Hi there! Did you miss me? Remember when I shared just how chaotic the month of March was for the Epicurean and I? Well, April hasn’t been much better! Regardless, my apologies for the gap in my posts. On the bright side, I have a lot of wonderful stories to share, as this has been a busy month in my running life, as well as my life overall. You can expect some “catch-up” posts over the next few weeks as I share some of the exciting races, classes, and experiences that have enriched my running life this month.
The 3rd Bi-Annual Vardo Slumber Party
Training for longer endurance races involves a lot of planning, logistics, and miles. It also means training your body to run through the night and fight off the fatigue that comes from simply running at 3AM when you should be sleeping. Over the past few years, I’ve planned several overnight runs for the purpose of training my body to acclimate to those evening miles, as well as pace myself for the 50- and 100 mile distances. Luckily, I have an amazing group of friends and they have always been more than willing to come out and join me for some of those miles, and keep me company in the dead of the night.
I’ve been trying to squeeze in as many “one more time” experiences as I can in my final weeks in Iowa, and I wanted to fit in one more overnight run as well. So, on the evening of Friday, April 3rd, I scheduled yet another run. I used the same 5-mile route that worked so well last time, allowing for one loop each hour so folks knew they could join in on the hour no matter what.
I headed out to the party early, arriving at 9PM, and ran the route once by myself to make sure there were no problems with the course. It was a bit chillier than I would have liked (33 degrees) but the 30 mph winds from earlier had thankfully died down considerably. I probably went out a bit fast, which I seem to do quite regularly, but I was at least consciously trying to slow down. That counts for something, right? The run was scheduled to start at 10PM, and I had a surprisingly large number of folks come out to join me, which was AMAZING. The friends I’ve made and the conversations I have on runs have always been my motivation and source of energy, and I could feel all of that this time as well. The “event” has gotten to the point where it’s a part of our local running culture and people know what you mean when you mention it, which I think is really cool.
The first few loops went by rather easily, as they always do. We picked up some more folks at 11PM and midnight, with others heading to bed. It meant so much to me to have so many people come out, whether it was for one lap or five. I just loved seeing everyone. The infusion of jello-shots and pudding-shots from one of my friends offered a nice energy boost as well. Seriously, people, jello-shots are not given the attention they deserve as a refueling option! 🙂
After 4 laps (20 miles), my legs still felt really good, which I took as a good sign of things to come. On the 5th lap, we made an important detour to Insomnia Cookies for a late night snack. Now, normally I would recognize that a giant chocolate and peanut butter cup cookie might not be the best nutritional choice in the middle of an ultra, but the craving was real, the energy was high, and I had plenty of friends to support and partake in my bad judgment!
Luckily, the sugar bomb remained a dud in my stomach and I was able to tick off the next 2 or 3 laps with minimal additional discomfort. By 3AM, the crowd had thinned out considerably, but I still had an intrepid soul with me. I was 30 miles in and feelings pretty darn good. The normal late night nausea that usually hits me was a bit more mild than usual, and my legs were tired, but not sore. We picked up another runner at 4AM (well, traded one for the other), and kept on moving. By 5AM, I could once again feel the excitement of an impending dawn, and I perked up a bit. Daylight also meant more runners showing up for our regular Saturday morning run (which the route masters were kind enough to start at the same park).
The large group showing up again at 7AM was all the extra energy I needed to make a final push and knock out the remaining loops. The final loop may or may not have involved a much needed detour to Dunkin Donuts for a Boston Creme. They should probably sponsor me as a runner. Just sayin’. I’ll let the evidence speak for itself 🙂 I finished with 53 miles, and decided to stop around 8:30AM. As usual, I was wide awake again, although I knew that wouldn’t last much past my much anticipated hot shower. Despite some questionable nutritional choices, I had fueled really well, and stayed hydrated despite the cool temperatures. Both were facts I was quite happy about.
Once again, this was a fantastic experience due to the friends that came out to run! As I drove home, I was a bit sad and wistful at the realization that this was indeed the last time I’d be able to have the event here. Don’t worry, though, the 4th Bi-Annual Vardo Slumber Party is being planned virtually, and I’m going to be all over Facetime. I might get a few different looks running alone in Delaware at 3AM and talking on the phone, but that will just add to the allure of the experience!