Saturday was the 12 Hour Adventure Trail run in Prince William Forest Park. Overall, it was a great experience and a fun time had by all. It was a 6.5 mile loop that you run as many times as you can in 12 hours.
The race started at 6:15 am and headlamps were needed for the first lap. A big group of the front runners for the race all ran the first loop together just hanging out, catching up, joking around and just having a good time. The first lap we did in an hour and fifteen seconds. Dave led that loop in first place. From the aid station, Dave and I left before the rest of the small little pack and we headed out on our own. I was feeling good (and rightfully so, it had only been one lap) so I decided to go ahead at my own pace.
Unfortunately, for the stories sake, not a whole lot can be said for a constant looped course. In the late morning, my Dad left to attend my brother and sisters cross country meet, where they both did quite well. After about 3 laps, I was still in the lead and catching up to people here and there, stopping to talk every now and then. I was very relaxed and the course was very run-able. After the 4th lap, I saw my mom at the start/finish area with my grandma. It was nice to see them, but never stayed very long to chat. A couple laps later, my girlfriend Katie made a welcomed guest appearance. I wish I could have stayed a little longer than I did, but I was worried about people catching up, and needed to keep moving.
Being a loop, it's hard to tell where everyone is because you don't know what lap everyone else is on. You don't know if you've lapped them, or they passed you in the aid station. After the 8th lap, I still had four hours, and up until then, I had been running, on average,solid hour laps. I was not entirely sure if I could keep the pace for another four laps. But I did know that in order to break the course record of 10 laps (65 miles) I only had to run another 3. Three laps in four hours? I could do that. Coming back after the 9th lap, I crashed. I was very tired because I had been going at a pace that I had never tried for an ultra before. But surprisingly, everything still worked, especially if I was running. Actually running, not shuffling.
Leaving for the 10th lap was hard, I was tired, and pretty hungry. I was a bit weary about eating everything I wanted to eat because if I was to full, I might run into stomach issues. Upon reaching the halfway point, I caught up to Dave. He informed me that he was in second place, which was awesome! He also told me that he had running the entire time. Every hill, every section, everything. That was awesome too. When I got back from the 10th lap, I had an hour and a half to do one more lap to break the record. I didn't want to go though. I had sat down and was quite content with calling it a day especially because I had the 100k this weekend. My mom, grandma, sister Colleen, and friend Lara convinced me to get up and reminded me that I would have no problem recovering in time for this weekend. So I decided to go for the 11th loop. Somehow, I also decided it would be best to run the lap as fast as I could because there was no point in saving any energy. Besides, the faster I ran, the faster I was done.
In the early parts of the final lap one of the relay guys passed me which I had no problems with. When I got to the halfway point I was "moving" at best. But my family was there and my dad was playing the accordion. It pumped me up enough to just relax and cruise the lap in. I felt pretty good in the last half of the lap and ran everything. All the hills included. In the final half mile I saw the relay guy that passed me up ahead. Some kind of primal instinct kicked in and decided that I had to beat him. When we got to the parking lot we were neck in neck and it was an all out sprint to the finish. It turned out to be a bad idea because I spent the next hour and a half barfing. Oh well, small price. The final tally was 71.5 miles (11 loops) in 11:46.