, so don't scroll all the way down if you are squeamish, I will provide another warning.
The race is run around Lake Nokomis just outside the MSP airport in Minnesota. The course is just over 2.4 miles long and starts with an out-and-back section so that the 50 mile and 100K splits are at the timing tent. After the timing tent, medical tent, aid station tent, and big tent for tentless runners is "Tent City". Many runners have crew that set up tents. My sister-in-law was my crew and had this tent set up for me.
My great-nephew was also there to help out for much of the afternoon.
Here are some pictures of the course. It is a public park area and the weather was great, so lots of people were out enjoying the day, swimming, catching rays on the beach, and cooking out.
There was one section that crossed a bridge next to a busy road. This got very hot during the day and everyone except the front-runners called this the walking bridge.
Two airplanes taking off from the MSP airport.
On the backside of the lake was this weird looking monstery sculpture thing. I just hoped it wouldn't start moving and talking to me at 2 AM.
Finally there was Mt Nokomis. Not so daunting in the beginning, but it grew as the day progressed.
I started out great and my knee lasted for about 15 miles. With aid station stops, I was averaging about 12-13 minute miles. Then the knee decided it had had enough and I was reduced to walking. Walking was great even with the temperature rising to about 85 degrees and I was averaging 16-17 minute miles. However, I think my foot moves differently in my shoe while walking vs running and I started developing blisters on the balls of my feet at about the 40 mile point. I wasn't about to quit however because they ring a cowbell for you when you hit 50 miles and I wanted to hear that cowbell. So, I kept moving, but at a much slower pace. We're talking 20-25 minute miles. I finally heard the cowbell around midnight and there were still 8 hours to go. I couldn't quit now. Besides, they also ring the cowbell at 100K, that was "only" five more times around the lake. So, I kept going, feeling the blisters getting larger and finally popping, and then growing some more, eventually starting to move up the side of my foot. Around 4 AM I hit 62 miles and called it a day. I napped in the tent for a couple of hours until my nephew and his girlfriend arrived to pack things up. We then went up to the Community Center for an awesome breakfast of eggs, sausage, hash browns, pineapple, strawberries, etc. There were lots of awards handed out and the overall winners of both the 12 hour and the 24 hour runs were women! Connie Gardner from Ohio won the 24 hour with 127.95 miles and Carolyn Smith won the 12 hour with 83.19 miles!
FINAL WARNING, here is the promised blister picture. Thankfully it is a little bit blurry, but do not scroll down if you are squeamish.
Yes, it is covering about 1/3 of my foot, but it feels fine now, just a little tender. I'm planning on a short 3 mile recovery run later today.