It wasn't a difficult decision to sign up for this year's Hinson Lake 24 hour Ultra in Rockingham NC. Afterall, it had already proven to be one of my favorites my previous 2 times and it was an opportunity to see other ultra friends while challenging my limits. No matter what, I would have a good time. Yes, I had goals. Goals to eventually break 100 miles in 24 hours or at least break my ~85m 24 hour Personal Record were definitely locked in. Unfortunately, life happens and as we approached the final weeks before this ultra, I would be challenged by my wife's weekend work schedule, soccer schedules, summer heat, vacation trips and eventually the unexpected overwhelming sad episode of my 47 year old sister Ginny's heart attack and consequently her passing soon after.
I will always be proud of my sister and her willingness to serve our country as a Veteran of the Army's Dental Corp. The playing of Taps and Flag Presentation were quite overwhelming emotionally.
Here is a picture of me at Herman Park in Goldsboro NC. The tree seen was likely climbed by every kid in Wayne County in a time when bike riding without helmets and playing in the back of station wagons without seatbelts were common themes of the day. My sisters Ginny and Becky often enjoyed climbing this tree. When younger, Ginny and I would race to climb this tree and when Becky became older she joined in as well. Herman Park will always hold many memories of playing with friends and family. I still rank this park as one of the best I've ever been to. This race would be a time for me to cleanse my mind. It would indeed be therapy in many ways.
The Sunday before the Hinson Ultra, I ran my last long run with Brad Gold and Matt Kornegay. We had just endured the Fury of Florence, a hurricane which travelled 2-3 miles per hour as it hit the NC/SC borders leaving havoc everywhere. Behind us you can see that the water level is well above the pier at Greenville's Town Commons.
Other views from my last long run before Hinson 24. Water covered much of the Greenway resulting in changing our running route several times.
Before running the Hinson Ultra, Olivier LeBlond posted this amazing performance! 161 miles in 24 hours! Keep inspiring sir!!
I love memes and pretty much any motivational quote etc. As I used my workouts as therapy this one hit home.
Leading up to the race, I feared heat. Now I had to fear heat and potentially thunderstorms too! Fortunately, the rain although kinda welcomed never came but it was still incredibly hot and humid. In the end, only 2 would break the 100m distance in 24 hours.
The week before, I stayed up till 3am Wednesday night after working at hospital all day then teaching karate all evening to put together my daughter Kamryn's 6th birthday large gift... a trampoline! It was hot and dark but I figured it was good ultra training right? My wife, kids, and other family members blood or otherwise will always be the most important part of my life. I'm thankful for all my blessings.
Yep, Sorry Rich. No Can do! haha
Of course, I went through my usual dress rehearsal ritual including checking off all my usual items.
Here is a list of what I typically check off:
1) under armor tech running shorts
2) GoRun tank
3) back up GoRun Tee
4) Saucony Kinvara Shoes
5) back up Asics Nimbus Shoes
6) Vivoactive GPS Garmin Watch
7) battery packs
8) charging cords
10) favorite under armor socks
11) race bib belt
12) sun glasses
13) under armor hat
15) sleeping bag
16) mini air mattress
18) folding chair
19) folding camping table
20) back up change of running clothes
21) comfortable clothes to change into
23) Back up Water
24) Tailwinds Mix
25) Xtends Protein & Electrolyte Mix
26) GU Gel
27) Hammer Gel
29) back up toilet paper
30) baby type disposable wipes
31) charged lantern
33) bug spray
35) first aide kit
36) small hammer
During packet pickup, I met up with David Soloman. David was with me and Jeff Dufour when I completed my very first Ultra The Falls Lake Fat Ass 50k which was on the Mountain See Trail North of Raleigh. It was super cold and I got lost a few times to create a 34 miler out of the 31 miler. Read more about that one in that related blog entry. I talked to Jeff and David about a reunion run since 2019 will be 10 years since that ultra! This year's Hinson Ultra would be my 13th!
Here I am with Robert Racine, Kim Keehn, and Rich Keehn. Strangely, we arrived at about the same time. I rode up with Robert and Rich & Kim came from New Bern before taking their sons to their grandparents. This would be Rob and Kim's 1st Ultra and Rich's 3rd Ultra.
