* I lost my full race report when blogger.com crashed on me so this is a much shorter version *
Terri Hayes put on her 2nd running of the Woods Ferry 24 Hour race in Chester, South Carolina on the first weekend of September 2011.
It was great to see old and new running buddies. A few of which completed their first ultra distance. I would also like to give a big congratulations to Angela Ivory who finished her 300th ultra at Woods Ferry! I see myself as more of a volume runner than a speed racer so I have great admiration for her hitting this goal. If you have a little time read around her blog and you will be even more impressed.
I wanted to finish this one with the highest mileage of any runner. There, I said it. That meant circling the 7.75 mile loop more times than anyone else. I gave it a solid effort, but not 100%. I've had the opportunity to be coached by a well accomplished runner, Janice Anderson, and I didn't want to totally trash myself heading into her first week of training.
The run began promptly at 4:00 PM on Saturday evening. Man, was it hot! 94 degrees with 85% humidity. I was sweating just standing around waiting for the race to begin.
I practically walked the entire first loop with Jason Rogers, Steinberg, Bo, Greta, and a few other friends. My goal was to average 2 hours per loop for 24 hours putting me at 93 miles at the end of the event.
I hit the first three loops at that pace, but things got ugly quickly at night. The trail had a good bit of undergrowth close to the ground and it made running very tricky in several stretches. Every runner had to face this challenge so it was fair. Hard, but fair.
I drank an ice cold Ensure after each loop from the very beginning. I cannot stress how good these drinks treat me during long runs. Mix in a few Starbucks Double Shots, Red Bull, and 5 hr. energies and its game on!
Pizza was delivered in around 10:00 PM and runners enjoyed munching on that. I was surprised to see the course go very quiet during the night. Several runners were planning to return at first light and run hard during the day on Sunday. I'm not fast enough to do that, plus I like being out on the trail for the full 24 hours.
I took a catnap around midnight for 30 minutes in the car which did me a world of good. As I headed out on loop five I ran my fastest split in 1:58.
The sixth loop found me taking another 10 minute nap in the middle of the trail as the sun was coming up. A few runners nudged me to see if I was alive as they passed by. I think I may bring a "Do Not Disturb" sign next time.
It seemed like there were maybe 2-3 runners in front of me as we headed into the final six hour stretch. I was feeling solid on my seventh loop and I hit a good time around 2:05.
Unfortunately, the temps had crept back up into the high 80's again and I started to fade badly. I tried to take short rest breaks in hopes of catching some wind back in my sail for a final surge, but it never came. Instead of pushing myself I just cruised and was able to get one more lap it which made my eighth and final one for the race.
I was very satisfied with 100K (62 miles), but I would be lying if I said I didn't want more. Looking back today, I'm glad that I made the decision to take it easy because I'm having a solid training week.
A very special thanks goes out to Terri Hayes for doing this race. She worked the event herself and spent the majority of the night cooking and putting things out for runners. Dan Hartley and a few others were also key in supporting a 2nd aid station half way around the loop. Thank you!
If you are looking for a challenging loop to run for 24 hours then give this one a shot. It's not the traditional 24 hour event setup with a fast/flat easy course, but you won't be bored either.
I'm looking forward to running the FATS 50K in North Augusta as the final race of the SC Ultra Trail Series for 2011.