Thursday, September 28, 2017

2016 Hinson Lake 24 Ultra

It's September 27th 2017 just a couple of days before I attempt this very same race again to break my distance running PR(Personal Record) Distance set at this race last year.  Today is also my daughter Kamryn's 5th birthday!!  As any parent will tell you the rewards of children surely outweigh the many challenges they do indeed bring in waves of relentless stress both good and bad.  Hmmmm... kind of like an ultra eh?  I can't imagine how life would be without my kiddos.  I have quite the spread of beautiful ones too.  Yeah, seriously... Jeannie 31, Morgan 22, Landon 8 and now Kamryn 5!  I love them all so much for different reasons.  Of course that's another story ...

Well some of you may be wondering what the heck an ultra is. In simplest terms it's a long way to run or basically any distance longer than your traditional marathon of 26.219 miles or 42.195 kilometers.  I can remember in my earlier days of attempting crazy footrace distances when folks at a race stated that ultra runners typically are either running from something or running to something.  I never quite grasped that concept at the time but I have grown to embrace it now as I now know the layered meaning of this at least for me.  From a superficial level it may simply be another race but the fact is these races are so much more but is something each person must determine on their own.  At times for me, it's simply about the challenge of testing one's limits and doing better than you ever imagined.  As you train it's a lot of learning who you are and what it takes to simply endure. What did it take to train?  Did I actually train with any intent and purpose?  Did I train enough?  And yet at other times, I am escaping far away from those internal demons locked within my deep soul or the reverse can be true as I am instead going not away but rather to lock horns with them.

Before deciding to run the Hinson Lake 24 Hour Race, I had completed several other races of craziness including but not limited to my first Ultra the Falls Lake Fat Ass 50k+, Graveyard 100, and the Croatan 24.  Every now and then I would hear about this Hinson Lake event and wondered more and more about it.  Of course, having a busy life with kids, it was great that this particular race was located  under 3 hours from home in Rockingham, NC.    After conversations with a friend, co-worker and great therapist named Amy Albritton, I had decided to attempt this challenge.  Now in case you don't know what the difference between a 24 hour race and a standard ultra is, it's about how far can you run in a 24 hour period of time.  The Hinson Lake Ultra would include an inner lap course of 1.5032 mile that goes around Hinson Lake.  It's a certified course with certification code NC14103DF.  The course is made up of a trail surface of sand and gravel that includes several wood bridges.  For a race, the price was relatively inexpensive.  For just $35, I could test my intestinal fortitude yet once again.  Of course, since it was cheaper than most races, like many, I donated toward their cause of helping animals through the Richmond County Animal Advocates.

Well it turned out that the race was sold out!  So on the waiting list I went on.  I wanted to prepare for the race either way but without being confirmed to actually participate, I had a difficult time getting too serious.  Sure, the summer heat doesn't help either but not being locked in made me a bit lazier so I sent this email and got the related response:

 It's hard to say.  Typically, we have about a 10% drop out rate.  There are also many on the wait list that decide for one reason or another to not participate.  My best guess is that you have a good chance although it will be late August or September before we know.
 Sent from my iPad

On Mar 21, 2016, at 9:23 AM, Tim Garriss wrote:
 Hi Jerry!

I was just curious about the chance of me getting in this year. Last time I checked I was 44. I messed up I know. I'm just trying to plan ahead.

 Tim Garriss


Well as you now know, I was notified that I got in but had to pay and officially register by the next week or my slot would be given away.  I would later find out that they had accidentally sent that same notification to much more than they  planned to but oh well, I was in and very happy about it while of course being nervous too!

About a week before the race, I received this email...

