I enjoyed my time last year at The Hinson Lake 24hr and I was looking forward to another great 24 hour run with Tom and his family. This would be another year that Hinson Lake was in the month of Ramadan. Also, a week prior to the race hurricane Ike hit the coast of Texas which has caused and continues to cause a gasoline shortage in the southeast and specifically in Western North Carolina. I was forced to wait 40 minutes in line to fill up my take Friday before the race. It was either that or not make it to Rockingham.
We started at 8am and I was running a 10 minute pace. I knew I wouldn’t be able to keep that pace, but felt good starting off. After running the first loop I realized how muddy the second half of the trail was and knew that the more feet pounding that section of trail, the more sloppy it would get. It reminded me of the time I got stuck in the mud in our safari Land Cruiser in the middle of the Ngoro Ngoro crater. All up in it with the lions, water buffalo, and other exotic wild animals.
Hinson Lake is a 1.52 mile loop that circles Hinson Lake in Rockingham, NC. It was muggy and humid that morning. My shorts were drenched within a few loops. I started off running with Scott Brockmeier. We got lost in discussions of Russian adventures and I lost track of how many loops I had run. After about 10 loops I pulled back and let Scott go, he later went on to win the event running an amazing 79 loops totaling 120.58 miles!
After about 10 loops I took a little break and lied down, I was feeling a little tired. I grabbed a few salty potatoes and went on my way. I met many failure faces and a few new ultra runners. Along the way I ran into Laura who is always in the greatest of spirits. It was her birthday, and she was celebrating. I also ran into Lane who I met briefly at the Florida Keys 100, it was great to connect.
After a few more loops I began to feel hungry and sleepy. I usually don’t have these feelings, but I thought it might be due to the fasting of the last 23 days. I took a 15 minute nap and then drove off to a Wendy’s and grabbed a spicy chicken sandwich. I gobbled it up, it was great.
After my friends had learned of my side trip I quickly gained the trail name spicy chicken. I didn’t mind. At this point I was walking and running and talking to my new trail buddies. It took about 3 loops for the spicy chicken to settle in.
After 27 loops I talked myself out of the race. I sat down in my lawn chair and could feel a throbbing blister on my right foot. I had fun, but I was going to bail on the remainder of the run. I cheered a few runners and just sat in my chair for 45 minutes or so.
I was getting yelled at by this point and got up to walk a loop with Byron. I then decided to up the mileage to 50 for the day and was happy to finish with that. It took me 11:50 to wrap up Hinson Lake. Next year I plan to finish all 24 hours!
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