Running up, over and through the cogs

The 2012 New Leaf Ultra Runs Sunburn 8-Hour Run

All smiles on the loopty-loop (Image courtesy of Brian Gaines)

As soon as I finished the Chinatown 5K, I hopped in the car and headed out to the suburbs to meet all my ultrarunning buddies for the New Leaf Ultra Runs Sunburn 8-Hour Run.  Like our other club timed events, this fun run took place on a short 2.2 mile looped trail of crushed limestone through exposed prairie grass and big open sky.

The perfect recipe for… a sunburn.

And I got one.  But I ain’t sweatin’ it because the smiles and high-fives and good times were well worth it.  And though I showed up two hours late, I was happy to get in a nice and easy 50 km run while sharing the communal good cheer with all my pals.  Here are some of the highlights:

  • My short shorts make for a great conversation piece, or, at least they make for a good show.  I’m used to getting cat calls when I hit the city streets dressed in my open split racers, so being serenaded by my peers with songs like “I’m Too Sexy”, “We Wear Short Shorts” and “She’s Got Legs” just make me want to wear them all the time, not just when I’m running.
  • If you’re going to wear your hat backwards in the hot sun, be ready for an awkwardly placed tan square on your forehead.  Yes, yes, yes, I know it’s there, but thanks for pointing it out.
  • Running a hard 5K, followed by an hour long car ride is a good recipe for stiff legs.  Though I had a blast running around in circles with all my friends, I never could get my legs to loosen up, which resulted in tight IT bans, tight piriformis, tight everything and a slower pace.
  • Coca-Cola can save the day.  I don’t drink soda, but for some reason, during ultra events, I crave it.  And I have never craved it like I did on Saturday.  Thankfully, my friend Juan saved the day by giving me one of his.  It was like sweet, sweet nectar from the running gods.  Ahhhhhh…
  • Good company makes the time FLY!!!  Seriously, getting to run alongside so many cool and interesting people does make the miles tick by quicker than if I were running alone.  Each time I glanced at my watch I was surprised at how much time had gone by.
  • Which leads me to the realization that I need to focus better on nutrition, even during club runs.  Because I was spending so much time socializing, I wasn’t paying much attention to what I had eaten or how much I’d been drinking.  There were several points where I felt a little woozy, mostly because I wasn’t eating and drinking properly, so I will know better for the future.

But maybe the biggest thing I took home from Sunburn is the fact that a kiddie pool full of ice water needs to be a staple of every single summertime running event.  YES?!?!?  Having reached the 50 km mark in my run with a little over a half an hour left on the clock, I headed out for another loop when, from the corner of my eye, I caught a friend of mine soaking in the kiddie pool.  She looked so happy and so at peace.

I want to be there, I said to myself.

So I hung ’em up, soaked my legs, and enjoyed the last bit of running from the sidelines, which also gave me a head start on the delicious smorgasbord BBQ potluck.  Nothing goes together like running and eating, which means I’ll be looking forward to this event again next year!

My friends can’t hold back their excitement! (Image courtesy of Brian Gaines)

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3 responses

  1. Pingback: Full Circle: The 2012 Chinatown 5K Race Report « TheRunFactory.com

  2. Dan

    I have heard about the Coke craving that most people get at ultras, even those (like myself) who never drink the stuff ever. I’m not sure if I read it in Haruki Murakami’s running memoir or elsewhere, but it caught my attention. I suppose it’s because of it’s unmistakable sugary taste.

    Anyway, I like how you casually threw in that you ran 50 km. If this were my entry, I’d probably have gone through 5 personal struggles, 12 moments of self-doubt and maybe a panic attack or two. But you’ve reached that point where you can just hammer out a marathon+ like it’s folding laundry.

    Good times, Jeff.

    July 16, 2012 at 10:52

    • Thanks, Dan! Indeed, this is one of the best parts of taking on the ultra training — being able to knock out a 30 miler like it’s a walk in the park… heck, some of the times, it IS a walk in the park! Haha.

      July 18, 2012 at 11:06

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