Jerry Lindstrand 
Sep 20, 2016 at 12:08 PM

Race LogoHello Runners:
The Hinson Lake 24 Hour Ultra Classic is just around the corner.
Packet pickup will be at the Rotary Lodge located in the main parking lot of Hinson Lake starting at 12:00 PM on Friday till 8:00 PM and again on Saturday morning beginning at 6:00 AM.  The pre-race pasta dinner will take place in the Rotary Lodge on Friday, 9/23/2016 beginning at 6:00 PM.  This years guest speaker will be Pam Rickard of the Herren Project.  No reservations are required and you can pay at the door.  Plates are $8.00 and include pasta with or without meat sauce, garlic bread, drinks & dessert.
Camping on the trail is first come, first serve so plan to arrive early for that "Premium" spot.  Camping is also available at the Moose Lodge located about 100 yards from the south entrance to Hinson Lake.
Please remember to bring dog food, cat food, cat litter which will be donated to the Richmond County Animal Advocates.  If you are planning to bring your pet, please refrain from running/walking with them on the trail so as to not interfere with the race participants.
The extended weather forecast calls for high temps in the mid to upper 80's and the low temperature on the mid 60's.  Humidity will be a factor so bring extra socks, shoes and clothing so as to keep yourself as comfortable as possible.  Also, if you have any special dietary needs, please bring what you need.  We will provide drinks, snacks, pickles, olives, food such as PB&J sandwiches, boiled potatoes, pizza in the afternoon, soups, broths, oatmeal, ramen noodles etc.
Make sure you have headlamps or lights of some sort so as to light your way on the trail.
I think that covers it all.
We look forward to seeing you this weekend!  Please drive carefully and make sure to keep your gas tanks as full as possible!
Jerry Lindstrand
Race Director
Hinson Lake 24 Hour Ultra Classic


Now it was time to get a bit more serious so I looked up different paces and distances etc to somehow get a game plan.  At the time, my PR distance was about 74 miles so any distance about that would be great! I had been upset when I realized that I stopped just a few miles from completing 3 straight marathons of 78.6 miles so that was a definite bare minimal to complete!

Of course just for fun, I had to look up various distances and the paces I would need...

Anyone wanting to break the Hundo (100m) would actually have to complete 100.714 or perform at a 14.18 pace because of the course length.

It was neat to pass "The Rock" NASCAR Speedway which is no longer in operation.  I have been to one race there before it shut down. I love NASCAR however like many sports, if I'm not there in person, it just isn't the same on TV so consequently I rarely watch NASCAR on TV.

So of course reality hits about now as a rush of emotions take over my body.  I'm not really a hot mess but I'm definitely feeling pre race gitters!

The Arrival!

Meeting up with Jason!  I met Jason when I was the Graveyard 100 Aide Station 3 Captain when he was coming through.  Jason was helping with the Hinson Lake Ultra and is now the Tideland 24 Race Director.  Tideland was originally the Croatan 24 directed by Brandon Wilson.  Jason didn't run this race but is a great competitor and all around great guy!

This was actually the first time communicating with Bill Weimer in person instead of the internet.  It's funny how common interests such as running can bond people together without having ever met.  When we met officially it was as if we had always known each other.  We continue to support each other in our running adventures!

Here I am after checking in the evening before the race.  If you noticed, I am wearing my Graveyard100 shirt.  It was a true test of me mentally and physically.  I will forever be in debt to my loving wife Gina, Stephanie and Brandon Wilson for helping me survive that day!  In the background is Hinson Lake.  It was beautiful but the temps were a bit higher than I would of liked.  Check out my GY100 blog entry for that story of how I survived 63 miles through rain, sleet, snow and more!

For our swag, we got a choice of a coffee mug or beer glass along with a nice shirt.  After the race, I was able to obtain the Beer Glass too! 

I decided to go super light and easy.  I purchased this 2 person kid tent and planned to simply sleep diagonally.  It was only $20 at Wal-Mart and worked perfectly.  I was able to pick a small spot left directly on the trail and I was able to put the the tent up in about 5 minutes!  I borrowed my wife's self inflating single person mattress.  With a simple puff it basically fills up the rest of the way on it's own.  

So here I am on the left... tiny simple yet functional...
Most importantly I am directly on the race trail!

I added my folding stool I received as a wedding gift from Gina's brother Chad and his wife Lauren.  The cooler was filled with various survival related supplies including electrolytes, vaseline, first aide, head lamps, flash lights, etc.  The waterproof factor is essential when you don't have an idea of  how mother nature will behave.

The night before as I walk toward the pasta dinner and motivation speaker event...

Pam Rickard was a great speaker with great story about how she endured some not so good life decisions but with running was able to turn it all around.  She was awesome all around!

They ran out of utensils but one of the teens helping ran out and at least gave me a spoon.  The cost was about $8.  With all the fund raising and good causes all around, I had no problem supporting especially with a pretty cool guest speaker.

