This Run Lift Mom Podcast Episode is an audio journal recap of the Nutcracker 12 Hour Ultra. Enjoy!
Why would you run for 12 hours?
The Nutcracker Endurance Run is different. It is time based, meaning you choose a time (3, 6, or 12 hours) and run as many miles as you can within that time.
I was drawn to this ultra concept both as a way to train for my upcoming 100 miler as well as to the idea that success is inevitable in this format. The only way to DNF (“did not finish”) is to not show up!
Can’t Control the Weather
Speaking of not showing up, a whopping 33% of runners registered for this year didn’t. That’s high, especially given the average no show rate of 10-15%. Why so many unwilling? The rain.
It rained for the entire 2 days prior to the event as well as in the first 2 hours, followed by a light sprinkle for another hour.
Of course this wasn’t ideal, but this was my mindset: 2 hours of rain is only 15% of the race. For the other 85%, we would be fine.
I wasn’t going to let my thoughts in those 2 hours ruin my mindset for all 12.
Rain poncho’d up, slow and steady. Changed my soaking wet shoes and socks at mile 10, which drained a lot of time but I was hyperaware of my feet getting blisters in those conditions.
As I’ve discussed previously, your feet will give out before your legs do!
Turned on my headphones, binged Dolly Parton’s America in it’s entirety. Changed shoes and socks again at mile 20 and ate for the first time- quick burning whole foods like bananas and white potatoes.
I don’t recommend everyone fast for this long in a race environment, but I do urge you to consider your personal lifestyle when making the decision.
As an example, I typically fast until lunch and always train fasted. I wasn’t going to eat at 5 am just because everyone around me did.
Changed my socks and shoes for the third time. Still able to digest whole foods, which is a vast improvement over my last ultramarathon.
I typically resort to liquid calories at this point and am grateful to continue taking in quick burning carbohydrates with trace fat and protein.
I was really feeling it at this point. Tired of listening to podcasts. Couldn’t fathom more hours of running. I was hurting. It was gross outside. Challenged my own decision making.
Changed socks yet again and, blessedly, my feet were sill healthy with no signs of chafing or blisters.
Since the course was a 5 mile out (to Dunn) and back (to Erwin) course, I knew this would be my last “loop”. For some reason, that gave me a mental lift.
I also started to do some mental math and position this effort within the context of my upcoming 100 miler. This was only a taste of what was to come!
In the last hour, we ran 1 mile loops since you had to complete a mile by the ending time at 6:30 pm for it to count. I know going in circles sounds whack, but this was my favorite part.
By sheer nature of these mile repeats, I got to run with and give frequent passing high fives to other participants and friends on course. It lifted my spirits and I was reminded why I love ultras so much- the people.
Runners at events like this are just very different from your traditional road runner. For the most part, they aren’t running for glory; they’re running for camaraderie, the opportunity to be off road in nature, and the ultra experience.
And the Winner is?
Actually, it was me! Those 65 miles earned me first female overall and second overall in both genders. The leading man had a jaw dropping 72 miles in 12 hours!
I’m really proud of this effort, but not because it got me a podium finish.
I’m feeling great about running the farthest I’ve ever gone in a single bout and staying healthy. I never lost ability digest food or had any type of discomfort in my feet.
In 2020, I’m doing my “bucketlister” ultra. Consider going the distance with me at Blackbeard’s Revenge; you can use the code SUZYbb100 to save 10%