Well, I did a thing... Or attempted to do a thing I ran the Empower Backyard Ultra. The race was on October 22, 2022. The weather was ideal with mostly sunny skies with morning temps in the mid 40s and high temps around 70. It did get a little warmer than I would like, but can't complain too much about that. The trail was well maintained and started at 8AM. My good buddy, Mike Gampp, was my crew chief and we set up a 10x10 tent which was our mini command center. I would go run 4.16667 mile at the start of the hour then come back to camp. All the runners then take breaks until 9AM then we go run the same loop again, called a "yard." It was at the Countryside YMCA in Lebanon, Ohio. The daytime yards were ran on a 2.0888 mile loop. We ran that same loop twice each hour. There were some short hills to hike up, but most of the course was very run-able, but of course you need to maintain a pace so you are not running too fast and wearing yourself out. I ran with my water bottle each yard and filled it with Tailwind. That worked well to stay hydrated and then back at camp I would drink more straight water before the next hour. That seemed to work well for me. I had a plethora of nutrition. I tried pizza, but I had too much and it didn't sit well with my stomach. I kept everything down, but it was a rough yard with lots of questionable moments for my stomach. I did ramen noodles, fruit pies, chips, mashed potatoes, Swedish fish, cheese quesadilla, and trail mix. The oil from the chips and something with the trail mix did not agree with me too well. I also brought apple sauce, but didn't remember to eat much of that. At 6PM we switched to a bike path and did 14 yards, 60 miles, running out and back. My legs just went into cruise control on the pavement. I had a couple of low points mentally where I called my wife and she asked if anything was in pain or if I was injured. I said no and and she told me to keep going then. It is crazy how you go through mental highs and lows while doing these long events. So anyway, I made it to sunrise, 24 yards, for 100 miles. Then we went back to the trails in the woods. Most of the trail was pretty run-able, but in the woods there were some rocks and roots. My legs were used to the pavement and not picking up my legs to get over the rocks and roots. So the first wooded loop I tripped a few times and when you do that your body locks up. I really felt it in my hips. I never fell completely to the ground and was able to run through fall, but it was just too hard for me to keep going on. I did two more trail yards, 108 miles, and tried turning in my timing chip, but the race directors said I had to start my next yard. They likely knew I was in a mental low spot, but the remaining 5 runners looked strong and could keep going on for hours and hours. So I started my 27th yard and I was done, so I ran as much as I could and then walked the rest of the 4.1666 miles and came in 7 minutes after the start of the next hour. So I ran 112.4 miles, but officially finished the event with 108 miles for the 26 yards that I finished before the start of the next hour. I also had a good buddy Carl V come down the first day and the morning of the second day to help crew. If I would have kept going it would be nice to let Mike get some sleep. My family also came down the first day in the afternoon. It was great to see the kids and show them dad doing something challenging. So once I was finished we packed up the camp and were on the road within about 30 minutes. I was extremely tired. I tried sleeping a few times overnight with noise cancelling headphones, but I could not fully fall asleep. I wonder if I had ear plugs instead. Not sure. I also cut out caffeine two weeks before the race, so at night when I needed the boost it hit a little harder during the race. I did listen to an audiobook at night and that helped keep my mind distracted from the miles. We were right next to the starting corral each hour and the music from the DJ/timers was a bit annoying to keep going on all day and part of the night. I am trying to think of what else to add here, but I think that is all I can remember for now. I made a big checklist on Google Sheets of what I needed to buy or bring to camp. I also added bacon for next time. I also added a whiteboard or notepad. That way we could write down what I ate and when to keep track of calories a little better. We could also write down how often we changed shoes or socks. I did take off socks and shoes about every 8 hours, as long as I had enough time. We let my feet dry out and check for blisters. I brought about 8 pairs of shoes and I would swap if one was not feeling great. I did one road loop in a wide pair, but the pinky toe was rubbing and I had a blister by the time I got back to camp. Popped that so it didn't get any larger, but your feet are so water-logged from sweating that airing them out, even for 5-8 minutes, is super helpful. One other issue I had, and this will be TMI, but it was a big concern, was really bad chafing in the groin area. I tried switching running underwear, but had to change into tight compression shorts and that helped with everything. Desitin was a GREAT item to have in my gear. Again, I am just unpacking what I remember and getting it all down in text so I can reference this later or possibly help another runner wanting to run a backyard ultra event.
When I dropped out there were only 5 runners that went out for the 28th yard. The winner won in 39 yards, for 162 miles total. He looked so strong every yard and so fresh until the very end. You never know how long these events will last. You keep going until only one runner is left completing one more yard than the rest.
I took a few days off after the race to get some sleep and hang out with the kids. Weather was great to get out and ride bikes and avoid running for a week or so.
Evan picked up the flu, but Summer was still healthy for Halloween. So she did a great job getting as much candy as possible for the both of them, since Evan stayed at home. I went as Ted Lasso. Had a lot of fun staying in character the entire time. Rain held off until about 10 minutes after trick or treat ended.
Saturday I took part in the annual Columbus Westside Running Club event: GRRR 50k. It is a race that is 32 miles long between Wilson Road Park in Columbus and Glade Run Road in Madison County. It is also a Relay so that is how you get GRRR. This was only 2 weeks after my 112 miles in 27 hours, so I opted for the relay this year, instead of the entire 32 miles like last year. I split the event in half with Justin Boggs. There was a huge group out there splitting up the miles as teams. Only two people ran the entire event.
One of the people running the entire event was my neighbor Jordan. I ran with him the first 16.5 miles then cut him loose for the remaining distance. We did great and his goal was to get his 50k PR and he shattered it by about 90 minutes! He ran the entire event in just over 5 hours! Stellar effort! My hips are still tight from my last race, so I was very happy to be done when I finished. Not sure what else is on the docket for me in the coming months. I have a 150 mile relay event, The Buck Fifty
, in April. You can split the 150 miles between 10 or 5 runners. I am excited to run that with a team of 5.
Weather was so warm yesterday that I had to take advantage of it and hang up the Christmas lights before it got colder. I hate putting up the lights when it is cold.
Mostly sunny for the afternoon and warm up to 59 for the high today. Great weather for election day across Ohio and most of the country. Mostly clear tonight with a low around 40. Mostly sunny for Wednesday and Thursday. We will warm back up into the mid and upper 60s. This will be the end of our above-normal warmth and sunshine. Take advantage of the weather over the next 3 days! Friday we will have rain likely from Nicole. The storm is still a subtropical storm east of the Bahamas and starting its westward journey towards the Bahamas for tonight and then it is expected to strengthen to a Category 1 hurricane tomorrow before making landfall for Central Florida along the Atlantic side late tomorrow into early Thursday. Then the storm strength drops back down to a tropical storm and turns north over Northern Florida and heads up the east coast heading into Friday and New England by the weekend. So Central Ohio is likely going to get a push of moisture from Nicole on Friday, especially South/Eastern Ohio. This will be followed by a strong cold front Friday night and that will dramatically drop our temps for the weekend. With rain likely we will only warm up to around 61 for the high. Saturday and Sunday we will be much cooler. High of 42 on Saturday and then 39 on Sunday. We will have a mix of sun & clouds, but with winds out of the northwest there is a chance for some very light lake effect showers, closer to the Great Lakes. Overnight low temps will be in the mid 20s for the weekend and early next week. Have a good one!
Andrew Buck Michael
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