Pam Rickard

It's always important to be aware of the bathroom location!  As I've mentioned in previous blogs from my friend CC Wilkins... "Success begins in the bathroom"

The start, finish, lap counter...

The course... about 1.5 miles encircling the lake

Some neat bubbles...  

More neat swag...

Everyone getting ready to start!!  

My first time passing my tent!  Forward, Relentless Progress... let's do this!

At first this sign is somewhat funny until you've been enduring this "Mt Hinson" several hours... it's amazing how tiny hills become mountains.  Ratios don't really work in these races.  What works for me is knowing the course and when to walk, when to run, when to fuel etc.  I typically walk hills and aide stations and jog the rest but always being observant of my heart rate so that it typically stays low.

I'm not even sure if this sign appeared at the 12 hour point or not but I do love me some 80's rock!

Gnomes!  These were great and helped to keep you from getting bored.  You were allowed to move them etc.  In fact, one of the Gnomes had a timing chip.  I helped carry it a few times and once across the line to finish one lap.  

Hey! The Cat... it's been moved!

Whew! It got hot! I remember checking once and it was about 92 degrees.  I later checked at about 5pm and it was 88 degrees.  It was great to have this misting station at the wooden bridge!

Well my 22 year old, Morgan will soon graduate from NC State!  SO I am definitely going to support the Wolfpack especially if my daughter gets a J O B!

George and I have ran with each other in a few ultras.  He has lots more experience than me and is always a great guy to chat and joke with. Beast on sir!

Mike Bailey is a freakin' beast! We first met at the GY100 and later he also helped as a volunteer at the GY100.  He ran hard and long this race and left before I could say good-bye.

These folks were well organized and near my tent so I quite enjoyed the many notes they posted throughout.  

Holy Lily Pads!

Even beasts like Ron Wireman hit mini walls like the rest of us.  We jogged about 2 laps together before he hit is next wind and flew away.  Ron actually won the race! Congrats man!  It was great spending time with you.

Looks like something my wife Gina and a few of my GoRun teammates like John Caracoglia would say haha

Well I did think of Melanie Ng, a girl I run with GoRun but ran 4 years for SC.  She beat my tail several times on some tempo runs.

People often ask me what in the world do you eat? PIZZA of course! haha! But seriously, ultras are not like most races so you can eat somewhat different than you normally would. I take in about 400 calories an hour.  I take in a mix of all foods but typically crave orange slices, pickles, fig newtons, Ramen Soup, potatoes, peanut M&M's, PB and Bananas, and other random foods .... like PIZZA!

Yep it was hot!  It did say 92 once but here it says high was 90.  Either way the trails with trees helped tons but it was HOT!

Every runner has different goals.  Some run faster until they reach their goal and call it a day.  My goal was to endure the entire footrace of 24 hours.  So sure, in the beginning I was ranked in the hundreds but as the day went by I gradually climbed up the ranks.  Here I had moved up to 32nd.

Brian Burk helped me a few laps and then I couldn't hang haha... He caught his next wind and I was unable to hang.  Brian is a great guy and has a neat fiction based on fact book about running Leadville you should all check out.


I moved the Gnome related yard ornament!  Oh yeah... it was a mushroom with a timing chip on it! I wonder how many laps it made during the 24??? hmmmm

Whew! A new Distance PR and counting...

I ended up with 84plus!

So when it is unlikely that you could make it around 1 more time before the 24 hour buzzer sounds, you can do a banana lap.  When the timer stops, you drop the banana.  They later measure the distance.  It's a pretty cool tradition they have.  Yep this race is full of cool stuff!

I haven't seen David since my very first Ultra-- the Falls Lake Fat Ass 50k I did with Jeff Dufour and partially with David.  It seems so long ago now.  I had ran my first 50k+(34) on the Mountain Sea Trail(check out blog entry) before my first half and full marathons.  

So many cool running stickers on cars that make me smile

yep all this stuff helped!

The Reverse Taper!

Busted up toes didn't look to bad but they later turned black haha!
Badges of honor!

Jeff is a great ultra runner so it's always great to get random positive comments from someone like Jeff that inspires and motivates you.  

Total Laps: 56Lap Detail:
Total Dist: 84.168

Overall, it was a great race!  I hope to see you all on the trails and more!  So go out and find you a challenge and just work toward it! You CAN Do it! 

To new adventures!