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Sole Challenge 24 Hour - Fayetteville, PA - May 27 - 28, 2017

The day before the Sole Challenge at Norlo Park, we spent at Gettysburg National Military Park - our 16th national park visit. We walked around for about 5 miles under a sunny but windy day. We then set up tent at the site of the ultra Friday evening. For the first time, the Sole Challenge also had a 48-hour event that started Friday morning. The 24-hour event started Saturday at 8 am. Runners could also run the  6 hour, 12- hour, or marathon event - a Boston Marathon qualifier. Back in the motel, I laid out 3 sets of running clothes, 3 pairs of running shoes, 2 water repellent running jackets, and a lot of socks. I even threw in grey rain pants and a pink rain jacket I got at Walmart Friday afternoon. The 48-hour runners were hit with a lot of rain and more was forecasted for Saturday.

We slept in the motel a mile and a half away on Friday night. I had a good night's sleep and arrived at start bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. It was a bit nippy at the start and cloudy.

It rained for a bit, but by the time I completed 26 miles the rain had stopped. I took a few minutes to have Jon wrap duct tape around my toes again.

At the 12 hour and 3 minute mark, I had completed 48.5 miles. I felt good. I was happy. The sun even came out for about 10 minutes. I felt strong as the sun was setting. The headlamp was now lighting the way for hours and miles to come in cold, misty, and foggy weather.

A little after midnight, I took a break to give my feet a little tender care. I got a fresh pair of compression sock after I immersed my tired, beaten, and swollen feet in a nice ice bath. It felt so good.

While my feet got re-energized, I ingested a few more calories - chicken noodle soup and left over mushroom and sausage pizza. They hit the spot. My favorite thing about the Sole Challenge was the well-lit spacious women's room with very clean stalls. And hot and cold running water and paper towels. I suspect the men's room was just as nice. No stinkin' unisex porta-potties here!

I fueled and hydrated well during this ultra. Homemade Paleo almond chocolate chip cookies with walnuts, and coconut cream, almond butter, avocado, coconut water, dark chocolate almond milk, and Nuun hydration in four flavors: lemon-lime, orange, tri-berry, and grape. All held me over and kept me going for 50 1.5 mile laps into the break of dawn and the sunrise after a cold, foggy, misty night in the dark. Jon paced me and kept me company for the last 6 laps.

I completed 77.36 miles in 23:03:54. I had plenty of time to add another 3 miles but my feet were hurting and I was more than happy to finish 2nd place female and 5th overall in a field of 24 runners. Only when I got home did I discover I had lost a toenail. This was a fun ultra. I was with fellow runners who have run other ultras with me. I shared the course with  a runner who did not let his brain injury keep him from the 24-hour event. Another runner with ALS and cancer finished the 12-hour event. We all went home with a cool t-shirt and a finisher's medal to add to our story!

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