Ok campers, with my training going very well I thought I'd take some time and let you know a little more about an AWESOME event from my running past. This event is an excellent one for all or you guys and gals from the midwest. So listen up! This event is called the Howl at the Moon Eight Hour Run and is held by the Kennekuk Road Runners in Danville, IL. Danville is about 120 miles south of Chicago, 180 miles east of St. Louis, and 85 miles west of Indianapolis. We made the trip for the event in August 2006.
This event was to be the focus of my summer training. Remember, I'm a Junior High Science Teacher. With my summers off, I will sometimes pick an event to help me stay on task with my training and provide a late summer or early fall treat (we get to travel) as we start back to a new school. This particular summer, I was very pleased with my training mileage. From the first day of summer break, until the first day of school with kids, I was able to log 382 miles. This includes the Howl event of course. The summer mileage challenge is kind of a little personal thing that I again often do to stay motivated and focused.
Howl is an eight hour event which is held on a 3.29 mile course which consists of about 75% trail, 20% fine rock, and about 5% asphalt. You check in and out each lap and are free to complete as many laps as time and your body will allow. The temps on this day vary greatly. I had trained to function in the heat of the day by doing numerous runs in the middle of the day regardless of temperature. I literally practiced using a cooler to keep my clothes wet and cold on my training laps changing caps and shirts each lap. On this particular day, the temperature was very moderate and the heat really wasn't much of a factor.
This was just a fantastic event. I still rank it as one of my all time favorites. We pulled into the park for packet pickup on Friday evening not really knowing what to expect. One of my favorite things from the race were the 3 basic rules to follow for this event. It had been written in marker on a piece of cardboard and was posted at the packet pickup. Rule #1 was simple: NO BITCHING!! Rules 2 and 3 simply said to refer back to rule number one. I loved it. (Now, there were more actual rules but this just kind of kept it simple!) I bought a pair of their club socks. They are again one of my favorites. They are white and yellow with a beer mug logo and their club name on the side. Hilarious! On the bottom, they keep the message simple: RUN & DRINK BEER! We were encouraged to have a brew at the packet pickup. The wagon was conveniently parted close by!
The event itself was awesome. Most of it was offroad as I described which was great for the body. Starting at 7 a.m. and finishing at 3 p.m. provides you with the chance to build some early miles before the temps and humidity get too bad hopefully. I completed 10 laps for a grand total of 32.9 miles. Here are my lap times.... they get interesting:
Lap 1: 34:20
Lap 2: 33:50
Lap 3: 35:00
Lap 4: 36:12
Lap 5: 39:58
Lap 6: 45:33
Lap 7: 48:12
Lap 8: 1:04
Lap 9: 1:06
Lap 10: 58:22
Yeah, I know... the last 3 lap times are kind of scary. I developed a blister which prompted me to change socks and shoes. That accounts for the LONG lap 8 time. Laps 9 and 10? I began developing leg pain and tightness which migrated from my knee to my hip to my knee to my ect. ect.... It kind of moved around as the last two laps progressed.
Following the event was the best awards ceremony I've ever witnessed. Awards, awards, awards, man they take care of their competitors. Looking at this years flyer, the Masters Men 40-49 Age group goes 25 places deep. I believe that year it went 20 places so they have actually increased the awards they give out. Other age groups are nicely supported as well depending on the general number of expected entries.
Besides awards, THEY FED EVERYONE THERE. They had fried chicken, bbq chicken, red beans and rice.... It was fantastic. Everyone there was fed with NO ONE having to buy an extra meal ticket. This was in addition to providing pretty much your beverage of choice as well as showers, camping for the night, and a band that played well into the evening.
It truly was one of the best events that I have participated in in my race career. I would definitely recommend it to any of you guys from the Midwest or to anyone who has saved up their frequent flyer miles. It is an event you have to register early for. They set a limit and it fills fairly early.
I was pleased with my distance. I had set a goal of accomplishing my first 50-K and did this with time to spare. I actually didn't take advantage of the last part of the time limit which has you going out and back on a shorter 1/2 mile loop. I did a little too much training on pavement and should have been in the city or county park a little more to change up my training surfaces. The trail and uneven surfaces worked me over a little more than what I expected. Being my first ultra, I was amazed at how relaxed the atmosphere was and how supportive the fellow runners were. Hopefully, this has been informative, maybe a little entertaining, and I've given you some insight into the completion the first ultra-marathon of my running career.
As always, THANKS FOR YOUR TIME and THANKS FOR READING!