I decided to do this race again because so many things about it are great. I like the course (smooth asphalt), the friendly people, and the accurate and clear timing results that show up quickly after each lap. The biggest drawback for me is the lack of indoor heated restrooms and that proved to be a major problem for me this year because of the cold weather. On the plus side, I so enjoyed seeing my friends Joyce and Ray, her brother Wes, sister Patsy, and brother-in-law Andy, as well as my friend Karen and my amazing racewalker buddy Rob, who managed to do over 57 miles in 12 hours.
Since my report of last year’s race is fairly extensive (see October 2014 of this blog), I will only elaborate on some of the differences between my two experiences. The biggest change was the weather. Last year it was hot, even for me, and the heat probably contributed to some of the nausea and queasiness I felt during the latter hours of the race. This year the weather was predicted to be ideal, with lows in the 50’s and highs in the 60’s. Well, those weather reports were WRONG! It didn’t rain, and that was good, but it was cool on Saturday morning and cloudy all day long. I was okay with that. But as day turned to evening the temperature dropped and by 3 am on Sunday it felt like 40 degrees and breezy. I wore three layers of clothes plus a jacket, mittens, handwarmers, woolen hat,and buff, but was still cold. If there had been a place to warm up, I think I could have made it through until the race ended at 9 am but I was too chilled to continue past 20 plus hours.
The fatigue was getting to me and I could tell that I was ‘drifting’ across the wide path. I also developed a blister on the sole of my left foot, in the same place where I had experienced a blister at Wichita a few weeks ago. I changed from my Brooks shoes to my Hokas and put on new socks. That helped a little. Still, I could feel the blister with every step I took. But it was the cold that did me in. I could have packed a much warmer coat but I did not since the weather prediction was for warmer temps. Without a warm place to lose the chill, I was becoming pretty miserable. I got to 100k, then 63 miles (my total for last year’s race), and finally decided it was time to call Darcy to take me back to a warm hotel room. By the time he arrived, I had completed 67.2 miles in 20 hours and 49 minutes. Instead of a finisher’s ring this year, we received a souvenir paperweight and award with stand.
It was a relief to get into a warm car and then a warm hotel room. And in regard to hotels – last year we had stayed at Springhill Suites, Quail Springs, not far from the race site. This year we made plans to stay at the same hotel. Unfortunately, the television in our room did not get more than a few local channels and since my husband was planning to spend most of Saturday watching football games, that was not acceptable. The hotel was completely booked for Friday night so we were stuck but on Saturday morning Darcy walked to the nearby Hilton Garden Inn and made a reservation there for the remaining two nights (after checking to make sure the cable stations were working). If television programming is critical to the enjoyment of your support team, try the Hilton Garden Inn (or the Holiday Inn, Sheraton Four Points, or one of several other nearby hotels).
On Sunday afternoon we had a midday meal at Mimi’s Café, within easy walking distance of these hotels, and a good choice. We had white peach mimosas, salads, and burgers, with a French twist (my burger had Brie cheese on sourdough bread) and went to bed early since we had such an early flight on Monday. Now I am nursing my sore blister and trying to get it back to normal in time for another 24 hour race this weekend.