This year the Hinson Lake broke several records. The largest number of runners attended making it the largest 24 hour run in US history. Temperatures rose to the high 90’s, on some accounts up to 97 degrees. That is hot as all get out in late September around here, and surly affected the performance of all runners.
I rose from my bed at 4am, and made it to registration an hour before the start and began to mentally prepare myself to run around Hinson Lake for 24 hours. Ray K knew how to get everyone going, and said that “this is old school running at its best. From the looks of the crowd, we have easily broken the US record of starters at any 24 hour ultra.” Hinson Lake drew crowds from all over the east coast. Runners as far north as Massachusetts and South as Florida joined in on the action.
Personally, I have had a packed summer with adventures on the trail and overseas that have taken a toll on the body. I knew that coming into Hinson, and planned to take it easy and just enjoy my time.
We took off at 8am and I set into an easy pace from the start pushing about 3.5 laps an hour. Each lap at Hinson Lake is 1.52 miles. After the first lap, I had to pull over and change my socks as I was drenched in sweat. I was averaging 7 laps every two hours and felt ok doing this. I knew it would get hotter as the day progressed, so I figured I would put some money in the bank. After my 7th lap, I changed my second pair of socks, and then a third pair. It was hot, humid, and sticky. But it was hot all summer. Hot conditions don’t work very well for me when I push myself hard. The extreme cold works really well, and I love to bust out some fast trail in the frigid cold.
After my 3rd pair of socks my shoes were also soaking wet and covered in a dust sand concoction. I thought I would let them dry a bit in the sun and put on my flip flops and gave it a go with a lap on flip flops. This gave Hazel from the UCRR club a laugh. The first lap in flip flops was fun, the second lap, not so much, so I put the shoes back on with a fresh pair of socks. I felt great, and dry again, and moved well.
When the afternoon rolled around and the heat began to crank, I could definitely observe the effect on my body. I tried to anticipate this and intentionally slow my roll. I also felt the cumulative effect on my big mountain runs this summer (Bighorn, Tahoe, Wasatch) and how my body was not fully recovered.
I finished up my 33rd lap in 11:58 and threw in the towel. Tom G. puts on a great event, and I would highly recommend this run to any beginner and experienced ultra distance runner. The amazing people you meet along the way is what makes this loop fun to keep running around!