Friday, July 24, 2009

20in24 - the Event itself

We were super lucky to have the storms blow through on Saturday night to clear out the horrible humidity. Saturday was a gorgeous day: blue sky, puffy clouds, even a breeze. Just ideal.

The course is along a public use trail in the middle of downtown Philadelphia along the banks of the Schuykill River. It's busy with tourists and locals and people rowing on the river. It was a great place to do this type of long race because there was so much to look at to distract you from the matter at hand.

I was really anxious in the morning, mostly because of the medical stuff, and I successfully hid from the medical team in the early hours. We arrived well before the 10AM race start and set up our base camp and I sipped some Gatorade and ate a banana during the pre-race meeting. My nerves were calmed when I literally ran into the St. Joe's Hawk in the middle of Lloyd Hall. The Hawk is awesome and he seemed like a great omen for me today. A few times over the next 16 or so hours I had to remind myself that The Hawk Will Never Die!

Just about 10AM after the Star Spangled Banner we were off. After about a minute of slow jogging most of the Lone Rangers near me slowed to a casual walk. This was great and allowed me to get to know a handful of people and learn their strategies for the day. Most were planning to take it slow for the daylight hours and then pick things up later when the sun was heading down. Many had plans for 50+ miles or for staying all night but some, like me, were in it with 50 miles as the goal.

At about mile 4 we came across the first medical tent where some of us, like me, were dragged aside for a mandatory medical check. Of course, I freaked out. I was wearing my Garmin and watched a 20 beat spike in HR walking from the trail to the medical tent. Isn't that crazy? They weighed me, took pulse and BP, and commented that it was high. After swearing to them that I was OK, not dizzy, flushed, headachey or anything else they let me go. This would happen on every lap of the event. I think being able to show them my low average HR and knowing facts about my normal resting HR and BP helped them come to grips with the fact that I was OK. Plus, I was clearly never in any kind of distress other than being tired late in the day. I do think it's great that they pay this much attention. There wer 15 maybe 20 people who were made to do these mandatory lap check-ins.

I finished the first lap feeling great but went inside to record a video and to change my socks just because that was the race plan.

Food/Hydration plan: I was carrying a 20oz hand held amphipod bottle, drank this plus water at the aid stations. I think I filled the bottle up with water on the 2nd half of the loop. (I carried this thing for 5 of my 6 laps and it never bothered me a bit.) Had a Roctane gel at mile 4.5. Did not eat any food at the well stocked aid stations on this lap.

Video (at base camp):

Video (at starting line):

Video (start of lap 2):

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