My first 24 hour didn't go so well. 111 miles and 18:30 at the San Francisco One Day back in 2007 didn't quite leave a satisfying taste in my mouth. I knew I would run another 24 hour sometime in my life but it took until this year, and the goal of making the 2012 World 24 Hour Championship Team, to pull the trigger.
NorthCoast 24 Hour site of the United States 24 Hour National Championship in May. I had already signed up for the race figuring I wouldn't be traveling to Italy for the 100k World Championships, however, I got the late call to join the team and with the trip to NorthCoast already paid for, I made the decision to still run eventhough it only left me with 13 days of recovery time. Obviously, not ideal, but I had nothing to lose and in my mind, I was playing with house money.
I was pushed early in the race by Valmir Nunes, Serge Arbona, and David James. I just locked into an 8 minute per mile pace and just tried to run comfortable and under control. Valmir and David eventual stopped and the race Serge and I would duel it out throughout the night. The weather conditions were good. It was a little breezy during the day but the winds died down during the night time and the cool overnight temperatures stayed away.
I finished the first 100 miles in about 13:40 and I didn't have to walk my first steps until 17:30 into the race. From there I ran walked until I hit 21:50 and 151 miles. I knew at this point with a little over two hours to go that I could walk it in and finish in the lead. Serge pushed hard and made it interesting, but I was able to hold on for a 4 mile victory.
Charles Wickersham was my MVP! He made the trip with me to Cleveland and he crewed for the entire race.....taking no time to nap. Whatever I needed, he would supply. We looked like we had worked together for years. Charles kept me motivated, hydrated, and fueled for the entire race. There is no way I could have won the race without his support. Thanks Charles!
Adding a U.S. National Title to my list of accomplishments was definitely a dream come true. The mileage was good enough to qualify me for the 24 Hour team traveling to Poland for the World Championships, but I decided not to take the invitation because of a fatigued body and too much time away from work. The U.S. Men did take the Bronze medal and Mike Morton won and in the process broke Scott Jurek's 24 Hour National Record by 7 miles(172 miles). I plan to join the team traveling to the Netherlands in May for the 2013 World Championships.