Rob Racine and I rode together and found a pretty good spot! Ok, it has been my spot 3 years now but I like it because it is close to the parking lot but directly on the actual race course trail. Anticipating being tired, you don't want to haul a bunch of stuff too far when done!
Kim using her leadership skills haha!
Yes!! We got done well before nightfall! I do not like putting up tents etc in the dark! Yes, I use my $20 Walmart Tent. It's a 5 minute setup and pretty much all I need. I was concerned about predicted scattered showers but we never really had that happen. I put the sweat type GoRun towel as a flag on the table. It's a cool folding table I bought using a gift card from Matthias Everhart. It was a gift for helping him weight train and prepare for his running and conditioning portions of his ROTC requirements.
These ladies were already ready to do work! Led by my ultra buddy Carissa who inspires me to not pansy out, they were all smiles and set up!
I jogged ahead to get this shot of the crew Rob, Kim, and Rich after we registered. They are walking under the tent which would be a GODSEND of supplies and nutrition for many laps during the ultra.
I timed this shot of Hinson Lake pretty good as the sunset.
Always great swag at this event! We could pick between a beer glass and a coffee mug. I chose the mug and was able to buy last year's glasses with a donation toward their many causes.
Of course I was happy to see this at the tent! Nutrition to the max like these examples really help with survival without getting cramps and losing electrolytes and more.
I had never seen one of these types of tents so of course I wanted to take a pic to remember!
Before going to sleep, I did the traditional face timing with family. As much as I love my running adventures, I always miss my family. Landon, my 9 year old son, has asked many times about doing this with me. I can't wait until he can. His longest run is only a 5k now. This day he lost a tooth!!
The Day of the Race!
Hinson Lake Sunrise
This area always makes me thirsty for BEER! haha! My favorite beers are Sam Adam's Octoberfest and Blue Moon in case any of you were interested in helping me out.
John Richards is simply a beast! We met in the 2017 Hinson Ultra. He runs these races barefooted!!
He would finish this ultra in 31st place completing 69 miles.
I took this picture of my David Solomon as he positioned to take a pic. He's a great photographer and he was with me nearly 10 years ago with Jeff Dufour when I ran my first ultra The Fat Ass Falls Lake 50k in January of 2009. He would finish 42nd with 63 miles for a solid 100k finish.
These two ultra rock stars are unstoppable! Kelly of course will always be close to my heart as well as inspiring because she also ran for ECU. Arghhhhh!! Her husband Joe Fejes is simply a BEAST but they are both amazing runners!
Joe would finish in 57th place doing 55.6 miles and Kelly would finish 85th with 51 miles. Keep in mind they were just adding this race as a training run for bigger ultras.
Caught Jamie Connerton preparing for the race with her biggest support Adam Carlson. She would finish 82nd with 51 miles! She told me that she met her goal and that was it for ultras. Hopefully not... Adam also got in an ultra! He would finish with over 27 miles in 266th.
You know you have a hot mess when Amy Campbell is hanging out! Pictured here is Missy Barrow (95th with 51m), Amy Campbell (99th with 51m), and Nikki Caswell (239th with 30m).
In the distance, you can see my tent next to Robert Racine's Tent. The gnome would move many times during this day as tradition on this race is to move the gnomes randomly on the course. One year they even attached a timing chip to one. The gnomes definitely help with boredom prevention and keep it all fun. My daughter Morgan an NC State graduate would appreciate this NC State gnome.
Kim Keehn would take off from our crew of Robert, Rich and myself. We decided on the 6:4 run walk interval pacing about 12-14 minutes per mile. Kim did great in her first ever ultra finishing 170th with 33 miles for a solid 50k plus finish!
Kim takes off...
I found him!!!
The hardest thing about ultras may very well be nutrition and remembering to do just that. I consume 300-400 calories an hour making sure I get a good mix of electrolytes etc. It has been noted that all you ever really need in the "Tailwinds" drink but although that may be true, I enjoy eating solid food. Sleep won't happen if you dare to be competitive in the top 10. Sleep or resting just makes you have to run that much faster to maintain pace and can make your body really tighten up and more difficult to get going again. The beauty is although it's a 24 hour race, you can do whatever your heart desires and in the running especially ultra community everyone you run against will actually be cheering you on too. How cool is that?
The barefoot legend John Richards! There is actually another runner named John Richards I do not know but he did not attend this event. The ground was somewhat wet from a recent rain/ hurricane we had which actually helped with comfort for my barefooted beast.
