My friend Celeste put pressure on me this week to run the Hotter than Hell Marathon. It's a tradition: the race starts at midnight, but you can start anytime after that as long as you finish by 9 am. You keep tally of your 2+ mile laps on a white board, and you bring your own fuel and supplies. I've always wanted to do it, but I've always been injured!
This year I reluctantly agreed, making Celeste promise that we could both drop out if anything hurt. I rolled out of bed at TWO a.m. and got dressed. I made a risky choice and wore a jog bra and booty shorts. I don't wear that combination often, and neither for a race of this distance, but I did NOT want saturated shorts or a wet T-shirt slapping against my legs all morning.
|This is basically the most flattering picture of me EVER. My thighs are twice as big in real life, I promise. Seriously, I'm questioning even posting this inaccuracy.|
I drank a cup of coffee, skipped breakfast, and loaded up my cooler. I brought:
- Five mini sample packs of Sports Beans
- Three Powerade fruit pouches
- A bottle of water (there are fountains for refilling)
- Two bottles of Gatorade
- A liter of club soda
- Extra socks and shoes (rain was forecast)
- Spare shorts in case I didn't like my outfit choice
- Garmin and ipod (didn't use the music and barely used the Garmin)
- Chapstick and sunglasses
I arrived at Audubon park at 3 am. David, bless his soul, actually woke up and came out with me to check the scene out. It was surprisingly crowded! The Louisiana Ultra Runners had started running at 8 pm, doing a dusk-to-dawn event, and since many people had started at midnight, they were starting their last few loops. The shelter area was full of coolers, chairs, a big white board, heaps of sweaty clothing, and a table with water and Gatorade coolers.
Celeste was a little late, so we didn't actually start until after 3:30. The course is 13 loops around Audubon park. Normally the track is 1.8 miles, but turning down the drive to the parking lot to get to the shelter makes it over 2 miles. We ran the first few loops in the dark (the park is pretty well lit for most of the course, though), and right away Celeste told me to slow down, or she wouldn't be able to finish. I was surprised, since she's super fast, but we settled in to 8:30s. She confessed by mile 10 that she was impressed she'd made it to ten - the furthest she'd run in months was 8 miles two weeks ago! Crazy child!
|See Lisa's name to the left? She completed 13 laps alternating walking, running, and biking. She's PREGNANT.|
The sun started to rise a little before 6 am. By that time, Celeste had hit the wall. She said her feet hurt, but let me tell you, I know a WALL when I see one! We still had far to go, but from this point on I was really dragging her. The funny thing is that I felt fine. The slower pace felt completely effortless and I was brimming with energy!
|Part of the Hotter than Hell joke: the T-shirt is long sleeved!|