This was my second effort at the 48 hour race at 3 Days at the Fair held at the Sussex County fairgrounds and hosted by NJ Trail Series. Last year I ‘ran’ 54.9 miles in about 45 hrs. This year, I was there a day early to volunteer (two 4 hr shifts) and was able to start with everyone else on Friday morning. My goal was to run more than last year, to be able to run most of the first day, and to not sleep as much during the night. Well 2 out of 3 aren’t bad.
I put all my gear under the pavilion near the start/finish area and my tent next to the bathrooms. Little did I know that the barn next to me was going to be housing chickens & roosters! I worked with Jessi and Steve in the kitchen serving all the runners who already started the 72 hr race. Dave had his usual intense race look on his face. His goal for the weekend was 300 miles! I caught up with Bill and Fred, 2 runners I met three years ago at this same event and look forward to seeing each year. Also spotted running in circles was Melissa and Steve. Steve planned on a beer marathon for Saturday – 26 beers in 26 miles!
The next morning I woke around 6:30 AM after sleeping surprisingly well and drove to a local diner for breakfast. The waitress was surprised I ate most of my breakfast – 2 eggs, 2 sausages, 2 French toast, oj, and 2 cups of coffee. I came back to the fairgrounds, changed, and taped my feet to prevent blisters. The day proved to be warm and sunny and I wore my running skirt and started with my Mizuno Wave Rider 15s. I packed well but still forgot one necessary item – Vaseline to prevent chafing. Luckily Jessi came through with some Body Glide! I had planned on a 5 min run/1 min walk for as long as I could but ended up ditching that once I started catching up with people. I really need to start sticking with my plan for these races. There’s always plenty of time, usually, to catch up with people! I continued running and walking throughout the day, eating and hydrating well. After mile 19 I finally took a break to sit with my feet up. I switched shoes for some more miles. Towards the end of the evening, I decided to take my shoes off and prop up my feet. That was a huge mistake! I couldn’t even put on my Sauconys, and they are a wider shoe than the other pairs I was wearing that day. Oh well, I switched to my Keen sandals and walked another 2 miles before getting some sleep. The tent was cold and damp and I had trouble falling asleep. I really should have showered before going to bed! I set the alarms on my cell phone to wake up in 4 hrs; seven hours later I finally got out of the tent! This was not what I planned!
The total for the first day was 35 miles! This was a new 1 day PR!
The start of the second day, Saturday, started with a 1 mile walk in my sandals and pajamas before getting back to the start/finish, the kitchen, and coffee! This was one of my plans: set up the tent past the start finish and my gear near the finish and always start the day with 1 lap before breakfast. I had some coffee and breakfast and grabbed some clothes for a quick shower and the start of the second day. I was in the middle of a running streak and Steve, who is in his 2nd year of a running streak, was encouraging me to run at least 1 mile that day. Unfortunately, my legs and my mind were not into it. Some of the highlights of the second day: cool and overcast and I alternated between short sleeve and long sleeve shirts and wore tights. Walking a lap with Melissa while eating a hot dog and drinking a Mountain Dew as she completed 100 miles. Beer miles! As I reached various milestones I grabbed one of the many beers I packed for the event: lap 27 for the marathon mark, lap 32 for the 50K, lap 51 for 50 miles and lap 57 for the new PR for the 48 hr event. In the afternoon, Lara and Scott arrived with their sons Adam and Sam. Adam was going to run the weekend and had some serious goals. It was fun to watch him run. He’s only 8 yrs old and he would run pretty fast and then walk. He was certainly having fun as he occasionally would raise his arms as if he was winning a race. During the evening, I was planning on going to sleep but saw Lara and Scott discussing what to do with Adam. Lara wanted to get some sleep and Scott was heading out to the far gate to act as a traffic cop. I was planning on going to sleep but told them I’d walk another mile with Adam. I found out the next morning that after only a few hours of sleep he got up in the middle of the night to continue walking laps. His mom got up to walk several miles with him!
After my walk with Adam, I took a shower and went to bed. I set my alarms again but for 6 AM as I knew I wasn’t likely to get up any earlier! Total for day 2 was 29 miles. I still counted it towards my streak.
Sunday’s weather was cool again but overcast and rainy. I started walking in my Keen’s and pajamas before breakfast. I ate breakfast while walking another lap before changing into running gear for more walking. I continued walking until the race finally ended for a total of 7 miles for the day. Total for the weekend was 71 miles! A PR for 48 hrs! Everyone enjoyed the pancake breakfast and awards ceremony before packing up and leaving for the day.
Other highlights of the weekend: the amazing food put together in the kitchen. Thanks to Jessi for overseeing the food/kitchen/volunteers and all the baked goods! Bill Gentry cranking out some seriously fast miles at the end of the race. Hey Bill – stop saving so much energy and you might be able to run more miles during the weekend! Steve attempting a beer marathon and having to stop drinking beer after 9 miles. Watching Adam, Anya, Ryanne, and many other young runners have fun and put in some serious mileage! Adam had never run anything more than a 5K and he ran 45 miles! Ryanne ran an ultra (27 miles) and Anya ran 41 miles! Seeing the 24 hr runners run crazy fast – Sergio qualified for the US 24 hr team with 151 miles. Dave and John battling it out for second place for the 72 hr race. Dave finished 1 mile ahead of John. Dave didn’t meet his goal of 300 miles but had a new PR of 233 miles! MaryLou had a new Canadian record for 72 hrs with 253 miles! And of course all the people – old friends and making new friends.
And I continued my streak the next day with a 2.5 mile run. The streak didn't end until the next month - 74 days and 309.7 miles.