I finished my #YetiUltra24HourChallenge today! I haven’t done something like this format before. The challenge involves running 5 miles every 4 hours for 24 hours. Your route, your start time. It’s a virtual race given we are currently in a pandemic and all races have been canceled at least through July.
I met some Yeti Trail runners at a small trail race in GA back in December, when I visited my sister during a business trip. I actually won first female in my division at that race (Miles for Maria, December 2019). The Yeti Trail runners were super chill and super nice. When I heard about this challenge, I decided to support them and do the challenge.
I have done ultras previously, but I’m out of practice lately! When I described this challenge to my friend, she said it’s like a Ragnar Relay except you are starting from one home base each time. In summary, my 24 hours went like this: prepare; run #1 (4pm); cook and eat dinner; shower; run #2 (8pm); sleep 2 hrs; run #3 (12am); sleep 2 hrs; run #4 (4am); sleep 2 hrs; run #5 with dog (8am); make breakfast, short nap, eat again, run #6, final run (12 noon). Just writing it down is exhausting.
Here are some of my preparations and learnings from this challenge:
- I finally caught a break from work and took Friday afternoon off to prepare and start my run in the afternoon. The goal was to finish Saturday and still have Sunday to recover.
- Preparations: I prepared food/aid station for before and after the run. I also laid out 6 sets of running clothes for each run segment.
- After each run, I changed out of my wet clothes and into a fresh set of running clothes. I wiped down, too, for additional freshness (except after the first run where I took a shower).
- I slept in my clean running clothes. I slept on our guest bed, so I don’t wake up my hubby when I had to get up during the midnight and 4 am runs.
- I planned my running route for each segment and wrote it on post-it notes, so I don’t have to think about where to run when I get out. They were all on paved road, not my first choice but it’s all I have near me.
- For the midnight and 4 am runs, I plotted a 1-mile loop and did it 5x so I don’t get lost in the dark, and when I might be ‘woozy’ at least I’m just repeating the loops.
- I should have probably planned the breakfast better, and prepared real savory food. I only laid out ‘aid station’ food but then when I got hungry, I made bacon and eggs and avocado toast. That took time away from sleep/rest.
- After some of the runs, slept and set my alarm for 20-30 min before I needed to start my next run. I slept about 2 hours each time.
I was definitely not trained for this kind of virtual race; ever since the shelter in place order was effective, I haven’t ran long distances nor trails, and running on pavement hurt my knees. But I’m glad I did it, finishing gave me a sense of accomplishment. I’m grateful that I can still go outside to run, despite these challenging times.
Scenes from the runs: