Sunday, November 1, 2009

Scary Times at Carkeek 12 Hour Run

Halloween weekend has a new tradition for some of us in Seattle - Carkeek 12 Hour Run - the toughest 12 hour run out there! The nice thing is (as in most timed runs) you don't have to run for all 12 hours. I did this last year, and ran six loops, or about 11.58 miles for an elevation gain of 2580 ft - not bad for an in town park! This year, I chose to spread my 12 hours out over the course of the day with five loops - three in the morning and two at the end of the day, with some napping, shopping and baking in between.

The start was at dark thirty (6 am) and we were gathered round a nice bonfire roaring in the firepit, overlooking Puget Sound (which was not really visible at that hour). My friend Tracy was hoping to go for all 12 hours. As for me, I had considered the option of starting late, but I rarely get to run in the dark, and this year, with glow sticks out on the trails (marking the major turns), it would be a bit easier to navigate. After a pre-race briefing, Sam said "Go!" and off we walked.  I stayed with Tracy (or should say, I hung on to Tracy!) and we had a nice up and down trot through the darkness, coming in to the aid station at about 30 minutes. Coming through the fish hatchery the third time, I heard a rustling of branches above me, followed by a spray of water and a "whomp whomp" sound. An owl was waking and not liking all these people so close to its nest. I heard that someone behind me got attacked, but not so bad that he couldn't relish in the excitement of it. It was really appropriate for Halloween! At the end of the third loop, I left Tracy and headed home.

I showered and napped, and prepped for a ChiRunning class for the next day.  Donn and I went to the U District Farmer's market, where he got a giant rutabega for carving. Apparently they used to do that in merry old England, before pumpkins were brought over from the New World. While a pie baked in the oven, I applied some "makeup", put on my "headgear" and went back to the final hours of the run. I had my Vibram Five Fingers on, but took my La Sportivas along, and planned to decide which to wear once I got there.  I stopped to pick up firewood (the checkout gal told me I scared her) and made it to the park in time to see Tracy come down to the aid station. I had just enough time to set the pie down and take off with her - in the VFFs. She said she was walking a lot, so I had no worry about whether I could keep up with her. We encountered a couple of other gals who were walking, and formed a nice conga line on the trail. I got several compliments on my makeup and headgear, and if my stride was too choppy, the headgear bounced and hit me just above the ears. I've discovered a new body sensing technique and will be marketing it as a training tool! The pace was nice and easy and Tracy called it a day at 21 loops, or 40.53 miles with 9030 feet of elevation gain!

After a job well done, a leg soak in the Sound, and good coffee, we all parted for our respective homes and Halloween.

I had fun on the way home watching people as they reacted to my makeup and head gear. Donn carved a beautiful rutabega, and, unfortuantely, no kids stopped by to get scared at our house. Oh year....