Yeti Ultra 24-Hour Challenge (A Virtual Race)

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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).
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.

The Runs:


Scenes from the runs: