Around the Lake 24-Hr Ultra - July 27-28, 2012 - Wakefield, MA
After finishing five 50 milers and two 100 milers, I thought I’d try a new challenge. I registered for my first 24 hour endurance ultra. Honestly, I had read about 24 hour endurance runs around a track and thought how monotonous and boring. But since there were no 50 milers and 100 milers that I had not run and that were a couple of states away, I figured, what the heck, let me train for a 24 hour run. I trained and ran the 2012 Around-the-Lake 24 Hour in Wakefield, MA.
This ultra was also my first that started on a Friday evening at 7 pm. It was also an urban ultra on a flat 3.172 sidewalk loop around Lake Quannapowitt. Not long after the start, it began to drizzle. The rain kept us all cool as we headed into the warm and humid night.
By 5 am and 10 hours into the race, I was in third place in the women's division. I had completed 13 laps (41+ miles), 2 laps behind the second place runner and 3 laps behind the first place runner. I had no idea where I stood until I saw my name on a poster board by the clock. I was just happy to still be running.
At about 5 pm on Saturday and while on lap 26, it began to rain and thunder. I was also very tired but could still think and make decisions. I wanted to go one more lap and finish lap 27 in celebration of my 27th wedding anniversary on the same day - July 27. By the time I got to the clock and finished lap 26, it began to pour. I didn't want to risk getting hit by possible lightening while running one more lap around a massive body of water, so I announced to the race director, I'm done!
But I had secured 3rd place overall in the women’s division with 83.3 miles in 22:10:31. I was happy and couldn’t believe I had placed in my first 24 hour ultra, an ultra I couldn’t understand folks ran. After I got my medal at the finish in the hotel parking lot, I walked to my hotel room, felt nauseated, vomited a little, took a hot shower, and threw myself on the bed. I didn’t attend the awards ceremony in the parking lot under a tent in the pouring rain. But my husband Jon arrived with Chinese take out for dinner and my third place plaque with a letter indicating my $100 prize money would be sent in the mail. Wow, I was a semi-pro!! I would return to the 2013 Around-the-Lake 24 hour, not to place again but for a very different reason.
I am also the author of Come What May, I Want to Run: A Memoir of the Saving Grace of Ultrarunning in Overwhelming Times. Read excerpts, praise, and reviews, and order the book here from the publisher, Amazon, Bookshop, or Barnes & Noble. My Around the Lake 24-hr journey is one of many ultramarathon experiences that weaves through my memoir.