Yep we are still smiling! It really got hot so this was the last picture with our shirts all on. Robert was officially initiated by moving a gnome!
This was pretty impressive! Bill Keane would finish this event 32nd with 68 miles. He was 74 years old during this race!!
Lots of cool stuff on the trail to keep you going...
Ryan Shrout enduring the event too while cheering on GoRun, GRG, and especially his lady Brittany Shrout.
Sherry Vick a former East Carolina University Diver now continues to demonstrate she can do it all! She would finish 290th with 21 miles!
Always positive Amy sending out that positive ki! This professional is a mother, trains, and is in the process of finishing her PHD!!
Yep-- told you I would be eating those pickles!!
Greenville Running Group Ladies representing well!!
Leslie Bunch (244th with 30m), Mary Scott (107th with 46.6m), Rachel Brassine (222nd with 50k)
Yes, Fig Newtons are a fav of mine when running the distance!
There you go... the GORUN Ultra Legend Clay Vick!!!
Rich finally gets his initiation complete with moving a gnome!!
YIKES! This was a bit scary!
Drinking pickle juice!! Yep it was hot!
GoRun and GRG Unite as ONE!
Tim--Rich--Leslie--Robert--Nikki--Lesley Albritton(132nd with 40.5m)--Jessica LaFevers (93rd with 51.1m)--Brittany Shrout (96th with 51.1m)
Yep I can't take the sun so call me squints! Here I am with an injured recovering ultra beastette that is definitely a cat you can't keep on a leash. She went from stopping to hell with it and running more than planned. Carissa Liebowitz would finish 47th with initially unplanned 58.8 miles!
We were all sending positive ki to our warrior Rachel here as she battled an eye injury and still endured to a great finish! BEASTETTE!
Anyone who knows me knows I love some Star Wars! I was happy to see this on the course so yep... I took it to be moved!
I finally got a picture with Ultraman Clay Vick!! He has ran across multiple states and continues to rock ultra barriers! He would finish this event in 206th with a solid 50k!
Moved R2D2 here
This Pistol of a lady Deborah Gardner is inspiring and always smiling. She would rock a new PR to finish 4th overall with 91.4 miles!!
The beauty and the beast...
Rich and Kim Keehn
I love these signs. They would intermittently change signs during the event and also new gnomes often appeared too to keep things from getting boring. This again is a great event!
Throughout the day we could see our names move up the ranks...
We kept smiling aka Faking it until we Made it!
It was cool to see how the event started with over 400 registered runners and at some point we were clearly in the top pack.
And soon the sunset...
The banana lap is the last distance you did from the timing mat if you think you can't make it back around. They will then add this distance for you! It's pretty cool!
Measuring the distance near my tent...
Sunday morning as we called it done... I had decided to stop at 55m after my running mates Rich and Rob had met their goals because Brandon Wilson informed me of another ultra opportunity called the Tunnel Hill Ultra 100 in Vienna Illinois about a month after this one. Here I am with George Wannop a fun guy to hang out with who runs a ton of ultras! He finished 44th with 62.7m for a solid 100k finish!!
I saw this on a car and since I broke 50m this time, I had to have the pic!
...no words needed
Well we looked okay since we actually stopped early and slept haha!
I would finish 60th with 55.6 miles--Rich (58th with 55.6) and Robert who actually stopped a couple of laps before us got somehow credited for being so cool with the same distance and a 59th place finish haha! Awesome work men!
Way to go Deb!!! 4th overall!! Here she is with Rosemary Baxley another great runner who finished in 39th with 63m or a solid 100k finish!!
The Winner Ken Bell with 105.2921 miles!! Only 2 people got 100 miles in 24 hours this time. It was hot! The other one was a lady named Kristy-Ann Joyce with 100.2356 miles.
Yep! As mentioned before he broke 1000 miles!! 74 years old!! 32nd this race with 68 miles!
Kamryn my favorite unicorn and youngest drew the Hinson 24 logo!
Overall, the Hinson 24 ultra was great as always! It was my 3rd time running it and it continues not to disappoint! After I did get final permission from my wife aka boss Gina, I did pull the trigger on the Tunnel Hill Ultra. Read about that adventure on a separate blog entry!
To new adventures!!